Saturday, September 28, 2013

CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode # 1 "Step Nine" - Review

 Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 1 Step Nine

A private ceremony of Warren Pendry in London, England is interrupted by Gareth Lestrade (Sean Pertwee).

Back in NY, Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) is on the pursuit of a criminal by following his pigeon (Don't ask).  Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) gets to flex her martial arts skills on the unsuspecting fellow and ensures his arrest.

Soon, Sherlock and Joan are off to London to help Lestrade, who has gone into hiding.

Jonny Lee Miller and Rhys Ifans as Sherlock Holmes and Mycroft Holmes in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 1 Step Nine

Sherlock and Joan arrive at 221 B and are surprised to find that Mycroft Holmes (Rhys Ifans) currently resides there, after inheriting it from their father.

Sherlock has slept with Mycroft's fiance to prove her materialistic intentions to their family fortune and this causes a rift between the brothers.

Mycroft seems to be taking a strong interest in Joan, which Sherlock takes to be the former's ploy to get even with his brother.

I recommend the readers to check out the episode to find out the resolution.

Click on the link below to buy your copy of Season 2:

Canonical References

1. Sherlock's statement about Gareth Lestrade: “He was the best of the bad bunch” - Holmes remarks about Lestrade in The Hound of the Baskervilles: “He is the best of the professionals...”

2. Sherlock points out that Mycroft Holmes has neither energy nor ambition. Sherlock further states to Joan that Mycroft is lazy. - Sherlock Holmes mentions about Mycroft in The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter: “But he has no ambition and no energy. He will not even go out of his way to verify his own solutions, and would rather be considered wrong than take the trouble to prove himself right. ”

3. Sherlock never mentioning his brother to Joan – Dr Watson states in The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter: “During my long and intimate acquaintance with Mr. Sherlock Holmes I had never heard him refer to his relations, and hardly ever to his own early life... had come to believe that he was an orphan with no relatives living; but one day, to my very great surprise, he began to talk to me about his brother.”

4. Miller's Holmes more than once points out how Gareth Lestrade takes credit for his work. In the ending scenes, Joan also mentions about Lestrade calling Holmes' bluff about not claiming credit to the case – Sherlock Holmes often takes cases for the sake of mental simulation and is always happy to pass on the credit to the official force.

5. The character of DCI Hopkins is a possible nod to Inspector Stanley Hopkins

6. Miller's Holmes refers to 221 B being full of odd experiments, texts in different languages and articles from previous criminal cases - Dr Watson states in The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual: “Our chambers were always full of chemicals and of criminal relics which had a way of wandering into unlikely positions, and of turning up in the butter-dish or in even less desirable places.”

7. Miller's Holmes leaving 221 B to check out his theory to find Lestrade, while Joan stays back due to jet lag – Sherlock Holmes often works continuously on cases, skipping food and sleep.
Jonny Lee Miller and Sean Pertwee as Sherlock Holmes and Gareth Lestrade in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 1 Step Nine

8. Miller's Holmes mentions about working with Lestrade on the Norwood Builder case – Direct reference to The Case of the Norwood Builder

9. Mycroft speaking French and Sherlock saying “Bon appetit” to Joan – Sherlock Holmes mentions in The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter: “But, none the less, my turn that way is in my veins, and may have come with my grandmother, who was the sister of Vernet, the French artist. ”

10. Mycroft mentions about Miller's Holmes never making his bed, after sleeping in it – John Watson mentions about Holmes in The Adventure of the Dying Detective: “His incredible untidiness, his addiction to music at strange hours, his occasional revolver practice within doors, his weird and often malodorous scientific experiments, and the atmosphere of violence and danger which hung around him made him the very worst tenant in London.”

11. Mycroft remarking that Miller's Holmes does not have friends – Sherlock Holmes says to John Watson in The Five Orange Pips: “"Except yourself I have none,...”

12. Miller's Holmes passes off Joan Watson as a top home security expert to confirm his theory – Sherlock Holmes is prone to using Social Engineering tricks in many cases

13. Miller's Holmes deduces that acetone was used to get rid of the murder weapon – In A Study in Scarlet, Dr Watson states that Holmes has “Profound” knowledge in Chemistry. Stamford also describes Sherlock Holmes as a “first-class chemist”.
Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson giving a message to Langdale Pike in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 1 Step Nine

14. Miller's Holmes takes help from a certain Langdale Pike – Direct reference to the character of the same name, described by John Watson in The Adventure of the Three Gables: “I saw no more of Holmes during the day, but I could well imagine how he spent it, for Langdale Pike was his human book of reference upon all matters of social scandal. …. Holmes discreetly helped Langdale to knowledge, and on occasion was helped in turn.”

