Elementary Ep.1.08, “The Long Fuse” – enjoyable and complex

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Elementary, Season 1, Episode 8: “The Long Fuse”
Directed by Andrew Bernstein
Written by Jeffrey Paul King
Airs Thursdays at 10pm (ET) on CBS.

Starring Jonny Lee Miller (Sherlock Holmes), Lucy Liu (Joan Watson), Aidan Quinn (Captain Gregson), Jon Michael Hill (Detective Bell).  Guest starring Lisa Edelstein (Heather Vanowen) and Ato Essandoh (Alfredo).

During the last couple of episodes, we have seen the series take a more familiar path with the backstory of Sherlock’s past with Irene Adler, with the breadcrumbs hopefully leading us to one step closer to solving the biggest mystery: Sherlock himself.  However, this week’s episode seems to disregard this completely and focus on Sherlock’s addiction, as well as his continued reluctance in accepting Watson’s help.

The Long Fuse” sees Sherlock and Watson investigate a bombing at a web design firm, only to find that it was part of a planned bombing four years ago. Sherlock has to retrace the steps, so to speak, of who could be behind the ‘accidental’ explosion – all the while trying to avoid meeting prospective sponsors that Watson has recommended.

The episode is, quite literally, a blast from the past.  You have a device that was activated by a pager and the penny drops in the case due to an illicit encounter on a videotape.  As Detective Bell quite nicely summed up, “Now we have to find a VCR….in 2012.”  Yeah, my thoughts exactly.  However, it is cleverly written.  Writer Jeffrey Paul King uses subplots of eco-terrorism, not to mention nostalgic references (It’s funny that Barack Obama is mentioned as a Senator, only weeks after he is re-elected President…) and inter-company indifferences to fuel the intrigue behind the mystery. After the earlier simple ‘whodunnit’ cases, it is good to see Elementary are now building up the case profiles every week.

The relationship status between Sherlock and Watson has now gone back to a reluctant guardian taking care of a big kid.  As Watson tries to prepare her sober companion for the big bad world without her and drags him to the drama-free addiction meetings, Sherlock – Miller in his snappiest, almost brattish performance yet – undermines seemingly suitable candidates by questioning them about drug-related medical emergencies deemed as opportunities to get high.  All this serves to highlight the mutual dependence they have on each other – Sherlock won’t admit that he likes having Watson around and Watson, unable to go back to her surgical career, is seemingly trying to get him to say so.  Even though he implies it this week, chances are it will keep us on the edge of our seats.

New character Alfredo is reminiscent of The Wire‘s Omar Little – a ‘diamond in the rough’.  Quiet, accommodating yet with a damaged past, he could be considered a welcome inclusion at this point in the series – as a likely sponsor for Sherlock, he could either push him towards the right but predictable path or lead him to an intriguing and satisfying outcome.

Director Bernstein brings in big special effects, which are quite fitting for this case.  Along with the bomb and an unfortunate discovery in a wall, it is quite an intriguing case.  Smart, laden with plot twists and story aspects that are effectively building the series’ continuity, this week’s Elementary is quite enjoyable.

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