Home > TV and anime > Elementary: Season 2, Episode 1. Step Nine (2013)

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 1. Step Nine (2013)

Elementary poster

This review discusses the plot so, if you have not already watched this episode, you may wish to delay reading this.

When a series is going to return (Elementary: Season 2, episode 1. Step Nine), there’s a moment when you wonder whether you should start watching again. Although the last season was less than perfect (indeed, at times, it was awful), there’s still some curiosity to see where the scriptwriters will take the characters this time around. For all the faults of the show, the emerging partnership between Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) was interesting. This time, the billing is we’re going to spare no expense and film on location in London. Sherlock is going “home” as it were.

So the prologue in what’s supposed to be Highgate Cemetery is an appalling piece of melodrama and populated by English actors speaking in a way only achieved for American consumption. This is the ultimate in unnatural accents. Meanwhile, Sherlock and Watson are tracking down a criminal who’s communicating with his minions using pinions, i.e. by using pigeons of the carrying variety. What better way is there to hide the messenger in plain sight and how clever of Holmes to be able to follow the flight of a bird across a city to just the right stretch of pedestrianised area within a park to which, even more remarkably, this stupid pigeon feels it must fly to return home. This is not what I wanted to see as an opening. Two incredibly absurd scenes in quick succession. Anyway, having arrested the pigeon wrangler, Holmes receives a telephone summons to London where his ex-police buddy — it’s Gareth Lestrade (Sean Pertwee) of the Yard from the Arthur Conan Doyle canon — needs an ‘elping ‘and with his accent from a British actor able to speak more proper on the small screen.

So the backstory is that Holmes was working anonymously and Lestrade’s reputation got puffed up beyond the limits of his ability. Then, without Holmes to guide him, he’s come unstuck. To show we’ve arrived in London, we have Oasis blasting out of the taxi’s sound system as we do a whistle-stop tour of tourist highlights like the Houses of Parliament, i.e. it’s one cliché after another to the music of a band from Manchester. Amazingly, DCI Hopkins (Tim McMullan) has nothing better to do than stand outside New Scotland Yard waiting for Holmes and Watson to arrive. Formalities of the welcome over, we come to the case itself. It seems Lawrence Pendry (Rufus Wright) called the police claiming he’d fought with someone who’d broken into his home and killed his wife. He only had five minutes or so until the police responded (even though he seems to have been in a country estate some distance from civilisation). The police searched diligently but found no gun. Ergo the husband was innocent and Lestrade was falsely accusing the innocent son of a media mogul who owned enough newspapers to shred the detective’s reputation and get him suspended.

Jonny Lee Miller and Rhys Ifans

Jonny Lee Miller and Rhys Ifans

At what’s presented as 221B Baker Street (not the real address which does exist), the Holmes boys get together again with Mycroft (Rhys Ifans) who got to redecorate the “apartment” in his brother’s absence. While Watson sleeps off the jet lag, Holmes walks straight to Lestrade who’s drowning what’s left of his sorrows in a Greenwich pub and is persuaded to look into the case. So now we veer off into near-future science fiction with a plastic gun from a 3D printer which was dissolved and hidden as a pint of milk in the fridge. At least we’re on the frontier of the possible. It’s possible to download the CAD file called Liberator and, with the right hardware, use it to manufacture a gun for just a few dollars. Except the resulting guns are dangerous both to the person aimed at and to the person holding the weapon, i.e. they can kill or, if they explode, maim the hand of the person holding it.

The title of this episode is Step Nine. Following the road to recovery from addiction, Holmes is supposed to apologise to those he has wronged. In this case, put simply, that means rescuing Lestrade and not killing Mycroft who blows up the furniture and accumulated stuff from 221B which he had lovingly stored. After the brothers have bonded, Holmes and Watson get into a train to go back to America — it’s the new trans-Atlantic tunnel (following on from the novel by Harry Harrison). I think Step Nine is a step too far into absurdity. I don’t mind less than credible elements so long as the underlying mystery to be solved is interesting. In this episode, everything was subordinated to the “London experience” and the rest followed along limply behind with Captain Tobias Gregson (Aidan Quinn) and Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) getting all of ten seconds screen time to show they had not been terminated from the cast. Had he seen this, Arthur Conan Doyle would have turned in his grave.

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 10. The Leviathan (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 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).

  1. September 28, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Yes, I suspect you got the feeling I get when I see a movie shot in Las Vegas–it always feels cliche to the point of parody.

    • September 28, 2013 at 1:51 am

      It was just embarrassingly awful. 🙂 And then there was all the cod British crap as well. A double whammy!

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