This Elementary review contains spoilers
Elementary Season 4 Episode 11
Elementary season four, episode 11, “Down Where the Dead Delight”, started out with a bang — literally. Kicking off the episode on a particularly thrilling note (that is, if you find the tragic death of a morgue attendant caught up in a deadly explosion “thrilling”), the CBS writing crew immediately dumped viewers into what eventually became a grisly homicide case, replete with cartels, stalkers, smooth talking lawyers, and enough red herrings to feed an entire cat shelter for a month. With Joan, Sherlock, and the NYPD gang busy bopping from suspect to suspect, the Elementary crew could have easily fumbled the pitch, but surprisingly — and to everyone’s delight — they didn’t.
In fact, one could even argue that this was one of season four’s better looking episodes. As EW’s Kyle Fowle put it, Joan “finally [got] something to do this week” other than skulk in the background with quippy one-liners or fight Sherlock’s father (not literally, of course, but could you imagine?). Crafted by executive producer Rob Doherty and company, “Down Where the Dead Delight” provided audiences with a topsy-turvy Conan Doyle-esque murder mystery that even the creator himself may have applauded.
Sherlock’s strange mannerisms (perfected by actor Jonny Lee Miller) and Joan’s growing impatience with incompetence and snarky colleagues (played subtly by real-life ass-kicker Lucy Liu) were almost reflective of the late Victorian era humor that fans of the original canon came to know and love back in the day.
Maneuvering around the murder of a young woman, whose admirer at first proved to be the most likely suspect (not surprisingly that theory was later debunked when it was discovered that the young man’s father had done the deed to prevent his own son from making a mistake that might have sent him to jail), Sherlock and Joan were faced with another less threatening adversary upon the return of Detective Cortes, the woman who had previously tracked down Joan to find out more about the consultant’s movements and Sherlock’s relationship with the NYPD. While both Joan and Sherlock at one point suspect Cortes of attempting to frame Joan for a crime which she didn’t commit, it’s later discovered that Cortes was only trying to recruit the duo to do her dirty work and punish criminals who had gotten off scot-free. It was time to “give them what they deserve[d]” Cortes claimed.
While Joan and Sherlock ultimately deny Cortes that honor (did she really expect them to choose otherwise?), the strange offer does allow for an unusual side-story which, while not wholly invigorating on its own, still provided Joan with the opportunity to threaten Cortes with a complete knock-out once more. And if we’re being honest with ourselves, who wouldn’t want to see that?
All in all, Elementary’s “Down Where the Dead Delight” was the perfect example of what a worthy filler episode ought to be: snarky, grimy, and just the right amount of unbelievable. Let’s hope the showrunners keep that all in mind going forward.