After the first mis-step of the series, the big question this week was whether Elementary could raise its game and return to form. Pleasingly, the episode certainly does and in some style.
The omens are good when Sherlock is presented with a particularly intriguing mystery revolving around a plane crash and deducing whether one of the unfortunate passengers was dead before the plane hit the ground. The innovative scenario helps to reinvigorate the show with a puzzle that is completely different to what the series has offered so far.
As well as the enjoyably fresh central mystery, there is more delving into Sherlock’s past and a glimpse under the surface of some of his key relationships. There are more references to his mysterious father and the relation between father and son. We also learn more about his notion of friendship and are offered a few tantalising clues and scraps of information about his life before New York back in London.
We get more of an insight into Sherlock’s psyche and the ways in which he sees the world. The way in which he explains his unease with flying demonstrates that there is a price to be paid for his extraordinary deductive gifts and a few of the bricks in the wall he has built between himself and Watson begin to disappear. As for major Holmes aficionados there is a tease regarding a significant name from Sherlock’s past, although it may not be the one you were expecting.
Jonny Lee Miller is back in fine form displaying the trademark quick fire delivery and erratic energy he has brought to the role of Holmes but also the first signs of fallibility and unease around a case. Lucy Liu impresses in a more understated way as she becomes driven to learn more about Sherlock and found out for herself what he is unwilling to tell her. Roger Rees makes an enjoyable guest appearance as a friend of Sherlock’s providing Watson with some of the insight she has been craving.
This is an episode that doesn’t really sag at any point and is well very plotted. A mild criticism that could be aimed at the show is that the eventual culprits seem to be getting duller, although in fairness to the writers, they would be tying themselves in knots trying to outdo each vanquished opponent.
Truly, based on this evidence, last week’s episode was merely a blip and Elementary is back on song.
Review by Jonathan Gray