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Elementary: Season 2, Episode 14. Dead Clade Walking (2014)

February 1, 2014 4 comments

Elementary poster

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

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 14. Dead Clade Walking (2014) starts us off with Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) considering the possibility of a trepanning by electric drill to release his evil humours. If it were not for these annoying messages from Randy (Stephen Tyrone Williams), the new addict for whom he’s accepted some responsibility, he would no doubt get right down to it just behind the right ear. But he’s decided to take his duty seriously. On his way out, he meets Gay, who is, and Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) tells him she’s continuing to work through his cold cases file. She has a clue on an old murder, but duty calls Holmes away when Randy messages. So then we’re into the “do as I say, not what I do” part of the advice from one addict to another. When the implied question of Sherlock’s relationship with Moriarty is raised, this forces Sherlock to admit his own performance leaves much to be desired. Randy continues his campaign of distraction. Holmes, of course, has a solution to Randy’s problem. Since the return of Randy’s girlfriend is the threat to him staying clean, all Holmes has to do is engineer her arrest and return to Chicago. Except when it comes to the crunch, he can’t be that coldblooded. Even he can see it would be too destructive to Randy to unilaterally whisk his girlfriend away. But since Randy won’t stop pestering him, Holmes is uncertain what to do.

The result is interesting on two levels. First, Holmes has enough self-knowledge to know he can’t make Randy do anything he doesn’t want to do. The action to solve the problem has to come from Randy. He therefore bluntly tells Randy what to do and leaves it to him. Second, when Randy walks out of their meeting and then cuts off communication, Holmes has sufficient investment in the man to worry about him. Indeed, we can say Holmes fails to sparkle in this investigation. He’s merely efficient. When Randy eventually comes to the brownstone and confesses he fell off the wagon, there’s no condemnation. Only acceptance of what was inevitable and then, without comment, Holmes takes Randy off to a meeting. This is a well-managed intervention in Randy’s case and, with the girlfriend told to leave, Randy can now start a new count of the days clean. It’s good to see Holmes willing and able to take the role of sponsor seriously. Even though his empathy may be at vestigial levels, he’s still able to get the right results by mining his own experiences as an addict for the best strategy.

Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) offering DIY trepanning

Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) offering DIY trepanning

As to the cold case, Watson and Gay find the rock in the yard where the three-year-old murder occurred and, after it’s x-rayed, the dinosaur rears its ugly head (not trepanned). The continuing point for us to consider is the effect of addiction. Holmes took money from the victim’s parents but obviously failed to give the case his best efforts. At times, he was a high-functioning addict and the heroin enhanced his investigative skills. He finds it emotionally distressing to confront the times when he failed and he’s less than engaged in the case now. With Randy continuing his campaign of distraction, Watson is allowed time undisturbed to develop an elegant theory of who might have given the dinosaur to the victim and what this smuggler might be doing now. This is sufficiently impressive to get Captain Tobias Gregson (Aidan Quinn) out of his chair and into surveillance mode. However, the man they arrest seems genuinely not to have been aware of the value of the rock and, more importantly, not to have had a motive to kill the best man at his wedding. While the interrogation proceeds (including Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) for a token line of dialog), a fake ICE man appears and calmly acquires the dinosaur. This is impressive because anticipating the real ICE agent’s arrival implies inside information. Sherlock has his own sources including the erotically minded C who has heard whispers about The Magpie (presumably with some, but not all, his clothes on). Yet when this man is lured into communicating with Watson, he’s found dead when the duo arrive at his home.

As murder cases go, this has an elegant simplicity about it. Once we know the motive is suppressing evidence as to when the dinosaur died, there are only a limited number of experts whose reputation would be damaged if their theory of a mass extinction event was disproved. That the revelation is delayed by further bone purchases on the black market and the unlikely transfer of DNA material is padding. Yes, for once, the scriptwriters obviously thought the murder strand was sufficiently thin to need an extra few minutes adding. Again I’m forced to disagree with this scripting decision. There was more than enough scope in the Randy situation to give it proper time to develop. It would have been far more interesting to make Randy into a more substantial character and to allow Watson a better chance not to advise Holmes on what to do. So Elementary: Dead Clade Walking was one of the better episodes but not as good as it could have been.

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 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 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).

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 13. All in the Family (2014)

January 13, 2014 4 comments

Elementary poster

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

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 13. All in the Family (2014) has us back in the saddle with the problem of Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) who continues to lurk out of everyone’s sight in Demographics, this rather strange counter-terrorism unit established by New York state. Somewhat surprisingly, Captain Tobias Gregson (Aidan Quinn) prefers to stay out of all the politics surrounding Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) as they consult with the NYPD. He’s the man who brought in Holmes and defended him to the hilt. It doesn’t entirely run true he would now be acting indifferently to their plight. This leaves our dynamic duo working their way through all the detectives in the department, serially falling out with each of them. In their latest case, they instigate the arrest of a guard at the Aster Museum and, when they dramatically prove he done stole the golden egg, the detective throws them out of the interview room and takes all the credit for the arrest. I’m probably alone in wondering how this consulting exercise is paid for. After the judicial inquiry into the lead-up to Bell’s shooting, the powers-that-be must be aware of the pair’s activities. There must be regular performance reports whether money changes hands or not. So even if the pair are public spirited and donate their services pro bono, the Commissioner must be satisfied as to the quality of their work otherwise he would have thrown them out on their collective ear. What this or other detectives may claim in the clearance of crime seems slightly irrelevant. If the Commissioner continues to authorise payment to them, this confirms he attributes the high clearance rate directly to the pair’s activities.

