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

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?


QUESTIONS:

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

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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!
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Oh, and OBVIOUSLY the fact that Sherlock uses abbreviations. It's gross.
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I have a feeling we have already been introduced to Moriarty: Watson's new friend
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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.
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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.

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Nah, that was her. She really did look like that once upon a time. Scary...
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No, it wasn't. The actress' name is Molly Price.
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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.
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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...
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- 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
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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.
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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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I think it wasn't bad, sort of enjoyed it... Of course cannot compare it to BBC Sherlock... there is simply... NO point of comparison but I do agree about waiting for the show to find its footing.

I thought "Sexy Sherlock" was absolutely ridiculous and I LMAO!

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I'll admit I was biased when I first watched this show because I'm a huge BBC Sherlock fan. But it isn't bad. As a few other people pointed out, you do tend to forget it's about Sherlock Holmes and Watson and if you keep thinking of it that way, you will find it entertaining. Unfortunately, The cases so far have been super easy. I've figured out the murderer before Sherlock has and that makes it considerably less enjoyable.
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-Both. She meant well but we all know there are bloody paths filled with good intentions. I felt like there was a way to handle that without "outing" him to his boss. I think it was never more obvious that they are trying to soothe all the fans with the "There will be absolutely no romantic relationship whatsoever between Sherlock and Watson". If not for trying to please the fans they could have ran with the whole Watson was just concerned because he never came home for their late night rendezvous or whatever...she could have just neither confirmed or denied that they were somehow involved. It wouldn't have come to anything...but because they are toeing this fine line to appease the fans they went with the second worst thing they could have did and outed him to his boss. This early on at that. It broke the confidentiality she's supposed to have as a professional and interfered with the growth of this notorious loyalty that is supposed to be between them.

-No. It's the information age. I'd expect it and probably think less of them if they didn't.

- I don't mind the wait. My expectations were non existent so I'm good.

- Nope. And it's a tell. I did find that aspect of the episode wildly amusing. Basic analyzing and profiling that we tend to do w/o realizing it. Deduction. Everyone has a distinct style when they are texting or typing that after a while you just know...so it's cool to me.

-I continue to like the show. I think it's mostly due to Liu and Lee. They have a decent chemistry between them that only seems to be getting better. I find it most entertaining when it's just them. Him oddly proud that she's getting better at deducing..her nagging him but being genuinely concerned for his well being. I also liked Sharlocks moment with the Captain even if I didn't like the way it all came out.They have to work on the cases though.

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I liked the conversation at the end where Sherlock admitted to the Captain that he hadn't told about his drug problem because he was embarrassed and was told "of course I knew".
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Sexy Sherlock is one of the stupidest things I've seen on this site. And that's saying something. If you don't think of this Holmes as the real Sherlock the simpler mysteries work just fine. I tend to forget it's supposed to be a version of Sherlock Holmes until somebody says his name. I guess I think of him as more of a messy Monk.
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I'm still undecided about this show. I like the actors, but agree the mysteries are too simple for Sherlock Holmes. Sometimes I think this show would have been better if they had created on original detective character, or done a "twist" on the genre by having JLM's character as someone who justs thinks he's Sherlock Holmes, and everyone plays along with it because they're afraid if they told him the truth he wouldn't be able to stay sober.
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This was not nearly as good as last week's, but I don't think it's quite so bad as you've suggested. Yes, the cases are simple and the people are stupid, but this is Elementary. In America. Not Sherlock. In England. Elementary is written for a different audience - one that is accustomed to having solutions either handed to them on a silver platter or obvious enough that they can figure it out themselves. Considering its target, Elementary is doing well enough.

