Friday, October 26, 2012

TV Review: Elementary Episode # 4 - "The Rat Race"

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary Episode # 4 "The Rat Race"
Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary
Click here to read the review of the previous episode - "Child Predator".

The COO of a prominent company is missing and Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) is hired to investigate the disappearance. The missing man is soon found dead with his hand still holding the needle that supposedly delivered the fatal dose. Detective Bell (Jon Michael Hill) is quick to classify the death as a case of suicide.

Sherlock, astute as always, suspects foul play and is proved right when he discovers 3 other previous instances of strange deaths in the company.

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Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) is “ambushed” by her friend for a surprise date with a stranger. Watson starts developing the skills of observation and deduction from her current client and this proves vital to the case conclusion.

I spotted the following Canonical References. There are some spoilers below. If you have not watched the episode yet, skipping this section of the review would be a good idea.
  1. Miller’s Sherlock confesses to a character that he is fascinated with her for her initiative and patience. This reminded me of the following line spoken by Holmes to Watson in The Sign of Four – “I assure you that the most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning three little children for their insurance-money, and the most repellent man of my acquaintance is a philanthropist who has spent nearly a quarter of a million upon the London poor.”
  2. Miller’s Holmes uses Social Engineering tactics to get inside an apartment. The Canonical Holmes used similar tactics to obtain information from Milverton’s housemaid in The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton.
  3. Miller’s Sherlock mentions to a character about his habit of picking locks and pockets. In the story The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton, Holmes displays his burgling kit, complete with keys, glass-cutter and a jimmy. I am not sure if Holmes actually picked someone’s pockets in the Canon, but he did put the Mazarin Stone into the overcoat pocket of Lord Cantlemere in The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone.
  4. Miller’s Holmes admits to Gregson that he is vain about his talents. This reminded me of the following observation by Dr Watson from The Adventure of the Red Circle - "Holmes was accessible upon the side of flattery…”
  5. Miller’s Sherlock charges the company 12 times his standard consulting rates and later confesses to Watson that he has no standard rates. This is actually a direct departure from the Canon where he states in The Problem of Thor Bridge - "My professional charges are upon a fixed scale … I do not vary them, save when I remit them altogether."
I liked the second half of the episode better. Watson’s scenes with her surprise date were just plain boring. She did redeem herself in the end though.

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in Elementary Episode # 4 "The Rat Race"
Lucy Liu as Joan Watson
I liked Sherlock’s exchanges with Gregson and Watson in the closing scenes. They were very Sherlockian in nature and helped the show establish its credibility as a respectable adaptation of the legendary detective.

Click here to read the review of the next episode - "Lesser Evils".

Click here to read all my posts about CBS Elementary.

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary Episode # 4 "The Rat Race"
Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes

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Image Source: CBS


  1. We're on the same page here when it comes to the Gregson and Holmes's conversation. That was one of the things I liked.

  2. Hey Hello, do you remember me? I had planned to write detective stories that are set in Bangalore, and you had replied to me. Well, never got the time to follow up until now. Will be regularly updating my blog with the stories from now.

  3. many thanks for your kind words on my lenfilms piece. i've been reading your 'elementary' reviews with interest. i'm still very divided on the program, but i found more to like in this episode than any so far. keeping fingers crossed for some interesting takes on the big canon stories now the main establishment phase is almost complete. still finding jonny lee miller a bit meek, but hoping he'll come into his own once some of the key players step into the picture. :)

    1. Welcome Sarah.

      By key players, I assume you are referring to Moriarty and Moran. I too look forward to their appearances...