Putting this speculation to one side, one thing is clear. Holmes and Watson would have a better time if Bell would return to Gregson’s department and resume working with them. Hence, this is the episode to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. So when Deputy Commissioner Frank Da Silva (Peter Gerety) sends Bell (and armed sidekick) to an oil recycling facility to investigate a report of strange behaviour, Bell quickly finds the only barrel out of think-of-a-high-number that contains a dead body. It’s a knack or flair or just what the script requires to get Sherlock and Watson involved. And to maintain our quota of coincidences, it turns our Watson is an expert on the Mob and can recognise Handsome Bobby even if his hands and head have been removed. Fortunately, there’s nothing sinister in her being able to recognise a mobster’s naked leg. He was notorious for showing it off back in the day. Yes our Joan grew up in Queens and so knows everything there is to know about local criminal celebrities. When Papa Pardillo (Paul Sorvino) comes into the mortuary, he’s able to confirm the scars belong to his son. Now it looks as though an old feud is returning to haunt the New York families. In due course, Scalice (Fulvio Cecere), one of the men employed by the rival Big Teddy Ferrara (Vincent Curatola), is killed by a car bomb.

Holmes and Bell resume a working relationship

Holmes and Bell resume a working relationship

After the last couple of episodes, I would like to be able to confirm this as equally impressive. But it isn’t! In fact, it has almost no redeeming features at all. People move around, say things and do stuff mechanically. Stereotypically stupid detectives and Italian American mob types dominate. All that’s required is a crisis which gives Holmes the chance to talk with Bell again. There are minor confessions: Holmes was an addicted but has recovered. Bell is trading on his tremor without giving rehabilitation the chance to work a miracle. Sigh. Whereas the last episode was full of interesting ideas about the psychology of the characters, this is threadbare. I really don’t believe Bell would be influenced by such an attack on his motives. And the whole plot to incite a mob war is laughably unlikely and a horrendous coincidence given Bell’s arrival in this unit (or are we supposed to believe Bell was recruited so he could be used in this way?). Whereas the story arcs to advance Holmes, Watson, Mycroft and Moriarty have been significantly impressive, this is pure contrivance to get our fourth lead back into play. He even gets his old desk back. Well that saves having to place new camera angles into the set. Production can just resume as if nothing happened.

So let’s take a moment to think about the plot. Bell did the entirely human and instinctive thing when he put out his arm to “save” Homes”. For all the rocks in the road of their relationship, he cannot stand by and watch the man shot. So what does he expect as the reaction? Bell is always pushed as a good detective. He’s even supposed to have the Holmes imprimatur as one of the best in the department. Although, truth be told, we’re never really shown any signs of startling initiative and insights. In his brief appearances, he’s presented as a nuts and bolts guy who gets the job done when he’s told what to do. But let’s take this “good detective” thing and run with it. He should understand Holmes. He can’t avoid noticing his indifference to others. Although Holmes was very helpful when Bell’s brother came on to the scene, nothing changed in the relationship between Holmes and Bell. There never has been anything “special” on display. Bell has been just one of the sheep Holmes shepherds around when he consults. So Bell should not be expecting Holmes to follow him to hospital, lurk by his bed and gush tears of gratitude and guilt when Bell regains consciousness. Bell should be expecting what he gets, i.e. after a period for reflection, Holmes comes in with a once in a lifetime offer of treatment at the best clinic in the world. So we’re supposed to believe Bell would punish himself (and so punish Holmes?) by turning down this incredible offer? And then wallow in self-pity when his arm didn’t immediately get better? Is this an intelligent and dedicated officer or what? In fact, I’ve never thought Bell’s behaviour following the shooting to be rational. Which means this tepid “be true to yourself” appeal should sink like the proverbial lead balloon. Overall, this makes Elementary: All in the Family implausible and rather boring.

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 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 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).

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 12. The Diabolical Kind (2014)

January 12, 2014 6 comments

Elementary poster

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

Elementary: Season 2, episode 12. The Diabolical Kind (2014) starts in the brownstone world of Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller). He’s happy up on the roof with his bees where, close to his heart, he hides the letters he has been exchanging with Jamie Moriarty (Natalie Dormer). In these letters, he reflects on his own unhappiness and the problems of those around him. If nothing else, this shows an evolving empathy through which he begins to see how unsatisfactory life is for the others in his life. Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) is engaged in a serial dating ritual in which she meets potential mates only to be disappointed. Captain Tobias Gregson (Aidan Quinn) remains in love with his wife, but equally seems tinged with sadness and regret at the way things have turned out. Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) struggles with his disability and so is wrapped up in himself to the exclusion of others who might help him reach an accommodation with himself. While Holmes himself cannot avoid melancholia. Perhaps his inability to stop thinking about Moriarty is a sign of weakness that can only be put in abeyance when the next interesting case comes along, but he does at least feel.

Now we come to the trigger event. High-tech kidnappers abduct a girl and demand a ransom of $50 million. Holmes recognizes the voice as belonging to a man who acted as Moriarty in previous dealings. He therefore discloses the twenty-seven letters from Moriarty, explaining he has maintained the connection out of scientific interest. Now, it seems, he has a reason for actually going to see her. It turns out that, instead of being inside a supermax prison, she has relatively comfortable surroundings in a black site run by the FBI in the Brooklyn Naval Yard. Moriarty has made no admissions of criminal wrongdoing, but has been trading information for “concessions”. Not unnaturally, the appearance of Holmes, Watson and Gregson in her warehouse holding facility elicits a smile and an offer of help in return for more “concessions”. The FBI has a list from which they could choose. Given the seriousness of the case and without asking for Gregon’s permission, the US Government release Moriarty from custody so she can help.

