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Profiling “The Deductionist”: Elementary Review

By on February 4, 2013

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary. Image © CBS

Elementary doesn’t quite feel like itself in the beginning of “The Deductionist.” We find a shirtless Holmes being handcuffed to a chair by a couple of half-naked women. There is also a disco ball. Before we have a chance to wonder where Watson is in all of this, it is revealed that the whole thing is an elaborate way for the NYPD to catch two robbers/strippers. If Elementary was looking for a way to snag the attention of those tuning in after the Super Bowl, it may have been effective. The rest of the episode continues in a more routine format.

A woman from Holmes’s past, Kathryn Drummond (guest star Kari Matchett), arrives on behalf of the FBI to assist in hunting down an escaped serial killer, Martin Ennis (guest star Terry Kinney). As he makes abundantly clear, Holmes is not a fan of the woman. They have a physical history, but one could not go so far as to call it romantic. Constantly arguing with her throughout the investigation, Holmes refers to her as “vermin” and a “snake oil salesman.”

Apparently what really irks Holmes about Kathryn is an article she wrote about him, as Watson discovers after looking the profiler up online. Somehow Kathryn’s unkind observations about Holmes truly got under his skin, and he is eager to prove her wrong. She predicted that he would turn to drugs, and he is afraid her prediction that he will “self-annihilate” will also be true. In an effort to comfort, Watson points out that the article said he was incapable of making friends, but he has a friend in Watson. It is a sweet moment.

Ennis avoids arrest, engaging the team in a confusing and challenging pursuit. Terry Kinney’s portrayal of the murderer is compelling from the start. The “baddie” is always more frightening when he appears level-headed and entertained. There is an excellent scene between Holmes and Ennis near the climax of the episode as the two of them struggle with Kathryn’s profiling of their natures. The idea that you are a victim of your own demons and cannot change your fate is certainly intriguingly dark.

There are several opportunities for Watson to lend a helping hand, which is good growth for her character. Unofficially or not, she is something of an apprentice in this work. Her medical background comes in handy several times during the case, making her a very effective accomplice.

Holmes and Watson engage in a little brainstorming. Image © CBS

Holmes and Watson engage in a little brainstorming. Image © CBS

Watson also has a subplot of her own when she learns that the person subletting her apartment has been filming porn inside it. Her landlord intends to have her evicted, something that – to Holmes’s bewilderment – she wants to avoid. After Holmes studies one of the films for continuity errors (everybody needs a hobby?) she notices something that enables her to keep her apartment. This is another fine example of Watson flexing her deductive muscles.

There is some lingering tension between Holmes and Gregson, but for the most part it is brushed over fairly quickly. In that respect, the episode is not very strong in continuing some recent plot advancements. It is more episodic than the past few installments have been.

However, bringing in Kathryn allows us to make a couple of great observations on Holmes’s personal development. When greeting Kathryn for the first time, he introduces Watson blatantly, not bothering to hide what her job is. One would think he would be too proud to do this with someone like Kathryn, who he has a competitive relationship with. We’ve come a long way from the pilot, where he introduced Watson as his valet.

In addition, Holmes is immediately forthcoming with Watson about Kathryn. Earlier, he may have found Watson’s interest in the woman to be too intrusive. His readiness to open up about his past and personal life shows maturity.

We also found out that the brilliant “deductionist” fears clowns. You and me both, Holmes.

What did you think of the episode? Was the gift of a toothbrush a sly invitation for Watson to move in permanently, or can you not ask someone who lives with you to move in with you? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and tune into Elementary Thursdays on CBS.

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