Elementary "Risk Management" Review: Set Up for a Punch

Elementary S01E22: "Risk Management"


Guys I hilariously mixed up the title of this episode with next week's double episode. I have corrected some of my sass below to reflect, though rest assured my vitriolic outbursts and half-baked deductions make no more sense than usual.

I feel like I should be stomping around a dingily sponge-painted brownstone in a series of quirky T-shirts and rumpled sweaters today, because like our very own sassy protagonist I TOTALLY deduced that Irene Adler had faked her death! Well, I did have help from dozens of you commenters. Still! Let's not such a minor detail take away from my self-absorbed genius. Hurrah!

This week's episode of Elementary gave us only the tiniest glimpse of Natalie Dormer, but referred to her with the famous Irene Adler quote about her being the woman to eclipse her entire sex. Although you have to wonder if that includes Watson, or if at this point she transcends gender-based categorization as women in 2k13 tend to do. Gregson repeatedly warned Watson against staying with Sherlock, and she accused him of being more worried for her sake because she “didn’t have a penis.” (Thank you, CBS, for letting that line slide. The septuagenarians in your audience were probably aghast, but a little adrenaline is good for them.) When Sherlock told her he would protect her no matter what, and then tried to avoid bringing her along to the address where Moriarty said he would find his answerst, Watson reiterated her arguments to Gregson that affirmed her right to live dangerously, have agency, and not be relegated to the role of damsel in distress.



Confusingly, she also said her reasons for wanting Sherlock’s case resolved were personal, drawing another parallel between herself and the case-of-the-week’s murderer, who had arranged for another man to die to give her beloved husband peace of mind. It was a rich stew of gender parity and possible romantic overtures, allowing fans to seize on whichever interpretation they prefer: platonic loyalty! Romantic love a-blossom!

While in the source material Sherlock famously begrudged Watson’s betrothal and fiancée, Watson always seemed pretty cool with Irene Adler (or at least that was the case in the one story she appeared in). The worshipful quote about how Irene was THE woman—I believe it's actually excerpted from Watson’s narration and is his impression of Sherlock’s feelings for Irene. 

Because JLM is JLM, he whispered this summation of Irene Adler the way a chiavalrous knight describes his quest for the holy grail. And in true British Acting form, he had a lip-trembling, gasp-sighing, shaking-hand-pointing moment of realization when he saw the back of her head in the last 30 seconds of the episode. (NO thank you for that, CBS. If that’s considered one episode of Dormer’s three-episode run—with the two-hour finale being the second and third episodes—then shame on you. My poor Dormer-seeking heart can hardly bear it!)

See, this is what I love about British Acting and why I will watch a British film basically sight unseen any day of the week. Raised from the cradle on children’s pantomimes and Shakespeare and the smells of greasepaint, British guy actors fearlessly throw themselves into a role with wild emotional abandon, lips a-quivering and eyes a-watering. American male actors tend to use the Duke and Bruce Willis as emotional touchstones, clenching and unclenching their jaw to react to things like beloved family members being tortured in front of them, but JLM seriously went physically a-flutter in a scene reminiscent of my favoritest Campy Over-the-Top Emotionally Choked Person performance of all time: that of Anthony Hopkins in Legends of the Fall. Bask in it with me If you will (also, can you spot Young Gregson?!):


Yes, obviously I’ve opened myself up for the first comment on this article to be “YOU DO KNOW ANTHONY HOPKINS IS WELSH, DON’T YOU?” Why yes, yes I do. *Dormer Smirk*

The promo makes it look very promising that we can expect just such a heart-wrenching breast-clasping embrace betwixt Irene and Sherlock next week, which will then no doubt be marred by the awkward question “So babe…why did you fake your death? Also, are you squatting here? I'm sort of into that too. Aren't we a pair of dirty birds.”

Also, Irene’s retort “How the hell did you find me? And why?! Can’t you take a hint?”

If nothing else, this episode established Sherlock and Moriarty are greatly intrigued by each other and down for some adversarial shenanigans (something viewers have long been rooting for.) And that Sherlock's side of the bargain will be more complicated as he's vowed to not let their crossfire intercept Watson.



