Turtles and Trust Issues in Elementary: “The Red Team”
In “The Red Team” Elementary jumps right back into the swing of things. It opens with Holmes studying what Watson refers to as his “wall of creepy,” also known as his research on the infamous and slippery Moriarty. This serves as a reminder of what happened previously, and in this episode we get to see the consequences of Holmes seeking revenge. The Holmes residence also gains a new pet – and of course it isn’t something so typical as a dog or cat.
Holmes’s hobby of stirring up and analyzing conspiracy theorists ends up providing him with a perplexing new case. Since he is suspended from the NYPD, his attempts to work on the case are frequently blocked by Captain Gregson and, to a lesser degree, Detective Bell. It is actually entertaining to see Bell and Holmes working tensely together, as the two of them have not had many shared scenes. After receiving multiple texts from Holmes, Bell comments to Gregson that it would probably be “easier to fire the guy if we ever actually paid him.”
After Holmes talks his way into the interrogation room, Gregson threatens to have him arrested. Gregson is legitimately infuriated with Holmes, and it is unnerving to see the two men go at each other with the contempt that they do. At one point, Gregson tells Watson that Holmes is “broken.” Gregson is not a man to exaggerate or go off on a dramatic tangent, so the fact that he is talking like this does sting.
After repeated coaxing from Watson, Holmes decides to talk with Gregson. In a reluctant form of apology, Holmes explains his regret about the situation. But he isn’t exactly remorseful, and Gregson states that Holmes has lost his trust. When Holmes retorts that he doesn’t exactly need Gregson’s trust to do his job, Gregson agrees. He then punches Holmes in the stomach, adding an angry “welcome back” as he walks away. Ouch.
Trust is a major theme in this episode, not only in Holmes’s relationship with Gregson, but also in his life with Watson. Holmes has no idea that his contract with Watson is expired, and this dishonesty is something that Watson discusses with her therapist. Though short, this interaction is a nice addition and something that it would be good to see more of. Watson needs someone to air out some of these problems, and it is good for us as the audience to get a peek into her thought process.
Alarmingly, the case ends up bringing Holmes into a hotel hostage situation. Holmes’s life depends on the answer he can give the man with the gun. Though he is not sure his answer is correct, Holmes brilliantly guesses right. As he points out later, there is nothing like a gun to the head to stimulate the mind. That is the thing with Holmes – he may drive Gregson and Bell crazy, but he is just too valuable to ignore.
While the above statement is true, it is also accurate to say that Holmes doesn’t want to be kept around for that reason alone. When Watson asks about how his chat with Gregson went, he doesn’t want to talk about it. He appears almost child-like in his attempt at detachment. For a character that is so often almost unbelievably arrogant, he pulls off vulnerable very well.
Some comic relief is brought in the form of a turtle – Clyde – that Holmes snatches up from a victim’s home. Throughout the episode, Holmes threatens to make Clyde into turtle soup. He feeds him lettuce to “fatten him up,” and uses the poor little guy as a paper weight. Holmes warns Watson not to call Clyde by his name, because it will make it harder to eat him later. One might expect Watson to save the turtle, but perhaps she knew as well as Holmes did that he was not going to harm Clyde. In any case, the two roommates now have a pet to co-exist with.
What did you think of the episode? Any thoughts on what it will take for Holmes and Gregson to make up? We don’t have long to wait till the next episode. Catch Elementary right after the Super Bowl this Sunday February 3 on CBS.