Review: Elementary Fires Up

After last week's promising debut, the second episode of CBS' Sherlock Holmes series "Elementary" stays the course and presents more of the same. 'Promising' would once again be the one-word summary review, as once again the episode has good elements, bad elements, and elements still rife with potential for future development.

Jonny Lee Miller

The sobriety of Holmes once again plays a large role in this episode, as we open with Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and sober-companion Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) at a group meeting. Holmes' resistance to the "nattering" takes the form of self-hypnosis, mentally straining to keep clutter like other people's emotional baggage out of his high-functioning mind. It's a cute scene, furthering the conflict between Holmes and Watson's attempts to help that will no doubt be a running theme for the series.

And of course what would Holmes be without a murder most foul -- this week, we find Aidan Quinn's Captain Gregson requesting Holmes' assistance with what looks to be a random robbery gone wrong. The conundrum lies in the fact that the chief suspect for this murder has been in a coma for three days. Oh, but she has a twin. Oh, but it's a fraternal twin. The episode successfully litters the mystery with numerous twists and red herrings, and overall is a stronger effort than that of the pilot episode.

Indeed, the mysteries are where this series seems to hit its stride. One of the most enjoyable things about the series so far is Holmes' surveying of crime scenes. Miller brings a certain energy to the character during these times that's somewhat muted in other scenes, essentially conveying that Holmes is more "alive" when he's on the job. The characterization of Holmes no doubt has to play itself out in the long-term, and this episode mines a classic aspect of the character with Watson unearthing his dusty violin... which he then sets on fire.

The only real negatives reside in the supporting players. Both episodes have featured a primary detective that is antagonistic and doubtful about Holmes' involvement. In the pilot, this was Detective Abreu (Manny Perez) and with this episode the role is filled, unsatisfactorily and at times annoyingly, by Detective Bell (Jon Michael Hill). I can understand someone feeling threatened by an outsider coming in and telling one how to do one's job, but that's really not what happens here. Holmes informs on what he thinks happened (homicide, then robbery by separate perpetrators), is proven right, and yet still Bell is antagonistic despite never really being undermined given that he had no theories himself. It's a relatively minor point in the scope of the episode, but it's difficult to ignore bad writing. Clearly Holmes needs an antagonist; this is simply a poorly developed antagonist.

The culmination of the episode once again brings to mind a personal favorite series "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," and the mental traps he would often entangle his perpetrators in. It works like a charm to catch the killer in the act... and capture this reviewer's interest going forward.

Final Grade: B

- Elementary
- Jonny Lee Miller
- Lucy Liu
- Aidan Quinn

Written by: kyleiam
Oct 5th, 2012, 9:40 am

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