Elementary "Snow Angels" Review: Is It Still Snowing Where You Live? (Other Than That, a Pleasant Episode)

By Lily Sparks

Apr 05, 2013

Elementary S01E19: "Snow Angels"

is back, my dears! Did they realize how long the hiatus would be when they sketched out a blizzard-based episode? Maybe it's the privilege of living in sunny California, but the ethereal city snowscape last night felt vaguely off-topic. Still, the storm seemed more a device to cater to critics who might complain that a Sherlock with access to Google is much less deductive than a Sherlock with Victorian levels of electricity. And in "Snow Angels," Sherlock had to solve the crime in the old-fashioned way: using only cool hard reason and social media. 

Last night Sherlock got down and dirty with his inner child, making a road map of locks for his pet turtle Clyde to navigate and stewing over blueprints in child’s tent/fort/sheet teepee. 

Watson remarked on the use of locks to represent locked-down checkpoints and JLM snapped, "I’m not interested in making a visual pun!" But let me take a minute or two and give much respect to the writers and art department who go out of their way to find visually interesting devices to explain the crimes in every single episode. Its not all blue-tinted flashbacks on Elementary, and for that I’m greatful. However, sometimes (as in the ending of this episode, where he was splattering fake blood all over a freshly cleaned floor and then told her to go put on a blindfold), it seems like these sorts of set pieces are less to illustrate a point to the audience and more to hammer in Sherlock’s eccentricity. 

The emotional B-story this week centered around a stunningly lovely transgender woman who cleaned the house, settling once and for all my issue of, is it sexist that Sherlock makes Watson do all the chores, or merely part of her apprenticeship? Well now both of them can focus on the serious business of case work (i.e. hitting cupcakes with a tennis racket into a bouncy castle) instead of pretending the beautifully lit brownstone is dirty. 

I really don’t like to, or see the point in, dissecting the weekly "throwaway" story in a procedural; I prefer to focus on where Watson and Sherlock are in their relationship. But since they had few conflicts this episode and were going along as swimmingly as peanut butter and jelly in my mouth, I’d like to unpack a few moments of this week’s caper:

1. Never help a damsel in distress with a wig on. She’s up to no good. But seriously, is it a bad thing to show some good samaritan getting butchered because he put aside his duty of keeping a door closed in order to help a woman in great distress? 

There’ve been incidents of women screaming for help in NYC who were left to be killed or raped because no one wanted to get involved, and it always makes me wince when I see people who actually try to be decent human beings punished for it on television. Should TV make a point of rewarding socially responsible behavior/doing the right thing? Or would that destroy countless thousands of perfectly delightful CSI episodes?

2. The theft of blueprints to ERoC (more pertinent information on ERoC here) was masked by the theft of 200 fictional cellphones. With Microsoft pushing its windows phone on every major network and previously featuring its click-clack-flap tablet on Elementary, it seems crazy they’d sidestep such a custom-made opportunity to showcase a gadget. I’m assuming associating the phone with theft and the brutal slaying of a security guard made them wary of product placement, and for that I am begrudgingly admiring.

3. Lena Dunham’s onscreen mother (Becky Ann Baker) from Girls made an appearance!

She’s brilliant, and may I say incredibly busty and sexy on Girls. I wonder if they be any sort n as some sort of regular as well in Elementary while she’s on her HBO off season, although I would especially love  to think its the same character she plays in GIRLS. That would explain why she cut off funding her daughter’s writing career, she’s enjoying her own NY adventure of driving extremely large vehicles.

4. Someone on Elementary’s writing staff still hasn’t forgiven FEMA. Hey, do you think getting to the head of a major organization after presumably rising through the ranks over decades of dedicated service and then realizing the salary was only the thirteenth-highest would turn YOU to a life of crime? Yeah? Well. 

5. I’m still confused if those bundles of shredded, old currency were just bales like hay bales or if they’d already been reconstituted into snuggly warm throw blankets to be sold online and in ERoC’s gift shop. Wouldn’t that be cool, to have a snug little blanket made up of chewed up dirty currency? 

Despite the fact Sherlock and Watson are working hand-in-glove, have resolved the roommate-relationship crisis that is chores (I used to live in a crumbling art commune over a gallery space made up of custom-picked, peace-loving, vegan artist types, but the issue of who was and was not sweeping the stairs almost brought us to each other’s throats. Seriously our house leader called an emergency meeting over "broken fuju.") There was a lovely moment where Sherlock pointed out that his sober companion was lost before he found her and gave her a purpose as his apprentice. She disagreed but the lingering note of the episode was that he’d indeed sort of saved her from an ordinary life. So, a nice subtle moment in an otherwise enjoyable (if chilly) return to form.