It’s a pleasing set-up even if not terribly credible. So now let’s come to what this episode is actually about. If we go back in time, we have a man who was always on the verge of a breakdown: brilliant but unstable, easily bored and so at risk of addiction to distracting substances. The trigger for pushing him over the edge was manufactured by Moriarty. He spent at least two years scraping the bottom of a physical and emotional barrel and then, to his surprise, a rescue operation succeeded. The mechanism is inherently ironic. He was tipped into an abyss through his love of a woman and he’s shown how to climb out of it by another woman. In contemporary times, these two women therefore hold the soul of the man. He still loves the first and, in a so far platonic way, he’s dependent on the other. Perhaps not surprisingly, the relationship between these two women is strained. The first woman is potentially jealous. The second being an empath, is protective of the man she rescued.

Natalie Dormer is back as Jamie Moriarty  with Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu in oils.

Natalie Dormer is back as Jamie Moriarty with Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu in oils.

In many contexts, both insect and animal, there are lifecycles in which the young go through a metamorphosis. What begins with one shape later emerges into the world with a different shape and behaviour. For these purposes, let’s assume that two individual humans are born with a psychopathic disorder, i.e. with diminished empathy and a general lack of remorse. They meet and form an attachment. I would like to call it love but, in this early state, it’s probably not something the rest of humanity would recognise as love. Then one falls into a pupal or resting form from which he emerges with a changed point of view. He’s now able to modify his own behaviour depending on how others perceive him. We can think of this as being the first step in becoming a more social animal. While it may not be true empathy, it does depend on the ability to observe and understand how others feel and see the world. So if the first can transform, can the second follow in his footsteps?

For these purposes, let’s assume the second individual is a woman and she can be threatened in a primal way. For example, no matter how great the degree of disorder, a woman who has given birth is always vulnerable to a threat to her own child. This is something she would take as a personal threat. She would respond to it in a protective way. Having dealt with that threat, would she run away? Well, here’s the rub. If she escaped, she would have to go on the run and might never see the man again. This might be distressing to her. Now let’s assume she might have enough information of criminal activity to be able to “buy” her freedom. If she sincerely believed the US government would give her freedom, she could also believe it possible to resume an open relationship with the man — assuming he would have her, of course. That might induce her to surrender herself back into custody. She’s removed the threat. Now she can resume planning for the possibility of freedom and a relationship with the man. To perfect this plan, all she has to do is transform herself. She felt for her own child. She feels some emotion for the man. Can she take the next step? He would have to believe a metamorphosis possible, otherwise he would never wait. The one fly in all this ointment, though, is that she’s just slaughtered several men (and attacked the nice gay jailor). So the government has a steeper hill to climb if it’s officially to free her.

Both in the intelligence of the ideas and in the sensitivity of the acting, this episode of Elementary has proved to be one the best pieces of television I’ve seen in the last year. Let’s hope The Diabolical Kind signals the start of a year of not less than good episodes — as a final thought, Marcus Bell was seen but not heard for ten seconds. There’s just not enough room in such meaty episodes for everyone to have a good part.

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 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 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).

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 11. Internal Audit (2013)

December 14, 2013 3 comments

Elementary poster

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

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 11. Internal Audit (2013) demonstrates the pleasing quality of twin track narratives in enabling us to see immediate differences in responses to the developing situation. Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) is doing her people-skills act on Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) and, even though he’s not in the best of moods, you can tell it’s working. He’s back at work, albeit restricted to desk duties for now. He’s even teaching himself to write with the “wrong” hand which is no mean feat if you can do it (desperate effort at pun intended). Meanwhile Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Alfredo Llamosa (Ato Essandoh) his fellow recovering addict, sponsor and Irregular confederate in crime are demonstrating Holmes is not properly focusing on the job in hand. Whereas the expert can beat the new supercar’s security system, Holmes is reduced to kicking the car petulantly when he fails (cf. hitting the safe in Season 1, Episode 10). Worse, he then gets all self-righteous and claims not to have put a step wrong in the investigation resulting in the injury to Bell.

Meanwhile the news media are abuzz with the revelation that Donald Hauser (Thomas Ryan) has been running a Ponzi scheme. Sadly, before the old man can kill himself, he’s kneecapped and tied to a chair. In the morning, he’s found dead with the word “THIEF” written on the wall in blood. Chloe Butler (Heather Burns), the woman who found the dead body is an ex-client of Watson. Naturally, Holmes picks up on her nervousness and thinks of her as a suspect. Without telling Holmes, Watson goes round to see her and admires the new baby (her people skills are working overtime tonight). She digs out the news that the last person to see the victim (other than the killer, of course) was Jacob Weiss (Richard Masur). He seems to have no motive because, apparently the fraudster did not steal from his account. News then comes that the journalist who broke the story has also been tortured and killed in the same way. Someone shot the messenger (pleasing joke from the scriptwriters).

Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) discuss the murder with Gregson (Aidan Quinn)

Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) discuss the murder with Gregson (Aidan Quinn)

Putting all this murder stuff on the back-burner where it should be, we now get down to the substance of the episode which is what must be called a bridge. Understandably, Holmes and Bell are experiencing turbulence in their professional relationship. It’s going to take action from both sides with Watson and Captain Tobias Gregson (Aidan Quinn) mediating. Except, in a way, Watson and Gregson are too close to the problem. Not that he’s paranoid, but Holmes would hate to think the three were ganging up on him. It must therefore fall to the other trusted person, Alfredo, to talk sense to him. Coming at the problem from an oblique angle, Alfredo tries to persuade Holmes into becoming a sponsor for Randy (Stephen Tyrone Williams), an addict three-months dry. Alfredo diagnoses the Holmes recovery trajectory. Before he began attending AA meetings, he was completely self-absorbed. Now he’s been in the recovery program for eighteen months, he’s got a little bit of empathy back into his mind. That’s why he’s upset Bell won’t let him do anything to help. When Holmes unthinkingly rejects the role, Alfredo calmly reassures him that being a sponsor is not about the sponsor. It’s nothing more than a chance for the sponsor who has benefitted from the program to give something back. The point being, of course, that if Holmes can accept the notion of helping a fellow addict stay sober, he might be able to work out how to talk to Bell. After all, Holmes has benefitted from working with the NTPD and needs to give something back.

