Elementary "Flight Risk" Review: The Plot Thickens

Elementary S01E06: "Flight Risk"

One of the things that puzzles me about Elementary is whether it's technically an origin story or not. Sherlock and Watson met for the first time in the pilot, and yet the series frequently alludes to Sherlock's epic, Brideshead Revisited-cum-Trainspotting past, keeping it carefully shoulder-cloaked in mystery. I absolutely detest it when Watson and Sherlock butt heads, so the fact that they had another platonic lover's quarrel last night didn't sit well with me, but I have to say that otherwise, this episode addressed almost all of my problems with the series. If memory serves (it may not serve; my brain is not a professional volleyball player, it's the cackling Mrs. Poole guarding the attic rooms of Thornfield Hall), this was by far the most successful weekly mystery, and while I hated that Sherlock and Watson were at odds (just be bros! You are supposed to be the most solid bros, not fighting like me and my two BFs in middle school!), the bombshell at the end more than made up for the unsettling conflict between our two favorite fictional New Yorkers during the episode.

My one critism of the episode was Watson having a wig-out over Sherlock not opening up about his personal life, because it seems a little non-bros to me. And also a little nonsensical: Sherlock was opening up by laying out a fundamental dynamic for her, his relationship with his parents. Daddems was neglectful, even an adversary of sorts to young Sherlock. So neglectful and adversarial that little Holmes once set his own bones (although IRL no he didn't, physical shock is a bitch and kids don't know how to set bones) to avoid having to admit to his father that he'd made a mistake. Generally I don't lose much sleep over rich kids angry at their parents for only giving them mind-boggling privileges, financial security, and trust funds (there are plenty of neglectful parents who instead throw poverty and physical abuse into the bargain) but if I were perhaps Sherlock's sober companion, I'd read between the lines and consider it a sign of intimacy that he was willing to prank me with the help of a trusted actor friend and confess his deepest insecurities about his father, albeit couched in peevish complaints.

I do hope one day we get a trip to the "estate." So many busts and topiaries and portraits of JLM in blue velvet pantaloons with stiff lace collars! I'm imagining Belvoir castle, basically. Despite the many eye-rolls that flexed and stretched my ocular muscles over Watson being such a needy girlfriend about Sherlock's personal life, I absolutely loved Roger Rees as the salty old actor sent in his father's stead. I loved that Daddems didn't show (what credibility would Sherlock have if he couldn't deduce his own dad's actions?). And I thought this week's mystery was of a whole other caliber than any of the others we've seen thus far.

Bloodless plane crashes being completely ridiculous aside (thank you, network TV, thank you for sparing us the trauma), the idea of a closed-room murder scene dashed to pieces like a literal puzzle was very intriguing. The show didn't ultimately follow through on that concept, but just teasing it out at first got me more engaged in the crime. And the ultimate solution got unraveled with a heretofore unprecedented amount of technical detail. However, the thoughtful blueprint that was this week's crime wasn't really mired in any kind of emotional stakes (fake sugar! Lawyers! Coke smuggling! Who cares!) so it wasn't the perfect crime exactly—but credit where credit's due, someone really took their time piecing this together and knocking it all apart so Sherlock could impress us in a way that didn't involve wild guesses or correcting disgustingly negligent police work. So: Well done, mystery!

I also wish Sherlock would apply his eye for detail to Watson a little more often, maybe sweep that analytical gaze around her room and figure out she'd probably be a lot easier to live with if she wasn't sleeping in a crack den. Can you believe Watson's room? A naked mattress on a box spring, a dirty sheet, and ten thousand spiders! If Daddems is paying her so luxuriously you'd think at the very least she'd have a couple bean bag chairs in there or I don't know, a blanket?

I know Watson figuring out Holmes is her way of groping toward a solid friendship, but I honestly wish they'd just get there and be Watson and Holmes, and I don't know if the bombshell she dropped on him at the end of the episode is really going to help. Watson and Holmes are supposed to be peanut butter and jelly, and the actors are well capable of that chemistry. The writers just seem to think conflict is the best way to showcase Holmes' crazy past, and I don't know if I'm really as interested in what made Holmes Holmes as much as I just want to see Holmes be Holmes—alongside Watson, and not the angry junior detective he was palling around with. Watson sat out this episode, basically! Not okay. Don't get me wrong, I'm very excited about eventually meeting Irene Adler, but I hope Watson and Holmes are solid buddies first.

