Elementary "The Rat Race" Review: Sexy Sherlock! (A Halloween-Themed Look at a Seriously Flawed Episode)

By Lily Sparks

Oct 26, 2012

Elementary S01E04: "The Rat Race"

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! Guys I love Halloween maybe even as much as Axl Rose (who puts up a Halloween tree!), and you’d think as a show about mysteries and murder, Elementary would have gotten on board with a ssspooookkkky Halloween episode! I don’t think last night’s Brigitte Nielsen-costumed receptionist qualifies, so I’ve gone ahead and featured the “Sexy Sherlock” costume in keeping with our nation’s proud tradition of making sexy costumes out of every role in society, from Boy Scout to Abraham Lincoln.

Anyway, last night's episode made a number of terrible errors:

1. It overestimated how horrified we’d be that Sherlock was missing/had relapsed. The next time we see Sherlock with his ankles tied, it had better be at the hands of Moriarty, not some fly-by-night killer-of-the-week. Lame.

2. It brought texting in to the show. Not that I’m against texts, and I’m sorry to compare, but the BBC's Sherlock has a very elegant and streamlined and I would even say revolutionary way of incorporating texts and emails into its episodes, having them fly up onscreen as stark text next to the facial expression of the person reading them. For Elementary to have such a long, drawn-out repartee about texts only begged for an unflattering comparison of their chunky, old-school “ULTRA CU ON PHONE DISPLAY” steeze. Plus how annoying is it that Sherlock texts all abbreviations? Shudder.

3. The people in these cases are getting progressively dumber. I’m sorry, but FOUR COOs had died in this multi-billion-dollar company due to fluke accidents in under a decade and no one suspected foul play? Maybe even FIVE, as Sherlock insinuated, and no shareholder piped up after shady death #3?

And then the aggressive junior detective we’ve seen Sherlock personally gainsay several times in the last two episodes got sniffy about testing a salad for heroin? The only ingested food, laying open feet away from a possible murder victim, definitely the contents of his last meal, and he wasn’t going to bother sending it to the lab? Sherlock: amazing consultant or just cares about basic police work? I’m just shocked he was needed for this case at all, the NYPD should have been able to handle this easily by following the most basic police protocols.

4. As much as I loved (and agreed with!) the idea of suits being costumes, Sherlock is squatting in the brownstone of his Daddums, who also hired his paid companion (and sober buddies are NOT cheap, y’all). So despite his tattoos and woolly sweaters and eating eggs out of what appeared to be a dog dish last night, Sherlock is solidly in the 1%. Stop railing against the richies, Sherlock, unless you’re facing a mirror!

5. Brigitte Nielsen. Usually I love stunt casting but a bit part in a procedural that wasn’t promoted by the show? Tsk tsk!

6. The weirdo Watson ended up going on dates with had the world’s most noble reason for dating while married: he got married to give a refugee diplomatic immunity. Whatever, that sounds like a whopper to me. And in this age of Facebook everyone EXPECTS their dates to check their references before date three.

7. Watson tattled on Sherlock to Aidan Quinn! I know she was afraid for his life and it ended up saving him but I sort of wish she had given any other excuse to put out an APB, and then that had forced Sherlock to come clean. First of all it violates her basic agreements as a sober buddy to announce that to his colleagues, secondly Watson’s loyalty is supposed to be kind of awe-inspiring and absolute, so immediately running to Sherlock's boss and exposing his deepest personal issues so she wouldn’t have to insinuate they were dating seems like a bad character choice on the writer’s part.

Anyway, other than those many many errors, I still continue to enjoy Elementary. Maybe it's my love for both the lead actors, maybe it's the way the show perfectly captures the feeling of working into the wee hours of night all cozy at home (believe me, I know it well). But so far the weekly mysteries have been so deeply disappointing. Much like the Rube Goldberg device in the credits, the show focuses on eye-catching moments without showing direct cause-and-effect relationships in any of the actions. Instead of an intricate plot, we get a couple of big ideas hinted at by miniscule details, none of which seem very plausible. My suggestion to the show would be to keep the staff it has but then maybe also bring in a professional mystery writer to set up compelling cases? Sherlock should seem superhumanly smart—not smart relative to the dunderheads around him.

Also guys, more and yet more locks being picked and yet not a single bee! Are they hibernating for the winter?


– Did Watson throw Sherlock under the bus or was she obviously acting in his best interest?

– How old were you the first time you watched Red Sonja and did you love it?

– Would you be surprised if someone you’d been out with a couple times looked up a few details about you online?

– Are you desperate for Moriarty to come on the scene or do you not mind waiting for the show to find its footing?

– Do you use abbreviations when you text?

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  • Madelynn1984 Dec 17, 2014

    And I love me a Rube Goldberg, so I can't back you up on your issues with the intro. Love it!

  • Madelynn1984 Dec 17, 2014

    My problems with the episode were:

    1) As you said, Watson giving Sherlock up to his boss.

    2) I was looking away from the screen when Donna was first introduced, and she said one sentence, and I heard it and thought she must be the killer. Just something in her tone, or maybe I recognized her voice, or just the obviousness of a tiny bit part character having a name and a line in the first place. I stopped what I was doing and watched the scene over again in order to know what my predicted killed looked like. Yep.

