Elementary season 2 episode 19 review: The Many Mouths Of Aaron Colville

Review Frances Roberts 4 Apr 2014 - 15:35

Watson takes centre-stage once again in the latest episode of Elementary. Here's Frances' review...

This review contains spoilers.

2.19 The Many Mouths Of Aaron Colville

If there’s any justice in this world, ‘Jonny Lee Miller Sings The Songs of Frozen (Whilst Wearing A Massive Prom Dress)’ will be an extra on the Elementary season two DVD. There can be little more cheering than the thought of Miller’s twitching, upright Sherlock Holmes belting out a heart-felt cover of Let It Go in pink chiffon. That mental image is TV Prozac.

As was much of this week’s episode, give or take a few grisly murders. The reappearance of Clyde in novelty knitwear, the return of Anonymous-alike hacking group Everyone, Holmes giving up the chance to go on a millionaire playboy treasure hunt to help Watson, and the lovely sentiment of him telling her he’d forego the required paperwork to replace her teeth should they be knocked out in a prison fight… It was a fun, engaging hour with a well-concealed twist, a characteristically bizarre line of investigation and some philosophical pondering thrown in for good measure.

After the artificial ears of two episodes ago, this week’s dentures extravaganza fitted right in with Elementary’s appealingly odd taste in murder cases. Brushing quickly over the horror of the homicides (grieving isn’t Elementary’s style, its murders are narrative engines to drive along the story), Watson and Holmes’ hunt for the killer kept us interested all the way to the swift capture of Ma Colville.

Admittedly, dangling some crucial info - Aaron Colville’s confession to Dr Fleming - in front of us early on and only returning to it after Watson and Holmes had chased all those wild, denture-wearing ex-convict geese was a cheap trick, but hardly heinous. For once on Elementary, the wealthy surgeon wasn’t revealed to be a careerist scumbag, just a man struggling to fulfil his Hippocratic moral distance when it came to saving the lives of murderers.

As was Joan Watson, who was once again the instigator of the case. In Holmes’ eyes, Dr Watson having considered whether someone’s life deserved saving made her a born detective, better suited to consulting with the NYPD than to surgery. As someone who routinely separates the notions of justice and the law, often transgressing or turning a blind eye to legal boundaries in order to catch the bad guy, Sherlock’s understanding of her quandary was entirely in character.

In a perfect reversal of their season one roles, Holmes was the one following Watson around providing psychological insight into her compulsion this week. As Watson has moved centre stage in season two, it’s hard not to feel that Holmes has been relegated to the wings. Watson made more than her share of deductive leaps in the episode: identifying the correct set of teeth, deducing that the suspect had a dog and osteoporosis... Holmes provided Watson with contacts, guidance, and wake-up calls in the form of reptiles dressed as predatory fish, but that’s about it. It’s as if Holmes’ character development was all ticked off in season one, leaving him little to do nowadays but stagnate and shepherd Watson’s progress.

Shifting the weight from Holmes to Watson isn’t necessarily a misstep for the series, just more proof of Elementary’s erratic focus. Promising characters are introduced to the show – who remembers Allistair, Holmes’ English pal from season one’s Flight Risk? Or Holmes’ mathematical genius friend from this season’s Solve For X? – and never heard from again. When Mrs Hudson was mentioned this week, it took a bit of brain-sifting to remember that yes, we’d briefly met a Mrs Hudson. Presumably she’s coming back in the remaining weeks, and the shoehorned references in this episode were preparing us for her return.

Who knows, perhaps Holmes will regain top billing in the season’s final episodes. It’d be a mighty waste of Jonny Lee Miller if he’s kept in the shadows.

Read Frances’ review of the previous episode, The Hound Of The Cancer Cells, here.

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