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Elementary - Episode 2.13 - All in the Family - Review



Elementary keeps moving from strength to strength with a series of wonderful and captivating episodes in Season 2.  Thursday's new mystery found Holmes and Watson investigating a mob murder while Sherlock tried to rebuild his damaged friendship with Bell.  The combination of suspenseful detective work, humorous one-liners, and touching reflections on some of Holmes' and Bell's issues were pure perfection.

First of all, this episode opened with Holmes and Watson dressed to the nines, which was so much fun to see.  For some reason, any time I see two characters with as much chemistry as these two in fancy dress, it seems to heighten the attraction between them - even in the case of an extremely subtle, classily slow-burning relationship such as this.  And they looked gorgeous.  Let's see it from another angle:



Fantastic.  Anyway, the opening dropped us right in the middle of Holmes and Watson's interrogation of a thief who cleverly used his prosthetic leg to facilitate his crimes.  This was a hilarious scene (Holmes took the leg with him, with the criminal shouting "I need that!" as the detective vacated the room), and segued nicely into Holmes dismissing yet another NYPD officer, this time Detective Nash, as completely useless.  

Complaining that Nash is "an ingrate and a clod," Holmes snipped to Gregson that "this chair would be a more suitable collaborator."  A couple of minutes into the episode, Johnny Lee Miller had already given me my quota of laughter for about a week.  And it was great when Gregson told Watson, in reference to their attire, "why don't you take him for a walk?  Crash a prom or something."  Aidan Quinn is excellent with drily humorous moments such as these.

While Watson and Holmes struggled to find another detective as rewarding to consult for as Bell, Marcus himself continued to try acclimating to his new job helping investigate potential attacks on the city.  Fascinatingly, Bell happened to stumble upon a corpse during what seemed to be a humdrum, fruitless day of field work for the injured officer.  The body turned out to be that of a long under-the-radar mobster with many enemies - but none so serious as someone working from within the NYPD itself.

As Watson and Holmes worked with Bell once again, Marcus chafed at the necessity of being around Sherlock, whom he hasn't quite forgiven for indirectly causing him to be shot in the arm and incapacitated for armed detective work.  Of course, Holmes couldn't bring himself to simply exercise patience and politeness until Bell was able to interact peaceably with him again.  No, instead, Sherlock asked Bell's new boss, Frank Da Silva, if Holmes and Watson could split their time consulting between Gregson's department and Da Silva's.  The idea of Holmes basically forcing Bell to work with him again was so aggressively insensitive that it was delightfully indicative of the very social skills Holmes lacks that, in turn, make him such a good friend.

After all, the argument that Holmes and Bell have later at the brownstone is enormously helpful to Bell's emotional recovery from his ordeal as well as the potential recovery of the friendship between the two men.  One aspect I found deeply interesting in how the scene began is that Holmes' temper seemed to be  set off by Bell telling Watson that he expects inappropriate behavior from Sherlock, but not from her.  It's as if the idea of Watson being accused in this way irritated Holmes due to his respect and affection for what a fine person Joan is.  And then once he's angered by that, he has an easier time articulating his other issues with Bell.  That made for a really nice and rewarding transition between Holmes and Watson's informing Bell that Da Silva was likely dirty, to Holmes yelling at Bell to basically snap out of his self-punishing state of mind.

Holmes' highly emotional debate with Bell over whether the latter can or cannot still live out his life's calling as a homicide detective was one of my favorite performances from Miller this season.  Jon Michael Hill is always terrific too, and here we could really feel his conflicted emotions of anger, disappointment, and the struggle to believe he can still be the officer he once was.  

When Holmes insisted to Bell, "I have faith in you!  I have faith in your perseverance!", it was incredibly touching to see the infamously unsentimental man express such inspirational encouragement to another person.  And his insightful words to Bell, "Be my friend, don't be my friend! Whatever. But don't be so foolish as to confuse punishing me with punishing yourself," were just pure, powerful wisdom.

Bell suggested that being a great detective doesn't come as easily to him as it does to Holmes.  However, it wasn't that long ago that Holmes was a drug addict whose life was spiraling out of control.  He reminds Bell that if he could overcome those obstacles, surely Marcus can put the time into physical therapy that is needed and work on his belief in himself.  I liked that Holmes prioritized Bell's own wellbeing and happiness over any wish he himself may have to gain Marcus' trust back.  Elementary always has deep, edifying messages about friendship, and this episode was no exception.

There were some more golden comical moments along the way of the intriguing and twisty murder mystery, none more enjoyable than Holmes' quip, just after one suspect was killed in a car bomb, "I was right.  Not one day in prison."  I also might have to integrate one of Holmes' other snarks this week, "I am not a deranged lunatic, but by all means keep pushing me," into my list of awesome and useful remarks for frustrating occasions. 

 

Watson was gracefully understanding of Holmes' and Bell's issues while also expressing rightful irritation that Sherlock would offer their services to another department without consulting her first.  As usual, her observations about Holmes' real intentions and feelings helped him to understand himself and make better decisions from that point forward.  Joan also did a fantastic job of researching and analyzing the history of the mob families involved in this week's case, and her sparkling intelligence was on display once again.

I'm happy the issue of Holmes' and Bell's conflict has been resolved in such a remarkable and poignant manner, even though they surely still have some distance to travel before their relationship is what it once was, or before Bell's trust issues with Holmes are entirely worked out.  It's good that this plotline also didn't get dragged out longer than it needed to be.  I hope that Elementary can resolve some of its other ongoing Season 2 issues, such as the continuing and mysterious issues between Holmes and Mycroft, in as thoughtful and enjoyable a way.

What did you think of this week's episode?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

About the Author - Virginia Mae Fontana
Virginia is happy to be reviewing Hart of Dixie, The Mentalist, Beauty and the Beast, Bones, Witches of East End, Covert Affairs, and Devious Maids for Spoiler TV. She is a college English instructor and also enjoys obsessing over films and pop music - in addition to tv shows, of course! You can find her blog, SugarRushed, at http://virginiamaeblog.blogspot.com/ and her Twitter handle is @SugarRushedBlog





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