Elementary "Deja Vu All Over Again" Review: Getting Schooled

By Lily Sparks

Mar 15, 2013

Elementary S01E18: "Deja Vu All Over Again"

Last night's Elementary episode "Deja Vu All Over Again" was all about the Watson, and it's just what I needed. I missed this show! It was on hiatus for what felt like weeks and its first episode back had a lot to commend, particularly its focus on Lucy Liu, some remarkably lovely cinematography, and a small scale crime to puzzle over. Fully engaged in her detective training, Watson has a whole new manic edge that was missing when she was spouting sobriety jargon and lining up drug tests for Sherlock. The new working dynamic also had a beneficial effect on Holmes, who unlike 99.9% of the population is actually much more charming as a boss than a client. 

Sherlock's AA sponsor also made a return appearance during Lucy Liu's adventures, the actor has presence and could be a fun tag-a-long for future adventures, although I'm truly happiest when Sherlock and Watson are side by side and this episode weirdly did not have a tone of those scenes as Sherlock and Watson each took two different (but related) cases. Moments of camaraderie were suggested as happening offscreen (like, when Sherlock asked Watson to come downstairs and sort through a box of profiles of potential suspects to figure out which had committed a crime, I really wanted to run down the stairs with them and share that moment. Alas, end of the episode...). Still, I was genuinely touched while watching this episode by Sherlock's support of his protege and there's no denying that even with an embarrassing arrest outside a storage unit and a weird level of facility with a slim jim, Watson's life is way cooler than before she started working with her genius former-junkie employer. 

I mean, look a these old friends she's hanging out with, you’d have a better night hanging out with three bowls of oatmeal. You’d have a better night carving three friends out of vanilla ice cream or stitching them out of white socks. What bland, Old Navy brand personalities! No wonder they were horrified she hadn’t stuck to the life path she’d chosen at age 18. They staged an intervention because she like, changed jobs too often? Am I just a terrible friend because the only thing that would suggest to me someone needed my intervention is like, if they passed out face-first into their own birthday cake from heroin use in the middle of a party. That's the size of red flag I'd need to tell my friends how to live. Also my own resume reads like I’ve been battling multi-personality disorder the last ten years, so career choices wouldn’t occur to me as an issue to even intervene in. 

Watson seemed super pissed (rightfully so) that these feisty cardboard cut-outs would question her new career choice (especially after she offered to treat! Seriously, how rude, after you've agreed to pay for one friend they bring along two other people? That is not how it works, especially not in NYC where drinks are like, 12 dollars. Maybe Watson walked out to avoid the delicate issue of the bill.).

Still, Sherlock and Watson might soon be in a more comfortable place financially (you know, instead of slumming it in a multi-million dollar brownstone with tons of antiques and high-modern design all bundled up in brand new sweaters every day) as Sherlock is being compelled to consult for cases attached to Daddems, which could lead to paying work and make me feel a little less anxious about what exactly Sherlock and Watson are doing for food. (I don't want to see Sherlock giving a treatise about the uses of an old banana peel while standing waist-deep in a trash can after a night of dumpster-diving.)

This week's case, while delightfully small, was a tad un-solvable. I mean, unless you were smart enough to assume that someone else holding flowers had been hit by a subway train at some point in NYC’s history. If you made that leap, which is in the realm of possibility, then great: well done you! But certainly no hint of that information was breathed during the show. Then again, merely setting the crime on the subway platform puts it in context of all the horrible incidences of people shoved, jumped, or fallen in front of trains. (PS this is basically my worst nightmare. When I used to go into NYC as a kid I would compulsively stand with my back leaning against one of the columns so no one could run up and push me.) So I'm torn about whether or not to group this in with the pile of Elementary mysteries that are solved by a piece of new information revealed in the last five minutes. What are your thoughts?!


...This case: enough context clues for a wily viewer to solve, or another "unsolveable" Elementary?

...Watsons’ friends, kindly or boring?

...Sherlock: sort of kindly and winsome when he’s in charge?

...Are we supposed to believe Sherlock is paying the plans on that giant box of uncharged phones?

...Can you break into a car?

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  • ionee24 Jul 05, 2013

    I like Elementary's cases because they are new and I don't know who did it, Joan actually voices most complains I had with the source material (if Sherlock opens the trunk, there's the body) and the dynamic between them is one of actual partners.

    BBC Sherlock's cases are a chapter by chapter retelling of the books - only the killers use cell pones rather than letters to communicate - and it gets boring when you already know who did it.

