Elementary is back on track, Sherlockians. And it’s not just because Jonny Lee Miller looks adorable in an apron.
Tremors is one of the most compelling episodes of Season 2, potentially of the series to date, because it broke out of the crime procedural model a bit and focused instead on the gray areas of morality that drive so much of what Sherlock Holmes is about. Rules meaning nothing to Holmes. Employee handbooks? A waste of time. Black and white? Nah, he’s all gray. This mentality puts him at direct odds with the police department he works for and their desire to do things strictly by the book. But if an innocent man goes free because Watson and Holmes picked a few locks or skirted the rules, are they in the right?
Not every cop loves Holmes and Watson. And why would they? They are constantly solving their cases or identifying problems in their investigations. I’ve always wondered what every other cop thought about their work and this week we get a clue. The contempt Holmes has for incompetence is always bubbling beneath the surface as he roams the halls of the NYPD. And it turns out that contempt the other cops have for Holmes and Watson working in their space is equally intense. This case is the proof that the relationship between the NYPD and our favorite consulting detectives is not always a rosy one.
In the opening moments of this episode, a woman kills herself and tries to frame a man named Lucas Bundsch. Sherlock figures out quickly that she in fact committed suicide and her attempts to frame the killer were based on a more terrifying back story. This woman believed he tortured, raped and murdered her sister years earlier. It turns out, she was right and by proving her death was by suicide, Sherlock’s sense of justice is now on the line. It may not be perfect, but justice is justice when it comes to Holmes, so even though Lucas didn’t kills this woman, he needs to be brought to justice.
Last week’s Elementary was a high, high point for the season. Anything that came after it really had to shine or it was going to feel like a total letdown. Unfortunately, this episode fell flat for me. I was hopeful when I saw we were going to get to hang out with Rhys Ifans for another week, but even his presence wasn’t enough to hold this one together.
We start this week when the beautiful love child of a rich, tech CEO, ends up dead on top of a delivery truck. She only recently arrived in New York City and was enjoying new wealth and a new apartment after discovering her father was one of the most powerful men in the world. With new money and a new lifestyle, surely there were plenty of people who may have wanted her dead. This week, it’s Watson’s medical knowledge that makes the pursuit of the killer interesting.
I have never been so excited and so enraged at a character’s return as I was in the first few moments of The Marchioness. When a panning shot at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting reveals Mycroft Holmes (played brilliantly by Rhys Ifans) listening in on his brother’s vulnerable and telling reveal of why he believes he used drugs, it causes an eruption for both Sherlock and the viewer. If you have ANY doubts about the quality of television being produced here, just watch this scene a few times. It’s so unbelievably real, meaningful and important – it hurts you all the way to the core. For all the ways in which BBC’s Sherlock has modernized the series, the take on Holmes’s drug use in Elementary is hands down one of the best modernizations in history of canon.
This episode purports to be about a million dollar race horse which has been sold as a mating partner to countless hopeful equestrians, but at it’s core, The Marchioness is about trust. The lack of trust between Mycroft and Holmes because Holmes slept with Mycroft’s fiance. The intense trust between Watson and Holmes being put to the test because of Mycroft’s newfound presence in their lives. The budding trust between Watson and Mycroft as he works to understand her as a gateway to his brother. The hard fought battle Sherlock is experiencing with his own demons as he works to trust himself to stay clean and sober. And in the case of Mycroft’s former fiance, the dirty business practices she partook in by exploiting the trust of other horse lovers.
Elementary has a reputation for taking established characters and giving them a bit of a twist or designing a new storyline for them that gives the viewer a new view of the character. One character who has seemed relatively unchanged up to this point though has been Captain Gregson. This week that changes. When Gregson’s home is burglarized and a mad man reveals he is after the Captain, his personal life starts to unravel and the details are surprising.
Gregson and his wife are on a trial separation, which comes as a shock to his colleagues, but not Sherlock. Of course he picked up on Gregson’s early mornings and late nights in the office, but never mentioned it to anyone else. The stakes are high, because not only is Gregson hoping for a quick resolution, but his staff are now involved in the personal details of his life in a way that would make anyone uncomfortable. Actor, Aidan Quinn, has always been a consistent performer on the show, but he has a quiet sullenness in this episode that’s worth catching. In a particularly tense scene with his wife in the final moments of the episode, he shows a beautiful deference to the hurt of the moment that has to be seen.
I didn’t write the latest Elementary review for the Baker Street Babes, but Maria, fellow babe, did and so if you missed getting your fill, here you go.
This week‘s episode felt a bit like an interlude after the first few episodes of this season have either broadened our horizon by giving us backstories of Joan and Sherlock, or by connecting contemporary issues with their line of work. Although all the main players were there and some allusions to the beginning on the relationship between Joan and Sherlock were made, it fell somewhat flat compared to the other episodes of season 2 (and season 1, too, I felt).
The episode begins with Joan buying an animal skull for Sherlock because he is bored and she wants to amuse him, while promising her friend to figure out who her one night stand from last year is. Slightly affronted by being considered a private detective of that sort by her friend, she nevertheless agrees, and tries to draw Sherlock into the ‘case’ as well. Sherlock reacts by dragging Joan to the morgue to actively look for a case, by playing chess against the pathologist to win his right to dig through the number of corpses – and he notices a corpse with a tattoo usually connected to the Russian mafia/mob (well known to those who have watched Eastern Promises or similar films).