It was an interesting turn to make Moriarty a client, even if his aim in getting Sherlock to solve the case was to stage a rather elaborate example of why revenge is truly awesome. (Yes, I know the man’s revenge ultimately was thwarted, but when he THOUGHT he'd acheived it, it basically saved his life. He lost weight, his skin elasticity improved, he was glowier about the face. Revenge did not send him on an endless cycle to hell, it straightened him out like a spa stay with a juice cleanse. Whatever you say, Elementary!)

So all in all: Slightly interesting case of the week. But I'm excited for next week, and that’s the main point of an episode before a finale, isn’t it?


QUESTIONS:

… Why do you think Irene faked her death? Ballpark: Trying to escape Moriarty, or they're in cahoots?

… Vengeance: Bad or good for mental health?

… Watson: Headed toward an adversarial relationship with Irene, or, in the spirit of not rehashing the female stereotype of “any two women who know the same man are instant enemies,” will the show make them friends/besties/bros/other?

… Exactly how many pairs of killer sky-high ankle boots does Watson have hidden ‘round the old brownstone? 

Comments (47)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
What I like the most about Dormer characters, both in Elementary and Game of Thrones, is that they appear to be always thinking. Margaery could face a sociopath with a crossbow with the same composure as Irene faced Sherlock and Joan by the end of this episode.

It makes her more dangerous than mysterious to me, for Irene is the only one who knows what kind of game she's playing.

Reply
Flag
The Irene plotline in this adaptation of Sherlock makes me think of Kate in White Collar. Not sure where they're going with this (I oscillate towards cahooting) but I always enjoy Natalie Dormer's acting on my TV screen so I'll be fine with whatever if it's written in a credible way.

Vengeance = bad. Anyone who watches Revenge knows those people are fucked up as hell.

Joan Watson is one of the best written female characters I've come across lately. So I'd like to think she won't fall into either stereotype.

Is the show trying to tell us that Watson has an obsession/addiction as well? Because I'm fairly sure she's got an entire secret closet dedicated to those shoes.
Reply
Flag
1. I think it depends on what version of Irene Adler they are playing, like she could have been working for Moriarty who became interested in Sherlock and agreed to fake her death to spare his. Or maybe she doesn't know that her death was faked and was lead to believe Sherlock was dead.

2. Bad

3. It honestly depends, I would actually see more of a problem with Irene toward Joan than vice versa. But, the fact that Sherlock appears to overdose next week, I am guessing Joan will blame Irene for that.

4. Never really noticed them. Maybe she is way shorter than JLM and they want a comparable size between the two and don't want her to twist an ankle?
Reply
Flag
I think you're right re: number four. She is only 5'3" and they do so many walks-and-talks that the box can''t be used all the time. They're always moving in scenes, particularly Jonny.
Reply
Flag
Honestly? I noticed the sandwishes before I noticed the shoes.
Reply
Flag
Am I the only one who is bothered by Lucy's ridiculous shoes?
1
Reply
Flag
They are attention getting, aren't they?
I'm bothered by the tights she wears every week. You'd think someone as smart and fashionable as Watson would wear something different every day. You know, shorts, skirts, pants, etc. OK, OK, I'm a leg man!
1
Reply
Flag
A spa stay and juice cleanse you say?
Someone should let Aidan Mathis know.
1
Reply
Flag
I think its just like Sherlock said it on the episode: Watson is "his wife" - at least he sees her as his wife - and Irene is the love of his life (not just a "love interest"). What's interesting to me is that Elementary shows us what happens when the one is introduced to the wife, the difference between love and commitment, between consuming passion and the whole package.

And it has done so without manipulating the characters in the least.
5
Reply
Flag
The three pic "no harm will come to you" scene meme made me actually LOL. He was so emphatic and I was all "Omg, this whole scene is amazing" and then he was all "GTG! Text me!" and I was all "Oh."

My theory,.should you choose to consider it, is that the scene was a giant anvil. He will keep Watson safe. But he has to kill Irene to do it.

