Elementary "M." Review: Now We're Getting Somewhere!

By Lily Sparks

Jan 11, 2013

Elementary S01E12: "M."

At first I thought last night’s episode of Elementary was going to go a little off-book and center on a chubby business man’s unorthodox workouts as overseen by his stern physical trainer, but it turned out the show was about to slap us with the most intense episode of the series so far, at last dropping on us Sherlock’s beloved arch-nemesis Moriarty, if only by proxy.

Moriarty in Doyle’s series—notice I do not say Sir Doyle, because I live in mothaf*ckin’ America where we don’t let our rich folks call themselves fancy titles like their own private 24-7 Ren Faire, I won’t be bobbing a curtsey to any of that shit, ladies, princesses, whatever, unless y’all willing to address me by my Dungeons and Dragons character name, Majesto—Moriarty was a criminal mastermind staying above reproach while orchestrating a “vast and subtle” criminal ring. So at first I thought, okay, here’s a nice little twist, they went entirely Lock Stock N’ Two Smokin’ Barrels An’ All That on Moriarty. Of course, we would find—once he was strung up on some scaffolding like a leather-clad passion play—that the big charismatic brawler was merely a pawn, with Moriarty as a big bad boss we haven’t met yet. Wise decision! Actually suspenseful long-form arc that has nothing to do with sobriety, at long last!

And Jonny Lee Miller was so fantastic this episode. His voice was a little rough in the opening scenes (cold perhaps?), but his acting in the torture sequence and throughout a very demanding script was frankly masterful. So much sensitivity in his portrayal of an inner moral debate that wasn’t necessarily on the page, and he also brought so much heart to talking about Irene—a sort of trite justification for revenge, but I’ll buy it when JLM’s selling.

Lucy Liu matched him in her own restrained way: Watson, as usual, out-sleuthed Sherlock, coming up with small details and sussing out Sherlock’s security system and abbreviated crime spree. Her emotional moment when she admitted she loved the work, and his reply, gave me chills. Finally our two acting greats are being given a thorough obstacle course to display their skills! (Although obviously it annoyed me to no end that she was sent packing on a therapist appointment early on... but they explained he had to get her out of the way to avoid her connecting Irene with ‘M’ satisfactorily, so I’ll give it a pass.)

Here’s my theory: I am hoping Irene Adler’s death was faked so Moriarty could use her criminal wiles in some larger scheme. I just can’t believe they would kill off what could be such a useful character, and making her death responsible for his dependency would put her directly across Watson as a foil and opponent if she came back to life/the States.

Also it did occur to me that for an American take on Sherlock it's funny how all the major events have already happened in London and all the major characters are based in London. Not a complaint, I was basking in the different sorts of English accent last night, but it's funny how it seemingly never crossed the creator’s minds to do an American counterpart of Sherlock. No, he just got on a plane and came here, his whole mythos is entirely British. It works and all, but I do think it’s very telling of how we identify heroes in the States.

I also was sort of appalled that Sherlock stabbed him. I know it was a non-fatal situation and it was good TV but A) I don’t buy that the brawler would almost instantly forgive him and conspire to cover up his assault on the promise that he would go after Moriarty and B) Sherlock is a thinker, not a gut-popper! Because JLM is JLM he made it work, and the wound being non-fatal kept it consistent with character, but still, let’s try and shy away from any more Robert Downey Jr.-esque “deduction in the throes of physical contest” = superpowers.

In sum, this episode was genuinely engrossing, laid down a promising foundation for the rest of the series, and at long last proved to us that Watson wants to be here. I am genuinely excited about the next episode! How did you feel about it?


1. Who claims the Coca-Cola?

2. Do you think it's realistic that the brawler would ‘forgive’ Sherlock for stabbing him?

3. How long until Sherlock finds out Watson is volunteering her services?

4. Irene Adler: What are the odds she’s alive?

  • Comments (109)
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  • Finn75 Aug 11, 2013

    Just started to watch this show, and I am enjoying every minute of it! Just had to say I thought the photo of Vinnie Jones being arrested (which Holmes views on his phone) looked vaguely familiar, and I was right! It actually mirrors one of the original illustrations of Sebastian Moran being brought to custody by two bobbies as Holmes (and Watson) looks on in one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels! Check Wikipedia for Sebastian Moran if you don't believe me ;)

  • Wiseguy70005 May 25, 2013

    "notice I do not say Sir Doyle, because I live in mothaf*ckin’ America where we don’t let our rich folks call themselves fancy titles like their own private 24-7 Ren Faire, I won’t be bobbing a curtsey to any of that shit, ladies, princesses, whatever, unless y’all willing to address me by my Dungeons and Dragons character name, Majesto"

    A real writer would have left that nonsense out.

  • fan1983 Feb 05, 2013

    As soon as I saw those bees, I thought, "Lily's gonna have to buy someone a coke." :) And I really, really, REALLY hope Irene is still alive. It's a limitless well psychosis that could be explored. Imagine the sense of betrayal he'll feel once he finds out that she CHOSE to leave him? Or, if it was staged, the rage he'll feel at Moriarty for 'stealing her' from him.

    Either way, it makes for better television than uncovering Russian spies and catching teen killers.

  • GreyMinerva Feb 05, 2013

    I have no problem with the "thug" accepting - not forgiving - the stabbing. It's a simpe choice between leaving Sherlock free to try and take down Moriarty (which Moran wants for revenge), or getting him sent to jail/therapy in which case Moran is still going to jail for murder, and has noone left to take revenge on his boss.

    Besides, he's been a soldier, he's clearly no stranger to pain, he's killed people in quite nasty ways - a quick, non-fatal stab is probably something he'd shrug off, philosophically accepting it as the price of doing business.

  • Bigmacha Feb 05, 2013

    Hit the button, meant to add spends his time at the Diogenes Club and is actually smarter then Holmes but much lazier. Also, hints that he works for what became British intelligence. Lets see how the story progresses.

  • Bigmacha Feb 05, 2013

    The series is excellent and is following the arc of the original SH stories by gradually introducing the core characters. M is distinct from Moriarity and is in fact Colonel Sebastion Moran, Holmes second most deadly foe and also Moriarity's right hand man. Irene Adler is most definitely alive and may guess will be introduced in the cliff hanger at the end of the season. The only major characters yet to be introduced is Holmes' brother Mycroft who, the original stories weighed a ton, was as smart as Holmes

  • NeeUyank Jan 20, 2013

    I don't know if anyone else suggested it before and it could be a very far fetching theory, but Moriarty could be Holmes's father.. it kinda felt like a Lex and Lionel Luthor kind of relationship Holmes has with his father and that he could very well have made Irene killed in the way he rejected Watson's request for staying further, as she was sent to Holmes before, against his will.. I dunno, maybe too much conspiracy theory on mybehalf but that last scene kinda gave me that feeling..

  • 69goldie69 Jan 19, 2013

    I think that Martin Lawrence would make a great Moriarty on this show.

  • Sawats Jan 18, 2013

    i did catch one grievous error, relating to English/American language. The email reply from Holmes' dad to Watson mentioned that he would send her final "check" shortly. I would have hoped that the writers' would know that those in the UK and Canada spell the word "cheque"...the proper way!

  • Serrano0 Jan 17, 2013

    Great episode. Amazing, honestly.

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