    3) I really didn't like Sherlock getting all weepy at the end talking to the police chief about his addiction. Come on, is this Sherlock? He's more sensitive and needy for other people's approval than any of the brilliant detectives we've had on tv in past years. He was so grateful when the chief told him he was still good at his job! BBC Sherlock, House, Bones, etc, these are the brilliant, antisocial detectives I want to watch. Or just don't call him "Sherlock", and I might be able to get on board with all of the sensitivity!

  • Madelynn1984 Dec 17, 2014

    Oh, and OBVIOUSLY the fact that Sherlock uses abbreviations. It's gross.

  • tomklaverblad Nov 02, 2012

    I have a feeling we have already been introduced to Moriarty: Watson's new friend

  • Angiedanin Oct 31, 2012

    The actress wasn't Nielson I am pretty sure her name is Molly Price. She used to be in a show called Third Watch a while back.

    Like the actors and their personal interaction but agree the plots have failed to thicken. Perhaps they need to rip off more than the names. Updating the original plots worked for the British version.

  • spearmints Oct 29, 2012

    It wasn't Brigitte Nielsen. So maybe that's why they didn't promote Red Sonja? It was some other actress who just looks like her a little.

  • Acrobit Oct 31, 2012

    Nah, that was her. She really did look like that once upon a time. Scary...

  • IamTheNana Mar 16, 2013

    No, it wasn't. The actress' name is Molly Price.

  • thorswitch Oct 29, 2012

    Of the previous execs who'd been killed, only 2 were COO's - the one that became the center of this episode and the one a year ago. The other victims were executives who'd been one step ahead of Fowler on the corporate ladder, and after they died, Fowler was getting promoted to their positions. The killings took place in 3 different states and were all staged to look like accidents, so its possible that no one had really noticed a pattern that would suggest murder yet.

    Also, the cops didn't call Holmes in for this particular job - they had given his name to the company as a referral when they were looking for a private investigator. Holmes ended up calling the cops in when he found the body.

    I thought it was a pretty interesting case, and having never seen the BBC's "Sherlock" I don't have that comparison going on. I'm loving the show overall and JLM is a lot of fun to watch. I also like Lucy Liu's Watson, which is nice - I'm usually not a big fan of her stuff, but I'm finding her quite likeable here.

  • TrueTvWatcher Oct 29, 2012

    I like the show but it's getting too comfortable with itself and being too predictable, which I definitely don't want in a Sherlock Holmes tv show...

  • TeddyBearZA Oct 29, 2012

    - she threw him under the bus, she could of easily got police help without blabing his life story.

    - what is "Red Soja" - Google here I come.....

    - not suprised at all. I don't think they would find anything though as my FB profile has zero on it.....

    - I think Moriarty will come at the end os the season, hoping it will cause the show to be renewed

    - I never use abbreviations in a text, ugh

  • Acrobit Oct 28, 2012

    I don't mind this show, but this was the most predictable episode yet. The only actual surprise is that Watson's date apparently was telling the truth about his asylum bride. Of course it's possible, but it was just so ridiculous, and if Watson and Sherlock could easily find out that he was married, it wouldn't be much of a chore for one of them to actually find out how and why.

    I think that Sherlock's only kinda smart (pretty much at a Jane from The Mentalist level), and so they make the cops complete idiots to add contrast. The black guy (who I sadly refer to as 'Idiot Scully'), is the dumbest, most worthless naysayer on television. Eventually, if someone like Sherlock says the sun just came up at 1AM, you can laugh for a moment, but then you take a look out the window. I really feel bad for any cop who actually tries to watch procedurals, or hell, any show with cops in it.

    - Watson could've gotten the main police guy to look for Sherlock without ratting him out, but it wasn't a big deal to me. This show's at a certain bar where I wouldn't expect too many 'hard road' choices.

    - I was 15 when I saw Red Sonja (an hour after I saw Conan the Destroyer...and a day after I saw Conan the Barbarian). The movie was the worst of the three, but Brigitte Nielsen was hot...but not as hot as she was in Cobra, or Rocky IV.

    - I look up every RL person I meet online within a day of learning their full names. In my line of work, if I actually learn their full names, it happens for a reason. Brave new world..

    - I'll shorten sentences when I text, but I won't use abbreviations. "Blush 9:30" - Yes, "Totes. C U there" - No

    - I look forward to Moriarty, but I really do worry that he'll disappoint.

  • CrazyAsian1080 Oct 28, 2012

    Okay, Holmes did seem to be pulling observations out of nowhere in this episode. As neat as the focus flash effect that Sherlock (and Psych) uses, followed by an explanation of how they put everything together is, I like it better when there is just a shot and you need to pick up on things yourself. House did it that way. There would be a shot of something, House would make a claim and then explain how he reached his conclusion, it still worked without the hand holding THIS IS WHAT IS IMPORTANT LOOK AT IT DARN IT scenes (yes Im well aware that House is pretty much doctor Sherlock Holmes).

    Honestly, this was probably the weakest episode so far, but it still wasn't that bad. It wrapped up a few random plot lines like the whole drug things and the captain. And honestly I don't think they should introduce Moriarty until near the end of the season, maybe even as a cliffhanger. As is, the show works as a procedural and you might as well burn one shot cases while your doing all the buddy buddy connecting trusting each other sub plots and save M for when Sherlock and Watson can really go after him (or maybe her).

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