I don't know when I fell in love with this show, but it is now my heroin-e.
5
Reply
Flag
The Lord of Light help me, I like Elementary's Irene better than I like Margaery on Game of Thrones.
5
Reply
Flag
Thank you for not completely fangirling over Dormer in this review (the show's about him, not her). The reveal and JLM's performance in it were perfect. Absolutely nailed it. There was a decent amount of bromance-concretion in this episode that felt a little tacky because it didn't quite flow with the Holmes/Watson relationship so far, but as previously stated, rage-quitting the show if romance happens, so I'm good with it. The comment about her having asparagus was priceless (and it was a nice role-reversal that she interrupted him in the bathroom this go-round).
6
Reply
Flag
I live in FL so I know septuagenarians are not as prudish as the masses believe.
Irene faked her death because she is obviously crazy. Did you see her hair?
Vengeance can sometimes be very good for the psyche.
Watson is an adult character. She will not be unnecessarily catty.
I covet Watson's shoes. They look like comfy, sexy, butt-kickers.
4
Reply
Flag
Awesome review as always. Thanks for this, and when you said Sherlock was physically a-flutter I about died. I sort of agree with some other post stating that they seem to go out of their way to make it out that Watson didn't even see Irene. I'm really hoping that Sherlock isn't hallucinating.
1
Reply
Flag
Being a huge Sherlock Holmes fan I knew Irene wouldn't be dead (buuh, self spoiler) and she is a conniving person in the books and I have no doubt, or rather I hope, that she will be one in Elementary.
I dont know if I ship the Sherlock/Watson thing or not, one side of me wants them to be good friends because of the rareness of it on tv. But the other side, the one who wants to cater to all of my needs..is wantint a romance! Gah!
3
Reply
Flag
LOL. That photo of Gregson "picturing it" made me laaaaaugh. Thank you, Lily. That made my day.

8
Reply
Flag
That was just too funny.
Reply
Flag
Why do you think Irene faked her death? Ballpark: Trying to escape Moriarty, or they're in cahoots?

I totally think that Irene is in cahoots with Moriarty. Think about it. If he wanted rid of her, he could have just killed her. End of story. Also, the fact that Moriarty seems to plan everything way ahead of time, makes me think that Irene got involved with Sherlock on Moriarty's orders. Hell Moriarty probably coached her on Sherlock in the first place, just so that he could fake her death and have Sherlock crumble on a downward spiral to hell and drug addiction, just for LOLZ and then revealed that she was alive to screw with Sherlock's mind. Also, Irene will not be around for long. After all, Natalie Dormer is needed back at the Game of Thrones set for season 4. So I'm wagering that now that Irene has outlived her usefulness, Moriarty will kill her for real, and Sherlock will guaranteed be trying to get revenge. That or Irene IS Moriarty, which would be absolutely epic. I'm totally waiting for the next two episodes (so hopeful that they will be coming out before I got to Cyprus for a month to visit the relatives, where I have no internet to watch Elementary) SOOOO excited for next week. Are they coming out next week? Please God tell me the double ep season finale is coming out next week. Or at least before the 28th which is when I'm off to Cyprus. (nods)

Vengeance: Bad or good for mental health?

Well it does say "an eye for an eye" in the Bible. But revenge can go both ways. I think that's the message that can be deduced from Elementary. Although personally, I definitely go for revenge. I'd have been Sherlock with Moran in that warehouse. (nods)

Watson: Headed toward an adversarial relationship with Irene, or, in the spirit of not rehashing the female stereotype of “any two women who know the same man are instant enemies,” will the show make them friends/besties/bros/other?

Watson is smart enough and not emotionally involved with Irene to figure out that some shiz ain't right here. Come on, the doors were NOT locked on that house. Irene could have left anytime she wanted to. She could have called Sherlock and let him know she was alive. I'm sure she'll come up with a logical explanation, but I don't buy it, and Watson will have to be the one to try and figure it all out because Sherlock will just be so happy to have Irene back that he'll ignore all the warning signs for once. I'm wagering that (as I said before) Irene is working for/is Moriarty and Watson will be the one to discover the truth and break Sherlock's heart. It'll be sad and epic, and it gives an explanation as to why SHerlock is alone in his own bathroom, shot in the promo.

Exactly how many pairs of killer sky-high ankle boots does Watson have hidden ‘round the old brownstone?