Meanwhile, Watson is quietly working the case on her own. Chloe Butler is able to identify Nelson Maddox, a criminal who knew Donald. But because Chloe is in a custody battle, she can’t afford to have anyone know about her drug problem. She refuses to confirm the identification formally and relies on the confidentiality agreement Watson signed to reinforce her refusal. This leads to disagreement with Holmes. He wants to tell Gregson anyway. Watson points out it’s exactly the same type of situation that got Bell shot. People who get dragged into investigations can be injured in unpredictable ways. In practical terms, compassion has to be in the Holmes tool box of the investigative art. If Holmes cannot understand people, he cannot see motives. That’s why, in the end, Holmes does the right thing. We’re not to mind that Watson’s work-around directly leads to a third murder. He deserved to die.

Holmes’ interview with Randy is hilarious. He’s been sober for a long time so he inadvertently adopts the right tone and doesn’t put Randy off. Bell is also facing a decision as an “Intelligence” unit wants to recruit him. He may not be able to go back on to the front line, but he can still help to keep the city safe from terrorist and comparable attacks. The metanarrative is therefore developing nicely. Holmes is slowly accepting the need for some change just as Bell may be removed from the scene. Incidentally, the murders were solved. I suppose it was a reasonable piece of misdirection after the fact. Since we could not read any of the names and check the court records, there was no way we viewers could ever have solved this case. It was just gift-wrapped in time for the Christmas break when the Holmes/Bell saga can continue.

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 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 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).

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 10. Tremors (2013)

December 7, 2013 4 comments

Elementary poster

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

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 10. Tremors (2013) starts us off with an inquiry into whether Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) “screwed up”. That’s technical jargon used by someone who might actually be a judge, but not in the federal or state sense of the word. Nevertheless, even though Judge Brewster O’Hare (Frankie Faison) might, in Holmes’ eyes, have an equivocal status, it’s his allotted task to decide whether the “screw up” was of sufficient magnitude to justify a formal order being made to ban the dynamic duo from ever working for the NYPD again. So, again using technical jargon, this hearing is no small potatoes and, more importantly, it proves the development of a more formal narrative arc between this season’s episodes. In the first season, there was little effort made to develop characters or to build a metanarrative. Although we did get to see glipses into the lives of Captain Tobias Gregson (Aidan Quinn) and Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill), with one exception, they were always rather perfunctory. The exception was an episode giving prominence to Bell’s background and a chance to meet his brother. Otherwise, we were in typical US television series land with standalone episodes, too short in length to allow for character development in more than the two leads.

We see a significant shift of emphasis this season. The scriptwriters have finally decided to explore the real dynamics in the relationship first between Holmes and Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) through the arrival of Mycroft, and between Holmes and the NYPD. It would be a facile approach to assume everything should always be sunshine and light between the emerging partners in detection. Holmes is self-absorbed and antisocial. Watson has more empathy and prefers to work co-operatively with others. At first, their relationship was relatively equal insofar as she controlled his life as a sober companion. This is not to say they were actually equal because Holmes’ personality is always to test boundaries, or to ignore boundaries when he considers he has a higher moral purpose to fulfill. Whatever his faults, and they are many, he’s always been her intellectual superior. When her role as sober companion ended and she signed up for this crash course in how to be a detective, the practical equality was abandoned. She became a guest in his home, giving up her own home. She became dependent on him financially. As a “student”, she followed his lead when it came to developing investigative skills. This is not a comfortable basis on which to build mutual trust and respect.

Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller)

Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller)

It has been the same with the NYPD. No-one can deny the case closing record of the man and, subsequently, of the duo. In practical terms, they have become indispensable to the police. But there’s a cost because Holmes has little interest in the law, particularly as it applies to the collection of evidence and the conduct of interviews. By his lights, the ends justify the means. Hence, whether he’s saving the innocent from wrongful arrest or bringing the guilty to book, he’s feels entitled to break into people’s homes and offices, conduct unauthorised forensic tests, and bully people whether as suspects or members of the NYPD. This is a real problem because the police must always work around his illegal methods. If evidence might be tainted by the manner of its collection, other corroborating evidence must be independently sourced. If an interview might be excluded because Holmes interrupted it and failed to follow protocol, work must be repeated and reports written to explain the reason. If Holmes was more of a team player, the police officers would take the occasional irritation from Holmes. But he fairly consistently shows nothing but contempt for them. In previous episodes, we’ve seen resentment surface. This episode sees the relationship almost fractured because Marcus Bell is wounded in defending Holmes from attack by an outraged private citizen.

