An Elementary Community
Monday 10:00 PM on CBS
I have to admit that this was the first episode that didn't give me an idea for a review immediately and I am still not sure if the approach I finally chose isn't too farfetched.
Don't get me wrong I don't think this was a bad episode, there was just nothing that I found suitable for a discussion at first. There were some interesting aspects in this episode but I considered them either too complicated, too boring or too speculative to write about.

Then I remembered one scene that struck me as odd because the portrayal of two characters was different from the usual Elementary style. I am talking about the two scientists at the Orb-Light Lab who were clearly a parody of the profession.

I don't know why Jon Michael Hill made that directing decision, but it finally gave me my topic:

"What makes a good scientist?"

Sherlock never went to a University and yet he is a better scientist than the whole lot of those who appeared in the episode.
Why is that the case?
To explain I think it is best to determine what each of the scientists in this episode are lacking.

1. William Velnik
He was good at being a worm hunter. He apparently discovered a lot of unknown species. But then he took a job offer to find biological fibres from worms that could be synthesized to produce body armour. The problem is, that it is very difficult to put a lot of effort into something you are not the least interested in. There will always be other things around that occupy your attention, in Velnik's case it was round worms.
When he discovered that his colleague had developed body armour from genetically altered silkworms, instead of talking to her about a cooperation he sabotages her work.

2. Sepi Chamanara
Miss Chamanara is in no way better than the professor. She has the knowledge and skill to create transgenic species that are able to produce enough material to commercialize the bullet proof clothing. When she got to know the work of Orb-Light she could have offered her expertise to the founders of the company and gotten a fair share of the profit. But she prefers to wrap Dr. Elke around her finger and steal some of the spiders.

3. Dr. Elke and Dr. Pamthong
Besides belonging more into a slapstick movie than into Elementary the two are lacking an essential trait, every good scientist needs: flexibility.
Pamthong and Elke knew for quite some time that the mass-production of the body armour fibre would not be lucrative with their current possibility of harvesting the webs of bark spiders. But instead of looking for other solutions they stuck to their original plan, knowing full well that they could not realise it with the means they were having.

4. Mason
Yes, you are right. Mason is not a scientist, he is a kid with mad computer skills. But he is still important for what I want to explain. Sherlock finds out that Mason has only completed half of the task he was given and then resumed playing computer games,
Mason is lacking stamina. He doesn't stay focussed on what he is supposed to do.

To be a good scientist you need
- knowledge
- a huge interest in what you are doing
- skills
- The willingness and ability to cooperate with others when your knowledge is not sufficient
- flexibility and creativity
- ethics

Sherlock has all of that as the opening sequence showed and it also demonstrated something else, namely that Sherlock is able to help other people thrive, probably without them even realising.

Do you remember the scene in Season three were he talks about the murder of the Black Daliah or in the first episode of Season 4 were he tries to recreate the crime scene of a murder of the 1920s?
In both scenes the only reaction he got from the two women was the statement that they would prefer doing something else.
One of those ladies, Athena, is also present in this episode but instead of making comments on how uninteresting the work is, she asks him questions, trying to follow Sherlock's trail of thought. The difference to the second woman in the room, who seems to be a more recent paramour, is obvious.

I leave you with the statement of Sepi Chamanara near the end of the episode:

"Rage is a biological impulse.
Just like lust.
It all comes from the same place.
We have this drive.

To survive and to destroy anything that gets in our way."

In my opinion there is only one answer to that:
The ability to control our impulses is what distinguishes us from animals.

What do you think about "The Worms Crawl in, The Worms Crawl out"?
1 Comment
Comments (1)
Aug 23, 2018
It was interesting and your comments about scientists makes me think of a common trend in recent years. When in high school and some college I studied different sciences and one thing that was common was you rarely saw scientific fact, instead ideas were theories and you worked to prove or disprove those theories and any result you got, good or bad, was information that is essential to pushing science and knowledge forward. Recently, mostly media, keep saying scientific fact, as if nothing can be questioned and there are scientists who keep letting this happen, making me question, above all else, their ethics. I do not know every detail but even theories put forth by einstien are questioned and checked to this day so why are some subjects suddenly unquestionable. I'm not going to go into a rant about it but man made global warming (or climate change) is one of these things and I have looked into the argument, and there are two very different trains of thoughts into this subject, but some scientists, politicians and regular people keep arguing about "facts" and this is something that is not factual according to my personal looking into these subjects. I learned enough about science that even if 1% of the people studying a subject question something and have studies that back that questioning it is the obligation of all scientists studying this subject to look into their own and others results. This is kind of what you get from these scientists in this episode, that they locked onto an idea and when it doesn't work to their satisfaction, they instead of really looking for other ideas or working together, instead double down on a failed idea. Sherlock remains scientifically objective, where as these other scientists are into the money and seem to forget what science really should be about.

Great review, as always, until the next time.
Follow this Show