I dunno, but I couldn't walk in those shoes. My feet would go on srike after half an hour in those heels. LOL!
More+
5
Reply
Flag
I'm in the Irene made a deal with M to save Sherlock's life camp.
6
Reply
Flag
Vengeance: is definitely good for mental health
1
Reply
Flag
Your review had me cracking up...And I love Watson's shoes but oh God they are so impractical for the work she does. And why do they live like a couple of hobos in that dirty brown stone. I really don't get that...The plaster and the paint peeling off the walls like it was in the bathroom would just gross me out...But yeah I love this show....
1
Reply
Flag
Hopefully she has many more pairs of the "sky-high ankle boots"! Killer legs! Oh yeah, the episode was good too. ;)
1
Reply
Flag
I think the lesson Moriarty was trying to impose on Sherlock was to get ALL the details before seeking revenge. The criminal-of-the-week killed the guy he thought killed his sister without double-checking. Holmes, on the other hand, was intent on killing Moran before Moran convinced him that he was innocent of that crime. I am betting that, though Holmes SAYS he wouldn't try the same stunt again, a face to face meeting would end up with Sherlock's rage getting the better of him and he'd kill Moriarty on site. Which is why he sent Holmes on the case of the week: Revenge might be the only way to get peace, but make sure your thirst is aimed at the right person... especially if the person who's death you want to avenge is STILL ALIVE!

One thing kind of perturbs me... this final arc seems to be taking a LOT out of a trilogy of books called the Helen Trilogy, from the Pendergast collection. In that series, the main character, Special Agent Pendergast, finds evidence that his late wife was murdered. He feverishly hunts down the killer, with the intent of flat out killing him, but when he catches the perp, he is told that his wife is still alive. He is reunited with her... only to have her killed moments later by the people she used to work for, the ones she was hiding from. The twist: the wife was pregnant with twins before she faked her death years earlier, and she gave birth to a psychotic but physically perfect twin and a physically weak but loving other twin. I know Irene probably wasn't pregnant when she "died" a year a go, so the good twin/bad twin angle wouldn't work, but if Irene gets killed next episode I'm going to think that they took more from Pendergast than Sherlock Holmes.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
I have that nagging feeling that Irene Adler will be Moriarty's wife, or something along those lines-just to torture Sherlock more. You know, the One Who Definitely Got Away. I mean you can mourn the dead beloved and cherish some memories; but having the beloved alive and out of reach; that's something else entirely.Watson will have to go back to companion status for a while and that also sucks big time for her ambitions into becoming a detective. After all, M. said it: I am the Spider in the middle of the Web.......
2
Reply
Flag
I think the Watson/Adler relationship will depend on why she faked her death, because the reasons behind it will affect Sherlock greatly and Watson will instinctively want to protect him. So, if Adler is going to be bad for Sherlock, yep I see bitchiness ahead.
9
Reply
Flag
Admittedly, that's the only scenario I could picture an adversarial relationship.
1
Reply
Flag
"Watson: Headed toward an adversarial relationship with Irene..."

I think Shelock put it better than I could myself when he said, verbatim, "For what it's worth. he's not bringing his wife,either." A "wife", by any means, does not get adversarial with an ex, if only because she doesn't have to be.
1
Reply
Flag
I'm a big fan of Elementary; the ending to this episode was ruined for me on Wikipedia when I checked to see how many episodes were left; the synopsis said Irene was still alive; my thought on this would be that Moriarty has been playing a game with Sherlock and seeing if he could break him; by hiring a woman to play the perfect woman for him; getting him to fall in love and then taking her away. Obviously if she's hiding from Moriarty she's not doing a very good job with him knowing her location, her gate being open and the key in the door. Even Scooby Doo could see that was a set up.

My guess would be Irene is one of the bad guys and will spin some story to manipulate Sherlock further; Watson probably won't trust her, Sherlock will not be able to think straight and Moriarty will pull a few more Shenanigans causing them to go to London next season.

I'm also sure Irene will get killed for real next episode or by the end of next season.
4
Reply
Flag
You're a mind reader, Lily. Was just preparing my Anthony Hopkins is Welsh rant, but ye beat me to it!
Reply
Flag
Though I have never actually did a elaborate "revenge" on anyone, I am actually glad there is a show they says someone got "better" through revenge. Every other shows says otherwise usually through a therapist or a regret by the guy after he did the revenge.