But perhaps that was the point of the charming grifter/bookstore worker (although how are they going to top this guy for Sherlock's real dad? Jeremy Irons?) who told Watson to lay off Sherlock and not make her expectations of him the same as she would have for another, normal, lesser individual. Revise your definition of friendship! I don't know if I like that definition of Watson and Holmes; Watson seemed loyal and devoted and not at all unfulfilled by their relationship, but I can appreciate it if managing expectations is step one in our version of Watson becoming that kind of friend. Or maybe Watson will eventually be the one friend who actually breaks through.

Or, you know, gets her sober buddy contract broken bringing up Irene Adler. That was quite a turn at the end, Watson just throwing that out there. I was like, "DAAAYUUUMN!!!!"

So, net sum: complicated awesome mystery + annoying bickering + a bombshell so wow that am I excited about next week all of a sudden = well done. Just very well done.

And how excited are we to meet Irene Adler? Will she be:


1. A devious raver?


2. A catsuit-wearing horse junkie?


3. A prim and proper Steampunk cosplay fanatic involved with the mob?


4. A London bit of alright?


5. A mercenary British explorer who's not afraid to inject a syringe of heroin straight into a deductive brain to accomplish her schemes?


I was certain the name would be Moriarty; now that Irene Adler is coming to town, I couldn't be more excited.


QUESTIONS:

1. Who should play Sherlock's real dad?

2. Who should play Irene Adler?

3. Do fights with friends make friendships stronger?

4. Did you think the mystery this week was vastly superior to previous cases?

5. Why is Watson living like a teen runaway?

Comments (56)
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I so agree with your review! Finally the mystery-of-the-week improving... Hope it is a trend... And yeah, Watson pressuring Holmes seems silly and uncalled for... Take a chill pill lady or whatever... Loved Holmes' fake dad... awesome guy... Yep, Jeremy Irons would be suitably intimidating as the real deal... Not that there is a shortage of scary Brits...
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I thought the mystery this week was by far the best to date. All of the minor details pieced themselves together so well at the end, and like the article said, it played up Sherlock's actual deductive skill rather than the cops lack thereof.
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Well put. If I'd rather watch the only smart detective in a room I would be watching Veronica Mars. I seek Elementary to watch Sherlock solve something that actually smart and capable detectives couldn't solve.
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I think the writer is deeply wrong about one thing: it is not a bromance between this watson and this holmes.. they are not bro's and cannot be.. and it would have been weird and synthetic if they tried.. they are not even friends yet, watson's actual role in holmes' life is the exact definition what they are: companions.. so, watson had all the right to complain when holmes played a prank.. but one point is well made: maybe that really was his way of opening up a little.. because he cannot do it by himself, he did it by proxy..
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"You don't need to be a guy to be somebody's Bro, provided you uphold the moral values contained within this sacred canon. When a women sets a guy up with her busty friend, she's acting as a Bro. And if she sets him up with other hot friends after he slept with the first one and never called her again, then she s officially his Bro."
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I dont see why it is said that this is the strongest episode so far - well, if you have to pick one, why not. I find the mysteries are too obvious and I am loosing interest in Sherlock's story. If at least there was more humour somewhere. I'm afraid that only people with an interest in seeing the two main charactes hook up will stay put at the end, and I will not be one of them. I think. Maybe it gets better.
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I woke up when I saw "Sheriff of Rottingham" / Sherlock's faux papa.
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"3. Do fights with friends make friendships stronger?"

Depends on the friendship. In Watson and Holmes's case, not only I suggest it but totally recommend it
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" and I don't know if I'm really as interested in what made Holmes Holmes as much as I just want to see Holmes be Holmesalongside Watson, and not the angry junior detective he was palling around with. "





That sums up the show perfectly. As for Sherlock's dad, I don't want to meet him. But if he has to show up, it's Alan Dale or it's nobody!
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One thing about this show that kind of bugs me is this: Everyone (Holmes, Gregson etc.) refers to Watson as "Miss Watson" not "Doctor." I believe she still should be addressed as by doctor. Even though she does not practice, she still has earned the degree. It's not like she was disbarred or defrocked.
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Watson no longer has a medical licence , so is no longer a doctor
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Her liscence has been suspended, not revoked.
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Completely unrelated. You're talking about her license to practice as a physician. Doctor is an honorific that comes with graduating with a doctorate, including graduating from a medical school with an M.D or a D.O. The only way she could lose that is if she was found to have been guilty of academic dishonest and her college revoked her degree.
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I thought she didn't like to advertise it because she was embarrassed.
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Cool episode; probably one of the better ones of the series so far. Yes, the case was harder to solve than most (if not all) of the previous cases we've seen, yet it was also a bit too messy for me to care much about it. I too thought the name was going to be Moriarty, but Irene makes just as much sense... I guess.
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I think whoever Irene is, there will be cat fights later on between her and Watson...

