Welcome back for Part 2 of my commentary on the Elementary pilot. This is probably going to be my last full commentary before spring break begins, as I’ll be going home to spend some time with the fam. We’re going to Disneyworld–yay! A mind can’t function without occasional periods of rest, and I’m sure I’ll be ready to produce some high-quality content by the time I get back to San Marcos.
When we last left our heroes, there was that big plot twist: Sherlock and Gregson simultaneously identified the most likely suspect in the murder of Amy Dampier, but then he turned up dead. All the puzzle pieces from before are falling into place: the killer’s fixation on his victims, the fact that he knew Amy…It could almost be case closed, except Sherlock still seems a little uneasy.
I don’t think I’ve made this clear yet, so I’ll go ahead and do so. Plot twists are not my biggest strength as a writer (that would be dialogue). So when I watch anything that’s heavy with mysteries and reversals, there’s a part of me that scratches my head and wonders where it all comes from. That’s definitely the case here. This case was relatively smooth sailing until the dead Peter Saldua turned up. How is Sherlock going to figure this one out?
Back at the apartment, Sherlock and Joan have their first big falling out. They’ve had some tension between them before, particularly over the matter of Eileen, but this is the worst so far–bad enough, apparently, to make Joan leave.
To me, though, there was something about this scene and its aftermath that just didn’t jive correctly. Yes, the matter of Joan’s patient who died is a sore subject–and given that I’m not a surgeon, I can hardly expect to understand that fully–and it was probably a little tactless of Sherlock to go into so much detail about something she had wanted to tell him herself, but given that she sort of pushed him to it, leaving seemed like an overreaction. Or maybe I’m just over-rationalizing. Who knows?
Sherlock’s little disruption at the opera is enough, I think, to cause some kind of eye twitch or deep internal rage even in people who aren’t into opera or theater. Thank goodness for that throwaway line about the performer not being on key. Whether or not it’s true (and it probably is, given Sherlock’s musical background), it shows that he’s not completely disinterested in the performing arts. Still unspeakably rude to be on the phone in the middle of a performance, but hey, duty calls and all that.
The big “this is how you did it” exposition to Mantlo is done in perfect Sherlock Holmes style. Sure, the idea seems far-fetched. I had to take a close look at this the second time to make sure he wasn’t making any logic jumps. But the thing is, it makes sense. Saldua killed Amy in a steroid-induced rage, the steriods were given to him by his therapist, and that therapist was the same man who convinced Amy to undergo plastic surgery: Mantlo.
After that, I was right there with Joan in thinking that Sherlock hitting Mantlo’s car was part of some elaborate plan. Something that would make perfect sense later, no doubt. But apparently, it wasn’t to be.
Sherlock is very happy to have Watson staying on…but “not for myself, of course.” It’s a nice echo to the original’s claim that his reasons for having a companion were 100% practical. This Sherlock is so self-assured that it’s a bit difficult to keep in mind that he’s an unreliable narrator. There’s just enough in this scene to make me really wonder about what happened in London.
Rice. That’s the clue that solves the case. Rice. The later scene with Captain Gregson and Mantlo lets us think about how far-fetched that seems from the outside; imagine you’re about to be acquitted of a crime and the one man who know’s you’re guilty comes barging in saying that it’s not over yet because the suspect had a rice allergy.
It gets dark after that, though. The whole thing with Mantlo drugging his patient, the guy he was supposed to help, and then hearing the voice recording was just super dark and unsettling. This pilot sure didn’t pull any punches. And to think that he would have gotten away with it if Mantlo wasn’t allergic to rice.
But all’s well that ends well, and this episode ends on an odd, amusing note that also makes for a cute moment. The detective has braved rehab and defeated baddies, but can he sit through a baseball game? I’m not into baseball much, so I don’t know if Sherlock’s prediction made any sense, but one thing it does show is that even when he’s not in his comfort zone, Sherlock Holmes always comes out on top.
And on that note, I leave you. I hope everyone has a great spring break!
Screencaps for this episode were taken from screencapped.net.