I am glad Moriarty is proving to be challenge for Holmes but they better give me some answers before the season ends. Loving the show more and more !
1
Reply
Flag
What is up with your calendar? This is the second week in a row you're (initially) wrong about what episode you're watching.

As for Adler, I'm OK with this being one of three episodes with her. She's not exactly in a lot of the books, (To put it lightly) this is a show about the friendship between Holmes and Watson, and crime and mystery. I don't need no Yoko in my Beatles. I'm OK with her returning more than she does in the book, but if they ever do a 4+ episode romantic story arc with Watson being jealous, I'll be mad.
9
Reply
Flag
She was in precisely one story. And she was the only woman who outwitted Holmes (partially, he still solved the case). Thus she became the woman. BBC version (new one) masterfully dramatized the concept of 'the' woman. This one just worded out the same, quite unsatisfying.
Though I am really not sure about this need to make Holmes a sentimental sap with an ex love. Adler was in the story merely a way to emphasize what Sherlock valued (supreme intellect), and the respect he had for her came out of that fact. Love was a strange concept to him. That is why any version that abandons that notion cannot hope to claim it is done in the spirit of what Holmes was for its creator.
3
Reply
Flag
is it not possible that adler's supposed death was a misunderstanding? dunno, really not that invested in that part of the storyline as it's been purposefully limited. keeping something hidden isn't as brilliant as making something complex and I relate accordingly.

I hope dormer doesn't suck at an american accent I tend to find it distracting when actors do.
Reply
Flag
They detailed Irene Adler's "murder" in a previous episode. It was supposedly carried out in a manner similar to the work of Moran, the football hooligan assassin (victim suspended upside down and drained). Her body was never recovered, but there was enough of her blood on the floor to indicate that she was drained until dead. Since she's actually alive, this means her blood was bagged and stored ahead of time in order to fake her death (whether with her consent or against her will, we cannot yet say).
Reply
Flag
I can think of three possible explainations for Irene being alive and in that house but I am sure there are tons of others.

1. She is Moriarty and using a voice changer on those calls. This is the least likely

2. She met and fell in love with Sherlock on her own and Moriarty kidnapped her and held her in captivity to drive Sherlock over the edge.

3. She was working for Moriarty and was sent to play Sherlock but fell for him and Moriarty faked her death and locked her away to drive Sherlock over the edge

4. She is working for Moriarty still and has been the whole time.

I think that choice 3 is the most likely storywise. Irene was working for Moriarty and sent to approach Sherlock in London to gain his trust and was to betray him. Instead she fell in love with him and Moriarty punished her by keeping her in captivity to cause Sherlock pain, hoping to drive him to suicide or drugs.

While I wish they went with a different voice for Moriarty, I do like how they are depicting him. He is the man behind the curtain, never getting his hands dirty and only planning and arranging his group of assassins. He is also intelligent and devious so far. As Moran said, he has people everywhere, eyes everywhere, and yet he uses Sherlock to do his bidding.
More+
6
Reply
Flag
Vengeance is good for the soul in the context of television if only because it makes some very good episodes or TV shows
4
Reply
Flag
I don't know why i felt that Watson didn't see Irene maybe Sherlock is hallucinating
or maybe it's because she doesn't know her
7
Reply
Flag
I think that might have just been kinda poor direction or something. it did indeed look as though watson wasn't seeing what he was seeing but I don't think that was intentional.
2
Reply
Flag
also i thought the lesson Moriarty was trying to convey was revenge wasn't the way to go.. i may be wrong
Reply
Flag
This episoade was titled Risk Management and it's the 22nd episode of the season. Next week we'll have a double feature, The Woman + Heroine, episodes 1x23 + 1x24.
2
Reply
Flag
Everyone makes mistakes Lily it's ok
Risk Management is the name of the episode but other than that Fantastic review
2
Reply
Flag
isn't the episode "woman" yet to come? I thought this episodes title was "risk management"?
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
We fixed it, sorry about that!
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook

  • 8:00 pm
    Caught on Camera With Nick Cannon High Jinx
    NEW
    NBC
  •  
    500 Questions
    NEW
    ABC
  • 10:00 pm
    20/20
    NEW
    ABC