I’m honestly not sure why the writers felt they needed to shake things up so dramatically on Elementary for season three. It’s not like the show was in its fourth or fifth season or that it was getting stale. Season two ended in such a way that a natural progression that by itself provided freshness and variety was in place. Then the writers chose to entirely blow it up. This is sad, because the direction the show has gone is very mundane and not nearly as interesting as where they have already been or where they could have gone.
Introducing the character of Kitty is not a bad thing. What was a poor decision was to make her a major character, supplanting screen time for Bell and Gregson and pushing aside the Holmes/Watson relationship. Kitty would have been fine to introduce this season as a part-time character, something similar to Mycroft’s role in season two. The season could absolutely have worked with an overriding mystery with her at the centre of it. They may still do that at some point, but it will no longer have the gravitas it could have. Instead, it will now simply be dedicating a major arc of the show to a new “regular” that has done nothing but diminish the Holmes character.
Joan Watson has become as proficient as any detective out there. Granted, she was always brilliant, as evidenced by her being a top-notch surgeon in her previous life. Now Kitty is becoming rather gifted as well. This is all fine and dandy, but they are already starting to rival Holmes in terms of their usefulness and input. It’s clear that the writers have decided not to set Holmes up on some sort of awe-inspiring pedestal. That’s fine, but only to a point. Holmes must for the sake of the character and the show, remain by far the most brilliant man in the room, and by no small degree.
Frankly, I’d love to see a two, or even three part episode come up where Watson and the NYPD think they have solved a case. I want them to be so certain of it that they actually push back against Holmes continuing his investigation. Maybe even Kitty starts to question Holmes, confronting him once again with her psychoanalysis of him as she is want to do so far in this show, listing for him the reasons he just can’t admit that others were right and he is wrong or that others are able to make-do without him. Then, about the time when things are going to completely blow up because Holmes isn’t backing off, the other shoe drops and Holmes is revealed to be the only one who was right all along.
I don’t really expect that the writers will do that, but it is going to take something that drastic to reestablish Holmes as the apex intellect. The others have already risen so high as to be too close to Holmes for there to be much distinction.
This show needs to right the ship in a hurry. Fans and viewers are starting to abandon the ship in droves. They need to bring back the engaging Watson/Holmes dynamic that is at the heart of every meaningful Holmes interpretation. They need to reestablish Holmes as being genuinely unique, functioning at a level so far above the others as to make him a man without real peer. And they need to build off of what they already have in place for future developments, rather than trying to completely reimage the show. So many threads and opportunities have been dropped now, that it is just maddening.