Elementary, Ep. 1.05, “Lesser Evils”: Watson steals the limelight as the series continues to impress

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Elementary, Season 1, Episode 5: “Lesser Evils”
Directed by Colin Bucksey
Written by Liz Friedman
Airs Thursdays at 10pm (ET) on CBS.

It has been over a month since Elementary premiered and over the last couple of episodes, the series has developed quite nicely, going from strength to strength and not overindulging in the direct comparisons that were originally assumed from sceptical Sherlock fans (myself included).

The fifth episode, “Lesser Evils“, takes a more interesting perspective as we learn more about Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) and her former surgical career, as she and Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) investigate a possible ‘Angel of Death’ at a local hospital.

This episode is quite simply all about Ms Watson.  Seeing her in her element, with her bringing out extensive medical knowledge in this latest case prevents the show to be all about Sherlock.  Here, we are reminded that there are two people in this partnership – and she knows her stuff where it counts.  Liu shows that she is not afraid to take the limelight from Miller, especially when the conflicted yet composed Watson and her newly-developed deductive skills lead her to question whether her medical past should remain in the past.

In contrast, Miller doesn’t try and take the high ground and steal Liu’s limelight – instead, he tackles the moral message of the episode and credits his partner/sober companion in helping him solve the case using her medical history, bringing to light a personal sense of humility and more astoundingly, doubt…something that you may not have expected from the gifted yet evident sociopath.

With House writer Liz Friedman taking the writing credits, it is no surprise that the episode is heavy on medical technicalities and difficult relationships (as demonstrated by the subplot of Watson and her former colleague Carrie, played by Dreamgirls actress Anika Noni Rose), while director Bucksey attunes the episode’s direction with an investigative twist to allow Holmes to work his magic in the investigation.

All in all, “Lesser Evils” is a good episode, allowing us to learn more about Joan Watson – will this mean we will eventually learn more about Mr. Holmes as well?  Only time (and the next few episodes) will tell.

– Katie Wong

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