The structure of this episode is particularly pleasing because it buries the murder investigation inside the judicial inquiry into Holmes’ behaviour. For once, we’re allowed a proper chance to broaden the perspective of the script and to explore the different sets of relationships between Watson and the others, and between Holmes and the others. The two pleasing features that emerge from this are the real sense of guilt displayed by Holmes, and the protectiveness of Watson and Gregson who offers the advice, “Be nice in court. It’s the smart play.” The exchange with Cassandra Walker (Elizabeth Marvel), the attorney conducting the inquiry is interesting. He has recognised her as a recovering addict like himself and, as an obsessive and addictive person, he does his best to tell her that the world does not always work in ways the majority understand. Unfortunately, the fact she can empathise with him and invite him to an AA meeting is an admission of the limits of the bridges he can build. The relationships with others will always tend to be at arm’s length because he feels vulnerable if they get too close. Put another way, his ability to function is now threatened by the extent of the guilt he feels that Bell has potentially become one of his “victims”. He probably judges himself more harshly than Judge O’Hare ever can. That he exacerbated the problem by delaying the visit to Bell in hospital simply confirms the extent of his dysfunctionality. I’m now actually looking forward to the next episode!

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 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 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).

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 9. On the Line (2013)

November 24, 2013 2 comments

Elementary poster

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

Elementary: Season 2, episode 9. On the Line starts us on top of Thor Bridge, but those of you who are keen adherents of the original canon need not panic. This is just a pretext. The suicidal woman is out to frame Lucas Bundsch (Troy Garity) for the murder of her sister. She goes through the motions of stealing a gun from his home and then using it to kill herself. Our accused demands a polygraph and is just beginning to answer questions when news comes from the bridge. As Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) had predicted, the weighted gun is in the river. Our accused need not answer any more questions. Except Sherlock is now convinced this man is a serial killer and he wishes he’d allowed the suicide to frame him. Sherlock and Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) then deconstruct the technique to be followed by anyone who wants to beat a polygraph test. Edward Snowden and all others who have to go through mandatory polygraph testing should try out this method. It looks good with tongue biting, controlled breathing and antiperspirants to the fore.

The meeting with Detective Gerry Coventry (Chris Bauer), the veteran detective who had the original case, is not a success. He’s dismissive. Indeed, his attitude offends Sherlock and leads to a public spat. Captain Tobias Gregson (Aidan Quinn) tells both to cool it but even Watson is surprised by Sherlock’s vehemence. As retaliation, the detective gives Bundsch the brownstone’s address and he comes round to threaten our heroes. This confirms the battlelines as Holmes tell him how the crime was committed: unconscious woman moved out of the flat in a refrigerator, a fake bomb strapped to her ankle to force her to make a telephone call where cameras would pick her up, and so on. When the confrontation is over, Holmes now dumps on Coventry which pleases no-one. As justification, there’s a link between Bunch and two other women who have disappeared. Holmes and Watson split up to talk with the families, Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) going with Watson.

Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller(, Watson (Lucy Liu) and Gregson (Aidan Quinn)

Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller(, Watson (Lucy Liu) and Gregson (Aidan Quinn)

We now arrive at another of these background issues that the good series deal with sooner rather than later. Indeed, if you watch the BBC Sherlock series, the hostility of the rank-and-file police to Holmes is strongly featured. That’s why they are all too ready to believe Moriarty’s monstrous lie. So Coventry is the tip of the NYPD iceberg. If Gregson does not stop Holmes from showing them up as less than competent, the offended precinct will call in the union and raise a formal complaint. Gregson’s defence that Holmes has a high closure rate cuts no ice. The morale of the police is more important than the performance of the outside consultant. Independently, Watson has picked up on the growing animosity. She pulled a cartoon from the noticeboard and asks Holmes whether it would actually cost him anything to be more civil to his “colleagues”. All the honest cops are in the same business of trying to put criminals behind bars. Instead of put-downs and slights, they should all be working together in good humour.

This leads to an interesting point of clarification. As Polonius says in Hamlet, “To thine own self be true.” More often than not, Holmes claims he gets results because of the way he treats people. He resists the idea of making nice as hypocrisy. He understands Watson’s point that there’s a certain utility in oiling the wheels of professional relationships. He just sees no point in it where he’s involved. This means, of course, that Watson is going to be involved in some unpleasantness — they are both named in a restraining order in this episode — but that’s part of the price she must pay for working with him. Oh, and before you ask, the only reason he makes the to-him extraordinary effort to be courteous to her, is that he considers her to be extraordinary. So the woman who helped him deal with his addiction and now shows signs of ability as a detective is extraordinary in Sherlock’s eyes.

Hmmm. I’m not sure about that. It’s understandable that we might want to see the woman who stands beside Holmes as something special, but that’s not quite the way she’s been written. Yes, she may be a very good technical surgeon and she’s very patient with difficult addicts, but her first steps as a detective are only mildly impressive. This is the Sherlock Holmes show after all. So his assessment of her as extraordinary must be based on something else. If I was going to be unkind, I would refer to men who capture and/or train extraordinary animals and keep them around as pets. Or I could suggest he’s too proud to admit he simply likes her for who she is, has matured in the emotional department to admit her into his affection, and will leave future developments to natural evolution. He’s not a conscious change person as we’ve seen from his approach to the addiction. He has to grow comfortable with himself at each stage of his rehabilitation as a person.

The plot involving Lucas Bundsch should really have been spread over two episodes. There was great potential in this man to challenge Holmes. It would have been good to end the episode as Holmes realises he’s been sent on a wild goose chase. We can then have a proper investigation of the support group, analyse the methodology of the serial abductor and killer, and arrive at the conclusion. On paper it sounds good but how would Gregson convince a judge to move on this when Holmes has been hit with a restraining order? As presented, the solution is over in two minutes with victims recovered. Gregson hangs tough to the NYPD — anyone who doesn’t like my using Holmes, the door is over there (well, actually there are several doors, but the point is made). And that’s an end of the episode. This artificial limit on plot development is tiresome. The production team cast Troy Garity as the killer who proved a great success. He would have done well as an adversary over two episodes. On the other side of the fence, Chris Bauer was underused as the political situation in the precinct was swept under the carpet. Aidan Quinn was given more time which worked well. Good as Elementary: On the Line proved to be, it could have been so much better.