15. Miller's Holmes picks the lock to enter Nicholas Ginn's apartment – Sherlock Holmes is an expert in picking locks

16. In his televised interview, Inspector Gareth Lestrade quotes the classic Sherlock Holmes quote from The Sign of the Four: “...when you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth? ”

17. Mycroft Holmes refers to the US as “the colonies”. - Possible reference to Sherlock's description of Mycroft Holmes in The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans: “You would also be right in a sense if you said that occasionally he IS the British government ”

18. “Art in the blood, Watson. Takes the strangest forms” - Sherlock Holmes states in The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter: “Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms.”

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 1 Step Nine

Coming to the performances, Lucy Liu's Watson continues to be the best part of the show. 

Miller continues his usual routine of grimacing and pouting. This is one of the least enjoyable versions of the iconic detective.

Rhys Ifans makes a fleeting impression as Mycroft. He is no longer the British Government, but a wealthy businessman, who owns restaurants. May be, he will be revealed to be in the service of the British Government in the future.

Sean Pertwee as Gareth Lestrade in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 1 Step Nine

Sean Pertwee's Lestrade is a letdown. Similar to the changes to Miller's Holmes, Gareth Lestrade is miles away from the Canonical version. Perhaps, we will get to see a better Lestrade in the future episodes, if he does return.

I liked the resolution to the mystery. Elementary has not had this level of quality for a long time.

  1. The song "London Calling" by The Clash is used in the episode.
  2. The song "Hello" by Oasis can be heard, when Miller's Holmes visits Scotland Yard
  3. The song "The Village" by Tunng is played in the final scenes between Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes

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Image Source: CBS

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  1. I agree this is one of the better episodes of the series.
    Other than the change from cannon about him working for the government, I really do like Ifans' version of Mycroft. I felt that his performance was probably the strongest of episode and I hope to have him return in the future. I agree with you about Lestrade though, he was a disappointment and only seemed there to be a metaphor for Sherlock's addiction.


    1. Thanks James.

      Agree with you about Lestrade. I too look forward to Mycroft's return.


  2. Great catch on #'s 3,7 and 10. I missed those.
    Although I still like the show a little (lot) more than you do, all your points a very valid.
    Good review, thanks.

    1. You are welcome, John.

      Glad that you agree with my thoughts.


  3. Lestrade and Mycroft were a little underwhelming (though I love what Mycroft did in the end). And Joan has thankfully remained awesome.

    Though I really didn't like that whole bit with Sherlock "deducing" Joan was considering hooking up with Mycroft because it'd be like hooking up with him. It just rubbed me the wrong way for multiple reasons. Especially since the show was doing so well at not implying a potential romance. Hopefully that never comes up again... *crosses fingers*

    1. Thanks Loveable Freak.

      Agree with your comments. The whole part about Mycroft-Joan interactions and Sherlock's antics with Mycroft's fiancee was avoidable. But then, this is exactly the kind of unSherlockian stuff that makes it hard for me to like Elementary as an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's detective.


  4. According to TV by the numbers the ratings of Elementary are still on a low for the show. And I wonder how many people are watching mostly because it is a Sherlock Holmes show and they watch everything with Sherlock Holmes in the name

    1. Thanks swanpride.

      I agree with your comment. The Sherlock Holmes brand is so hot right now that every studio/network wants to jump on the bandwagon and make some quick cash.

      As you no doubt must be knowing, there is a new Russian TV series. A Hollywood movie with Ian McKellen as Holmes has also been announced recently.


    2. I'm not opposed to more Sherlock Shows...there is a lot which is left to be explored. For example, a show filling the gap when Sherlock was taking down Moriarty's network would be great...or another one about his childhood, but for once including Mycroft...the possibilities are endless. I don't think that we need another adaptation which simply tells the original stories, but I'm always for an interesting twist on canon as long as it still honours the roots.
      Not sure about the Russian Series...looks silly. The movie might be nothing for me, because I frankly HATE seeing Sherlock Holmes as an old man. In my mind, it is always 1895.

    3. I agree with you, swanpride.

      In addition to the Canonical adaptations, there have been many pastiches that have honored Arthur Conan Doyle's work, while putting their own unique spin.

      BBC Sherlock and the Guy Ritchie movies are examples of such pastiches.

      Unfortunately, Elementary does not fill the bill. I personally do not find Miller's version of Holmes enjoyable, let alone having any semblance to the Canonical version. Lucy Liu's Watson remains the only watchable aspect of the show.

      I am also not sure about the new Russian TV series. It looks to be very inspired by the Guy Ritchie movies.

      I do look forward to Ian McKellen's take. He is a great actor and I have enjoyed his work as Magneto and Gandalf.


  5. I was unable to watch the episode until last night. So, I reread your canonical references this morning; what an incredible job you did. I really like the plot, but I also agree with everyone about Lestrade. I don't feel the producers captured his true character, but then again, this is 2013, so maybe they did.

