Elementary season 3 episode 7 review: The Adventure Of The Nutmeg Concoction

Zippy dialogue and a sense of humour covers a multitude of Elementary's sins this week. Here's Frances' review...

This review contains spoilers.

3.7 The Adventures Of The Nutmeg Concoction

Between specious pumpkins, gardening with Dominicans, melting corpses and inflated genitals, this week’s Elementary was packed with fun lines – and true to form, Jonny Lee Miller didn’t let a single one pass by unnoticed.

It wasn’t only the dialogue that had a spark of offbeat humour about it; few are the detective shows that would solve crimes by having a cravat-wearing, cane-carrying gentleman with a coffee bean pomander sniff a bullet hole. Three cheers for The Nose, and while we’re at it, for the briefest of returns by Miss Hudson.

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Heightened and macabre are two things Elementary does very well, and The Adventures Of The Nutmeg Concoction was full of gruesome oddities from its title right down to that artificial patella tendon being hooked out of a grease trap. There were fewer clunky exchanges than we’ve seen of late, too. Holmes’ blasé attitude to the dissolution of “inconvenient dead people” and dispassionate verdict on Watson’s romantic terrorism revealed the machine-like aspects of his personality without, as happened a few weeks ago, somebody having to draw an explicit comparison. In short, the dialogue and case were witty and diverting.

How about season three’s elephant in the Brownstone, Kitty Winter? The overcrowding issue remains, but it was admittedly easier to ignore the clumsiness when there was fun to be had elsewhere. It also helped that we learnt a little more about Kitty this week. She’s a classical musician with a controlling father, which gives us another tick in the ‘she’s basically season one Sherlock’ box.

Beginning as a possible serial abduction case, I wrongly predicted that The Adventures Of The Nutmeg Concoction would be full of Kitty’s trauma being triggered by similarities to her own experiences as an abductee. Not so. Kitty’s horrible back story is starting to look like exactly that, something that’s behind her.

Instead, the story unravelled into a grim jamboree of melting cadavers with a sprawling and mostly forgettable cast. As soon as they’d fulfilled their function, most of the episode’s characters – from the sister of the missing woman to Miss Hudson to the arrogant FBI profiler – simply disappeared. Talk about throwaway culture, Elementary must get through more supporting players than your average Broadway production of The Lion King.

Speaking of forgettable types, Joan’s old flame was yet another non-starter in the long line of Watson’s boring boyfriends. I realise the point of giving her itchy feet so soon into her relationship with Andrew was explained as a character insight – Watson the adventure-seeker can’t be fulfilled by a conventional relationship etc. etc. – but keeping up with her string of barely-there flings is becoming tedious. Someone please write that woman a partner with a personality. That, or take Mycroft out of witness protection.

The take-home lesson of this episode then is as follows: a sense of humour covers up for a multitude of sins. If the writers can’t actually solve a problem like Kitty, then, as Peter Ocko has done here, they can at least make the mess a great deal more fun to watch.

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