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One Way to Get Off: Elementary Review

By on November 16, 2012
Lucy Liu as Joan Watson and Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary. Image: © CBS

Lucy Liu as Joan Watson and Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary. Image: © CBS

If you are the type to spook easily, the first face in this week’s Elementary, ‘One Way to Get Off’, may be a bit jarring. This may happen again later, when Holmes receives a call from Watson and his designated ringtone for her is the theme song from Psycho. That’s a little passive-aggressive, isn’t it? Though highly entertaining, as is most of the bickering between the two characters. In this episode the ideas of personal boundaries and poking around in the history of others are explored. Spoilers ahead!

Since the last time we saw Holmes he was reeling from Watson mentioning Irene Adler, it is no surprise that there is some tension between the roommates. Reading Holmes’s cool politeness as anger, Watson defends her actions. She says it was part of her job to dig into his history, and she wants him to respect that. He suggests she send him her thoughts in an email as he is better at processing the written word. When he abruptly agrees with her and excuses himself to get a coffee, she seems warily grateful. Since he uses the opportunity to leave without notifying her, she was right to doubt his sincerity.

Frustrated with Holmes’s reluctance to share any personal details about himself, Watson decides to visit his old rehab center. Unsurprisingly, none of the therapists are able to offer Watson any significant details about Holmes. When she spots a gardener doing some beekeeping, Watson guesses correctly that Holmes may have chatted with the man. After she speaks with him, the gardener gives Watson some letters from Irene Adler that Holmes left behind. At this point we’re in suspense as to whether or not Watson will cross that line of privacy or not.

Meanwhile, Holmes has his hands full with the case of the week. It is an interesting one, because at one point it raises questions about Captain Gregson’s integrity. There is someone committing murders with the same murder weapon and style as in a case thirteen years earlier. In the previous case, Gregson and his ex-partner caught the man, Wade Crews (guest star Keith Szarabajka), and put him in prison. This means that either Wade has an accomplice working outside of the jail, or he was falsely accused and has been in prison for crimes he didn’t commit.

Holmes just… doing his thing. Image: © CBS

When Holmes suggests that Wade might be innocent, and that Gregson is acting like he has something to hide, Gregson tells him to watch Wade’s old interrogation tapes. He also dismisses some of Holmes’s ideas – something he does rather frequently considering Holmes is usually correct. After looking at the tapes, Holmes comes to the conclusion that Wade was framed, and by either Gregson or his ex-partner, Terry D’Amico (guest star Callie Thorne). He decides this after seeing Gregson hand Wade a coffee mug in an interrogation – the same mug that was later found at one of the crime scenes with Wade’s incriminating fingerprints on it.

Holmes and Gregson have an intriguing and, generally, agreeable relationship. Gregson puts up with Holmes’s unorthodox methods. One could say that is because Holmes is so brilliant that it is necessary to suffer through the unusual methods it may take to get there. But there is more to it than that – the two men have a real bond and friendship. So when the evidence lines up against Gregson, Holmes is clearly conflicted about it. Holmes sensitively (as sensitive as Holmes can be) warns Gregson about what he has seen on the tapes, but makes it clear he isn’t going to drop it.

Gregson confronts his ex-parter about the coffee mug. It turns out she was responsible for planting the evidence. Did we ever really doubt the noble Gregson? He tells her that if they put an innocent man away, he is going to make sure it doesn’t get covered up, even if it costs him his career or if she goes to jail.

Fortunately for Gregson, Holmes gets to the bottom of the mystery (after a few false starts). Wade really was guilty all along, and the person committing the murders while he was in prison was none other than Wade’s son. Instead of being exonerated as he had hoped, Wade faces five new conspiracy charges.

As for the letters from Irene, Watson decides not to read them. When she gives them back to a less-than-pleased Holmes, he sticks them in a blender. Watson finally states that she will not bring up the subject again unless he does. She is disheartened, but seems to accept that there is no point in trying to talk with Holmes about his past unless he wants to.

Perhaps that bit of compromise is what causes Holmes to also give a little. At the end of the episode, he is staring off into space when Watson bids him goodnight. He murmurs, “She died.” When Watson asks if he is talking about Irene, he elaborates that they were quite close, and that he did not take her passing well. Before Watson can press it any further, he tells her goodnight. As sad a confession as it was, the conversation was definitely progress for their relationship.

Considering the story (and the nature of the character), we have to speculate a little as to whether or not Irene Adler is truly dead. Could Holmes have been lying to avoid any other discussion on the subject? He appeared very honest and troubled, so that seems somewhat unlikely. Of course, he may truly believe she is dead when really she is not.

CBS recently extended Elementary’s season two additional episodes, and it is not hard to see why. This show is the ‘whole package.’ The character development is realistic, the humour very witty, and the cases easy to follow despite their complexity. When a show makes you eagerly await something (like bits of Holmes’s history), every new piece of plot to digest is satisfying. There is no overload of unnecessary information – it is a more subtle and superior form of story-telling.

Check out Elementary Thursdays on CBS.

One Comment

  1. Buddy2Blogger

    November 16, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    “The character development is realistic, the humour very witty, and the cases easy to follow despite their complexity.” – You hit the nail on the head!

    I love Miller’s version of Holmes.

    Cheers!