Matt Smith reviews the sixteenth episode of Elementary season 2…
For all his behavioural quirks and social ineptitude, Elementary’s iteration of Sherlock Holmes dresses impeccably well. Linking to his presentation of the facts, everything is laid out neat and where it should be. Where, perhaps, it shouldn’t be is this week’s main problem for Sherlock Holmes. This week sees the return of Lestrade.
As a stock relationship in the history of Holmes, Lestrade is never a character Holmes has to try hard to keep up with. This version is much the same, but here he is seemingly once again the one in a higher position of power. This week sees Holmes investigating an explosion at a hotel when, much to his annoyance, Lestrade steps round the corner and presents himself as a fellow private investigator to help on the case. Meanwhile, Holmes decides to teach two cockerels he found in a cockfighting ring that violence isn’t the answer.
Now Holmes has to match wits with whoever planned a bombing and, potentially, match his ego with Lestrade’s. This creates a neat relationship between the two of them, as Lestrade uses Holmes for his own gains while at the same time struggling to cover his failings from the self-proclaimed world’s best detective. Not going to be an easy job, and it’s here where Holmes seems to struggle most. This iteration of Holmes isn’t exactly an ego maniac, but how does he act when someone with a higher pay rate, a more powerful boss and a delusion as to his skill set enter the fray? This episode is all about presentation, so it’s fitting Holmes and Lestrade both lie or manipulate their way through their interactions.
The presentation of Lestrade as the struggling egomaniac is well thought out, from his constant sipping of coconut water to the performance of Sean Pertwee. Here we have a character who’s more about slowly gracing every inch of a room with his presence as he talks about himself than actually doing work, and the story of the jealous police officer trying to keep up is a natural storyline that is perhaps neglected in some Sherlock Holmes-based productions.
This week’s episode features some well thought out ideas that are as close to original as can be when it’s a TV series based on a character over a hundred years old. Among all this are the laugh-out-loud moments that can only be bought out by great performances that can bring these comic beats out of the script.
All this and the close nature of this series and the original Holmes proves that, even with the occasional couple of males fighting amongst each other (whether they’re Romulus and Remus the cockerels or Holmes and Lestrade the detectives) this is all from the day in the life of Sherlock Holmes. The series specialises in these stories above the more dramatic movies and similar BBC series Sherlock and, even if they’re not strictly from Watson’s point of view or pen, it’s in this presentation that the show succeeds.
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