  • catspacedog Mar 29, 2013

    I'm reading here and I've read time and again other places how BBC Sherlock's cases are so much better than Elementary's. And while I agree Elementary's mysteries are not amazing in the least, I've always thought Sherlock's made *no* sense. None of them. Hounds was about as WTF as they come. And all of Moriarty's motivation still baffles me to this day. I enjoy that show but I don't find it any closer to Doyle than Elementary when it comes to the heart of the matter because the cases themselves are only dazzling due to the expensive sets, scenery, music and the speedy talking Sherlock.

  • crosshairs103 Mar 22, 2013

    Okay. Short and sweet. Liked the episode, definitely one of the season's best. JLM and Lucy Liu have a great dynamic, but I will stop watching the show if Watson and Holmes get romantically involved. One point of unfinished business that really irked me, and I believe most of the show's audience: Where was the body? They negated the trunk as a possible hiding place, but the episode needed a better wrap-up than Watson changing her job on a social networking site.

  • darcicomplex Mar 21, 2013

    Love, love, loved this episode. Lucy Liu's Joan Watson has been the strongest part of this series all season long, and this was great to have an episode that focused so strongly on her character and her own storyline/case. Also thought it was so great how they showed her different her life has become in 6 months during that scene when they cut from a flashback to her having a night out w friends and then going to her breaking into a car.

    Last, I thought it was a great choice of music when they used Junip's "Line of Fire" when Emily and Joan are talking on the phone and Emily gives Joan moral support about her decision and career change to being a detective like Sherlock. Bravo all around, best episode of the season.

  • LeslieLM Mar 19, 2013

    While Watson's friends were beyond boring, their intervention did make the point that she's evolving as a person. Which is very cool.

    I'm starting to wonder if Sherlock's dad is all that bad. After all, he did not send his son out to find a rich guy's missing millions or lost Peckingese. Perhaps their dysfunctional relationship is about both of them.

  • Savvytvfan91 Mar 19, 2013

    Really loved this episode!!! I am so excited to see Watson be so detectivey it was awesome!!!

  • SpecialKRJ1 Mar 19, 2013

    Lots of people hate on Watson's friends, but they had good cause to be concerned. She was in a vulnerable moment in her life, and let's face it, the direction she'd gone was KIND of bizarre. It didn't seem like her, so they wanted to make sure that things weren't going weird. They just wanted to let her know they were concerned and they were there if she needed them. They're getting a lot of hate, but imagine how you'd react if your friend, when she's in her 40s andgoing through some difficult times because she'd just lost her medical license, suddenly dropped everything to become some kind of private detective with one of her former clients, which is a BIG breach of etiquette and ethics. It's completely reasonable for them to be concerned. I like that they showed that, because in our modern world, Sherlock's WEIRD. Much weirder than he was in the victorian age.

  • DavidJackson8 Mar 18, 2013

    I'm a tad surprised to see no mention from either the article or any of the comments below about both Andre Royo and Jim True-Frost being in the episode... both of whom played relatively big characters on The Wire. But I can understand the lack of mention, which is why my surprise was small... they portrayed pretty small characters here, so whatever.

    I liked how the case(s) ended up. Yeah, the reveal was maybe almost impossible for us viewers to predict because the clues weren't "shown", but I thought the reveal was creative enough for me not to care. Recreating a killing so that you can use an old video to hide a previous separate killing? I like it. I knew he'd be the killer and that the cases would join together, but the reason for it was surprising enough to be entertaining.

    As for the friends... ehhhhhhh, I think I can understand both sides. Yes, it was kinda lame and maybe snobbish to hold a non-intervention intervention about Joan switching professions a couple times (especially since she started out as DOCTOR!, whoooaaaaa). But I can also see the friends' point about it just being them showing their concern, and that Joan probably would have shown concern if one of them had chosen to switch from surgeon to sober babysitter (after a patient's death) to consulting-detective-being-mentored-by-former-drug-addict.

  • RafCole Mar 18, 2013

    This case: bit of both. The video messag talking about the pushing man, was somewhat far fetched imo. But hey, it's Elementary... they're allowed. If I could solve all of the cases before they're explained, you don't need a sherlock for'em.
    Watsons' friends are booooring!!! Intervention because of a career switch? Lame with capital L
    I just like the vibe between them at the moment. Do you think it'd be good or bad to have them "involved" at some point?
    Euuuhhmm, No.

    And again euuuhhmm, No! :-)

  • tryptz Mar 18, 2013

    Awesome case....this wowed me. This should have been the Super Bowl episode.
    Kudos Watson.

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