Elementary "Dirty Laundry" Review: Holmesland

By Lily Sparks

Jan 04, 2013

Elementary S01E11: "Dirty Laundry"

This week, Sherlock Holmes did something I truly didn’t expect: He smoked out a nest of Russian spies. Yes, after a hotel manager’s body was found looking quite well for the wear, her grieving widower was in the course of events revealed to be nothing less than a sleeper agent puppeted by a foreign land, his daughter a prospective Georgetown student who as a full U.S. citizen would possibly one day have access to the highest governmental agencies! Guys, what popular show does this kind of remind you of? Need a hint?

Holmes had the gall to walk in on this fire hazard and say, “It's homage to my methodology!” Um, so far this show has established Holmes’ methodology as being staring at safes and racing about people’s houses while punching holes in their belongings. This was a Carrie Matheson homage if ever I did see one and to that I say: I can’t fault your taste, writers. If you’re going to rip off another show, Homeland is as good, if not better, than any. However, as there was no way Lucy Liu, sworn stoic, was going to pony up the cry faces, they brought in a bobo Kristen Stewart to ugly-sob her way through the episode.

Ugh, throw her in the river. What a horrible character. She PUSHED HER MOM, KNOCKED HER OUT—believed she had KILLED HER MOTHER and then fled the scene without making sure her mom was okay. I don’t care if your mother just transformed into Natasha from “Boris and,” you need to get her into an ambulance bitch!

As awful as they wrote the daughter, even she was more believable than that paperdoll character they threw in as the dad. How utterly, utterly ridiculous was the idea that a Russian spy so dedicated to his mission that he spent decades in a sham marriage and coldly inseminated his fellow agent in the name of Mother Russia folded completely after a brief conversation with an FBI agent? What happened to cyanide pills in wristwatches and throwing down a puff of smoke and running out of the room and all that? I mean, if we’re going to go balls to the wall loony tunes spy logic, let’s do damn well do it right. I was not impressed at how quickly a lifetime of gathering intelligence for the Russkies turned into this guy being like, “Check it I’m a spy, let’s parlay” over a cup of coffee.

I was truthfully not thrilled that this week’s deduction leading to a nest of espionage. That’s a little big-picture for Holmes, it borders on being completely irrelevant, and um, that thumb drive he found because it weighed down a compact was the shittiest detail this show has ever incorporated. Guess how much this thing weighs?

I collect thumb drives and I have several I wear as jewelry. Even the one I have that holds a whopping 32GB I can still barely feel when I pick it up and it looks EXACTLY LIKE THAT DRIVE. These things weigh about as much as the zippers on the fly of your jeans. So for Holmes to pick up a compact and be like “Waaaaait a minute, this is .00000003 grams heavier than I would expect women’s makeup, which fluctuates wildly from brand to brand in terms of packaging, to weigh,” like, amongst a swirl of laughable clues, that one made me groan. You CLEARLY don’t buy Chanel makeup because you could drive a truck over that compact! (JK I do NOT use Chanel I paint my face with magic markers and then seal in the shine with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Seamless!!!!)

Altogether, while ripping off Homeland was really transparent and annoying, at least it was a distraction from this show’s refusal to get started. Holmes continually offered an apprenticeship to Watson, who was up to her eyeballs in this week’s case, and then in a SHOCKING TWIST she said at the end of the episode that next week would be their last one working together. Elementary, who do you think you’re fooling? Are you honestly trying to create suspense by suggesting the premise of the show may or may not happen? It’s the laziest, dumbest, most boring way imaginable to extend the season arc. Are you writers really that tapped for ideas that the best conflict you can think of is for Watson to drag out her decision on whether to assist Holmes? Like, shame on you. I am totally giving you that look Saul gave Carrie when she came on to him. What the f*ck do you think you’re doing?!


1. SPIES?!!?

2. Did you like this week’s episode?

  • Comments (70)
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  • ionee24 Jan 10, 2013

    I just wish, for once, that the russian spies would be the elders & grandparents they actually should have been for them to have been placed in the 80s (you know, back when there was a cold war).

  • Onenote111 Jan 10, 2013

    Soooooo nit-picky, jeez I enjoyed the episode. I'm glad I'm not a critic. I doubt if I would ever enjoy anything. Seeing that the world is a stinking slagheap!! Rose colored glasses baby its the only way to go...

  • katikool Jan 07, 2013

    It's funny, I had a completely different reaction to this episode. Russian spies? AWESOME. Russian spies are just so... quaint. Old school cool. They do seem to be cropping up plot-wise a lot lately, but I do not mind.

    This was one of the first mysteries I was fully, fully invested in. Again, see my thing for Russian spies. And I didn't think that daughter was so bad. For a 17 year old pill addict who found out her parents totally lied about everything ever, and then thought she killed her mom after a minor pushing accident, and then was recruited to be a spy against her own country, she handled it kind of well-ish.

