It’s definitely a case of déjà vu this week on Elementary – it’s a veritable The Wire reunion! Do the stellar guest stars (Pryzbylewski! Bubbles! Burners!) inject some intrigue into the case-of-the-week episode?
Let’s bitch it out.
Elementary hasn’t lacked for great guest talent in its freshman season, but thankfully, ever since the introduction of seminal nemesis Moriarty, the show has been less reliant on its drop-in players for interest. Instead, Elementary is slowly breaking its procedural boundaries and heading into serial territory. This week the show does quite well at ‘maturing’ from its traditional case-of-the-week format as Watson (Lucy Liu) is tasked with her own little mini-mystery to solve as apart of her apprenticeship.
Although Watson is strongest when she’s sharing the screen with Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller), having her branch off on her own is a great way to not only develop the character but also further progress Watson into the Holmes mythology. Let’s face it, the whole ‘sober companion’ plotline was a bit of a dud. We finally see Watson follow her instincts and flex her deductive muscles without the safety of Sherlock’s all knowing approval. And more importantly it’s believable because Watson doesn’t stray too far away from her mentor (who is ready to ‘tag’ in when needed). She’s given just enough independence to grow.
Impetuously following her hunch that Drew Gardner (Josh Hamilton) is the killer by breaking into his car and demanding he open his truck is a great example of Watson’s growth. We know that there’s no body in that trunk and we know that she’s going to fail miserably, but there’s a necessity that she go through that failure, echoing the plight of any good student – mistakes invariably lead to greatness later on.
At the end of the day, the case-of-the-week is pretty far-fetched, as is Watson’s ultimate solving of it, but the interesting aspects of Elementary have never been its cases-of-the-week. It was wonderful to Sherlock and Watson hashing out the possibilities and collaboratively making deductions together before the mundane reveal of the central mystery in the interrogation room. Watson is swiftly on her way to becoming Holmes’ true partner (vs. lackey) and the slow progression to get her there has been very well done thus far.
- As I mentioned, it was a treat to see The Wire alumnus Jim True-Frost and Andre Royo pop up, but they were severely under-utilized in this week’s episode. Surprisingly, I didn’t mind it that much as the focus this week was clearly on Watson.
- Also surprising was how I felt about all the cheesy ‘intervention’ business with Watson’s friends. Normally it would be eye-roll central, but in this case, it again brings some legitimacy to Joan’s progression into detective-dom. Any rational friend would be in serious WTF territory when looking at Joan’s career evolution of late.
- What doesn’t survive the eye-roll reaction is the episode’s final shot of Watson changing her bootleg Facebook job status from ‘sober companion’ to ‘consulting detective’. Groan.
- There’s a wonderful attempt to mirror one of the strongest moments of Elementary‘s pilot: Watson and Sherlock share a conversation between prison glass, except this time the roles are reversed. I can’t say it’s as effective as when we saw it in the pilot, but it is a nice little touch nonetheless.
- Alfredo’s (Ato Essandoh) back and the world is just a little bit better.
- Is anyone else loving Lucy Liu’s bouncy ponytail? I find it mesmerizing.
What did you think viewers? Do you think Watson has earned her detective stars? Do you think Alfredo will become a regular recurring character? Sound off in the comments section below.
Elementary airs at 10pm EST, Thursdays on CBS.