Sherlock and Watson relationship is complicated and any girl in sherlock's life won't simply understand it easily...

I don't want to see Watson and Irene fight! >_> Odd
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since Watson is a girl... how about Chris O'Donnell as Irene



looooool just joking
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Funny...
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Great Episode full of Character Development!



Roy Dotrice who played Roger Wyndam-Pryce on Angel (Wesley's father)



Jaime Murray who plays H.G. Wells on Warehouse 13



Yes



Yes



She has more important things to do
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Jaime Murray has had her chance and I find her underwhelming. Ruth Wilson FTW!
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While I like Jaime Murray in general, Ruth Wilson is an excellent excellent choice, if they could get her. I mean, they can't even get her to stop doing movies long enough to give her her own damn show. I desperately want Alice to happen. In fact, now that I think of it, if they give her a bunch of money and she does this trash instead of her own series, I will never forgive you for having that idea.
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Saw Michael Caine mentioned in the comments, and that would be great, but maybe Holmes' dad should be a little more unhinged, like Christopher Lee or John Cleese. Also love the idea of Hugh Laurie, dunno if he's old enough.

Ruth Wilson may be good for Irene Adler, and I liked Lara Pulver in Sherlock, but she doesn't necessarily have to be British. Emma Stone or Hayden Panettiere (love her on Nashville!) maybe too young? Just as long as it's not Keira Knightley... ugh.

I like that there is starting to be more than a tag-along relationship between Holmes and Watson. I think the dynamic improves when Holmes is willing to concede to Watson about thoughts on a case, his personal life...etc. It shows growth and the beginnings of trust between the two. Plus I like how Holmes is rubbing off on Watson with her own deductive reasoning taking over.

I liked the case more this week for the technical aspect like you said, but I agree in the comments we really didn't care whodunnit at the end, the focus was more on the Watson/Holmes relationship. Agreed they need to take a stack of Agatha Christie books into the writers room.

She told the charming grifter/bookstore worker she's had many clients, so who knows how many crack room floors Watson has had to sleep on?
More+
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Yes to Ruth Wilson!
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Ok everyone I was SOOOO fixated on the Flight scene reckage detective cuz her name was detective moliarty!! I was so sure she was the infamous dr. moriarty. Anyone noticed that?
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Her name was Miranda Molinari.
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Just as many things written by Dickens, I love the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Sherlock Holmes is the best. I love to watch all the different things that come out and compare them to each other. I have to say, that this show is doing well.
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I admit that i haven't read all of the Sherlock Holmes novels but from what i can remember about the ones i did was that i was a little put off by Watson's blind admiration for Holmes. So i actually don't mind the bickering and fleshing Watson more out as a person, rather than just being Sherlocks pal. Also, Lucy Liu and JLM are giving great performances each week and have greet chemistry. In fact Liu's performance has me so convinced that last night i wondered if they could make Moriarty a woman as well.
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Holmes is Socrates and Watson is Plato.
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of course I fall asleep during the best episode
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Haha, I honestly fell asleep too, my first time watching this episode. I had to rewatch it again today. The falling asleep may or may not have had to do with the quality of the episode, as I do think it was one of the better ones... but I guess I wasn't very interested in the case much.
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Me too. Had to watch it again
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THE SAME THING HAPPENED TO ME. But I might just be getting old. Had to rewatch the ending.
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Sherlock's dad: Michael Caine.
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Fights with friends make friendships stronger if the friendship is already strong. Ride it out, become even greater friends.



;Now, "dat stare".... made the episode.
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lmao at ashlee
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I watched Sherlock at the same time as I watched Luther, so I couldn't help but think that Ruth Wilson would be incredible as Irene Adler...anyone else agree?
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YES!!!!!
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Patrick Stewart obviously should play Home's father. You knew it was Irene because we knew it was a woman and probably some that Homes had feelings for (though Im pretty sure Alder was only in one book). I kind of freaked a little when they introduced Miranda Molinari. Im glad that's probably not Moriarty (who Stewart would also be good as actually).
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OMG! I did not even think about Patrick Stewart as his Dad! Amazing idea!
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Why people keep trying to equate this with the original Sherlock Holmes is beyond me. Why they can't just enjoy this for what it is a modern take on Sherlock Holmes.

The show is witty , well written and acted and damn better than 95% of what's on TV at the moment.
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Hugh Laurie as papa Holmes. House was based on Sherlock anyway. Make it full circle.



