Sunday, February 3, 2013

'Elementary' Review - 1.14 The Deductionist

        On the post-Super Bowl episode of CBS' Elementary, Sherlock pursues Martin Ennis, an unpredictable criminal, before he strikes again and is forced to work alongside Kathryn Drummond, the FBI profiler who literally wrote the book on Ennis; and Watson faces eviction from her apartment.

        CBS interestingly decided to give its strongest new series, Elementary, the plum post-Super Bowl slot. The network could have attempted to break the highest viewership Friends set in 1996 with an episode of The Big Bang Theory after the game or the more-established sophomore hits 2 Broke Girls or Person of Interest. Elementary has not been the biggest breakout success in terms of the ratings. It has been pulling in respectable numbers but nothing revolutionary. Thusly, it should be very interesting to see how the show performs given this gigantic launching pad.
        The series also had the daunting task of choosing to either create an episode that focused solely on the serial elements of the narrative like episode twelve, "M.", or one with a dynamic and engaging episodic story like episode three, "Child Predator." Those two episodes are vastly different from one another and yet they also fall in line with the tone that Elementary has set for itself over the course of its first season so far. The series took the route of an episodic plot focused on taking down this very visible and captivating villain and plot. However, I may also be severely grading on a curve here because I have been an adamant and consistant fan of this show and this episode didn't feel any different or special from any other one. So, I may just be a bit disappointed - which shows in the grade - in that I largely walked away from this hour thinking that they mostly squandered the opportunity to really go out there and do something wildly different.
        Elementary has always struggled with predictable plotting. It continues to be very evident here in that I deduce that Agent Drummond was the focus of his escape the moment his history was revealed and she was first seen on the screen. Add in the whole tragedy with his family and it makes perfect sense. Also, why couldn't the series just get rid of her? They made it a point to involve her severely with this case and with Sherlock's past and then had her get stabbed and then have her miraculously pull through in the end? I don't see the logic in justify her existence. It may just be to give the show the option for her to return - she must know a bit of Sherlock's past in London to offer some insight. But other than that she seems pointless to continue on as a serialized piece of the narrative.
        Part of what gets me to continue watching this series behind it obvious predictable plotting is its strong characters pieces. That final confrontation between Sherlock and Ennis was the best scene of the episode in that it allowed both characters to examine one and another and ask the morally ambiguous questions of what happened. The climax and resolution of the series' main actions are what the show does best and yet it still finds itself building everything up for too long of the episode. So, when you get to the end and see all the nuances between the characters you are kinda left wishing that more of the episode had been like that.
        As a previous alluded to, nothing particularly in this episode felt like it was written with the knowledge that it would be the post-Super Bowl episode. The Joan subplot felt the most tailor-made to the outing as if the show wanted to say to America that, yes, we offer racy topics as well. The overall impression the story was intended to make was to show how far Joan has come as a "deductionist." Again, most of the plot feel flat because it spent too much time as a joke in comparison to the main plot. So, when we get to Joan's great acquisition scene it felt tacked on to make her come out on top through simple observations and conversations.

So what did everyone think of the episode? New fans, did this episode intrigue you to see more? Old fans, did you find the episode disappointing? Share your thoughts in the comments.