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 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 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).

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 8. Blood Is Thicker (2013)

November 17, 2013 Leave a comment

Elementary poster

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

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 8 Blood Is Thicker (2013) sees the series continue on a higher level. “Ah ha!” say the viewers. “So not only is Mycroft Holmes (Rhys Ifans) still in New York, but we also have the canonical name of his new restaurant as Diogenes. What a good start as the two brothers set out to settle their differences through the age-old practice of trying to smash each other’s brains (or eggs) with a stout stick.” And then we get to this week’s death which sees a delivery man who might be interested to learn his stomach is rumbling, fail to notice the body of a young lady has appeared on the roof of his truck. Fortunately, when the body hit the roof, it caused a small blizzard of paint chips to fall inside the truck and this gives us a line on the top shelf showing which boxes had already been delivered before the body fell. This is the first really clever piece of observational reasoning we’ve had for quite a while. When they arrive at the probable place of attempted flight, Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) is quick to point out the lack of plants showing on one of the apartment balconies. It’s nip and tuck in the deduction game tonight.

Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) is next with the three pairs of shoes and the new designer rather than more homely clothes in the closet, while Watson reads the victim’s name and address from the driving licence. It’s not a fair competition really. Fortunately Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) who has been lurking in plain sight for a while, persuades the building super to give up the name of the apartment owner. It seems we’re moving in monied circles with Ian Gale (William Sadler), a technological whizz. So when the three in pursuit turn up at Gale’s offices, they get to see his lawyer who’s always ready to be wheeled out at times like this. We then get to see the alibi presented. See, here’s the suspect half a world away in Malaysia. Sorry, that’s a stand-in lookalike who’s three inches shorter than the SUV he’s standing beside assuming the world is flat near the equator in that part of the world. That’s a clever but rather surreal piece of observation and calculation. Then pausing for the moose joke, we’re off to find Gale hiding out in one of New York’s finest hotels. Now we finally get to meet the murder suspect on the run (metaphorically speaking, of course) and learn the relationship between him and the deceased. It’s a nice change of direction.

Mycroft Holmes (Rhys Ifans) finds his gambit has failed

Mycroft Holmes (Rhys Ifans) finds his gambit has failed

And, talking of changes of direction, Watson goes to the autopsy and sends Sherlock to meet Mycroft at the Diogenes. As a “reward”. Mycroft gives Sherlock the keys to 221B. He says he’s moved out and leaves the place for Sherlock whenever he comes to London. He also warns Sherlock that their father wants Sherlock back in London and is prepared to take steps to achieve that end, i.e. cut off money, evict Sherlock from the brownstone, etc. This leads to a major tonal shift in the episode and proves the strength and weakness of the title the scriptwriters chose. In the idiom, blood is thicker than water, the point is that family relationships are stronger than the more casual variety. We’re therefore supposed to believe the simmering conflict between the brothers will always be surmounted, no matter what they do to upset each other. Similarly, the parental relationship will be held out as strong — a factor relevant to the motive for the episode’s murder(s).

Let’s now hypothesise Mycroft deliberately slept with Watson, hoping it would break the relationship with Sherlock. The sexual betrayal might persuade Sherlock to sever his ties in New York and return to London permanently. When Watson failed to tell Holmes, Mycroft came to New York to rub his face in it. Now Watson makes the choice that they stand together against the threat of the father, she’s choosing Sherlock more positively. At the end, Mycroft telephones a London number to admit the failure of his gambit and the need to come up with an alternative.

In the midst of all this, Watson solves the case but doesn’t quite link up the medical clues with the background to explain the motive. It’s actually one of the better puzzles to solve even though it’s submerged by the development of the metanarrative (for once, Captain Tobias Gregson (Aidan Quinn) is almost invisible). In Season 1, the dynamic was supplied by the mystery of Moriarty. This has been replaced by the mystery of Mycroft’s motives for wanting Sherlock to return to London. In the original canon, Arthur Conan Doyle has Mycroft work for the British government. If he has a terminal condition arising from the leukemia, he may be trying to recruit Sherlock to work for the British government in his place. That, I suppose, would be the benign explanation. Since Moriarty is currently in jail, it hardly seems likely she and Mycroft are acting in concert but the possibility cannot be dismissed. In the British television series Sherlock, Mycroft arrests Moriarty and inadvertently gives the master-criminal the clue how to become his brother’s unstoppable nemesis. Some kind of backroom deal could be possible between Mycroft and Moriarty for as yet undisclosed reasons. Or there’s a third option we’ve yet to see, but which could be wrapped up in the father’s needs. Let’s say Daddy Holmes is dying and there are succession issues to resolve. This is interesting to speculate on so kudos to the scriptwriters. They have come up with an interesting hook to hold us while the season develops.

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 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 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).

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 7. The Marchioness (2013)

November 11, 2013 2 comments

Elementary poster

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

Elementary: Season 2, episode 7. The Marchioness perhaps sees the series starting to get on to a roll as we yet again begin with another thoughtful prologue. It answers one of the questions that has been nagging away at the back of my mind. Is Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) still going to AA meetings. The answer is a very positive, “Yes!” and he’s talking to the other addicts. This time he has a very interesting explanation for his addiction and wishes he’d been born at an earlier time when the word was less intrusive. He’s rather thrown off balance when Mycroft Holmes (Rhys Ifans) sticks his head above the parapet and even more surprised when his brother reintroduces Nigella Mason (Olivia d’Abo), his ex-finance (she slept with Sherlock which is why she’s his ex).

