Television: Elementary, "The Man With the Twisted Lip"

Only a passing relation to the Doyle story.

A fellow recovering addict named Tess solicits Holmes and Watson to help find her missing sister Paige. It seems Paige was also trying to get clean, but a search of her apartment turns up the phone number of a drug delivery service. Which doesn't seem to get them anywhere; it takes some lyrics from one of Paige's songs (she was an indie musician) to lead them to a place Paige may have gone to compose or busk. Paige's body is discovered not too far from the site, along with the body of Zach. Based on the scenes, Holmes determines Zach had been the target and Paige an unfortunate witness the killer then felt the need to eliminate.

So then the question becomes: Who killed Zach? And to answer that, one must naturally ask: Why kill Zach?

A couple of things about Zach's murder. (1) Odd pattern of shotgun blast. (2) Strange buzzing noises? When it's too cold for mosquitos?

Our B Plot this week comes courtesy of Sherlock's brother Mycroft, who is back in New York and proposes to have a real, grown-up relationship with Watson. (Note that Mycroft calls her "Joan" while Sherlock still calls her "Watson." Sherlock resists closeness by maintaining formalities.) This story line gives us much fun in watching Sherlock squirm and glower at the idea. His talk of "shared custody" was quite amusing.

Additionally, Sherlock notices a French criminal has begun hanging around Mycroft's restaurant Diogenes. The question here is: Is Mycroft bad or just stupid? Since we know Mycroft isn't stupid, and since we've previously seen him be devious, it's a relatively safe bet that he's bad.

Now back to the main plot. The buzzing noise returns, this time in the brownstone. Once caught beneath a glass, Holmes and Watson discover it's actually a tiny machine, probably with a camera and "ears."

This is where the show lost me. It was just a tad too far fetched for my taste. But whatever. Zach had worked for a robotics company that made drones (unmanned craft). He'd recently moved to New York from Las Vegas, and he had started seeing a psychiatrist. Notes on some newspaper clippings Zach had kept suggested he'd felt guilty about something. But of course the psychiatrist refuses to elaborate on Zach's problems. Until he's caught burying some illegal Italian candy in his community garden plot. Then he tells the police Zach had been piloting a drone remotely—the craft was in Afghanistan, and when Zach reported what looked like Taliban movements, the Army decided to strike. Turned out the "Taliban" were Americans. The whole incident was hushed up but Zach felt the need to go public with what had happened. Hence him being killed. Not all that interesting a story, really.

More interesting would be the fact that Watson tells Mycroft she plans to move out of the brownstone. Maybe then she and he could consider exploring their relationship. She goes to meet Mycroft for dinner but when he doesn't show up at the Diogenes, she decides to follow the French guy and see what he's up to. Of course he catches her and tosses her in a van. Next week we'll get to see Sherlock get all worked up about it as he tries to get her back. It was only a matter of time, really, until we got to this point. Sherlock will be forced to confront just how much Watson means to him. And Mycroft will play a central role in prodding his brother toward the brink.

This episode began with Sherlock telling the support group that he is "without peer" and that that is what threatens his sobriety. The hubris in such a statement is astounding, but one can't be surprised when it's Sherlock doing the talking. Truth is, he's speaking from a deep-seated inferiority complex. He knows at least two people who are as smart if not smarter than he: Moriarty and his own brother Mycroft. But Sherlock has made himself believe he's the smartest man in the room, because he so often is. That's complacency, and it's also that he's arranged to be the smartest man in any given room because it soothes his fear of not being smart enough—this is why he avoids Mycroft at all costs, and it's why he and Moriarty would ultimately never have worked as a couple. Unfortunately for Sherlock, there are many more ways of being brilliant than just his, and he fails at most other forms.

Final point of interest for the episode is that Sherlock hides the phone number of the drug delivery service and what appears to be a small baggie of drugs in a hollowed out book.

Does the episode have anything in common with the original Doyle story by the same name? Well, I did expect to discover Paige was busking or pretending to be some kind of bum, but . . . Nope. And instead of a drug den, we began with a sobriety meeting. So aside from a woman looking for someone who is missing . . . Not a lot of overlap there.

"The Man With the Twisted Lip" was more remarkable for its secondary plot than its primary one. We all know Sherlock would be a disaster living on his own, though I suppose if Ms. Hudson at least checked on him regularly (nice to see her back this week, btw) . . .

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