Friday, October 25, 2013

CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode # 5 "Ancient History" - Review

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson wearing coolers in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 5 Ancient History

The episode opens with the dead body of a man besides his battered up motorcycle. 

Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) is shopping with a friend, Jennifer Sayles (Danielle Nicolet) who is trying to track her acquaintance from a one night stand, Tony.

Sherlock refuses to take up Joan's "case" due to professional pride and instead takes  here to a mortuary for fresh cases. He comes across the corpse of Leo Banin (Dean Neistat), the aforementioned victim.

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Sherlock and Joan discover that Travis Hardwick (Wass Stevens) was being threatened by Leo. Sherlock tracks down Travis to a seedy motel.

And the episode just rambles on...

Canonical References

1. Elementary Holmes' statement: “The good thing about a wild goose chase is that there is a delicious goose to eat at the end of it.” - I was reminded of the Canonical story, The Case of the Blue Carbuncle.

2. Joan scolds Miller's Sherlock: “You have not left the house for a week”  - In A Study in Scarlet, Sherlock Holmes tells John Watson about himself: “I get in the dumps at times, and don't open my mouth for days on end. You must not think I am sulky when I do that. Just let me alone, and I'll soon be right.”

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 5 Ancient History

3. Elementary Sherlock Holmes listening to the taped video of the buzzing of bees in the background, as he tries to solve the case - In the story His Last Bow, Sherlock mentions he is writing a book on Bee Keeping entitled “Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen”.

4. Joan's line to the bartender: “It was a long shot” - In Silver Blaze, Sherlock Holmes tells Dr Watson: “A long shot, Watson, a very long shot,...”

5. Miller's Sherlock practicing his single stick skills on a dummy - In A Study in Scarlet, John Watson notes that Sherlock Holmes “Is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman.”

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 5 Ancient History

Miller's Sherlock had some good moments in the episode and at the same time does some patently unSherlockian things as well.

The episode seems to be strongly inspired by the Canonical novel The Valley of Fear. Leo's wife, Lara Banin (Mia Barron) refusing to believe he was a killer and Leo having a good reputation in his neighborhood. Further, Leo's wife believing that he had a bad past and Leo running away from his gang and the gang having made an earlier attempt on Leo's life. Finally, the use of a motorcycle - the assassin uses a bicycle in The Valley of Fear.

Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu and Jon Michael Hill as Sherlock Holmes, Joan Watson and Detective Marcus Bell question a suspect in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 5 Ancient History

Just like the previous episode "Dead Man's Switch" (based on The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton), this one falls flat too.

Better luck next time, CBS.

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Image Source: CBS 

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  1. I actually watched this one. I found it kind of predictable, both the plot and subplot.

    Though it was nice to see Millerlock do voices again. That's one of the few things I like about his version. Not so nice to see a bit more "Irene Moriarty" angst... :/ Easy come, easy go...

    1. Thanks Loveable Freak.

      Miller's Holmes did remind me of the Irene/Moriarty nonsense from the previous season through his antics in this episode.

      As for the plot (?), the less said the better.


  2. Good points on Valley of Fear.
    I did like the episode a bit more than you, but agree with your points.

  3. Again the subplot is what most necessary to the story or character development. The whole thing with Watson's friend felt like it was only there to fill time and not for any real purpose. Other than that, I suppose the episode had a decent mystery. I did like that enough clues were given so that the audience could figure it out, which I did. Overall, I would say not as strong as other episodes this season, but terrible either.


    1. Thanks James.

      The subplot with Joan's friend did not help either the episode or the overall character arc of Miller's Holmes. As you pointed out correctly, this was one of the weak episodes of the season so far.


    2. Sorry for my incoherency in my first sentence, what I meant to say was: Again the subplot was not necessary to the story or character development.
      I should have proof read it before posting.


    3. That is fine, James. Happens to all of us at one point or the other :)