Home > TV and anime > Elementary: Season 1, Episode 10. The Leviathan (2012)

Elementary: Season 1, Episode 10. The Leviathan (2012)

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Elementary: Season 1, Episode 10. The Leviathan (2012) falls foul of what I’m gong to term the Goldilocks Test. As a child, I was naturally subjected to the usual diet of fairy stories and one of the many that have stuck in the memory is “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. This is famous for its application of the “rule of three”. When tasting the porridge, the first is too hot, the second is too cold, and the third is just right. So, as applied to mysteries to be solved in forty-something minutes, the first has too many complexities to be introduced and unravelled in the time available, the second has too little substance and the unravelling is tediously stretched out to fill the time available, and the third is just right.

So here we go with Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and a short-running joke of twins in a sleep-over, followed by an invitation to solve the puzzle of how a gang of four thieves broke into an impregnable safe called The Leviathan. After seventeen hours of sitting in front of the safe, he’s forced to admit to the long-suffering Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) he doesn’t have a clue. So he reasons the method must either have been devised by a more brilliant mind than his own (unlikely I know), or the only other gang to have cracked the safe must have sold on the secret to a new team. When he visits one of the surviving members of the team in jail, he confirms someone did visit their expert cracker before he died. In return for promises of aid, our inmate gives Sherlock the nickname of the man who probably bought the secret. Our hero tracks this notorious thief down, but he could not have been responsible for this latest robbery because he had a stroke some two years earlier and cannot move or speak.

Sherlock keeps a'knocking but he can't come in

Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) keeps a’knocking but he can’t come in

At this point Sherlock hypothesises a slightly different explanation and, after a visiting a particular location, he collects evidence to confirm the theory. In due course, this produces the probable identity of the four new team members. Except when he goes to confront the one most likely as the ringleader, he finds a police team closing an investigation into a suicide. No, this cannot be and, before you can say, Inspector Gregson (Aidan Quinn) and Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) should come and visit the scene, they have arrived and Sherlock is pointing out a blood splatter which yields an identity through the usual DNA test. Except this is not one of the four. By this time, we have twice heard the phrase, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” It’s always good to hew to the canon when writing a Sherlock Holmes story. Now comes Watson’s moment of glory. When no-one else has the remotest idea what the link is between this fifth person and the other four, she spots the critical piece of evidence. It’s always useful to have a doctor with you when on a murder investigation. With the link established, it’s easy to prove who the killer is. That said, we never get to see Sherlock go back to the safe company that first hires him. Nor do we get the payoff of seeing the other safecracker(s) arrested. It’s just left to Watson to pour the celebratory bottles of champagne down the drain to keep Sherlock sober.

Sherlock and Watson meet the family

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) meet the family

With neither Gregson nor Bell allowed more than two minutes screen time, we have an illuminating subplot in which Sherlock inserts himself into a family gathering. He regales the Watson family with stories of Watson’s invaluable assistance both as a support to a recovering addict and as a detective. Watson’s mother later calls round to Sherlock’s brownstone and tells her daughter she looks happy. She wonders whether her daughter will still be happy if she moves on to a new client. In other words, circumstances are conspiring to commit Dr Watson to staying. Now there’s a surprise! I could have mentioned the subsubplot involving a stolen painting but, as you can see, this would be too much to pack into this summary. Or put another way, the screenwriters simply tried to juggle too many balls and failed to catch all of them as they came down. Elementary: The Leviathan was not unenjoyable but somewhat like overly hot porridge. Arthur Conan Doyle was better at writing stories that were just right.

For the reviews of other episodes, see:
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 1. Pilot (2012)

Elementary: Season 1, Episode 2. While You Were Sleeping (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 3. Child Predator (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 4. The Rat Race (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 5. Lesser Evils (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 6. Flight Risk (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 7. One Way to Get Off (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 8. The Long Fuse (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 9. You Do It To Yourself (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 11. Dirty Laundry (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 12. M (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 13. The Red Team (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 14. The Deductionist (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 15. A Giant Gun, Filled With Drugs (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 16. Details (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 17. Possibility Two (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 18. Déjà Vu All Over Again. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 19. Snow Angel. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 20. Dead Man’s Switch. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 21. A Landmark Story. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 22. Risk Management. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episodes 23 & 24. The Woman and Heroine. (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 1. Step Nine. (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 2. Solve For X (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 3. We Are Everyone (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 4. Poison Pen (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 5. Ancient History (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 6. An Unnatural Arrangement (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 7. The Marchioness (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 8. Blood Is Thicker (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 9. On the Line (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 10. Tremors (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 11. Internal Audit (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 12. The Diabolical Kind (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 13. All in the Family (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 14. Dead Clade Walking (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 15. Corps de Ballet (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 16. One Percent Solution (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 17. Ears to You (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 18. The Hound of the Cancer Cells (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 19. The Many Mouths of Andrew Colville (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 20. No Lack of Void (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 21. The Man With the Twisted Lip (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 22. Paint It Black (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 23. Art in the Blood (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 24. The Great Experiment (2014).

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  1. December 17, 2012 at 3:45 am

    I thought this one was a great character-piece for Holmes and Watson. It says something about Holmes own strained relationship with his family that he would go out of his way to “mend fences” for Watson with hers. It was also interesting watching Holmes squirm when the puzzle/evidence didn’t match his hypothesis. Quinn and Hill were, as always, lamentably underutilized, but we do get the important payoff of confronting the murderer. I thought it was one of the better-done episodes, but I will agree that it felt just a couple of minutes too short.

    • December 17, 2012 at 4:01 am

      A shrewd observation about families! And you’re right about the obvious discomfort when Holmes was temporarily without a clue! So as a chance to develop the relationship between our primary protagonists, it was a good episode. More generally, I think the real misjudgment was in the time taken to find the second body. That adds very little to the overall outcome and the time would have been better spent tying up the other loose ends.

  2. January 8, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Sherlock was ok that there was nobody smarter than him who could crack the safe, rather the second group of thieves simply copied the first, But what about the first group of thieves, it was never explained how they figured it out (the whole computer code thing). This episode tried to be way too much, and in the end didn’t seem to be anything other than a device to encourage Watson to remain with Holmes (which we all knew would happen anyways).

    • January 8, 2013 at 11:22 am

      I agree and it’s becoming a real problem with the series with far too much lazy plotting and a failure to tie up loose ends. It’s interesting to compare this episode with Murdoch Mysteries: Season 2, Episode 4. Houdini Whodunnit! Although the individual episodes tend to be poor, this particular Murdoch episode actually written by Maureen Jennings has an invincible safe beaten and the methodology of the break-in is most carefully explained. All we get from this Elementary episode is a hopeless fudge about a math genius who could crack a random number generator. This is a perfect example of a desperate scriptwriter trying to get off the hook he stuck in himself.

  1. April 5, 2014 at 12:38 am
  2. April 12, 2014 at 12:04 am
  3. April 26, 2014 at 1:48 am
  4. May 3, 2014 at 1:38 am
  5. May 10, 2014 at 12:09 am
  6. May 17, 2014 at 1:17 am

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