Television: Elementary, "Flight Risk"

This show can no longer surprise me, it seems. Actually, come to think of it, it never has. At least not as far as plotting goes. But it's a bad sign for a Sherlock Holmes show when the audience thinks well ahead of the protagonist.

[Spoilers Ahead.]

We all knew the murder victim wasn't killed on the plane, right? Kind of a given? He wasn't even strapped into a seat, nor was there a seat anywhere near his body. Basic physics, even giving leeway for scatter, which there didn't seem to be much of at that particular crash site.

And we all knew it was Cooper, too, didn't we? Anyone who quite happily volunteers his security camera footage is already planning to throw someone off a scent. (And that scent was evidently model glue, but whatever.)

What I didn't enjoy this episode—and what heretofore I have enjoyed on this show—was the Holmes-Watson interplay. The dinner prank played false in my mind, though I knew, of course, it wasn't really going to be Holmes' father at the restaurant. They'll hold back that card for some time and play the hand very, very slowly (if past performance is any predictor of future gains). Still, Holmes as I know him in all his various forms literary and cinematic, isn't quite so malicious as this practical joke suggested. If it were meant to be funny, it failed, and maybe that was what the writers were going for, but if so there was an error in the fielding. A more likely scenario would be for Holmes himself to let Watson wait some time at the restaurant then turn up later himself . . . After all he is technically "Mr Holmes" as much as his father. As a stunt, that would have worked and still preserved his character as it has thus been understood. (Also, would Holmes willingly put Watson in contact with someone who knows even part of his history? Are we supposed to believe he has a secret desire to be found out?)

An argument might be made that Holmes is acting out of character here because of his father. But that in itself would be out of character, since Holmes tends not to get emotional about such things. Or at least not so visibly emotional.

I'm supposing, however, that what the writers needed was another source of information for Watson to tap into. If Holmes (either Sherlock or his father) refuses to be forthcoming, she will need to find people in the know. Allistair provided handy backstory, and brought us around to the infamous Irene [Adler] first hinted at as "a woman" (if not "The Woman") in the series pilot. It was only a matter of time, after all.

Well, always nice to see Roger Rees back on telly, though.

In overall scoring, the episode was a miss for having not only a hugely predictable plot outcome—a shame because a plane crash can make for an interesting starting point, and here it was wasted—but also that misplay of the prank, Watson's slightly over-prissy reaction to said prank, and the manipulated device of introducing an "old friend" for Watson to tap into.

One interesting bit, though: at the crash site, Holmes says to Watson, "There's a story here." At what point will Watson begin writing these down, hmm?

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