Elementary continues to recover from its disastrous Superbowl episode with a case based around underutilized supporting character Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill). So why do we only care about the conversation pictured above?
Let’s bitch it out…In many ways I’m glad that I’m not always the regular reviewer for Elementary (TVAngie is taking a well earned mini-vacation and will be back next week). My colleague possesses not only more insight into this procedural but she is much more patient with it than me.
I’ve come to accept that Elementary is unable to regularly hit the heights we saw in 1×12 ‘M.’ and while I wish the show was more of a risk-taker, I acknowledge (judging from my friends’ opinions and the show’s ratings) that I’m in the minority here. In other words: it’s not Elementary; it’s me.
That’s what makes ‘Details’ a challenging episode to review. On one hand I have to give the show kudos for finally exploring Bell’s character – he who has so often been relegated to the background, smirking with contempt at Holmes’ (Johnny Lee Miller) techniques and generally being prissy.
On the other hand, this episode feels like a wasted opportunity.
‘Details’ features what I’ve come to define as character development-lite. There’s a suggestion that we’re going to get insight into a character, but what we really get is one or two details that do little to provide any real depth. We’re seen this before on Elementary when we thought that Captain Gregson (Aidan Quinn) had falsely planted evidence to secure a conviction: it was like the show thought by doling out this little nugget we would come to know Gregson as more than simply the guy who seems to have oodles of time to personally work cases with Holmes and Watson (Lucy Liu). In reality, it tells us very little about him.
Is this unfair of me to say? Perhaps a little. I won’t deny that we do get a fair amount of info on Bell: we learn that he has an older brother, Andre (Malcolm Goodwin), who is a reformed convict. We learn that he a clean cop with a solid track-record (which strikes me as odd considering we’ve never seen anything other than ineptness from him) and we learn that his ex, Paula Reyes (Paula Garcés), is prone to trying to frame him. And yet none of this information really tells us anything about who Bell is. It feels very surface-level, almost cursory, like an afterthought (after all this is the sixteenth episode and we’re only now learning something about him).
So while it’s nice of the show to let us know a bit more about Bell, this attempt at a backstory is underwhelming and a teensy bit unsatisfactory. Not to worry – I’m sure Bell will be back in the background next week.
What works, then, is the conversation between Holmes and Watson as they finally address the elephant in the room: her false status as his companion. After Holmes spends the episode somewhat playfully assaulting Watson in an effort to convince her that she needs defensive training in the wake of last week’s attack, Holmes just comes out and states that he knows she is no longer employed by his father (just as TVAngie predicted!). This leads into one of the most candid conversations the two have ever had. Holmes is “better” with her by his side, but he wants to keep her safe because they are in a dangerous line of work. By episode’s end she accepts his offer of employment, a stipend equal to what she was making before and on the condition that they continue to attend meetings to address his addiction. So, at last, the non-issue of her leaving has been put to bed and these two are now officially partners.
Thank goodness – and let us never speak of it again.
- Everytime we see Watson felled by one of Holmes’ attacks, all I can imagine is Liu whipping out her Charlie’s Angels moves and beating the crap out of him. I’m looking forward to seeing her transition into a more physical role, although I doubt we’ll see her undergo a bout of “foxy boxing” anytime soon
- Now that Watson has accepted Holmes’ offer of employment, I wonder if we’ll see any more of her therapist, Dr. Candace Reed (Linda Emond)? Although these sessions do verge on spoon-feeding the audience insight into the Watson/Holmes relationship, they’ve been an interesting opportunity to give Watson her own “space” on the series
- Speaking of spoon-feeding, how nice would it be for the show to stop delivering overly-explanatory info dumps when the perp is caught? The confrontation and confession of Reyes is so long and drawn-out it begins to feel stagey! Couldn’t the writers and episode director have found a way to depict this visually rather than having to explain the whole backstory of Reyes went cuckoo? This happened last week, too!
- Finally, the wall of locks in Holmes’ house is organized alphabetically by country of origin. Just in case you were wondering…
What did you think of ‘Details’? Do you feel that you know more about Bell now, or was it character development-lite to you, too? Are you happy the companion issue has finally been addressed? And why was everyone dressing in the same dull, muted colours as Sherlock? (check out both pictures: it’s like the wardrobe department went Project Runway and only had two rolls of fabric for costumes!)
Elementary airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on CBS