Sherlock vs. Elementary: Their Path to Moriarty
by Noor Alnaqeeb (@nooralnaqeeb)
Moriarty. He was introduced to us in Elementary last episode alongside the reason for Irene Adler’s death. Our two main Arthur Conan Doyle characters that have been MIA this season are finally brought to light and it has been worth the wait.
In both Sherlock and Elementary, Moriarty is brought to us as an omnipresent being filtered through the menacing hands of his hit men. In Sherlock, a dying taxi driver with evil intentions was the messenger and employee of Moriarty; but in Elementary, the hit man, British soccer-lover and torture enthusiast, was set up by Moriarty while working for him. Well-played, Elementary. Getting Sherlock to team up with a bad guy in order to lead him to Irene’s killer.
Although Elementary churned out an impressive episode, I’m finding it hard to compare it with Sherlock once again. It might be down to the fact that Moriarty was introduced from the get go in Sherlock. It might be because of the fact that Cumberbatch hit his emotional peak in Sherlock with the season finale and inevitable first meet with Moriarty, whereas Miller found himself at his breaking point with this episode following just hints of Moriarty’s character.
Another major difference and contribution to Miller’s emotional break is that Irene, in Elementary, is dead. Very unlike the alive and kicking Irene Adler in Sherlock. Sherlock has not yet explored the possibility of a prolonged relationship between Holmes and Adler, yet in Elementary they were together for seven months and her death at the hands of Moriarty had led to his addiction. Saying that, Sherlock did give audiences a glimpse of how Irene and Sherlock got under each other’s skin, sheets and psyches. One high functioning sociopath to another; Sherlock and Irene challenged each other and they both loved it. Irene’s near-death experience in Sherlock is at the hands of a terrorist group due to her “extra-curricular activities,” but in Elementary, her fate was left to the hands of Moriarty in order to toy with Sherlock. After seeing the full effects of what would happen to Sherlock after her death in Elementary, we also saw a glimpse of what could happen to Sherlock if he hadn’t saved Irene in “A Scandal in Belgravia” where both Mycroft and Watson are worried for his well-being and turning to drugs.
It was refreshing to see a villain with depth to his character as opposed to the simple come-and-go individuals that have been on Elementary in the past. Here’s hoping that this isn’t the last of Vinnie Jones in the series as his menacing and much-needed presence furthered the characterization of Holmes. His presence also allowed audiences to understand Holmes further as his past has finally been tied in with his present.
This week a lot of respect, although predictably, should be given to Elementary’s Watson. Lying to Sherlock in order to protect him; for example, staying on as his sober companion after being let go by his father, is an extremely ‘Watson’ thing to do. What wasn’t ‘traditional Sherlock’ but appreciated nevertheless was Miller’s emotional delivery at the end of the episode, explaining to Watson that he needs her around. The foundation of their friendship has been set and their familiarity has arranged another level to their rapport: it is now blatantly and thankfully obvious that they both care for each other. Which reminds me of a specific line in Sherlock where Holmes turns to Watson and states “I don’t have any friends. I have one.”
Elementary has now found itself on a 21-day hiatus suggesting that this cliff-hanger will determine the rest of the season, or at least some of the major plotline. I have a few predictions in mind for the rest of the season and hopefully Elementary will stick it to the man (the man being predictable storylines) and give us another great episode with even more twists that we never saw coming.