Also, he's british.
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I'm not going to lie, this week's case was so convoluted and back-and-forth that I got lost and didn't care to catch up. All I know was that Watson got stood up and asked about sex by a bookstore worker, sudden flashes of unexpected gore sucks and the name Irene ended the episode. I don't really feel like we got anywhere and if we did, I'm pretty sure I don't care about it.
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Great response, thank you. Perhaps in the near future it will get worse, so that the writers can show us how brilliant they are and make us feel so special and smart for being able to follow (a bunch of gibberish, which won't seem to matter to anyone). They can even condense it down into a more-popular 20 minute format, or squish it into the web-episodes (yeah, the ones with the clever name), or better grind it down to something even finer and hand out little straws with it (we can be like Sherlock, hey!). Ridiculous, you say? Well, lets just hope that it doesn't ruin the show. :)
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It was better. But the childlike lameness of the relationship between Sherlock and Watson is getting annoying.



Questions?

1. I agree with Danimita, Stephen Fry would be great.

2. If she wasn't on The Walking Dead I would have to go with Lauren Cohen.

3. Depends on the friend, depends on the fight.

4. It was superior, Not vastly and considering the lameness of the previous mysteries.

5. She is still blaming herself for the death. She doesn't feel she deserves nice things.
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1. Stephen Fry was the first to come to mind when they mentioned Sherlock's father.

2. Can't think of anyone. I liked Rachel McAdams in the movies, so something similar could be interesting. I wonder if they'll make her a dominatrix like in the BBC's Sherlock.

3. Yes.

4. No. Didn't really care for it after a while. I was more interested in Watson and "Sherlock's dad".

5. Well for now she's only supposedly living there for a little while, so she probably just can't be bothered with decorating.
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Not Sherlock. Not Watson. Not Irene Adler. Not excited. Because I have no expectations at all, I'm not expecting the next episode to be good or bad or exciting or anything, and I won't be disappointed. These are different characters trying on familiar names for fun. It's kind of like watching the muppet babies do sherlock holmes.
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How come they got rid of the opening credits i liked it.
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whenever a show has shorter credits it means the actual episode is slightly longer than usual
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Honestly I think this was such a long & complicated episode they didn't have time for it.
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well i hope they bring it back next episode then.
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Btw, I kinda like the fact that this Sherlock Holmes show actually focuses less on the actual crimes and more on the characters of Sherlock and Watson. If I want great cases I watch the BBC remake with Cumberbatch.

I also like the fact that they made his drug use a central part of his character because usually it just gets passed over. You know, Sherlock Holmes the brilliant detective - oh yeah, and he used some pretty hard drugs in his off time. It usually just gets sold as some funny little character quirk that suits a British gentleman or something.

BBCs Sherlock actually took the easy way out by turning their Sherlock into a smoker and thus switching his addiction from hard drugs to nicotin. I always thought that was a bit of a cop out.
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I'm sorry, but that new BBC one's terrible, I can't see how anybody could watch that.

My problem with this show was demonstrated in this episode: 1) body in the cargo shifts the weight enough to crash the plane. Total bullchit. 2) There's sand in the tank, so now you think: awesome, it plausible! Power problems somehow contributed to the crash. Then it happens: 3) smuggling of 30 kg gets calculated in for fuel. Complete idiocy, they could've said 300 kg and made it believable.

It isn't just this episode, or the particular example (or just this show). If you ever feel patient enough (or perhaps when you get older), Jeremy Brett's Sherlock is the masterpiece to watch.
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Well, most people disagree with you about BBC's Sherlock. I'm not going to compare the two, because I like both. And don't assume the age of the commenters. I'm in my late 40s and I'm a fan of both shows. Not everybody is like you.
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To me their relationship is actually pretty close to what it always is in all the Sherlock Holmes iterations. Watson is the only one Zen enough to put up with all of Sherlocks eccentricities while Holmes actually talks to Watson like he someone at least approaching bein his equal in a way. Everyone else he treats like a little child who needs everything to be spelled out to understand what is going on. Just a little bit more Zen on Watsons part and they should be fine.

Oh, and I really loved the ending. I actually expected Holmes to tell Watson to get out of his house or something. He looked really pissed. Though I too expected the name to Moriarty.

But then again I also thought for a little while the actor might actually be Moriarty who just somehow managed to pose as the actor and tried to gain access to Holmes life through Watson. Which had probably more to do with thinking the actor would make a great moriarty than anything that actually happened in the episode.
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