Sometimes procedural television does this deeply embarrassing thing where it turns to reality to inspire it’s crime of the week.
Law and Order is the most notorious of the bunch with their “ripped from the headlines” tag. But it’s not the only offender. Thanks to an episode of NCIS, I had to have a very real and very terrible conversation with my father about Suicide Girls: It was the worst thing that has ever happened to me. This week, smart and savvy Elementary shared its penchant for doing the same with a return to their ‘Everyone’ storyline — a group of computer hackers inspired by the real group Anonymous. Elementary is a smart show, but when it does stuff like this, it’s easy to understand how it airs on CBS (burn CBS, burn!).
I have to admit that part of my cringing probably came from the name they’ve chosen for this group. Everyone? Really? That’s the invention of a roomful of writers so eager to go home that they’ve stopped even phoning it in and started faxing. But it isn’t just my curmudgeonly nature that kept me from being all in on this week’s episode. I’d be all for an episode where a murder within Anonymous was played out and explored. That would be very interesting, or at least, has the potential to be. Unfortunately it never plays out this way, or, it certainly didn’t this week.
Instead we are on the receiving end of a half-assed lesson in cyber-crime that might be illuminating if you are watching the show propped up in a nursing home muttering about how you always knew this internet thing was dangerous, but since by and large that’s not the show’s viewership it just came across as being hand-holding and strange. Learning that more one than person could pretend to be someone online was played as though it was supposed to be shocking when in fact it’s anything but.
Thankfully the purposeful, transparent work of Jonny Lee Miller was present (as ever) to keep me from pulling an Elvis where my TV screen was concerned. While we in no way needed the lesson in how you can pretend to be someone else on a computer, it did serve as a smart foil where Sherlock was concerned. Joan has been slowly but surely taking after her teacher – withdrawing from people, avoiding small talk. It’s clearly because she’s been through a trauma, a trauma she’s not dealing with.
Sherlock’s tried to broach this subject with her before but this week, looking her in the eye and saying that there could only be one Sherlock and one Watson really hit home — and not just for the viewers. Joan for the first time since Andrew’s murder seemed willing to hear what her friend and mentor had to say.