... Did this episode feel seasonally off to you, or is there still snow on the ground where you live?

... Was Watson lost when she met Holmes, or is that a case of heroin addicts throwing stones from glass houses?

... Had it occurred to you that dollars eventually get thrown into landfills, and does that knowledge make you want to leap into the nearest landfill like Scrooge McDuck into a vault of coins?

... Does TV have a responsibility to not punish characters for doing the right thing, or is seeing good samaritans repeatedly killed for stopping and helping bystanders actually an important cautionary message? How much influence does either message really have?

... Currency blankets: Would you buy one? (Assuming the mulched dollars woven in had been thoroughly disinfected?)

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  • PaulCarroll2 Apr 08, 2013

    No snow today. Forecast for tomorrow. But, I suppose no one here (and the reviewer) are US Government employees. The FEMA lady was a GS-13. That is just a pay grade. I'm not sure I understand what the reviewer is referring to with respect to "thirteenth-highest". I think the highest I got to was GS-8, but maybe it was GS-5. Oh, well. Long, long time ago...

    I enjoyed the episode. This series is definitely a keeper. I was kind of expecting Mrs. Hudson to move in, since she is the keeper of the door in the books, but interesting none the less.

  • Cadd-9 Apr 08, 2013

    ... Does TV have a responsibility to not punish characters for doing the right thing, or is seeing good samaritans repeatedly killed for stopping and helping bystanders actually an important cautionary message? How much influence does either message really have?

    I think TV shouldn´t have to do anything. But it is good to show some aspects of life!
    Life isn´t fair at all. You can be the nicest and kindest person, you still can get cancer for no reason...

    That doesn´t mean, you should be pain in the ass either^^

  • BiniBeans Apr 08, 2013

    Snow has mostly melted here by now, but it is still cold enough to relate:)
    And despite the cold I vote no to the old dirty money blanket!

  • krismaz Apr 08, 2013

    Yes yes yes we still have snow (hate this prolonged winter all over Europe) but the snow storm that was shown in this episode made me laugh. I mean come on, there was barely snow on the ground, maybe 5 centimetres (2 inches) at most. This would not stop all transportation! I know it's difficult and expensive to make a show with a snowstorm but I think it's better for the characters to stay inside if you cant show a desent snowstorm. This was too lazy so I couldn't enjoy the episode as much as I could have because other than the snowstorm, it was great. P.S. I saw a better snowfall on Easter morning this year.

  • Rolamb Apr 08, 2013

    Lily, how do you like the fact that your reviews are read all around the world? So many remarks about the snow. The fact that snow was still falling in large parts of Europe that should be enjoying spring might be part of it. Like Maartje said, we (in the Netherlands) had our last snow a few days ago. last night was the first where it wasn't below zero (Celsius) so "Spring is coming".

    On other topic: liked the episode but it wasn't the best of the series.

  • googlehoop Apr 08, 2013

    It snowed last week here, so no problems with the weather in this episode. You're lucky if you live in L.A. or Florida! Great episode...I loved the lady who drove the snow plough!

  • nessacat Apr 08, 2013

    It snowed yesterday in Newfoundland:/

  • lildrop Apr 07, 2013

    It stopped snowing only two das ago in Germany, so Episode is up to Date. But the Show itself is rather disappointing. Was expecting more from Miller and Liu.

  • KiowaWoolley Apr 07, 2013

    I have come to realize that this show is Monk... with a few minor changes.

  • savagetan Apr 07, 2013

    Loved this episode. Didn't feel like an off episode at all. Feel like the creative team is trying to switch things up a little to avoid the repitition of the first few episodes and the week to week repititions a crime procedural like this can fall into. I feel like Holmes and Watson's relationship deepens every episode, even if little by little. Both were lost without each other, in my opinion, and Watson seems much more like an equal to Holmes than the original, if I remember my old stories right. Loved Pam the snow plow lady as I love her in GIRLS and FREAKS AND GEEKS. Definitely hope she comes back. But I have to say, and I'm embarrassed to put this question out there... Mrs. Hudson is transgender? I feel stupid because it seems so obvious to the reviewer and many fans, but did I miss something in the episode, even a throwaway line to tell us this? Or is it just her slightly mannish features?

  • MiraTellia Apr 13, 2013

    Holmes remarked that she has an adamsapple, which is more than a little mannish ;)

  • tatianajaunzems Apr 19, 2013

    The actress who plays Ms Hudson, Candis Cayne, actually doesn't have a prominent Adam's apple. She's apparently been post-op since 1996, so...

    I think that exchange of lines was the writers' attempt to open up that discussion in a subtler way that would also highlight the deductive skills that Sherlock has been helping Watson develop.

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