Elementary’s return in 2013 was anything but elementary. The Sherlockian procedural has intrigued many since the beginning. What has worked well for the show so far is that some weeks the case takes precedence and others the interpersonal relationships take the lead. Sure, there have been some miscues where the struggle between the two aspects is obvious, but these are rarities. This week the freshman drama was in tip-top shape.
Call girls, pill addiction, hidden cameras and blackmail. Oh, and Russian spies, of course. This episode’s case had it all going on as it began with two hotel maids finding the hotel manager in an industrial washer. Holmes and Watson go through the usual suspects: the manager’s husband and a businessman she was supposedly seeing.
The detectives discover that the manager was running a prostitution ring in her hotel, which prompts the duo to learn more about the manager/madame. You know that there is going to be a twist somewhere along the way; it’s trying to be your own Holmes and deduce when and what the twist will be that’s the interesting part.
This week the twist came when they realized the madame wasn’t getting paid for her services, which piqued the interest of Holmes. He deduced that she recorded the hotel bedrooms for blackmail. He watched the tapes and discovered she wasn’t blackmailing people for committing adultery, but was filming them for what they said in privacy. Of course she was a spy! A Russian one at that.
Who killed her was a twist in itself again this week. The two spies had a daughter as part of their cover, but she didn’t know anything and was about to go to the University of Michigan to play soccer until her mom put a stop to her daughter’s dreams. There was a fight where the truth was revealed and the angry teen pushed her Russian spy mother, knocking her out. But she didn’t kill her. It was the businessman who wasn’t having a sexual relationship with the madame. In fact, he was the spy duo’s handler, and he cleaned up the mess in the hotel laundry room that night.
Twists and turns make for a great case, but what reins the episode in continues to be Holmes and Watson’s relationship. Now that she’s close to leaving him as a sober companion, Watson also has to rebuff offers from Holmes to become his apprentice (and later he offers associate). We all know she’ll take it eventually, but for now it looks like she is going to take on another recovering addict client. The only thing I hope is that the show fleshes out this subplot and Watson doesn’t all of a sudden come back to Holmes the next episode. I’d like to see Holmes struggle in the absence of his associate. After all, “tough times don’t last; tough people do,” and an arc like this will give Holmes the chance to prove the episode’s mantra true.