ELEMENTARY 1.15 ‘A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs’

Sherlock faces his demons when an old friend arrives in town bearing old habits.

Hilary Rothingby Hilary Rothing

Episode Title: "A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs"

Writers: Corinne Brinkerhoff and Liz Friedman

Director: Guy Ferland

Previously on "Elementary:"

Episode 1.14 "The Deductionist"


It would be easy for "Elementary" to sidestep or gloss over the fact that its version of Sherlock Holmes is a recovering addict, referring to it only when the plot calls for it. Reasoning that viewers want to see Sherlock solve complex cases, not sit through support meetings and lectures on sobriety from Watson, who by the way, is supposed to be his famed counterpart, not a "sober companion," his addiction could be underplayed.

Instead, the show embraces Sherlock’s (Jonny Lee Miller) struggle and finds interesting ways of weaving it into storylines. In "A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs," Sherlock’s former drug dealer, Rhys (Hey, it’s John Hannah, attempting to reprise his "Spartacus" role with a little full-frontal) asks for Sherlock’s help in finding his kidnapped daughter, Emily. Rhys is surprisingly calm considering the circumstances, but when Watson (Lucky Liu) questions him about his "Zen" demeanor, he tells he "believes in Sherlock." Watson believes in Sherlock too, but in a very different way.

Through Rhys, we learn that back in the day Sherlock relied on cocaine to make breakthroughs in cases. And when progress slows in the search for Emily, Rhys pushes Sherlock to do coke.

And here is the moment we’ve been waiting for. Suddenly, and very aggressively, faced with the thing that nearly ruined him (and which FBI profiler, Kathryn Drummond feels he will ultimately succumb to), Sherlock violently grabs Rhys just as Watson walks in (as hard as she tries, she can’t always be there when "stuff" gets real.)

Instead of continuing to work the case, Sherlock storms out and goes to his father for the ransom money in order to rid himself of Rhys and his cocaine as quickly as possible. After arranging to have Emily returned to her father, Sherlock tells Rhys he never wants to see him again.

Is it a testament to how dedicated Sherlock is to staying sober or rather just a stubborn refusal to be manipulated in such a base manner? At the moment, Sherlock’s resolve is strong, but the inevitable "relapse episode" is sure to come, right?

En route to pay off Emily’s kidnappers, Sherlock finds himself followed by a gang of hit men posing as painters. Meanwhile, Watson and Rhys are held at gunpoint by the undercover DEA Agent Sherlock sniffed out in a nightclub, who is working undercover with the Dominican drug cartel Rhys was once associated with. After learning about the two million dollars Rhys stole from the cartel, the corrupt federal agent kidnapped Emily and sent thugs after Sherlock to protect himself from being exposed as a fed.

Realizing he’s been a total scum to his old friend who’s been so diligently trying to find Emily, Rhys decides to fall on the sword when he frees himself and Watson from the banister their tied up to and throws himself at the kidnapper. Shots are fired, Rhys goes down and a medical bust is smashed over the kidnapper’s head in Watson’s first (awesome) action sequence.

Rhys manages to survive the shooting and is reunited with Emily. Sherlock coolly acknowledges his old friend’s bravery, but it’s Watson he regards as the hero of the day. As he becomes more and more dependent on Watson, the case for her staying becomes stronger. Did Sherlock learn the truth about Watson’s termination when he called his father? Rhys’ betrayal might have been the perfect excuse to forgive Watson’s lie about her employment.

This episode dealt with some pretty heavy issues, but "Elementary" doesn’t take anything too seriously, not addiction, kidnapping or even a severed finger. Are we to believe Sherlock actually tasted the matter under Emily’s severed digit in order to determine that she’d been eating Ethiopian takeout? I am afraid we are.

And in the "uncomfortable observations about bodily functions" department, we had Sherlock exclaim, "Now, I urinate" when heading into the men’s room to question the DEA agent at the nightclub and his confession that he’s managed to track Watson’s menstrual cycle. Nothing gets by this guy.

While Rhys attested to his belief in Sherlock, "the addict detective," Watson ‘s faith in his ability to not only function but also succeed sober, prevailed. But what really matters is Sherlock’s belief in himself. This episode made a strong case for it, but the true test may still lie ahead.