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Self-Sufficiency: Elementary ‘The Long Fuse’ Review

By on November 30, 2012

Elementary returns this week with ‘The Long Fuse’ after taking a brief hiatus. Unsurprisingly, a person not taking any breaks is Holmes. We begin the episode with him taking multi-tasking to an extreme as he watches seven different television shows (while reading a book). He also steals the best lines of the show, though Watson gives him a run for his money. The main source of emotion throughout the episode is the fact that Watson is scheduled to leave Holmes in a matter of weeks, thus requiring that they find him a steady sponsor. That task proves to be about as easy as one would expect it to be considering Holmes’s charming amiability. Beware of spoilers ahead.

This week’s case is an office bombing with a bomb that was meant to go off years earlier. After finding the company that occupied the targeted building at the time, Holmes and Watson speak with two of the representatives for the corporation. One of them, Heather Vanowen (played by guest star Lisa Edelstein), seems to take an initial liking to Holmes. The feeling is actually reciprocated, with Holmes bluntly saying that he is not averse to sex, but that he is busy so perhaps they could make an appointment. He follows this up with some wildly entertaining comments about tantalizing elasticity. Fortunately for Heather’s sake, Watson interrupts that conversation.

When quizzed as to who would want to bomb their company, Heather explains that they do have an enemy in an environmental advocacy group called ELM. She says they are sometimes responsible for fixing the image problems of major energy conglomerates after ‘mishaps.’ Watson dryly retorts, “Two hundred million gallons of oil spilling into the gulf, for example?” You tell them, Watson.

While pursuing the ELM lead, Holmes experiments with some exploding tennis balls. There’s never a dull moment at the Holmes residence. After using – and smelling – his own homemade tennis ball bombs, Holmes rules out their current suspect. The suspect had a history of using environmentally friendly materials in his bombs, but at the office Holmes smelled potassium chlorate instead of fertilizer.

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes. Image: Jojo Whilden © CBS

The next suspect turns out to actually be the victim. Holmes discovers the man’s body after noticing some irregularities with a wall. Yes, he is that observant, in case you doubted it before. It is a bit of a grim image when Holmes opens up the wall to find the predicted body. Watson later asks if he is sure the body is buried in the wall. Holmes humorously responds that he is ‘fairly’ sure, after he has already pried open the wall for himself, without permission, to see it.

Evidence from that discovery then leads them to a safe deposit box with a VHS tape inside. Detective Bell ponders aloud about where they might find a VCR, but naturally Holmes announces that he owns several. In an unexpected turn of events, the tape and surrounding evidence reveal that Heather is the bomber. Holmes and Captain Gregson promptly arrange for her arrest. It is a nice touch to introduce a potential love interest, or at least casual fling, only to have her end up being the killer. One might suggest that also says something questionable about Holmes’s taste in women!

While the case is going on, Watson fervently tries to find Holmes a sponsor. She drops comments about how she will be leaving in just weeks. Keeping her own feelings to herself, Watson hints that Holmes may be delaying finding a sponsor because he doesn’t want her to leave. His biting replies include, “you never told me you were funny,” as well as, “I don’t know what you’re on, but old me would definitely have wanted some.” Though his comments are arrogant, his eyes looked haunted at the prospect of being without Watson. Jonny Lee Miller portrays Holmes’s distanced, yet occasionally very vulnerable personality effortlessly well.

A less than thrilled Heather Vanowen (guest star Lisa Edelstein). Image: Jojo Whilden © CBS

Watson’s first sponsor suggestion is promptly dismissed by Holmes, but the ever determined woman remains unfazed. After Holmes impulsively picks out a former addict/car thief for a sponsor, she gives the man, Alfredo Llamosa (Ato Essandoh), a chance. Holmes characteristically cancels on the coffee date the three of them scheduled, but Watson attends and ends up appreciating Alfredo. He states that they need to be patient, and that he could help Holmes if given the opportunity. Shortly after she declares her approval, Holmes rejects him.

However, Alfredo appears to share some of Watson’s stubbornness and comes to Holmes’s house anyway. He brings with him a very nice car with an elaborate security system, challenging Holmes to try breaking in. Holmes tells a smiling Watson that it is obvious the car trick was her idea. While he does agree to make an attempt, he insists that he will not change his mind about the sponsor, repeatedly declaring himself to be ‘self-sufficient.’

While we know perfectly well that Watson will not be leaving Holmes’s life, the spotlight that this possibility shines on their relationship’s dynamics is definitely interesting. The two of them seem positively resolute not to show each other the depth of their feelings. This may be primarily out of professionalism on Watson’s part, yet more of a personality and pride issue with Holmes. For such strong individuals, the dependency they seem to be quickly developing on each other is rather endearing.

What did you think of the episode? Any ideas on what might happen to keep Watson and Holmes working together even after her job is done?

Catch Elementary Thursdays on CBS.


  1. Buddy2Blogger

    December 1, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Good review, Kali.

    Elementary writers need to bring something fresh to the series. The show is getting stale.

    Each episode follows same pattern: Holmes and Watson bickering on the side, while a criminal investigation continues as the main plot.

    The casting is the main culprit. It is becoming quite easy to guess the accused….

    • Kali Nelson

      December 4, 2012 at 7:59 pm

      Thanks so much!
      I have to agree with you on the casting. It is great to have talented actors guest star in the show, but it does take away the fun of guessing ‘the bad guy’.