Elementary "A Giant Gun, Filled With Drugs" Review: High Times

By Lily Sparks

Feb 08, 2013

Elementary S01E15: "A Giant Gun, Filled With Drugs"

No joke, I loved last night’s episode. Talk about savvy programming, that the Superbowl Special episode of Elementary and the one last night were among the two best episodes the show has ever done. The cold open, a girl getting stuffed into a suitcase after refusing to let a stranger in to charge his cellphone, was genuinely scary (although I resent them punishing a female character for not letting some strange guy into her house—ladies, there are plenty of times where not trusting your instinct lands you in the headlines described as a torso, and don’t forget it).

I loved the circle of Al-Anon supporters listening to JLM spool out a case of his that involved a mongoose and “Colonel” something. At least one of Elementary's writers has a sort of absurd sense of humor that leaks in here and there and when it does, the show is always stronger for it. And then John Hannah turning up in the buff and doing a Scottish accent? As someone who has seen The Mummy at least 2,802 times, John Hannah, Racel Weiz, Brendan Fraser, Oded Fehr and Arnold Vosloo will ALWAYS be welcome on my screen. (I can’t be the only person who secretly adores this movie and is down to watch it any old time. Oh I am? Well that’s why I never leave my house.)

I also thought it was wonderful that they were working on a case without the resources of the NYPD/FBI for a change. It was a smaller story (relatively; an international cartel is on average a tiny bit smaller than an international spy ring involving elite covert government agencies), and I thought it was hilarious to put Watson and Sherlock out of their element at the Hurrikane club and all. But most impressive was the central conflict that was raised: That Sherlock’s former drug dealer Reese (Hannah) insisted that when Sherlock was high he was much more creative and brilliant—that the sober version of him was a shadow of his former, London-based self. (Gar he sounded so much like someone from one of my art classes back in college, where I spent critique after critique with fellow art school students and teachers who were proudly high out of their minds.)

I don’t know if this is a meta-comment on the unflattering comparisons to the BBC Sherlock that first dogged this show or if it will turn into Sherlock blowing some rails when he gets super stumped in the season finale, should Irene Adler get involved (and please can she be played by Angelina Jolie?).

We all know that’s not going to happen (Angelina is busy being the closest thing on Earth to Superman/filtering water in third world countries) but the fact that my brain is excitedly trying to predict where the season is going to go instead of sitting back and moaning about how many opportunities have been lost feels quite refreshing. The smaller stories, a mere sprinkling of police, and well-earned emotional punches resting on solidly built story foundations (the sadness of Sherlock borrowing money from his dad, the genuine rage from Sherlock when Reese tempted him with cocaine)...

So to sum: Was it a perfect episode? No, but the relationship between Sherlock and the police (mutually respectful but not partners), the plausibility of the crime (thank goodness no more spy games!), and the emotional connection to the person bringing the story for once were welcome and encourage my hopes more than I’ll say.

But more importantly, what did you think?


1. PG tips: best tea ever? (did I imagine this or did Watson specify they had PG tips?)

2. What movie can you watch any day of the week?

3. Do you think Sherlock will ever break sobriety (like, say, in the season finale?)

4. Do you think drugs can honestly make an artist more creative, or do artists who incorporate drugs into their creative mode use them as a crutch because they fear they’re not that good?

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  • xela34 Feb 18, 2013

    what do you mean John Hannah doing a Scottish accent? he is Scottish, that's his real accent.

  • simpletime98 Feb 18, 2013

    It is painful to watch this show because I have to watch another well put together and frankly over qualified cast submerge within a thin concept. Tragic in a sense to see all that talent being used in that/this sense.

  • TQB Feb 20, 2013

    I agree. The talent of the cast is equal to the BBC Sherlock, but the concept and the mysteries have been dumbed down. I'm reading all the comments below about how much people "loved" this episode and just shaking my head. I guess CBS is making Sherlock for the masses...

  • Akyriel Feb 17, 2013

    I am rather late to post on this and probably no one will read it, as I just saw this episode, but here goes...

    Calling this one of the best episodes is ridiculous.

    You consider a stepfather who raised his daughter, and was getting financial help from her, told she has been kidnapped and is then dismissed and left standing there never to be seen gain good television??? If you were him, WOULD YOU NOT GO TO THE POLICE??? Oh, by the way, let's not tell him she would be killed, if he did, thereby giving him incentive not to! How about if he went and tagged along to help find her? Maybe he could have interacted with real father, Hannah, in an important way? At the very least, have him with the daughter at the end, even in the hospital hallway, before she went in to visit Hannah in his room.

