Elementary

The More You Holmes

From: Elementary, the last two episodes ever… /sniff/

Names: Altamont, Sigerson

Reference: In the last two eps of stellar Sherlockian show Elementary, we see and hear about Sherlock using these two names as aliases as he is feigning death. In the original canon, everyone (including faithful Watson) thinks Holmes dead, until he returns in fine form to solve the murder of Ronald Adair (which happens to be another character name from canon that appears again here). Sigerson is one of the canon aliases Holmes tells Watson about upon his return.

In Elementary, Joan Watson is in on the fake death, but has lost track of him, and so in the last ep, Sherlock tells her in a verbatim quote from the original canon story “The Empty House”:

“You may have read of the remarkable explorations of a Norwegian named Sigerson; but I am sure it never occurred to you that you were receiving news of your friend.”

Altamont is a moniker that original canon Holmes uses not in the 3 years during his death, but in a story much more chronologically late than that: “His Last Bow.” In this rare omnisciently narrated short story, Holmes (now in his 60s) foils a German spy, with the help of an elderly, automobile-driving, comfortably-waistcoated Watson. Holmes had masqueraded for two years as an Irish-American tough guy named Altamont, and, after the conclusion of the story, delightfully complains not only about his goatee, but the fact that his language is no doubt forever sullied by his long years of Americanisms.

The last episode of Elementary was called “Their Last Bow,” no doubt in honor of the canon story of almost the same name.

The More You Holmes

From: Elementary s7ep10

Title / Name: “The Devil’s Foot” / Mortimer Tregennis

Reference: Eponymous canon story tells of Mortimer Tregennis, who threw powdered Devil’s foot root into the fire at a card game his siblings were playing with him, before escaping, hopefully to inherit the family estate.

In the original, Brenda Tregennis’ lover, classic Victorian character Leon Sterndale, African explorer and badass, kills Mortimer vigilante style in revenge, with his own Devil’s foot root. Holmes finds Sterndale’s motives so sympathetic that he lets him go.

In the Elementary episode, “The Latest Model,” this exact story (including the year it happened, 1910), is the subject of a documentary made by a plagiarist of another character’s diligent research work, making the latter potentially homicidal. Sherlock & Joan aren’t investigating the Devil’s foot story, but the dangers of the men who retold it.

So, though the story itself wasn’t updated and enacted in Elementary, instead it was preserved like a period piece or a fossil, in the middle of the contemporary mystery being solved around it.

The More You Holmes

From: Elementary ep. 7.8

Character Names / Title: Three Garridebs

Reference: the eponymous short canon story is about a crafty American who targets a man named Garrideb, getting him to leave his house to look for the third Garrideb, so the false Garrideb can fetch a valuable criminal tool hidden in the real Garrideb’s basement.

In this episode of Elementary, the Three Garridebs is what gamers call a Side Quest, but it does sound like the mystery Joan and Sherlock solve during the episode’s commercial breaks is pretty similar, at the very least.

Fun fact: the Three Garridebs also show up in BBC series Sherlock but the less said about the rococo and ridiculous fourth season of that show, the better. Ahem.

The More You Holmes

From: Elementary ep. 7.5&6

Name: Odin Reichenbach

Reference: Of course, as anyone who’s read more than two original Sherlock Holmes stories knows, it’s at the Reichenbach Falls where the brilliant detective meets his demise. Or, at least, he did, until Arthur Conan Doyle was pressured enough to bring his creation back to life a decade later. Spoilers…

Naming an antagonist Reichenbach, especially when we know that Season 7 is Elementary’s last, is troubling to say the least. Will Reichenbach cause Sherlock’s fall at the end of the season, with or without a brief glimpse for the audience a la the end of BBC Sherlock season 2, or Batman: Dark Knight Rises? Or will the showrunners do this to us at the season’s halfway mark, and then give us an Empty House and maybe a Last Bow before the end of the end? We can only wait and see. I like to think it’ll be the latter–after all, typical seasons of Elementary are around 22 eps long, and we’re only on #6, with Odin Reichenbach having just been established as one of the most powerful villains this series has yet seen. So we’ll see.

