An Elementary Community
Monday 10:00 PM on CBS
"Through the Fog" was a remarkable episode in many respects.
The team was split up for the entire episode, which was, with one exception very close to the studio (33-2 Queens Blvd. Long Island City, Queens) only playing in the two studio sets. This makes it the first Elementary Bottle Episode.
It was also the first plot without a single death.
Only two locations, no death - This has to be boring.


A reduced setting can be very intriguing, because it eliminates the distraction from constant scene changes and puts the focus on the interactions of the characters. In this case it meant showing what makes the team of the four detectives great:


"The interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects."1

"In the context of organizational behavior, following the view that a cohesive group is more than the sum of its parts, synergy is the ability of a group to outperform even its best individual member."2

Let's have a look on how synergy worked in this episode.

The opening scene
Neither Sherlock nor Joan could have manicured or pedicured Clyde on their own. It needs two people to do the task.
It also demonstrates how much Sherlock is obsessed with being able to defend oneself. He even needs tomake sure that his pet is able to fight although it will in all likelihood never have to do so.
Other people might have laughed at him, but Joan doesn't as she knows why Sherlock is like that.

Bell and Gregson at the precinct
When the Captain gets informed about a possible biological attack he reacts quickly but stays calm. His way of reacting prevents a panic at the station. He also uses the information he gets from Bell to draw his own conclusions. This leads to the finding of the photographs.

Although Sherlock respects the opinion and the authority of the captain he disregards the order of the captain not to talk to the cartel. His intuition tells him to do it and he is right as the conversation rules the group out as suspects.

Joan and Sherlock at the disco
When they enter the premises, you can deduce from Sherlock's body language that he is scared. The problem is that when Sherlock grapples with anxiety he gets aggressive. So he needs Joan to intervene and deescalate when necessary. If she hadn't been there the conversation with Javi would probably not have ended well.
It is Sherlock's intelligence though that finally gives them the information they wanted to have.

His skills also help to determine the date of the photographs and deliver the most likely suspect, who is then interviewed by Bell and Gregson, with the captain being able to add another point to Sherlock's list of criteria, because of his own experience with divorce.

This goes on through the rest of the episode. I don't want to list all the synergy effects that finally lead to the arrest of the criminals, because this really would be boring.

I think it is much more interesting if you watch the episode again and find them yourselves.

There are two scenes though that I still want to point out as they are part of the synergy but not directly related to the case.

Joan and her mother
Sherlock has got an amazing ability to give other people advice in difficult situations. His assessments are very clear and in this particular case he uses his experience with addiction and his own struggles with the necessity to give up part of his autonomy to stay sober to explain to Joan how she has to deal with her mother.

In exchange Joan looks after Sherlock. He often forgets about essential things like eating or taking breaks. He needs his friend to remind him to take care of himself. By the way, did you notice that Sherlock has returned to eating "children's stuff"? He obviously has problems again with getting food down.

I will leave you with my favourite quote of the episode:
"Don't play dumb with me. You are not smart enough."

Well, you can't say that about Elementary.

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Bottle Episode
Comments (4)
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Aug 23, 2018
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Aug 11, 2018
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Aug 11, 2018
I got a bit behind in my episodes but i finally caught up and as always, as with the last 3 reviews, i enjoyed your thoughts after watching each episode.

I found it also interesting how much Bell and Gregson work well even without Sherlock at points as pieces fell into place. While both sides were needed to put the pieces together, it also shows how much they can work when on their own as two separate groups. You often see Sherlock and Watson's side of the story and in this case you got to see a bit more of Bell and Gregson.

I also found it nice to acknowledge the stupid criminals too, which are very common and often are the ones easily caught. I have seen enough of those police videos and such tv shows where you see how stupid some criminals are and the beginning where they caught the guy because he was color blind was one of those cases.
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