Matt Smith reviews episode 21 of Elementary…
Another week passes, another episode of Elementary. Things are different this week though, and yet somehow it looks the same. This episode’s mixed, in that things are different and yet the differences highlight the elements that celebrate the preservation of the old.
Teased throughout an entire episode earlier in the series, this is essentially a retread of the introduction to Moriarty. M, played so well by Vinnie Jones last time, makes a return as he tries to help Holmes out with his investigation into an almost-perfect crime. Committed by an intelligent man, seemingly on par with Holmes, lets us in on Moriarty’s methods. And while, surprise surprise, Moriarty’s plan isn’t all it seems, his henchmen in their way each show respective pieces that make up the Moriarty puzzle. M is ruthless, and smarter than he looks. Another is unassuming and even more intelligent, while a third seems like the charismatic type.
So Moriarty seems the same, and possibly different, and Holmes is the same but different when it comes to earlier portrayals. But what else has been changed? What has this series done that is different to the others?
The Holmes in this series, like a lot of the other ones, is impeccably attired and yet somehow looks like he’s only just got out of bed. Like Gregory House, he has that facial hair that says ‘I’ve got more important things to do than shave’ but also says ‘I’m not a hermit or wild man though’. The apparently old fashioned notion of dressing well is alive in Sherlock Holmes.
I’ve talked about characters in previous reviews. Holmes being similar to other portrayals, Watson changing in some ways but staying the same in so many others. What I haven’t talked about is the setting.
New York brings with it a history but, unfortunately, it doesn’t bring the same weight that London has. It certainly has character, and could be a character, but whenever someone references Holmes’ previous adventures in London, a small part of me wants to see that adventure play out on screen. The traditional setting (Baker Street as well as London) of Sherlock Holmes ties so much to the character it’s hard to see him yanked out and stuck somewhere else. But at the same time, it’s a great way to show how his life in London changed so dramatically. Everything changed.
I realise I talked about change in the previous review of Elementary, and I don’t want to repeat myself, but it’s hard not to when an episode has in many ways been made already. That’s how I feel about this week’s instalment. It’s like they made an episode revealing, or rather previewing, Moriarty, opened Holmes up to his greatest adversary both literally and figuratively, then kind of forgot it ever happened. They then had a few stand-alone episodes where Holmes solved the case and now they’ve introduced Moriarty again.
All in all I think it was a good episode (in the context of a stand-alone episode), but it just feels like they’re repeating themselves a little.
But it has changed a bit now. Moriarty threatens to be more of a presence in later episodes, and I’m still looking forward to what he’s going to bring to the table. Moriarty has introduced himself by influencing people around him, both those under his employ and others, meaning the series and the characters within won’t ever be the same again. Hopefully.
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