The episode then flirts with the Arthur Conan Doyle canon because Nigella went on to marry a Martian (well, I was close) who, amongst other things, kept a stable of horses. One of the herd was Silver Blaze, a rather successful nag on the race track. In the prenup, our speculate-to-accumulate Nigella was prepared to forego claims to the full extent of the estate in favour of ownership of the pony. After twenty-two months of matrimony, she was found in flagrante and divorce followed. This left her saddened, still burdened by the title and the proud owner of Silver Blaze. Having arrived in America to sell off stud rights, she’s making very good money until someone comes to the stable obviously equipped to kill the randy stallion. Disturbed before he could despatch the beast, the agent for the beef burger chains shot one of the stable employees and ran off across the fields. Now caught up in a murder case, Nigella contacts Mycroft who, in turn, persuades Sherlock to investigate this murder.

Mycroft (Rhys Ifans) shows Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) what's cooking

Mycroft (Rhys Ifans) shows Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) what’s cooking

Thematically, this episode plays the game of “who’s the biggest stud around?” game. Obviously we have Nigella making fistfuls of dollars from the vaunted prowess of her matrimonial asset, Sherlock claims the reason he seduced the all-too-willing Nigella was to prove her lack of loyalty to Mycroft, and Mycroft slept with Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) when she went to London (their respective motives remain ambiguous other than two adults enjoying each other’s company). This sexual merry-go-round both provokes the attack on the pony and, later, on Nigella, while there’s a dog in the manger overtone to the jealousy between the Holmes boys — it’s a rather pleasing metaphor. Mycroft was sleeping with Nigella which should have kept Sherlock away. He nevertheless barked. There were many ways in which he could have shown love for his brother and proved Nigella’s unreliability. That he chose to sleep with her is obviously the most hurtful method he could have picked. Sherlock is not sleeping with Watson so there’s no reason for Mycroft to stay away so long as he ignores the dog’s bark. But it does represent a form of payback, a biter bit, except neither Mycroft nor Watson mentioned it. Sherlock is able to deduce it from their body language, i.e. he’s the victim of his own cleverness. Mycroft’s failure to tell Sherlock of his leukemia is also indicative of a desire to protect Sherlock (if only from himself).

Wedged somewhere in the middle of this fratricidal angst, there was a murder mystery to solve. Staying with the dog metaphor, this time it’s a tree that barks. Yes, our would-be horse killer left a perfect set of prints on a tree. Frankly, I’m sceptical the bark would have paper-like qualities to show sufficient ridge detail and enable comparison in the databases. However, if we pass over that, we then come to the second fingerprint component which is that our killer had the technology to preserve a pair of human hands and to endlessly take castings so he could stick fake prints on his own fingers whenever he felt the need to disguise his identity. Having read Wikihow, I take it on trust it can be done without the police noticing it when taking sample prints. Then it’s back out into the urban parklands of America to compare tree sizes and we have our man (and his killer). Perhaps I was feeling too uncharitable when I watched this episode but I found this investigation bordering on the absurd. But I forgave it because the dominant storyline exploring the relationship between the brothers was pleasing. Rhys Ifans is nicely understated, not getting in Jonny Lee Miller’s way. Lucy Liu spent the episode not being too embarrassed by all the shenanigans. And the forces of the law, Captain Tobias Gregson (Aidan Quinn) and Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) got seats even further back from the main action that usual. The script obviously bore the legend, “Warning. Make room for visiting Brit actor.” So with the heavyweight hitters dominating the episode, the mandatory murder mystery felt even more superfluous than usual. I would have enjoyed an episode with just the four of them sitting around reminiscing about the great sex they’d had. As it turned out, this was one of the better efforts — the episode, not the sex, of course.

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 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 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).

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 6. An Unnatural Arrangement (2013)

November 2, 2013 10 comments

Elementary poster

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

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 6. An Unnatural Arrangement starts well with Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) actually trying to provoke some deductive brain activity in Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) by standing her in front of the holding cells at a precinct on a busy Friday night. While picking up a coffee, Watson is approached by a very tall police officer called Baskin who can’t solve a case involving robberies from felafel stalls. The resulting spat between Holmes and Watson is revealing. Meanwhile, there’s an invasion at the home of Captain Tobias Gregson (Aidan Quinn), with his self-possessed wife (Talia Balsam) distracting the invader by triggering her car alarm and then shooting at the man through the bedroom door. It’s an all-action set-up. A neighbour sees the man run away, but there’s a little blood just outside the bedroom and on a car outside. Mrs Gregson gives a good description inasmuch as anyone can for a man in a ski mask, but it turns out the Captain has not been living at home for about a month. Because of his personal involvement, Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) takes point on the case. According to Holmes, marriage is “an unnatural arrangement” so he’s not surprised that a career detective who’s good at his job should find his marriage in trouble. For once, there are some pleasing asides which get back to the Arthur Conan Doyle canon for observation of facts and deductive reasoning in Holmes explaining why he suspected the Gregson marriage was in trouble, in suggesting why the stalker they find shot was not the home invader, and in identifying the status of the man who turns up shot dead as an ex-soldier.

