Episode Title: "You Do It to Yourself"
Writer: Peter Blake
Director: Phil Abraham
Previously on "Elementary:"
It's all about the exes - this time it's Watson's wrongly accused addict ex, Liam. Though I've been eager to learn more about Sherlock's past relationship with Irene Adler, this time around it was a blast from Joan Watson's past that provided the intrigue.
In "You Do It Yourself," we learned that Watson (Lucy Liu) became interested in working with addicts after her ex-boyfriend, Liam became one, himself. Seeing she had a knack for tough love and the Twelve Steps, Watson decided ditch the OR for assorted church cafeterias and clinics to help those struggling with addiction. Of course, we know that Watson, who left a lucrative career as a surgeon, was actually seeking a kind of rehab and redemption of her own, after she blamed herself for losing a patient under the knife.
The ex-boyfriend revelation was a necessary piece of the puzzle that is Watson's past, but I'm afraid it might have been used to suggest the dreaded potential romantic relationship between Watson and Sherlock. When he called himself Liam's brother in addiction, you had to wonder if Sherlock wasn't also thinking the two men might soon share something else in common. There was also the faintest of flirting between the two when Watson, wearing a football jersey and shorts, talked to Sherlock in the bathroom. She tells him she needs to take a shower and he says something like "go right ahead." Hopefully I mistook his asocial behavior for flirting.
Otherwise, "Elementary" continues to buck the trend of the predictable procedural. Or at least it makes it the typically rote hour-long murder mystery entertaining, by dropping little factoids that are both educational and humous. No, Sherlock, I had no idea a pig's orgasm can last up to thirty-minutes.
However in terms of story structure, there isn't much to separate "Elementary" from other contemporary procedurals. In this episode for example, a professor is brutally shot and killed at a Mah Jong parlor, his body then dumped somewhere else. At first, it looks like his teacher's assistant did the deed. In fact, he even confessed to it. But things get interesting when the professor's immigrant wife tells Sherlock and Detective Bell (Jon Michael Hill) about the abuse she suffered in the marriage. But unable to prove it, she becomes a suspect as well. Ultimately, Sherlock determines that the professor was dying of cancer and hired a hitman to put him out of his misery. Angered by the affair his wife was having with his assistant, he intended to frame the man for his murder.
Naturally, there always needs to be at least one or two twists to keep it interesting but "Elementary" has already established a pattern where Sherlock fingers a suspect and then insists he/she is innocent, always to Captain Gregson and Detective Bell's shock. And their reactions to Sherlock's theories are a little hard to believe as he is always right. Yes, someone has to play devil's advocate but…
On that note, I liked Detective Bell's beefed up role in this episode. He's a fun foil for Sherlock, though he didn't do much foiling in this episode. Meanwhile, Watson is contributing more and more to Sherlock's cases. In this episode, she flat out caught an important detail in a photo that Sherlock admittedly missed. It was also interesting to see her press Sherlock's skepticism when she insisted he take Chinese herbal tea. The relationship between these two continues to grow nicely while telling us a little more about each character, as an individual.
What's continuing to work for "Elementary" is Jonny Lee Miller's eccentric and brashly comedic "Sherlock." And Lucy Liu is a great "straight man" whose also got some issues of her own. I sometimes wish the world Sherlock inhabits wasn't as mundane as it is. For a guy who considers boredom a kind of sickness, you think he'd get into a lot more trouble (of the non-addictive kind). Still, "Elementary" holds my interest but I think it's about time to start tackling some larger mysteries…like say Irene Adler…?