    1. Thanks Kathleen for the compliment.

      I agree with your comment about Sean Pertwee's version of Lestrade. I personally prefer a more Canonical version. But that is just my opinion.

      The plot was good. I hope they can keep up the quality for the rest of the season.


  6. As always I was eagerly waiting for your review so I could agree on your comments. I was really looking forward for the beginning of the second season, especially after I discovered, that my most favourite character was about to finally show up - Mycroft. Eventhough the Elementary version managed to dissapoint me in the beginning, realising that the producers managed to change The whole british goverment concentrated in one guy in restaurateur, with no hint on his superior intellect to that of his brother. But then came his final scene and there I saw Mycroft I was hoping to see. Don't get me wrong, I really liked the guy played by Rhys Ifans in other scenes of this episode, he just didn't seem like the real Mycroft Holmes, same like what hapenned to Sherlock in Season One finale.

    Joan was great, as usual, it seems strange that all the deductions famous for Sherlock are in this series more connected with Joan, but thank god for that. As for Lestrade, I was never really guite fond of this character, and here he just didn't seem like anything specialy necessary for the series.

    Thanks again for your thoughts and especially the references, it can't be easy to capture all of that and compare them to the Canon. Yet you are doing an excelent job.

    1. Thanks Patrik for the kind words.

      I agree with your comments about Mycroft. He never made any deductions that would prove his superior talents. Like Miller's version of Holmes, both Lestrade and Mycroft too seem to be quite different from their Canonical versions.

      I also agree about Lucy Liu's Joan. Though Watson was never this smart in the Canon, at least this can be counted as a positive change.

      Catching the Canonical Nods is my favorite activity, whenever I watch a pastiche. I am glad that you too found them useful.


  7. I was almost hoping that there would be a John Watson somewhere when they showed 221B. That might be an interesting twist, if Sherlock lost his best friend. The only way Daddy could get him to take a sober companion was by finding someone named Watson who happened to be an ex Surgeon. If Joan had found some old journal entries or something. That could make for some good character development. Joan could question who she really is to Sherlock.
    Elementary often tries to put an edgy twist on things by making Sherlock a vedry sexual guy. When he remembered "Irene" the sex was so incredible. When Joan first meets him, he's just finished with a hooker. In the Superbowl Episode, he had a grudge against profiler, and yes they had sex. Now his problems with Mycrift are rooting in him sleeping with Mycroft's Fiancee. Oh and Joan's father cheated on her mother.
    The line about Mycroft having no ambition and it coming directly from Canon felt shoe-horned because it made Miller's Sherlock come across as more of a twit and a spoiled brat. Sure Cumberbatch's Sherlock comes across as bratty from time to time when he pouts. Heck so did RDJ's and Jeremy Brett's. But what bother's me about Miller's Sherlock goes back to the very first episode. When he complained about his father owning 5 properties in New York and giving him the "shoddiest" one. Well plenty of people who work 2 full time jobs would kill to live in a place that "shoddy" in New York. Sherlock's a 40 year old man who has never paid his own bills. Joan too comes from money. In one episode when she wasn't being paid to be Sherlock's sober companion, but stayed with him anyway because of the "M" issue; in that episode, she mentioned not needing money. Both Sherlock and Joan are people who have breakdowns because they can afford to. They are trustfund babies who get to play detective.

    In every other version I've mentioned, John Watson is someone who has often struggled to make ends meet. He's had problems but has had to deal with them because he can't afford the breakdown Joan had. It's sympathetic a little that Joan caused someone's death and she feels guilty, but again, she can afford her breakdown. Surgeons who aren't trustfund babies, have to deal with things when they make mistakes or often risk losing a patient during risky surgeries. They often face lawsuits. They have to face their issues because they have to make ends meet, and don't get an all expenses paid job like a sober companion.
    Then there's Lestrade. He's addicted to Media attention. Bleh. He seems to want to solve crimes so he can get the Spot light. I don't recall that kind of behavior in any of the actual stories. I certainly did not see that from Eddie Marsan or Rupert Graves. This Lestrade was just plain pathetic. His behavior and the beginning was questionable even if the guy was the killer. It was still a freaking funeral.
    Freud would have a field day with the Elementary writers. They need to do more than sex and addiction with both the characters and the crimes.

    1. Excellent points, josabby474.

      I agree with all of them. You captured everything about the show that bugs me as well.

      Would you be interested in doing a guest post on this blog. I would love to share your opinion with my readers.


    2. If you have any writeup on any Sherlock Holmes adaptation (past or present), feel free to send to


  8. Sherlock says something in French to Joan at the very end about his brother... what is that word?

  9. Hey guys,

    Anybody can let me know whats the brand and model of the glasses Jonny Lee Miller (Sherlock) is wearing at the begining of the Episode1 when Joan and him watches the pigeons.