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?


– 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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