Television: Elementary, "Hemlock"

Hmm. I used hemlock as a poison in "A Society of Martlets."

This is an episode in which the last couple minutes overshadows the rest, which is a shame because the main plot of the episode isn't half bad. We see Holmes at loose ends and how crazy that makes him. And so when a woman asks him to find her missing husband—she's convinced he's cheating on her and wants evidence—Holmes takes the case.

Our missing husband is a lawyer with a prestigious firm, or so his wife believes; it turns out he was let go some six months prior but was paying a secretary to continue answering his phone line as if he were still employed. A stain on the payment envelope leads Holmes and Watson to the location of the man's new business: a debt collection agency, which the man had started when he bought a "packet" of debts.

The important clue at the scene, however, is a missing fire extinguisher and carpet runner, shattered glass, and a bit of brain matter that DNA later shows belongs to our AWOL husband.

Through various twists and turns it is discovered the husband wasn't made for debt collecting; he was too kind and ended up forgiving a debt that cost investors quite a lot in that they were out to get his house and land for a winter sports complex. Things loop back around to one of the partners at the law firm, and (perhaps taking a page from "The Golden Pince-Nez") his glasses.

Fine, whatever. It's a strong enough story, but other interesting things show it up, like Watson meeting Andrew's father for the first time. Holmes had previously postulated that Watson wasn't into settling down for any length of time, but she insisted she was perfectly happy in her steady relationship with Andrew. Alas, it becomes increasingly clear that Watson isn't up to settling down; the father thing freaks her out, largely because (a) Andrew is a great guy, (b) his dad is also awesome, and yet (c) Watson isn't feeling what she "should" be feeling. She's enjoying the relationship, but she's not in love.

Feeling like things are moving faster than she wants, and realizing that it isn't fair to Andrew to keep his hopes afloat under false pretenses, Watson meets him for coffee. She bumps into someone at the bar—or someone bumps her. And then she accidentally gives Andrew her coffee, which he realizes after taking a sip.

And then he dies.

The titular hemlock.

Meant for Watson, but why? And from whom?

It's an interesting way of doing Doyle without being obvious about it. In the canon, Watson gets married and moves away from 221B, and then his wife dies. Here they've had Watson move out, get into a serious relationship, and then have that love interest die. It's not quite the same considering Watson was breaking up with the guy anyway, and his death was intended to be hers, but it certainly adds spice. We see in previews that Watson lobbies to move back into the brownstone next week. We know Holmes does better with [human] company:

Watson: "Why are you making Clyde [the turtle] paint?"
Holmes: "He enjoys it."


Carol Kilgore said...

Cool. I like Elementary, but husband is not a fan of the NEW Sherlock. Such a traditionalist :)

M said...

I grew up with Sherlock Holmes in various incarnations, my dad being a big fan of the Doyle stories and the Granada television series, and I myself loving Young Sherlock Holmes. I'm always interested in seeing new takes, though some certainly do it better than others.