Paint it Black – An Elementary Review

Sherlock collaring Mycroft

You mess with Watson, you face Sherlock Holmes’ wrath.

By the Lord, it is as well for you. If you had killed Watson, you would not have got out of this room alive.” – Sherlock Holmes, from 3GAR

There are things about this show that have slowly improved over time. This episode, for me, is a high point. Such a high point that it’s my favorite episode of not only this season, but for the whole series (so far. Still 2 to go.)

There’s the type of episode that is intense, with a great ending, but after you find out who did what, you have little or no interest to rewatch it. And that’s how most (not all) of Elementary episodes are for me. This is not that kind of episode.  So far I have watched this episode 3 times (original airing, later on CBS’s site, and again right after with commentary by Lucy Liu and director of photography Ron Fortunato).  Not counting replaying bits and pieces.

And, dare I say it, I enjoy this episode *as much* as BBC Sherlock? Series 3 at the least? Okay, preparing to facing backlash but it’s has taken this long for the show to grow to that point.

It starts, picking up right where it left us hanging at the end of The Man with the Twisted Lip with Watson getting kidnapped. I had only watched the first few minutes of that episode and caught only the last minute and I somehow assumed that Mycroft was directly responsible for Joan’s kidnapping.

The warehouse scene where Joan is being kept and the kidnapper talking to her.  Then cutting to Sherlock’s rage, flipping over furniture and grabbing Mycroft by the collar demanding to know why he put Joan in such a dangerous position.

the railing shot - colorThe much talked about camera shot through the staircase railing showing the metaphoring separation of Mycroft and Sherlock. Awesome and powerful.

The ending was wonderful with it being revealed that, no, Mycroft wasn’t a restaurant owner, with mediocre skills at observation who was a coward and willing to make shady deals without being aware of possible consequences like we had been led to believe all this season.  He was actually involved in some way with British secret intelligence, possibly higher in government (we don’t know for sure right now).  But it was such  relief for me to see that, because I wasn’t keen on him staying in that earlier presnce that far away from the canon.

Clues to Mycroft’s true nature

Mycroft telling Sherlock that he sees how important Watson is to him:

Mycroft: “You’re not sure you can do what needs to be done without her.  This is more than just a case.  Without her to keep you focused, to keep you settled…”

Sherlock: “Is that what you think she is? Hmm? A simple counterbalance?”

Mycroft: “I think she’s the person you love most in this world.”

Meeting with the bank under the false pretense of investing some of their father’s fortune, and Sherlock threatens them with exposing them, and demonstrates just a few strong deductions, Mycroft takes a couple steps towards them and quietly says

As you can see, my brother’s a deductive genius. His prowess is not to be underestimated. He can be the instrument of your salvation, or your demise.

I love how Mycroft follows Sherlock into the different rooms, and stands behind him, hands in his pockets, but his eyes casually yet carefully looking around, partly looking for clues, as well as looking out for his little brother (at least, I hope Mycroft turns out to be a good guy like in the canon).

Meeting the NSA, Agent McNally gets up:

McNally: “Mycroft, it’s a pleasure to meet you.  I get a night off, I swear I”m gonna finally try out Diogenes.”

Mycroft: “How do you know I have a restaurant?”

McNally:”Everyone knows about Diogenes.  Amazing food. Interesting clientele”

Going to interview Legolas5 (seriously? Sherlock didn’t recognize the name? Pronouncing it Lego-Lass Five?), Sherlock asks a question and then Mycroft comes out with excellent probing questions.  Sherlock gives him a befuddled look.

Mycroft: “What? Joan asks questions when you’re out and about.  I’ve seen it.”

Sherlock: “Yes, but she is a trained detective.  You’re a buffoon.”

Then turns and repeats one of Mycroft’s questions.

Going (breaking and entering) into Norman’s house, Sherlock challenges Mycroft to really look around him.  Mycroft walks through the hall way without showing much effort for looking, but then points behind him

“This cushion has been disturbed. There’s scratches on the floor. Dry blood? There may have been some kind of scuffle.


Yoder pleading with Mycroft to stop his younger brother from torturing him was interesting, and Mycroft telling him he better answer the question. After the end reveal makes me wonder if he (Yoder) knew who Mycroft really was.

Random musings (or My favorite scenes)

Other than the scnes that clued in to who Mycroft really was, there were a number of other great scenes. Every scene that Miller and Ifans are together are just simply wonderful, such as this one right after meeting the NSA:

Sherlock smashes and stomps on his phone into the pavement.

Sherlock: “My phone doesn’t seem to be working, may I borrow yours?

Mycroft, dumbfounded, hands him his phone.  Sherlock then smashes Mycroft’s phone and stomps on that as well.

Mycroft: “Was that really necessary?”

Sherlock:”That was the NSA. Hands.”

Mycroft holds out his arms and Sherlock takes his watch. Sherlock: “Exquisite time piece; shame it has to go.”

He stomps the watch into the ground.

Mycroft:”They didn’t touch my watch.”

Sherlock:”Better safe than sorry.”

This is the only time in this episode Mycroft is surprised about something Sherlock does.

Sherlock displaying the same finesse of waking Mycroft up as he has Joan… minus breakfast.

Mycroft’s collar was down in the scenes with just Sherlock, but when they were out and investigating, it was up.

Mycroft stunning Sherlock was a “what? WHAT?!?” moment.  My daughter yelled out “Traitor! Mycroft, you are a traitor!” at the tv, over and over.

Again, marvelous episode.  Lucy Liu did a fantastic job at directing (Can she be cloned so she can direct and act? Please?)  And Robert Hewitt Wolfe should just write the rest of the episodes. Yup.

So looking forward to the next 2 episodes!

You are right in thinking that he is under the British government. You would also be right in a sense if you said that occasionally he IS the British government.” – Sherlock to Watson about Mycroft, BRUC

May 3rd, 2014 by
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