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ELEMENTARY 1.08 ‘The Long Fuse’

Sherlock sniffs out a bomb plot while Watson seeks out a sponsor for her client as she prepares to leave.

Episode Title: "The Long Fuse"

Writer: Jeffrey Paul King

Director: Andrew Bernstein

Previously on "Elementary:"

Episode 1.07 "One Way to Get Off"

 

SPOILER ALERT for "The Long Fuse!" You've been warned.

 

Here's a whacky one for you. An ex-con plumber accidentally sets off a four-year-old pager-triggered bomb stashed inside the wall of a web design company office when he tries to call a deli to order a breakfast sandwich and dials the wrong number. But the guy the bomb was intended to take out is long dead, mummified and stuffed inside the wall of his own home by the prostitute he videotaped himself with who later became his boss. When the blackmailing got old, she killed him. Got all that?

"Elementary's" given us some pretty wild cases, which on paper might sound a little too sensational. But they're the perfect playground for Sherlock to exercise his extraordinary observational skills in. And they also make some very funny exchanges between the police consultant and those he questions through the course of the investigations.

While some of the drier procedurals out there come off corny and forced when making attempts at humor, "Elementary" excels at comedy – due mostly to Sherlock's asocial behavior and Watson's wry reactions. "The Long Fuse" was especially good in that department. The look Watson gave when Sherlock introduced her as his "consultant slash housekeep" got things going. But the real comedy came later when Sherlock confronted the PR firm boss/former prostitute/killer about flirting with him. Surely, she was pleased to learn the feelings were mutual, but most women would probably be creeped out by a guy who finds "the elasticity of the their musculature tantalizing."

At times it almost feels like "Elementary" borders on procedural parody, but that doesn't take anything away from the show's intelligence. The cases are smart (but Sherlock's always smarter) and as crazy as it usually seems at first, Sherlock's reasoning is always sound. In the case of "The Long Fuse," the only thing I found troubling is Sherlock's encyclopedic knowledge of like, everything from pager motherboards to bomb composition to the history of an obscure battery manufacturer. Granted we know he often consults the internet and is unashamed to admit it, but that wasn't true in every instance in this case.

On the personal level, Watson started preparing to take her leave of Sherlock by setting him up with a new sponsor. He disposed of the first guy she brings around by bombarding him with a loaded question about a life-or-death situation that involved taking narcotics. However, he later spots the sponsor of his dreams, a reformed car-jacker named Alfredo, at a support meeting (Hey, it's "Doc Freeman" from "Copper," Ato Essandoh!). But when Watson called his bluff and set up a meeting with Alfredo, Sherlock ditched it. And here we learned that despite his insistence that he's "self-sufficient," Sherlock doesn't want Watson to leave. Of course, we all saw that coming a mile away, but how exactly he gets Watson to stay on as his "consultant slash housekeep" should be interesting.

On the other hand, I almost wish the business of keeping Watson around didn't need to be dealt with. We know she's not going anywhere and the situation isn't complicated enough to make us wonder how it could possibly work out. Watson told Sherlock that she won't be taking on another client which does beg the question of what's next for her. Hopefully, it's resolved quickly so we can get back to more intriguing topics like the mysterious Irene Adler.

Otherwise, "Elementary" gives us little to complain about this week. It's surprisingly one of the freshest procedurals out there and Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu continue to do good stuff on screen together. Initially, I was bummed to see Liu's excellent work on "Southland" come to an end for another CBS procedural, especially a Sherlock Holmes rehash. But eight episodes later, I'm totally on board with "Elementary."