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Elementary - Episode 2.15 - Corpse de Ballet - Review

This week's Elementary found Holmes and Watson each on their own trajectory in solving two mysteries: while Sherlock tacked the case of a murdered ballerina, Joan was more focused on tracking down a homeless man who had gone missing.

We opened on a typical "morning after" scene at the brownstone, with Watson standing at the ready with a to-go coffee cup for Holmes' latest conquest.  In a rather awkward-seeming routine, Joan provided the beverage for Holmes' lady friend, along with some advice on not taking her speedy dismissal personally.  The quirky dynamic between the roommates is emphasized by the weirdness of Holmes parading these women in and out of the apartment while Watson facilitates their departure and later discusses his proclivities in a bemused manner.  There's an undercurrent of discomfort in her most frank and seemingly unoffended appraisals of Holmes' carousing.  Is she perhaps trying too hard to seem unfazed by Holmes' habits?  Hmm.

The best Holmes quip in this scene was definitely "Julia was a mortician.  The magician left on tour about a month ago."  

Upon being summoned to the latest murder scene, Holmes and Watson encountered a macabre sight that probably comprised the most interesting aspects of the case.  The victim had been halved upon the stage, yet her death had actually been due to earlier and far more simple causes.  This clearly planned theatricality showed in gruesome clarity how far the killer was willing to go to make the crime memorable. This foreshadowed the murderer's showboating intentions quite chillingly. It was nice to see Bell back on the scene and to get a few Gregson moments in at the beginning and end of this week's adventure - hopefully we'll see more of these two in future episodes.

Watson soon deviated from the "A" plot of the episode to investigate a "B" plot that was actually much more interesting than the somewhat predictable ballerina murder.  Joan works for a charity helping homeless men, and when one of them insisted his friend had been abducted, she applied her considerable skills in locating and eventually rescuing the missing man.  Between the incredibly kind behavior and intriguing mix of emotions that Watson displayed, and the suspenseful series of strange events surrounding the kidnapping, this storyline nicely dovetailed into her revealing a bit more of her personal past to Holmes later on.  Another lovely performance from Lucy Liu, and more focus on Watson this week to balance out last week's more sidekicky turn from her.

Holmes was correct that the prima ballerina had little motive for killing an up-and-comer, noting, "it would be like me wanting to kill the world's second greatest detective."  It was apparent from the first scene with the lawyer that he was a villain of near-mustache-twirling obviousness, and I really feel that Holmes would have caught onto the killer's identity almost instantly.  Holmes' one night stand with Iris and the reveal of the affair between the two dancers did little to increase interest in a case whose primary fascination lay in the real killer's motives and horrific pursuit of them.  I will say that while I don't particularly care for the idea of Holmes as a womanizer (it flies in the face of the original Holmes' habits), his testing out the torn rotator cuff theory through sexual means was at least the most believable motive for such conduct the show has yet provided.

Watson's reasons for caring so deeply for the plight of the homeless were revealed in a poignant scene.  She explained to Holmes that her own birth father is a schizophrenic homeless man living in New York.  It's interesting that Watson had, up to this point, allowed Holmes to believe that her stepfather was her biological father, showing that Joan has numerous layers that she hasn't unfurled to her partner as yet.  

However, she's become comfortable enough in her relationship with Holmes to state, "it shouldn't be a secret.  Especially from you."  This made me think of her momentous statement earlier this season, "I shouldn't be the only one who knows you."  So many episodes this year are highlighting the depth of feeling and closeness between Holmes and Watson in a touching way.  The interactions between these two truly light up the screen.

The "A" plot of this hour reminded me that the best episodes of Elementary are so amazing that it makes the lesser cases stand out more.  This is only a testament to the outstanding writing that characterizes the vast majority of the show.  I always thoroughly enjoy the episodes even as I note the occasional ebb into a case like this ballerina one where I think Holmes probably could have wrapped it up in at least half the amount of time.

I did absolutely love Holmes busting the egotistical and foolish lawyer in the men's room towards the end, remarking, "don't worry about the reporters outside.  You look great."  Classic.  Johnny Lee Miller was particularly on point in showing Holmes' enjoyment in taking down this repulsive perpetrator.

There can be little doubt that we will be seeing Watson's father sometime this season, and that hopefully we will also learn more of her personal background and family life as well.  Joan is such a strong, complex character that the plotlines concerning her personal life provide rich enhancement to the episodes.

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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