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Friday, 16 of April of 2021

Elementary – “The Long Fuse”

Did you guys miss Elementary as much as I did? Breaks are hard. Even if they are only the skip of a holiday week. It’s so great to feel this way about a show. Missing it, getting cravings for it – so much better than forgetting it’s even on.

I really enjoyed the convoluted nature of the case this week. Not so much that the “why” of the crime was all that convoluted (though it did make some nice loop-de-loops), but more so the winding path the set-up took to actually becoming a crime.

Plus, we got Cuddy!

C’mon – how can you not love an episode that is based around a crime that plays out as follows: small town girl goes from prostitute to CEO, is blackmailed by a former john turned employee, plants a bomb that mirrors the M.O. of an environmental extremist, bomb doesn’t work at the time but goes off four years later when an ex-con dials the wrong number to order a sandwich?

It’s a tragedy. Van Owen, “father a contractor, mother a homemaker” (SHUT UP, THAT IS ME), works her way through business school by hooking on the side and makes it to the top only be blackmailed by a former client. Who she then murders by hand when she can’t do so by bomb.

That’s one hell of a premise, y’all. I LOVE EET.

And though we didn’t really get a Big Bad showdown this week, but we got something just as good: Sherlock flirting with the Big Bad. Because: LISA EDELSTEIN. Cuddy van Owen quite obviously flirts with Sherlock, but Sherlock – of course – is even more obvious and direct: “You want sex.” To which he is not adverse, at least before it’s revealed that she is a MURDERER, OH NOES. (Though, Sherlock being Sherlock, that might not have any impact on his physical attraction to her. Who knows.)

Like all good serial shows, this episode weaves the tale of crime in with the tale of the main characters. This time, the focus in on the future, specifically the future for Sherlock and Watson.

I appreciate that the show is following a normal progression of time. Shows sometimes ignore time, floating free in a fuzzy cloud of “when” that is only periodically broken by holiday episodes or random character milestones (noooo, everyone takes seven years to graduate high school *whistles*). So far, Elementary has shown a willingness to act on time, as here through their treatment of Watson’s sober companion timeline.

It’s obvious through the show’s plots that time has progressed since the pilot. Here we find Watson specifically indicating the approaching end of her time with Sherlock, and her taking measures to prepare him for her departure. This counting of time shows respect for the audience and a maturity of storytelling, in that the show isn’t trying to stretch the “sober companion” plot to implausible lengths just to justify Watson staying part of Sherlock’s life. Truthfully, they could have drawn out the sober companion piece a while longer without straining credulity – up to the end of the season, even – but I like that they’re approaching the issue head-on.

Watson approaches it by searching for a sponsor for Sherlock. He of course dismisses the first option that Watson picks out, but rather quickly selects his own: Alfredo, the car thief. Pretty early on, I suspected his choice had less to do with his liking Alfredo and more with him believing Watson wouldn’t, and eventually Watson came to that conclusion as well.

The problem is: Sherlock has already admitted to needing Watson. He stated that he needs someone to talk to, someone to bounce ideas off of, and that Watson was his preferred choice for that position. Having a companion helps get him out of his own mind (which was no doubt part of the addiction problem) and gives him a sounding board for his research (which helps him with investigations). And, let’s be honest, no matter how persnickety he might be, he likes Watson. He likes her, and he needs her.

He rails against it – “I’m entirely self-sufficient, you know,” he protests – but the truth is he needs Watson in his life. Which is no doubt why he tries to sabotage his own sponsor search: if he can’t find a sponsor, concerned and dedicated Watson will just have to stay. (Which is kind of a shame, since I love the way his “chosen” sponsor, Alfredo, handles Sherlock; it seems like he and Sherlock would be a good fit. Makes me hope (and possibly think) that Alfredo might stick around.) Sherlock argues that he doesn’t need anyone, but he needs Watson. And he begrudgingly gives in to her pressuring to make nice with Alfredo. Is Watson going to make Sherlock need more people? WE SHALL SEE.

The question now has become: what is going to keep Watson as part of Sherlock’s life? It’s quite obvious that she will be, but what is going to be the catalyst for that decision? What’s going to make her stay?

Personally, I believe it will be a combination of her wanting to stay and Sherlock breaking down at the last minute and asking her to stay (or asking her to come back). Perhaps it will be on the cusp of her departure. Maybe it will be that she leaves for a little bit but is pulled back in.

Whichever way it goes, I’m excited to see what the show will do with the choice. So far they’ve kept me intrigued and happy, so BRING. IT. ON.

 

 

Extras:

  • Once you know about the credits homage, nothing is the same.
  • At the crime scene there was an extra decked out in a FDNY EMT jacket and now I want an Elementary/Castle crossover. Won’t ever happen, but wouldn’t that be amazing? (Answer: yes. Yes, it would be.)
  • Of course Sherlock is for legal prostitution.  Of course. (Now I kind of want Sherlock and Bones to have a conversation.)
  • I’ve universally adored the music used so far this season, but the song played over the last scene in this episode bothered me. It felt way too much like “get yo’ groove on” music, which was very discordant with what was actually happening on screen. One misstep in a season of greatness is a pretty good record, though.
  • Sherlock noticed the old newspaper (so did the bomb squad) and the pager motherboard (which the bomb squad missed). This either doesn’t make sense, or is an accurate and terrifying example of how unobservant and inept forensics teams are. Your choice.
  • Detective Bell has seen Sherlock’s house now!
  • “What did those balls ever do to you?” “They’re dying for a good cause, Watson.” KING OF THE LAB ROOFTOP.
  • Sherlock very carefully sets aside the pictures in Mrs. Singh’s house. Then he very carefully beats a hole in the wall.
  • “I don’t know what you’re on, but old me would have definitely wanted some.”
  • I haven’t really talked about it much, but this show is kind of pretty. Every once in a while there will be a shot that’s stunning. Like in this episode: there’s a shot where Bell is in the interrogation room with the plumber suspect, and Watson and Sherlock – in the observation room – are flanking the interrogation room window and also reflected in it. Just beautiful.

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