Elementary "The Long Fuse" Review: Good Mystery! Now Quit Second-guessing Holmes and Pretending Watson's Gonna Leave

Elementary S01E08: "The Long Fuse"

A round of thunderous applause before we begin! Last night's Elementary gave us one of the better puzzles the show has put together so far, if not the best. Intricate without overwhelming detail, gruesome enough to give me a genuine chill, and plausible enough that I wasn't cackling by the conclusion. The only real problem was knowing who the bomber was as soon as the camera landed on her: Lisa Edelstein, you sexy minx, you looked like you'd run over from the old House soundstage on the Fox lot without bothering to change costumes. If only they'd thrown in a second possibility (it only takes two horses to make a race), but they had to shoehorn in the sponsor plot this week so we merely had to watch the clock wind down on the inevitable reveal that Whatserface Van Owen was not only a ho-turned-CEO but adept at making pipe bombs. And hanging dry wall!

Don't make this renaissance woman languish in jail, she's too useful! She should get a double-0 spy number and put these skills to work. I seriously do love Edelstein and it must have been fun to get to play a sexy villainess who even got to flirt with Jonny Lee Miller. (Although it was very rude of him to point out the answers to her crossword puzzle. Other people besides you can enjoy a challenge, Holmes! C'mon now.)

JLM was acting the spazz this week like no other, from conducting an elaborate hand dance in a room full of flat screens to shouting down a sponsor in a shiny coat and blue jeans. Some weeks he takes "addict" and translates it as "caffeinated" and this was one of those episodes. I particularly take issue with his tennis-bomb recreation on the roof of a building in NYC. I mean, he made a fertilizer-filled explosive knowing full well he hadn't smelled fertilizer at the crime scene, so I don't know what that was meant to achieve. Secondly, if we're assuming he still has a tower of bees up on that roof (and judging by where the bridge appeared on the horizon, in roughly the same area on that roof), this was nothing less than animal (insect?) cruelty. Not a bee buzzing, it seemed, up there on the roof where he was cheerfully chucking combustibles.

I did love that Holmes popped out the elevator button a suspected "eco-terrorist" had just pushed to get a fingerprint.That's the kind of no-nonsense, pragmatic police work I'd like to see in real life or at least from the NYPD as portrayed on this show, as they once again fell asleep at the wheel and steered the case toward disaster. Elmentary's NYPD only brought the bomb squad in for the day apparently and then they were like, "Ooph, better things to do, like sit around waiting for another bomb to happen!" and it was up to Holmes to analyze the pipe bomb materials. Curiously, Cap'n Gregson seemed dismissive and borderline annoyed at Holmes' thorough approach to dissecting the detritus.

Writers: You cannot have anyone second-guess Holmes anymore, at this point in the series. He hasn't failed once. He is a deductive Babe Ruth who single-handedly saved Gregson's career last episode. At no point should Gregson be winging because Holmes wants to come in early and do some extra credit because his men can't even recognizes a security deposit box key.

I'm afraid the biggest problem this week was again Watson. Not only is it annoying for the character to keep insisting she's going to leave Holmes in a matter of weeks (thereby dissolving the premise of the show), but she had several smug "Oh, you!" moments where she acted more like a slightly condescending girlfriend than a colleague. When they brought on a lady Watson, it didn't occur to me they were going to jettison the Holmes-Watson dynamic.

I know I make this complaint every week, but I'd like to believe that Watson is not in a hurry to leave Holmes, and isn't constantly trying to manipulate him to suit some behavioral script in her head (via security systems in flashy cars). I mean, don't get me wrong, I'd tune in every week to watch Lucy Liu watch paint dry, I love her so, but the writers keep twisting Watson out of the main action and problem-solving with regard to the mystery and pushing her into a dry little B-story rut, and it's hurting both arcs of each episode.

The mysteries suffer because not enough time can be dedicated to unraveling them (or to investigating multiple suspects), and the addiction story suffers becausezzzzzzz. Hopefully an introduction of Moriarty, maybe a not-so-dead Irene Adler will give us a larger season arc that can enliven one or both of the in-the-episode plots from week to week. Fingers crossed!

What did you think of the episode?


1. So no bees on that roof, huh?

2. Why will Watson end up staying?

3. How many guys do you know who go by the name of Alfredo and are they chefs?

4. Should Gregson just give Holmes a badge and let him run the station?

5. Do you have any ho-turned-CEO success stories to share with the group?

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