    How about the finger? Would it have been possible to save it for reattachment? Watson, if I remember correctly, IS A DOCTOR! Checking the viability of the finger for such a purpose would have been nice to see, and if not, so be it, but if so, STERILIZE AND GET IT ON ICE or something! It's not the 1800's anymore. You may have up to 12 hours to do this successfully.

    There, had to rant despite this episode being old by now.

  • TQB Feb 20, 2013

    I am also late, but I love your rant so much, I am compelled to add to it. This episode was not only not the best episode, it might be the WORST. It was riddled with holes - in addition to the two that got to you, how about the bare-bones summary of the actual crime:

    1. Cartel kidnaps girl.
    2. Girl's dad comes to Sherlock. He determines it's the Cartel.
    3. At the Cartel hangout, the VERY FIRST and ONLY person Sherlock talks to turns out to be the kidnapper.
    4. (Various red herrings)
    5. The kidnapper outs himself in broad daylight, gets arrested and apparently "forgets" that there was a third person who knew about the crime.

    HUH?? I kept waiting for the trick, the wrinkle, something... I was positive DEA guy wasn't going to be the actual kidnapper, just opportunistically extorting the cash from someone else's crime.

    So many opportunities to make an interesting mystery, missed. Otherwise, I thought the writing and the pace of the episode were great. I've grown to like this show more than I ever expected, but the reason it suffers in comparison to BBC Sherlock and even other procedurals is that the mysteries are just not complicated enough. Green and Briscoe would have had this one wrapped up in 20 minutes. You can't introduce the step dad and then leave him out, and it wasn't a clever "reversal" to introduce the narc as someone we should believe, only to make him the perp. It was just dumb.

    This review is also a bit shaky. Fine, you liked it and I didn't. But you did see all the episodes about Irene being DEAD, right? And Sherlock almost torturing the heck out of the guy he thought did it?

  • SarahHagen2 Feb 13, 2013

    Tetley is best tea ever.
    Back to the Future. Take me away, I don't mind. But you better promise me, I'll be back in time. I also had a craving for the Mummy the other day and it's not Netflix...? WTF?!
    Possibly, in a true moment of desperation he may lose it like when he confronted Irene's supposed killer. Plus he put the cocaine in his pocket.
    Never taken mind expanding drugs so can't comment definitively, but everyone can agree that the Beatle's Magical Mystery Tour was 'magical' for a reason.

  • 134sc Feb 11, 2013

    Another solid episode. Its getting to the point where if the show gets cancelled, I will be very dissapointed.

    I dont know if hard drugs would be able to "expand the mind" in that way, but there are people out there who claim it does so...I dunno. In TV/Movies however, these type of people always seem to be even more brilliant when they are high as a kyte. House, for example, was always brilliant, but when he was high, he was truly incredible.

    I think that they are teasing that Sherlock will eventually break sobriety for a case. If memory serves, Sherlock has stated that while in London he always dabbled, but more so for recreation. When Irene was taken/murdered he began using more often as a means to help him find the perpatrator. It got to the point where he was addicted, but still functional (a la House), but eventually his addiction won out, he was fired and so on. So wouldn't it be fitting if the Moriarty problem resurfaces near the end of the season and Sherlock feels he needs a boost.

    There are so many movies but as of now, if I had to pick one I'd say, The Dark Knight. In the last 3 weeks it was on TV twice while I was flipping channels and both times I watched it. When I think about it though, it really makes no sense I would do that, cuz I own the movie and can watch it whenever I want...lol

  • yitzyk Feb 11, 2013

    Looking back after the episode was over, I don't see the point of the whole first scene with the delivery guy (who it turns out had been telling the truth.) He had nothing to do with the kidnapping, and was not even tapped as a witness to it.

  • AriSky Feb 11, 2013

    This episode was alright. It wasn't the same police-come-to-Sherlock procedural; it was something more personal. I really thought we'd meet Mycroft in this one, but that remains to be seen. Also, has Clyde been banished to the roof with the bees?

  • nimrod Feb 11, 2013

    I totally agree with you about the girl not letting that guy in her house, and how it makes it seem like she made a mistake by not being smart. Also, do any women really jog when it's night out? I love the Mummy 1 and 2, and it's always a treat to see someone like John show up on a t.v. show.

    I believe that some artists are better high simply because they allow themselves to explore all possibilities and nothing it too creatively out of bounds. Interesting question, and while the show would most likely be better if it were to happen, I don't think Sherlock will relapse. It's interesting tho, because there's a part of me that doesn't want him too, as if to say he has the inner strength to overcome what not only what everyone else sees as a problem, but one that he perceives to be a problem as well.

    I think this was a very strong episode, and hopefully they'll continue with this formula. I'm sure not every case will bring about some emotional conflict with Sherlock, but there's room for stuff with Watson and the two main police officers.

