This Elementary review contains spoilers.
Elementary: Season 4, Episode 17
Most primetime shows have a tendency to waver between epic highs and mind-numbing lows; For its part, Elementary seems to have beat the odds to find a happy medium that keeps viewers sated throughout the interim seven-day periods. Season 4, Episode 17, “You’ve Got Me, Who’s Got You?” did just that, once again balancing somewhere between being characteristically amusing and slightly stiff in narrative.
There were the usual suspects: a mysteriously deceased costumed vigilante, a troupe of comic book writers and artists (several with the motivation to kill), and at least one Stan Lee doppelgänger. All right. Maybe “usual” isn’t the key word here. But the broader premise — a discombobulated murder case in the usual police procedural mold — remained.
Still, “You’ve Got Me”, which followed Sherlock and Joan as they tracked a tangled web of suspects back to a single superhero-turned-murder-victim, ended up being much more interesting than previews in previous weeks let on (although the excitement going into Sunday night’s episode could have simply been the result of a fandom forced to wait an extra three days to catch its favorite procedural). Certainly, Episode 17’s investigation was the obvious focus, with a Morland Holmes subplot curiously taking a backseat to the main case.
After a Batman-esque crusader in a dark cape, known to locals and comic fans as the Midnight Ranger (and to friends as Mike Stratton), winds up shot to death in a pool of his own blood in Greenpoint, Sherlock and Joan — on point as ever — are forced to take a hard look at the convoluted list of suspects, which include a few twitchy individuals at Superlative Comics, the company responsible for creating the original Midnight Ranger.
After Sherlock eliminates the possibility that a local drug dealer, a fellow masked vigilante, and a host of other largely bland characters may have been able to commit the crime, he and Joan set their sights on the man whose grandfather created the Midnight Ranger: Mr. Baxter, the Ranger’s sketchy comic editor. After sussing out that Baxter’s target was not, in fact, Stratton himself, Sherlock determines that Baxter had been targeting the rest of Superlative’s staff, angry that he was left out of negotiations for Midnight Ranger film rights, and calls in the NYPD to make the arrest.
While EW’s Kyle Fowle makes a good point about the sudden hero-based episode (“Elementary doing a superhero-themed episode actually makes a lot of sense,” Fowle explained in a recap following Sunday’s episode. “After all, Sherlock Holmes is a superhero in a way; though it’s logic and observation that he uses to bring in the bad guys”), what was most appealing about “You’ve Got Me” were the vintage Sherlock mannerisms: The rapid fire deductions, the offhand quips, the dripping sarcasm that seemed to roll off the detective’s tongue.
For a few moments, midway through the episode, Elementary seemed to be sending a gracious nod to its British counterparts, with whom they shared an early, tumultuous history, but to whom they seem to have dedicated much of this season’s slyest moments. “How did you do that?” one suspect questions, after Sherlock fires off one of his trademark deduction sequences. “I got bitten by a radioactive detective,” Sherlock deadpans.
There were a few mild moments of panic during this week’s subplot, with Joan doing a bit of dirty work for Morland Holmes, much to Sherlock’s chagrin, and the episode caps off with Joan recruiting one of Morland’s associates to be a mole on the inside, spying on his boss for the consulting duo — but for the most part, “You’ve Got Me, Who’s Got You?” rolls along nicely, tidying up any previous, out-of-character moments with a clean sweep of traditionally Sherlockian mementos. With any luck, the season’s final few episodes will prove to be just as entertaining.