ichini-sanshigo, “On CBS’s Elementary and Joan Watson” (May 28, 2012)
“His genius isn’t the hook, but the adventures are.” I like this.
"Genius asshole is not a novel experience for her,"
OH MY. I WANT TO HIGHFIVE THIS SENTENCE.
The fact of the matter is, most women have to deal with a lot a bullshit under the excuse that ‘boys will be boys, lol!’ We’re pretty much socialized for it. And I think Joan, being a woman and a POC in a male dominated field, and then being someone who works with recovering addicts, has had more than her share of it. “Genius asshole” is not a novel experience for her.
For John Watson, Sherlock’s brilliance is enough to hook him. The danger and adventure sealed the deal, that was the icing on the cake, but the sweet sweet chocolatey goodness of Sherlock’s razor-sharp intelligence was what brought him to the table in the first place. Joan admires Holmes’s intelligence, but it’s not enough to hook her, not if he’s going to be an asshole. Assholes are a dime a dozen, and intelligent people aren’t exactly scarce on the ground either, not in a major metro area like New York. If he wants her respect, he’s going to have to earn it. His genius isn’t the hook, but the adventures are. She hates her job, and his is so much more interesting. That’s what I got from the preview, at any rate.
It’s almost a sort of inversion of the BBC’s narrative, where John is hooked by Sherlock’s genius and stays for the adventure. Joan is hooked by the adventure and I think she’ll end up staying because he proves that there’s a decent human beneath the weirdness and snobbery and ego after all. And that’s an inversion of the BBC dynamic as well. Sherlock can be a good man, but his more human side has to be drawn out of him by others: John, Mrs. Hudson, Molly, Lestrade. It’s their faith and love that brings out the best in him. But I think Elementary Holmes is going to have to do that emotional heavy-lifting himself. It’s not going to be up to others to draw him out; after his drug abuse and assorted shenanigans it’s going to be up to him to prove that he can be a better person. And it’s a parallel journey for Watson as well, since she has to prove herself after losing a patient and her license and her entire livelihood.