Aidan Quinn and Talia Balsam in an unnatural arrangement

Aidan Quinn and Talia Balsam in an unnatural arrangement

This particular episode is one of the best in the series so far. It beautifully misdirects attention from what’s really going on and gives us half the episode to consider the relationships between our four series principals in a nicely constructed narrative cul-de-sac. The theme tonight is jealousy and other stresses in relationships. Watson is jealous that Holmes solved “her” case and Captain Gregson is angry a man has been visiting his wife while they are separated. Partnerships are difficult to manage. The natural tensions between mere colleagues become more difficult to defuse when relationships deepen. After twenty-eight years of marriage, Mrs Gregson is no longer comfortable with him being an obsessional cop who keeps missing dinners and forgetting anniversaries. If it’s good news, he may not have made the maintenance of the marriage appear a priority but he still loves her. In his usual caring fashion, Holmes offers Watson’s services as a marriage counsellor which is magnificently in character and manages to be simultaneously patronising to Watson and offensive to Gregson. However, he does recover the situation at the end of the episode by offering real advice. He also makes a major concession to Watson by giving her the cold case files. An integral part in building and maintaining partnerships is understanding the other person’s point of view. In this respect, Holmes is making slow but steady progress, and by admitting there are cases he’s not been able to solve, demonstrates some degree of humility. If Watson can solve what he cannot, then she’s proved herself (if that’s what she feels she has to do).

Always giving credit where it’s due, I need to applaud the scriptwriters for coming up with a different take on “Silver Blaze”, one of the better Conan Doyle originals. For once this episode elegantly captures the spirit of the trope without explicitly “borrowing”. It arrises during the second half of the plot in a completely natural way and, having given us the solution, then offers us an ironic moment at the end. Finally, the episode is also structurally intriguing because we never get to meet the actual killer face-to-face. Any random actor could have been behind the ski mask. But the failure to see the killer’s arrest is nicely made redundant. All things considered, Elementary: An Unnatural Arrangement is the proof, if it was needed, that when everything is on song, this can be one of the best series on television at present. Even more interesting is the quality of Aidan Quinn’s performance. I’ve always thought he deserved more screen time and this proves why we miss him in the general run of episodes. It was also pleasing to see Rosemary Harris still available for work. She lit up the screen for the two minutes she appeared.

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 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 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).

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 5. Ancient History (2013)

October 26, 2013 4 comments

Elementary poster

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

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 5. Ancient History (2013) starts with Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) at a loose end, wandering the bric-à-brac stalls with another of her friends, bemoaning the lack of a murder case to solve. Although she’s deeply embarrassed, her friend asks Watson to find Tony, a one-night stand who’s apparently a photojournalist and good in bed. When this is put to Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller), his response is to go to the morgue in search of an interesting case. In the nineteenth drawer, he finds the corpse of someone killed in a road accident. How he died is not in dispute, but our hero believes he had just killed someone else. It’s all in the scars on his hands which suggest he’s used a wire garrote. When Marcus Bell runs his fingerprints, it turns out he used to be a Polish professional assassin but seems to have retired, settled down and taken up work as a nurse (under a false name, of course). There’s just one problem. Without a corpse or a missing person’s report suggesting foul play, there’s no case. Holmes and Watson therefore go to discuss married life with the grieving widow. She knew he had a dark past because of his tattoos, but believed he had found God and committed himself to good works. Holmes is hot on the trail of people our reformed assassin might have killed. The first theory is a builder with whom he had an argument. Then it’s a loan shark who lent him money from an old robbery. Who would have thought it was so hard to find someone dead.

Watson (Lucy Liu), Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Detective Bell (Jon Michael Hill) unnecessarily wearing body armour

Watson (Lucy Liu), Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Detective Bell (Jon Michael Hill) unnecessarily wearing body armour

From this brief description of the set-up, you’ll understand this is intended as a lightweight episode. There are to be no “heavy” murders to solve. This time, the scriptwriters have decided to do faint humour. We’re to smile when the crooked builder who was supposed to be working on our deceased’s clinic took the money and spent three days partying on hard drugs with “cheap” prostitutes. The moneylender who lent that money sits in his sister’s nail salon all day next to an autoclave with a padlock on it waiting for customers to come in and borrow money. The only time the script gets it right is in the last scene which gives Watson the opportunity to score a glancing blow on Sherlock’s feigned indifference.

So what is the episode really about? Thematically, we’re interested in the notion of trust. Looking first at the deceased, he had a past which involved death to order and theft from his own organisation. Could his wife really believe he had reformed? It seemed they shared the same religious convictions. They were working together to raise enough money to open a clinic. Was he really going to be able to realise their dreams? Would the moneylender really have trusted the man with $25,000? Would the deceased really have given the $25,000 to the builder knowing his track record? Then we come to Watson’s friend and her missing lover. After Watson improbably makes progress in her solo investigation, Holmes admits he was “Tony”. This happened at the beginning of their relationship when Watson had just arrived as a sober companion. Holmes did not know anything about her. Could she be trusted? So he took to following her. When she met with her friend, he decided to follow that friend after they separated, picked her up and took time to get information about Watson. That was the “ancient history”. As a result of his investigation, he found Watson eminently trustworthy and has now formed this unorthodox partnership with her. Should she be upset about what Holmes did? Should she tell her friend the man she had slept with was Sherlock?

It’s good to see the four principals have a reasonable chance to interact. Captain Tobias Gregson (Aidan Quinn) and Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) actually have more than the usual token lines of dialogue. Nevertheless, this is not one of the better episodes. What might have been quite an interesting investigation ends up feeling trivialised, and the metanarrative between Holmes and Watson is not constructively advancing an understanding of their relationship. Early on, Holmes met the Watson family but there’s been remarkably little attempt for him to meet the no doubt wide circle of friends Watson has (or had before she quite her job as a surgeon). If he really was investigating her, why did he not look into the surgical case which caused her to quit? There was no hint of this when the son of the man who died later appeared to “borrow” yet more money from her. Knowing what had gone wrong professionally would inevitably have been of interest to Holmes when it came to the question of trust. If she had proved incompetent, he would never have allowed her to get close to him or intermeddle with his cases. So Elementary: Ancient History comes across as contrived without any groundwork laid in previous episodes to give it credibility.

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 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 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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