(And why his first name is Odin–the All-Father, king of Norse mythology, one can only speculate. Me, I think it’s because god Odin sends his two ravens, Hugin and Muninn, out into the world to collect information, recounting it all back to him every evening when they return. Odin Reichenbach is the head of an all-pervasive social media platform, and is gathering information about the world all the time, just like his godlike namesake. I would be chuffed if he ended up losing an eye or hanging himself for more god-Odin parallels, but again one must wait and see.)

The More You Holmes

From: 2.1, Elementary 6.19

Title: “The Geek Interpreter”

Reference: in BBC Sherlock, The Geek Interpreter is one of a quick chain of plays on words from canon mysteries that we see breeze by in an illustration of Sherlock’s busy-ness. In this case, it’s a group of young comic book fans that notice the comics are coming true.

In Elementary’s most recent ep of this same title, we watch a brilliant mathematician interpret some data under duress, and her lovelorn PhD advisor hire Holmes & Watson to find her and her kidnappers.

Both shows use this title as a nod to original canon story “The Greek Interpreter,” one of the most chilling and (in my educated and well-read opinion) underrated stories in the canon. Though the ending is pretty anticlimactic–good on the Grenada series for making that right.

The More You Holmes

From: ep. 2.1, Elementary 6.11

Line/mention: in Sherlock, when Watson expresses excitement at his blog getting hits, Sherlock scoffs. Watson retorts, “this is your living, Sherlock, not 240 types of tobacco ash.” To which Sherlock replies, “243.”

In Elementary, Irregular member The Nose mentions reading Sherlock’s “monograph on the 140 varieties of ash,” and pointing out that his differences in Trichinopoly and Birdseye ash are wrong.

Reference: we first hear of Holmes’ monograph on the 243 types of tobacco ash in the very first story, novel-length A Study in Scarlet. It is mentioned more throughout the canon, including in The Sign of Four, where he declares,

“To the trained eye there is as much difference between the black ash of a Trichinopoly and the white fluff of bird’s-eye as there is between a cabbage and a potato.”

The More You Holmes

From: Elementary 6.2

Line: SHERLOCK: It was easier to know it than to explain how I knew it. If you were asked to prove that two and two made four, you might find some difficulty. And yet you are quite sure of the fact.

Reference: this quote in the Elementary ep is Sherlock’s response to an incredulous FBI agent (no spoilers–this ep aired recently), and this exact same quote, verbatim, was uttered by Holmes to an incredulous Watson, in one of the earliest moments in the duo’s relationship of detective and record-keeper. This exchange took place in the very first Sherlock Holmes story, the novel-length A Study in Scarlet, after Watson couldn’t quite believe how Holmes saw the commissionaire’s situation just by glancing at him out a window.

The More You Holmes

From: Elementary ep. 5.18

Character Name/s: Black Peter, John Neligan

Reference: “The Adventure of Black Peter” (canon original) shares a few components with this ep: 1) there’s a pirate called Black Peter;  2) some of the evidence in the central murder case involves blade strikes strong enough to go through the body, implying a very strong arm. In the story, the body is pinned to the wall with a harpoon. In the ep, it’s deep sword stabs. (Also: remember the scene in Sherlock ep. 2.2, with Holmes coming home, blood-covered, harpoon in hand? That’s nearly directly from the original);  3) a subplot involving a log book and someone named John Neligan, intertwined w the murder scene but not a cause nor an effect.

The More You Holmes

From: Elementary ep. 5.17

Character name: Lady Frances (Carfax)

Reference: “The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax” is one of the most underrated, underplayed mysteries of the whole canon, and on of my personal favorites. It involves a kidnapped lady and has one of the most chilling “gotcha” moments at the end, of any of the canon stories.

Though there are twists and turns in this ep, the Lady Frances is not a woman, but a Carfax Desperado guitar, described as the “Stradivarius of guitars.” Which of course is another reference to Sherlock Holmes’ musical instrument of choice.

The More You Holmes

From: Elementary ep. 5.8

Event: Mr. Holder delivers a Beryl Coronet to Joan, to be delivered to Sherlock as a payment or memento of sorts from an earlier case.

Reference: From the adventure of the same name, we have a Mr. Holder and a mysterious Beryl Coronet. The circumstances of the canon piece are rather different than its appearance in this episode, but I and I’m sure all Sherlockians knew exactly what would be in the box when we saw Holder’s name. When Joan Watson commented on it being a crown, I have no doubt that all of us shouted at our TV screens: “It’s the Beryl Coronet!!”