Elementary: Bella Review

A missing piece of ground-breaking AI and a murdered inventor? Sherlock is on the case! Check out our review of last night's Elementary!

This week’s episode of Elementary was solid, solid, solid. Sure, they suspended a lot of what had really piqued my interest in the first few episodes: the extent to which the interpersonal dynamics of the central characters were addressed filled one page, and half of that page was a monologue. But this is a procedural on network television. It’s wrong to expect them to attempt to be the next Deadwood. That’s even more true if the episodes of television they are producing are as good — in their way — as this week’s installment was.

That sounds like a backhanded compliment of the highest order, but I promise you it’s not. At one point during this fast-paced and well-executed hour I actually shouted “STOP BEING SO RIDICULOUSLY TALENTED, JONNY LEE MILLER” in earnest at my screen, and I meant every word of it. It’s commonplace today to find gifted film actors taking on television roles, and Miller is no exception. But it is rare to find gifted actors taking on roles like this one, one that has such mass appeal while remaining layered, complex, and — when the occasion calls for it — funny as hell.

To whit, the brilliance of this week’s episode. In order to the solve first the burglary of a piece of ground-breaking artificial intelligence, and then the murder of its inventor, Holmes spends the vast majority of the episode performing a Turing test on the AI in question. Already the implications of someone like Sherlock (closed off, clinical, detached when necessary) testing something’s humanity are hilarious — add to this the fact that the programmers have inexplicably wired up the AI’s speakers to the creepiest baby doll on the planet and you’ve got maybe my favorite interrogation scene ever second only to Austin Powers demanding who number two works for, while being choked out on the can.

What I admire most about Elementary is its inordinately well-managed sense of balance. The show was smart enough to recognize that Joan and Sherlock’s relationship is fundamental to this show, so they didn’t let their start of the season fight go on too long. They also have wisely continued to make it clear that romance is not in the cards for the duo, and in the process, they’ve forged a platonic relationship that is in its way rare and more touching than a lot of other hot and heavy romances on screen currently. Sherlock’s approval of Joan’s dude? That was a stunning moment, and the way Joan received his approval was even better.

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Still not sure what lays in store for Kitty, but this week I found myself less concerned about where the season will take her. Currently she’s little more than a quippy piece of set dressing, but that doesn’t bother to the extent it did in previous episodes. This is a smart show, they know what they’re doing – they’ll figure it out if they haven’t already.

The episode ended with a bit of a cliffhanger. Sherlock has ID’d the killer, but the blackmail he’s procured to goad the man into confessing has backfired. It involves the murderers addict brother, and the murder wisely points out that he doesn’t Sherlock has it in him to do another addict harm like that. He also intimates that Sherlock’s time in London wasn’t everything he’s claimed. Was Sherlock in rehab? Did he relapse? Until next time!

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5 out of 5