Elementary Season 3 Review “End of Watch”

Elementary Season 3 Episode 8 End of Watch 03

On the latest episode of “Elementary,” we got a first-hand look at what it’s like to be seriously busted, in “End of Watch.” I mean, the last time I saw so many cops so determined to arrest someone was in that old movie “The Blues Brothers,” although these particular cops were decidedly better behaved. I also discovered what “End of Watch” meant, even though I saw a movie actually called that once, and I don’t remember it ever being addressed, ironically enough. Way to bury the lead, guys!

Anyway, this was an interesting one, if a bit muted tonally. I suppose that’s fitting given the overall subject matter, given the oft-thorny underbelly that comes with the territory of a cop getting killed, especially if the cop in question is dirty, as one of the two cops killed here was. I wasn’t aware, either, of the fact that, not unlike the military, there’s a certain hierarchy of what happens when a cop is killed. If they’re a “good” cop, they get a full-on ceremonial funeral with all the works. If they’re a “bad” cop, they don’t. But what happens if the answer actually lies somewhere in between?

Here, we had one cop who wasn’t so much a bad cop, as a good cop who took a turn for the worse when he was injured and got addicted to pain pills as a result. This addiction led him to do some nasty things, not the least of which was steal from his own home and wife, and later on, the police armory, where he actually went so far as to trade out real guns for fake ones and sell them to a thug for drug money. Although the cop did eventually get it together and make amends to his wife, his past nonetheless caught up to him when the thug in question came after him for cutting off his supply of firearms too prematurely for his tastes.

But there was a calculated method to his madness as well. His actual intent wasn’t so much to kill the cop in retaliation as to garner that full-on funeral so that the city’s cops would be otherwise occupied while he and his men robbed the armory of everything they had, at its most vulnerable and unprotected. It would have worked had Holmes and company not figured out that the cop was dirty, which in turn caused the funeral-with-frills to be called off, necessitating the murder of yet another cop, this one an entirely innocent cop just minding his own business.

With another full-out funeral on, the armory was left under-staffed, and the thug in question able to rob them blind of over a million dollars worth of guns. Needless to say, the cops didn’t take to kindly to this, and the man hunt was on, ending with the aforementioned bust-to-end-all-busts. I guess in the end, this thug got a bust-with-all-the-trimmings to match the funeral-with-one he brought about for an innocent man. Sounds like just desserts to me.

As riveting as that scene was, to me the highlight of the episode was the subplot with Holmes and the guy who essentially invaded his privacy with the website. While I do think the guy’s heart was in the right place- even though it was a stupid move to bring it to Holmes’ attention in the first place- Holmes wasn’t wrong in that it was a gross misuse of what were really supposed to be his private observations and confessions. That’s kind of why they call these things “anonymous,” you know? It’s right there in the title, for God’s sake.

Even worse, in doing so, it caused Holmes to take his eyes- and more importantly, his mind- off the case at hand, which almost certainly cost people their lives. If I know Holmes, he’s not going to take that lightly, and I can only hope it doesn’t lead to worse than his feeling awful about it, like falling off the wagon for real this time. Thankfully, he’d already come clean about the stash he had, and he did go back to a meeting afterwards, but he also didn’t say a word, and that’s troubling. Hopefully, with his support system of friends now fully intact this time, he’ll be less tempted, but we’ll have to wait and see, I suppose.

I really liked this subplot, and after overstuffing episodes with too many subplots for the last few weeks, this episode finally struck the perfect balance between the case at hand and the more character-driven stuff. As with the Kitty-centric episode earlier this season, by focusing more on one main character than others, nothing much was lost from either side of the equation, be it the case or the characters.

Where the show gets into trouble is in trying to do too much, leading to an episode that satisfies neither the fans of the cases Holmes and company tackle or those who prefer the more character-driven stuff. This one struck the right balance, and even if the case itself was only decently-plotted in the grand scheme of things, it at least made up for it with some essential Holmes-driven stuff, so it wasn’t a total wash. I’d call that progress, especially if they keep it up, and figure out ways to excel at both within the space of one episode. Here’s hoping the new year brings that perfect balance with it for the show. (And the return of Natalie Dormer wouldn’t hurt matters, either… hint-hint!)

What did you think about “Elementary” this week? Was it a step in the right direction for you, too? Or did it leave you cold? Or did you like one aspect of the show but not the other? Do you think Holmes will be okay, or will he backslide into bad habits? What did you think of the website thing? Was it a violation, or did the guy mean well? Or maybe a little of both? Sound off below and I’ll see you in the new year!