  • bleumystique Feb 10, 2013

    Love the review and I'm so with you on all points!!
    -You'd have to come to my house to see the best tea ever. Tea addict and proud of it.
    -The Breakfast Club.
    -I think that is a certainty. I think that is one of the many things that makes the Sherlock/Watson relationship so intriguing now more than it was in the first handful of episodes. He will fall off the wagon again at some point.
    - I too LOVED this episode, which makes it four episodes in a row that I positively adored. I think the show is hitting it's stride and doing quite well and that makes me happy. I also loved that there was a case that didn't involve murder and also didn't involve them working with the cops but doing something on their own. It was fantastic to see that and they should definitely do it more often. I loved that it started off with a girl who got snatched up and she was actually being responsible and reasonable for a change. I hate it when we're supposed to feel bad for the victim when they start off right out the gate making stupid decisions like letting people into their houses and then turning their backs etc.
    - Reese was an interesting chap for sure. He made for some humorous, intense, and intriguing moments. I loved the convo he had with Sherlock in the hall and Joan's just waiting for him to put some bloody clothes on!LOL! But the ultimate moment was definitely when he offered Sherlock drugs and basically told him he sucks without him and Sherlock flipped the hell out. Intensity. Loved it. I've slowly been developing a crush on JLM for his portrayal of this character. I know many would argue otherwise, but I think he's doing a really great job.
    -The relationship between Joan and Sherlock is probably what I enjoy the most. I love how slow-building it was. They've very slowly (and I suppose realistically) developed this friendship that is beyond them just having a professional relationship. They genuinely have come to care for one another, and for someone like Joan who seems emotionally distant despite helping others to be the oppose, and someone like Sherlock who for all intents an purposes falls just short of being a high functioning sociopath...well it's a fantastic revelation for them both, and neither of them knows what to make of it, nor do they really speak of it but they know its there. Loving their friendmance (which I borrowed from a friend because I didn't know how to describe it otherwise. LOL) . they are slowly coming to grips that they are a bit co-dependent on one another and it's just interesting to watch. But, and this is what I find most interesting, it is almost as though he's traded in one addiction for another. He's always been addicted to puzzles and the cases and he used the drugs to aid in that but he traded the drugs for Watson, which means he's more dependent on her than he probably should. She has somehow become his crutch, which is exactly what she was trying to avoid to begin with but she's sort of using him as a crutch too.
    -So now that Sherlock has talked to his father and had to borrow money from him, is it safe to say that he knows about Watson? I wouldn't be surprised if he knew before, but I definitely figure he knows now. Not that he'd say anything just yet.

  • 134sc Feb 11, 2013

    "they are slowly coming to grips that they are a bit co-dependent on one another and it's just interesting to watch"

    The last scene is very telling. Look up "phrenology" (which is on the sculpter Sherlock is putting back together). Then take into account Sherlock and Watson's conversation. Add in how he helped her with her coat (and all the help she gives him). And finally, how the sculpter had only half of the head completed (implying that the other half needs to be completed).

  • MariaMahoney Feb 10, 2013

    Ah, I loved this episode. The ending with Serlock and Watson going off to AA was just so sweet, I actually felt tugs on my practically non existent heartstrings. And Lily, you are NOT the only one to have watched The Mummy a good few hundred (thousand) times. I loved that film. Anywho onto the review questions.

    1. PG tips: best tea ever? (did I imagine this or did Watson specify they had PG tips?)

    PG tips is literally the only tea I drink. It is awesomeness of awesomeness in a a freaking CUP! (you can all tell I live in England right? Too much tea)

    2. What movie can you watch any day of the week?

    Hmn...... The Mummy? LOL! That and epic films like Troy, Gladiator, Braveheart... there is something so awesome about everyone yelling and trying to kill each other with pointy weapons.

    3. Do you think Sherlock will ever break sobriety (like, say, in the season finale?)

    I'm kind of hoping he doesn't. It'd be kind of sad. But I think with Watson around, he probably won't. Or he'll get extremely close and Watson will stop him. I love their friendship. It just proves that men and women do NOT have to have sex to get along. I mean come on, did anyone notice that when the gun went off the first word out of Sherlock's mouth was "Watson?" I think just the fact they have a friendship might keep him sober.

    4. Do you think drugs can honestly make an artist more creative, or do artists who incorporate drugs into their creative mode use them as a crutch because they fear they're not that good?

    I think drugs destroy the mind, not enhance it. I believe people have a choice, they can use drugs or not, but I certainly wouldn't want to destroy my mind with anything that eats my brain cells at a faster rate then they can re multiply. You hit your head, you lose something like 10,000 brain cells, but they reproduce. You smoke a joint and you kill something like 300,000 brain cells that will NEVER come back. So I suppose I believe people use them more as a crutch if they're scared they're not good enough at what they want to be.

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