Elementary Season 2 Review “Step Nine”

Things got off to a smashing start, both figuratively and literally, with the premiere of “Elementary,” entitled “Step Nine.” The episode was bookended by scenes that seemed deceptively docile enough but ended up being potentially explosive. We began with a funeral, which was rudely interrupted by an unhinged man armed with a grenade, threatening to blow up himself and another man who turned out to be the proverbial one who got away. This was no love triangle, however, but a more devious scenario, as the man with the crazed plan was in fact a policeman at Scotland Yard, and the other man one who he suspected- but couldn’t prove- had killed his own wife.

Thankfully, it turned out to be a fake grenade, but it was enough to get the man in hot water with his employers, necessitating a visit from Holmes to try and track him down. It turned out the policeman was his old partner in solving crimes, Lestrade (Sean Pertwee), although Holmes himself did most of the crime-solving, letting Lestrade take all the credit. Now it was time to go once more into the breach with his old friend, which meant it was back to the motherland for Holmes.

This was a fun episode, and we got some nice nods to the original stories throughout the episode, including a visit to 221B, Holmes’ old digs; a run-in with his brother Mycroft (Rhys Ifans, perfectly cast); and, of course, the characters of Lestrade and Hopkins (Tim McMullan), plus an off-screen cameo from Langdale Pike, a more minor character in the stories. I’m sure there were plenty more references where that came from, but it’s been a while since I’ve read the original stories. (Feel free to make note of some more in the comments section, because I love allusions like that!)

The case at hand was a clever spin on a locked-room style mystery, with more modern spins on the case at hand. To be honest, I’ve seen the whole plastic gun/3D plotline approach used elsewhere, notably on “CSI” and “The Closer,” but I liked the way they handled it here better than I’ve seen it done before. The bit at the end as the crime was explained and how he deduced much of it via the bit of plastic lodged in the fruit was pure Holmesian goodness. I loved it!

Also, note to certain other shows that do the new setting thing early on in the season- this is how you do it right. (Looking at you, “Castle.”) Get in, get out, no muss, no fuss. Even better, the door was left open for a return, and complete with characters fans of the original stories couldn’t possibly have a problem with. I especially liked the interaction with Mycroft, in particular the last scene, in which we finally got the explosion that never happened in the first scene, in a much more unexpected and humorous fashion. Well played, “Elementary.”

I also liked some of the clever touches: the bit with the carrier pigeons (not to mention Watson putting the smack-down on the suspect); the way Lestrade’s addiction to the limelight mirrored Holmes’ drug addiction; Holmes’ nicknames for his family members (“Geezer Bob” and “Fatty”); the revelation about Holmes and Mycroft’s fiancée; the bit about the milk filled with acetone to dissolve the plastic gun; the dynamic between Watson and Mycroft and Holmes’ reaction to it; the shout-out to Pike via signage; and the revelation that Watson is the closest thing to a real friend that Homes ever had. Great stuff all around.

Honestly, I don’t really have anything negative to say about the episode, save that I wouldn’t have minded if it had gone on even longer, if only so that we got to spend a bit more time in London. The scenery was gorgeous and the location-shooting was pretty impressive. Though I’m ultimately glad it was a one-off sort of thing, I would have no problem whatsoever with Holmes and Watson going abroad once again for another outsourced case.

What did you think of the “Elementary” premiere? Did the trip to England live up to your expectations as well? Did you like the main case at hand? How about the run-ins with various Holmes-related touchstones? Did you like the casting of the new characters? Sound off on this and whatever else strikes your fancy down below in the comments section, and see you next week!