Of course, I think it's BS that American television is so catered, but that's me. It would be nice if the cases were more clever, the people more intelligent. I felt Watson did what was necessary, even if it seemed tacked on to the episode. "Oh look, guys, I can do a flashback episode!"
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Lily - "sexy sherlock" is brilliant! LMAO!
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I think this episode was fine. I think it was an effort to begin developing watson as Sherlock's equal intellectually and for some trust to be built. Her side story about believing her date was lying and deducing other things in past episodes is evidence of that. Hopefully this would mean that when Moriatry finally appears on screen those episodes will be very dark and Sherlock will get so consumed by these cases that only watson can bring him out. I for some reason trust these writers and I believe there will be a pay off. Just hang time! Sparks will fly!
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Not Sherlock. Not Watson. Expect nothing and you won't be disappointed.
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Here's a easy way to tell who the bad guy on a tv program is: it's the most recognizable guest star whose part seems insignificant at first. It almost always works (on network tv at least). As soon as I saw the secretary, I recognized her and I knew she was the killer.
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Castle does the same thing. That's why I don't watch it anymore.
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I know! I hate when shows do that! I can guess almost every killer on these procedural shows because why would these seemingly insignificant characters even be mentioned in the first place.



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I still enjoyed this episode for some reason but I agree the plots have to become wayyy more complex and interesting from this show to do justice to Sherlock Holmes. But I guess that's what we have the BBC's Sherlock for. Also, I don't think this shows ready for Moriarty.
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It was an interesting piece of procedural last night. I didn't make it all the way through. I kind of gave up after the salad. Plus The League was coming on. And largely for the point that you made. Sherlock is supposed to be extremely intelligent and hyper-observent, the detectives that he seems to be around are simply moronic. Or are made moronic in order for the writers to not strain anything. Nothing of Sherlocks observations are anything profound. It should be obvious that a man with zero track marks living in that apartment isn't going to OD. And seriously who would shoot up after eating some salad. It seems as if Elementary borrowed the cops from last seasons AHS. Because their dumb.



The texting, I agree Elementary does it way better. I am not going to attempt to compare the two because honestly at this point it is like comparing LOTR to Your Highness. Yes it is that bad. It is entertaining for the most part.



Everything else was blah and I am not surprised that it turned out to be the secretary because really that is how these procedural shows kind of go.



And now I am going to re-watch the first BBC Sherlock to erase last night's episode from my mind.
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Did you like Sherlock's second episode? (Chinese woman with the ancient teapot). I think it was by far their worst episode, and would still be bad even if it'd been one of Elementary's.
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Also, I had no problem with the text messaging. I agree with you that the BBC Sherlock's use and portrayal of text messages is great and so much better than what Elementary did in this episode (hell, it's likely better than the text messaging I've seen in any show, ever), but it would've done more harm than good had Elementary replicated that. Also, I have no problem with the abbrevs because, logically, it makes sense for Sherlock. Sherlock doesn't care if it's hard for others to interpret, he cares that it saves him from wasting time writing out whole words and full sentences. It shouldn't matter that it's annoying because, to most people, Sherlock IS annoying. I don't use abbreviations or acronyms myself, though, anymore. My time isn't precious and I'm rarely in a hurry, so I may as well spell out words to make sure the person that's receiving it knows what the hell I'm talking about. I'd be a lot more frustrated if I had to repeat and/or clarify my messages.
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In regards to #3: I didn't have a problem with that part of the plot at all. If they were all working in the same building or city or state? Sure, some or all of them should have had suspicions. But 4 deaths in 4 different cities across the U.S. in a span of a decade? Uh, no. I don't expect any or all of them to know about who died and how, let alone suspect foul play. I could have two friends die in the same month due to "accidents" and I wouldn't go, "Conspiracy?!" In most peoples' lives, murder is too rare an event that accidents are not something you usually question unless you know they have been doing something shady.

