Television: Elementary, "Rat Race"

Best episode yet. Which may not be saying all that much since there have only been four, but it's always good to see a show going uphill rather than down.

For one, I like the pacing of the slowly evolving relationship between Holmes and Watson, a sort of grudging admiration on each side, yet still laced with the awkwardness of their situation (i.e., that she is babysitting him at the behest of his father). They each take their jobs very seriously, though the goals are different. Nicely, Watson's dedication to her work dovetails into not only following Holmes around but seeing to it that he's happily occupied, since that is the best way to prevent any relapses. It's going to hurt at some point, I think, when Holmes attempts to make it clear he doesn't need her (but of course he does). And what will happen when the six weeks are up?

Meanwhile, in this episode it was also nice to see how Holmes's arrogance trumped his better senses in that he allowed himself to be caught and nearly killed. Holmes being conceited is a given in pretty much any incarnation, but it's good to also note he doesn't always get away with behaving in such a way without consequences.

And wasn't the hair bit interesting? Holmes points out that Watson puts her hair up when she wants to look her best. However, she didn't put it up until going back to the apartment. On all her dates, her hair was down. It was up again, though, later in the episode—and this was again while she was home with Holmes. Still, I don't think it's a matter of romance here so much as a desire to impress. Maybe an undercurrent of competition. After all, Holmes is a walking challenge: I'm smart, show me you're smart, too. Otherwise you're a waste of time and beneath notice. If Watson does have any kind of feeling for Holmes outside the concern she's being paid to exhibit, it's still deeply subconscious on her part. Holmes is likely to offend and outrage her if and when he claims she has any affection for him beyond the motherly or merely friendly.

I was also glad to see they didn't let Gregson play the dummy. I would have found it difficult to believe the captain didn't do a background check on Holmes, no matter how badly NYPD needed the detective's help. Just because Holmes is on a long leash doesn't mean he isn't being walked. It makes for a more interesting show than letting one character jump all over the furniture while everyone just stands and watches. With everyone bringing something to the table, the dynamic is far better. I'd like to see them punch up Gregson's character even more in coming episodes. And continue to progress Holmes's and Watson's relationship, which may seem incredibly slow, but feels all the more real for that. And if the show hopes to air for any length of time, these things necessarily must be drawn out. For now it makes sense that neither Holmes nor Watson would want to get too terribly attached given they each expect to be free of one another shortly. Can't wait to see how that plays out.


Roland D. Yeomans said...

I was unimpressed with the first episode and was reluctant to give it another chance since my free time is so limited. But you have persuaded me to give it another chance. Thanks.

M Pepper Langlinais said...

As I've said in other posts, if you're looking for this show to be Sherlock, you're going to be disappointed. They're not at all alike, not even meant for the same audiences. But for a procedural (a genre I don't typically enjoy, though I used to like Bones), this one is getting better as it goes.