Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Elementary: The Many Mouths of Aaron Colville Review


Sherlock's Teething Problem

If I didn't know any better, I would swear Elementary has some sort of body fixation.  We had in the last two episodes one that dealt with the sense of sound (in a roundabout way) and then one that centered around the sense of smell.  We could put The Many Mouths of Andrew Colville* down as the one with the sense of taste (again, in a roundabout way).   There are moments of cleverness (our opening murder case is merely a prelude to the main story), moments of humor (Sherlock Holmes again made to look foolish as payback for how he handled Everyone, the Anonymous-type group he pissed off earlier), and the best part, the return of the true Elementary icon...yes, of course, CLYDE!

Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) come in on a case of a mortician found dead in his workplace.  This crime is solved immediately, but it is a little detail that intrigues Joan.  Specifically, bite marks.  Joan remembers a case involving a serial rapist/murderer and bite marks, only it couldn't be the same man, because Andrew/Aaron Colville has been dead since 2005.  She should know.  She was there.

Colville had been rushed to the hospital after a prison fight, and she was one of the doctors on call that night.  Her supervisor, Dr. Fleming (Bruce Altman) is attending Colville when he whispers something to Dr. Fleming.  After that, Fleming appears to hesitate giving Colville treatment.  This hesitancy has always troubled Joan, but it is the fact that she sees in herself the fact that she might have done the same that troubles her more.  Now the search is on to find whether there is a copycat killer or Colville was indeed the real killer.

In order to do this, Holmes has to consult Everyone, the Anonymous-type group that has become an Elementary version of the Baker Street Irregulars.  To get the information Holmes and Watson need, Sherlock Holmes has to don a prom dress and perform songs from something called Frozen for them.    They also have to go throw all those who got dentures while Colville was in prison.  Why?  The prison dentist made dentures out of his own pocket for inmate on parole, and so far each of them has an alibi.  There is one who doesn't, and he just so happens to be the dental assistant, Stan Kovacevic (Robert Stanton), a sex offender who goes on the lam after Holmes and Watson zero in on him.

However, we find that Kovacevic is not involved in the crimes.  Watson starts putting things together herself, but it is a mixed bag.  She is sharp in finding that Kovacevic isn't the one involved, but she also loses focus when it comes to Fleming's role in all this.  While at first she thought Fleming may have killed Colville, she finds he no longer remembers whether he intentionally let the loathsome patient die.  Furthermore, her looking up information about Fleming's past begins to cloud her judgment.  She herself is unsure about what she would have done in Fleming's place, and that more than anything else, is what troubles her.  In the end, we find the killer and Watson finds if not closure at least a little bit of peace. 

I think what works well in The Many Mouths of Andrew Corville is that the focus is not so much on the crime but on Watson's moral quandary.  She has always seen herself as someone with a strong moral core, but now finds that this blast from the past has made her question her own morality.  Would she really have let this killer die on the operating table?  The fact that she cannot answer that herself troubles her greatly.

Liu has evolved her Watson into being highly competent and a sharp detective on her own.  Here, though, we see the tables slightly turned.  While Miller's Holmes is still much sharper, he is the one called to be a little bit empathetic, or at least counsel her that she is a good person who would do the right thing.  Miller also has a great ability with comedy: his deadpan comments about having to perform from Frozen (I'm hoping it was Olaf's number In Summer, though given he was made to wear a prom dress makes Let It Go the obvious candidate) is just the right mix of nuttiness and cluelessness. 

The mystery itself is not as bizarre as some from the past, and Stanton (whom I had pegged quickly) did a strong job in his guest starring role.  Judith Ivey, who plays Colville's mother, had too few scenes (and frankly, looked terrible), but in terms of guest stars it is so nice to see that Elementary icon Clyde! return for another engagement.  Tortoise, you've been gone for far too long.

Yep...I'm a Clydester. 

The episode flowed well, gave us some good twists and turns, and brought great interplay between Miller and Liu where they work so well doing what the other normally does (Holmes empathizing, Watson deducing).  Now, if we could only see Sherlock Holmes belting out...

*There seems to be debate about the actual title of this episode.  Officially (or at least on my DVR), it was The Many Mouths of ANDREW Colville.  However, during the episode I heard "Aaron" used, and many reviews have it as The Many Mouths of AARON Colville.  I don't know whether this was a production error (like when the Doctor Who story originally titled The Silurians was incorrectly listed as Doctor Who & The Silurians, a title that has stuck). 


Next Episode: No Lack of Void


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