In regards to #5: I'm not sure if this is a joke that I'm just not getting, but the actress that played Donna was Molly Price. Maybe the joke is that they very remotely look alike? *shrugs*

Finally, I half-agree half-disagree with your point #7. I also thought it could've been easier for her to tell Captain Gregson a lie about why she needed his help in finding Sherlock after only 3 hours, but I can also believe her reasons for telling the truth as well. One, I'd think many people aren't too comfortable lying to police. Plus, she genuinely seems to care for Sherlock and really wants him to stay clean... if he hasn't checked in and she suspects relapse, it's arguably more appropriate for her to tell the captain (who is also an old friend of Sherlock's) the truth and have him actually help, rather than try and lie and risk having him notice and not help. If he helped her to find Sherlock and her suspicions of relapse were true, he'd find out about the drug use anyway.
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"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. "

And if Elementary had used something similar, the BBCers would have been UP. AT. ARMS. over it. "OMG, They totes stole that from Sherlock! LOL Sherlock is better. This show cannot be allowed exist! LMAO." |:-|
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Bingo.
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Aaand, I'm out. This episode was boring, they managed to further ruin Watson, and Sherlock doesn't really feel like Sherlock either.

Will consider going back if they do either a two part episode, or introduce Moriarty.
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I liked this episode. Not because of the plot, it was kind of weak. But it was the first episode in which I felt that the personalities of Sherlock and Watson fell into place. Especially during the first part of the episode, Sherlock had a few really great lines, and Miller delivered them superbly. When I watched I actually thought about what Price and Tim said in this week's podcast about actors using their native accents. And it does seem like it is easier for Miller to handle the character because of Sherlock being British. His delivery is more natural because of this.

At the moment the best part of the show is the interaction between Miller and Liu. They are pretty much carrying the show. We'll have to see how far they can do it before the novelty of their banter wears off, and people realize that the show is otherwise not living up to what it promises.
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-- I really do believe Watson was acting in Sherlock's best interest. Yeah, she could've made something up or just said "I'm worried something's happened to him," but she obviously felt she didn't have a choice.



-- Never seen it.



-- No because I'd probably look them up too.



-- Let's wait for the show to find its footing before we bring in the big guns.



-- No because I absolutely refuse to text.
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Your review made me laugh, but I really liked this episode! I think this show is getting better with each episode, and as I also love the main actors it makes it pretty easy for me to forgive any faults.

The texting thing in the episode was great, as well as Watson likening them to a 10 year old on a sugar high. Personally I hate when tv or movies try to get artsy with texting and have text floating around on the screen, so I much prefer Elementary's version.

I was also very pleased with myself that I TOTALLY GUESSED WHO THE KILLER WAS!! Go me. It wasn't all that hard, lady just looked suspicious. I actually would rather not compare Sherlock and Elementary since they are two different shows, but in this case I was still entertained and proud of myself for totes guessing the killer, while with Sherlock's pilot I was yelling at the screen in frustration "OMG IT'S THE TAXI DRIVER! Duhhhh why are you being so stupid????" for 30 minutes. Because that's how long he took to catch on. Urg. But seriously, both are good shows and we don't have to pick sides here :)
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Procedurals always introduce the killer as an innocent at some point, only to come back later and identify them as the perp. It's never the guy from up the street who wasn't mentioned until 42 minutes into the show. So how many possible killers were shown here? The current CEO (prime suspect, shown innocent quite soon); the wife; the secretary. Plus, Sherlock never actually proved she was the killer; had she shut her mouth, she would have got away with it. So where are Sherlock's great deductive skills?
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I actually very much enjoyed the episode. The end conversation between Holmes and Watson about puzzles was thought provoking, it reminded me a lot of House (which I guess is to be expected).

CBS's Thursday lineup was awesome yesterday, hope they can keep it going.









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I despise abbreviating texts. No matter how long it takes me to type, I will always text in full and with proper grammar! But I did appreciate Sherlock's reasoning and even though it's annoying, his explanation sort of made up for it...

You missed another stupid police moment, when they were interviewing the wife, the detective was trying to stop Sherlock asking where she was when her husband was killed! I mean, even if you don't think she did it, you still need to confirm where she was!
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