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You’re A Detective Now: Elementary “Possibility Two” Review

By on February 22, 2013
Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary. Image © CBS

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

Elementary’s “Possibility Two” begins in a somewhat foreign atmosphere as Holmes and Watson start their “new” relationship. Everything is out in the open now, and both characters are invested because they want to be. Having no contrived reasons for the two of them to be working together makes it clear that they are doing so out of a passion for the job (and they kind of like each other, too). This results in a more interesting partnership.

Of course, this new dynamic is bound to have some growing pains. Throughout the episode, whenever Watson asks Holmes a question, she receives a “You’re a detective now – you tell me” response. Keeping her on her toes, Holmes springs questions on Watson during the investigation. It is a rather high-stress job, and it is easy to feel a little nervous for Watson as she tests the waters of her fresh position. Standing at a crime scene and being quizzed in front of the NYPD would make anyone a little anxious. Considering her previous occupation, it is no surprise that Watson is quick on her feet and holds her own. She also reluctantly agrees to work on her single-stick moves with the practice dummy. (“Aim for the pate!”)

There is also some talk about how to split up the household’s domestic duties. Seeing as Watson needs to remind Holmes to “put away the acid” before they answer the door, this seems rather imperative. When Holmes suggests that Watson handle the laundry mat run in exchange for him cleaning the refrigerator, this initially seems innocent. After Watson makes several trips to the requested laundry mat, she senses something is amiss. Holmes denies that there is any ulterior motive in sending her to that particular laundry mat, waiting for her to trust her instincts and come to her own conclusions, which she does.

The case specific to this week’s episode seems a little bit scattered and hard to piece together. Scrambling unimportant information around in order to make the case harder to solve is a strategy to be expected in an intelligent show like Elementary, but this one went a little overboard with it. However, it does succeed in providing Holmes and Watson a structure in which to experiment as student and teacher. Also, the final suspect that Holmes and Watson settle on has a very inventive motive for his crimes.

Lucy Liu as Joan Watson. Image © CBS

Lucy Liu as Joan Watson. Image © CBS

One observation to note is how the audience watching Watson try to piece together the puzzle is a reminder of how impressive Holmes is. We see him come to lightning fast – and usually spot-on – conclusions on a weekly basis. Jonny Lee Miller portrays Holmes effortlessly, with none of the performances exaggerated (as they easily could be). As a result of this, it is quite possible to forget one of the most fascinating things about his character – his astonishing intellect.

One potential pitfall that the writers are doing a solid job of avoiding so far in this new Holmes and Watson partnership is that of inequality. Initially, watching Holmes give Watson a reserved, “that was adequate” for a job well done, and sending her on laundry runs seems a bit off. When we later see the reasoning behind his actions, as well as Watson’s unique medical knowledge contributions, things even out. Watson is no wilting wallflower.

Having Holmes accept a rare bee as a “bribe” was a fun addition to the story. His child-like delight in the little critter is a likable quality. Perhaps the exotic bee counts as a second pet. Where is Clyde, by the way? Don’t say turtle soup.

What did you think of the episode? Check out Elementary Thursdays on CBS.