ELEMENTARY 1.13 ‘The Red Team’

Sherlock and Watson spook up a series of murders when they dive into a deadman's conspiracy theory.

Hilary Rothingby Hilary Rothing

Episode Title: "The Red Team"

Writer: Jeffrey Paul King

Director: Christine Moore

Previously on "Elementary:"

Episode 1.12 "M."


Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) wants Watson (Lucy Liu) to know he’s always the smartest person in the room and yet he insists on trying to hail a taxi with a shrill whistle. Sherlock also enjoys baiting conspiracy theorists on Internet forums and yet in "The Red Team," found himself touting the government murder cover-up theory of one such forum poster.

While looking into the sudden disappearance of a regular conspiracy theory forum poster, Sherlock and Watson happened upon a crime scene. Though he was suspended from his consulting position after attempting to torture and murder the man he believed responsible for Irene’s death, Sherlock managed to insert himself into the case.

Bringing in a recovering heroin addict as a consultant was surely a risky move for Captain Gregson (Aidan Quinn), but Sherlock’s record speaks for itself. How many times have we seen Gregson and Detective Bell (John Michael Hill) hang a case on the wrong man, only to have Sherlock step in and properly unravel the whole mess? The case of "The Red Team" was no different.

When another message board poster turned himself in for the murder, the case appeared to be solved. But as Sherlock dug deeper into the victim’s file on the "Red Team," a group of top level scientists and engineers who participated in a military war game to test defense systems, he began to sound more and more like the conspiracy cooks he mocked.

When various members of the Red Team stared turning up dead, Sherlock’s conspiracy theory started to gain more weight with Gregson, who reluctantly let the consultant back on the job. And just in time too, as the man behind the killings, a Red Team member named Dresden with a wife suffering from a brain disease, took a detective hostage and started making demands.

But as he reminded Watson at the top of the hour, there’s no outsmarting Sherlock. In this case, he was able to deduce the Red Team’s closely guarded plan, making Dresden’s plot to eliminate those members with knowledge of it, pointless. With another case solved, Sherlock demanded a meeting with Gregson. The Captain ultimately decided to let Sherlock back in the fold and welcomed him back with a punch to the gut.

Which leads us to the question of Watson’s predicament. Concerned Sherlock would relapse without his job to keep him occupied, Watson justified her decision to stay on, despite being dismissed by Sherlock’s father. Now that he’s back on the beat, how will Watson broker their relationship going forward? As her therapist pointed out, if Sherlock found out the truth, it could jeopardize his sobriety.

The Watson issue has been troubling for some time and her decision to stay while Sherlock was still reeling from the Irene/Moriarty revelation was only a temporary fix. But "Elementary’s" been surprisingly good thus far, so I’m willing to wait and see how this plays out.

And on that note, it’s great to see a case that’s directly tied to one of Sherlock’s eclectic interests. There was plenty of humor in "The Red Team," kicking things off with an autoeroticism joke definitely set the tone for this episode. Sherlock’s eccentric behavior coupled with Watson’s dumbfounded stoicism makes otherwise dull scenes very funny. As she becomes more comfortable with Sherlock, Watson’s calling him out on his shenanigans more often. The question is how long until Sherlock starts calling Watson out on hers?