    As far as plot logic fails, ehhh whatever. Maybe I just have lowered expectations for a network show, but what I look for in Elementary is interesting characterizations by JLM and Lucy Liu and entertaining mysteries of the week. This episode killed with both!

  • stanking Jan 07, 2013

    Speaking of the stupidity of the hidden flash drive, Sherlock was talking about hidden compartments and mentioned a piece of furniture with 25 "cachets". The word he meant, and which Sherlock would have certainly known had the writers not been IDIOTS, is "caches", which is pronounced "cashes". That one word slip killed the scene for me.

  • ionee24 Jan 06, 2013

    One thing's for sure: Lucy Liu and Lee Miller have re-invented Watson and Holmes's chemistry in the best possible way.

  • AdaHui Jan 06, 2013

    Apparently, I'm one of few who just like to watch TV for the sake of it being entertaining rather than dissect every stinkin' minute detail. Being that I love Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller and find their interactions on screen entirely entertaining, I have no issues with this episode.

  • mnementh01 Jan 09, 2013

    Very good comment buuuuut I have to say that I do agree with the reviewer about the flash drive and the whole weight issue.

    I actually burst out laughing when he opened the compact to reveal the drive. It was that ridiculous.

  • ErlendJohanne Jan 06, 2013

    Ah! What a refreshing thing to read! And I very much agree. It's easy to like JLM in this role regardless of how realistic and believable the details are presented. And I was entertained throughout the show so - mission accomplished!

  • gia Jan 07, 2013

    I agree 100%! I am thoroughly entertained by the show and the actors. Nothing else matters.

  • opalemeraldcat Jan 06, 2013

    Okay, it was too big picture and there were holes (after being discovered, still did fake accents? kid never mentioned agreeing to become a spy, and why would she have anyway?) However, I think the big idea behind this one was that Watson is becoming a good investigator (the paper thing might've been a bit much, but STILL). I expect her to walk back to Sherlock eventually and say, "Partners or nothing." (Maybe after saving his butt.) Even he ended up giving her an "associate" offer by the end of the episode (Good music there, btw). I *am* still interested in that arc, because it will determine how they will see each other, it will establish a lot of Watson's character and motivation--we know why Sherlock does this, but it's *always* been about Watson, the regular person, whose fascination with these strange goings, is most important to make believable, even relatable. This won't be a dynamic like any other recreation of Sherlock Holmes, and I'm very glad about that. This show doesn't glorify or skip over Sherlock's flaws, and makes it clear he does want Watson around, plus Watson doesn't take crap from him. It's refreshing, new and refreshing.

    So basically, if they can keep the plots tighter--like Child Predator--and pace the dynamic development, I'm still hooked. The stakes are climbing.

    And please calm down!

  • bkyle2429 Jan 06, 2013

    I do believe that the handler walked in after she pushed mom!! so calling an ambulance was no longer an option anyways!!

  • ElisaDiaz Jan 06, 2013

    About the episode: same as rest of the episodes. I'd love to see these two actors interacting in a different show, with different roles and different script. I still think that Watson being a woman is a mistake, and the show is still not doing anything to fix it (at least, give Watson something to do other than laundry and dishes). At least we know that soon we will have something changing and there is the excitement of wondering what would be? Moriarty? Irene? Something new? Maybe we are lucky and next season will stop stretching the sober companion situation and go into real Holmes-Watson stuff, and save us all from boredom.

  • mnementh01 Jan 09, 2013

    Irene Adler is dead!


  • ElisaDiaz Jan 09, 2013

    supposedly being the key, of course :)

  • 2muchbadTV Jan 06, 2013

    As for the daughter leaving her mother there without checking to see if she's dead, or caring, didn't the show later explain that the spies' handler got to the daughter nearly immediately and tried to strongarm the girl, and HE took care of everything else? The daughter's story about her leaving the mother there turned out to be a lie. The handler tried to turn the daughter right then and there and said leave everything else to him or else the girl would be in big trouble.

    But yes, international spies is either too big for Sherlock Holmes or at least needs to be handled with more depth and scope so as to merit such a huge plot. But I'm not sure what you would expect at this point. I want to like this show, I really do. But so far it's done next to NOTHING with the Sherlock Holmes character. They've got him running around doing the same things the regular police should be capable of doing (seriously, those "leads" he came up with this week is basic detective stuff) which not only makes the police department look insanely inept on this show, it does NOTHING to characterize the greatness and the prowess of deduction of Sherlock Holmes. In the last episode's review, I noted how the term "deduction" was being used wrongly on this show and several people seemed to agree. There is nothing right now to separate this show from any other procedural, they're just doing it with Sherlock Holmes' name. The writers are failing at writing a Sherlock Holmes show where the main character makes actual deductions that the regular police would never make.

    Good GAWD I wish "Sherlock" did more than 3 eps per year.

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