Elementary, Ep. 1.04, “The Rat Race”: Holmes in the face of temptation

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Elementary: Season 1, Ep. 4 – “The Rat Race
Directed by Rosemary Rodriguez
Written by Craig Sweeny
Elementary airs Thursday nights at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.

After the enjoyably tense “Child Predator“, there were high hopes for the fourth episode of Elementary, rather than have the season return to the initial slump at the earlier episodes.  So, the cold opening for “The Rat Race” is curious and intriguing, with a promise of a great episode.

It’s been three hours since Watson last spoke to Holmes.  In the fear of relapse, she breaches patient-doctor confidentiality and confesses to Aidan Quinn’s Captain Gregson the true nature of her relationship to Sherlock in the hope that he can be found well and drug-free.

The Rat Race sees Holmes and Watson investigate the disappearance and subsequent death of a Wall Street investment banker, despite the former’s general dislike of bankers.  However, than look into the actual murder mystery itself, we actually learn more about Holmes and Watson than the last couple of episodes put together.

Miller’s Holmes is visibly affected by the circumstances of this case, as the victim died from a heroin overdose.  As the character is in the direct eyeline of temptation, we see Holmes’ cool and collected façade slip slightly, leading to Watson’s concern during the episode’s cold opening.  We also see the deductive smugness we seem to expect from Sherlock Holmes – deducing and revealing secrets in a company boardroom and boasting in an abandoned car park – even though it ultimately gets him into trouble, not to mention it provokes a rare case of embarrassment and humility in front of Captain Gregson.

Lucy Liu’s Watson continues to juggle her troubled love life with her commitment to Sherlock, as we see her being fixed up by a married man, we are reminded of her life away from being a ‘sober companion’.  Although, as the series progresses, Watson’s role continues to develop, along with her improving deductive reasoning skills.

After watching the final conversation in the episode, Holmes strikes a chord when he wistfully comments that ‘learning to see the puzzle in everything; they’re everywhere’ and that ‘it has its costs’, we see Miller adopt a stripped down persona – touching on his mysterious past and perhaps, his past regrets?   Director Rodriguez is able to capture the emotion and an almost unrefined perfectionist in Holmes that wasn’t as evident as before.

It may not be the most original of murder mysteries but in relation to learning more about the mystery that is Sherlock Holmes, The Rat Race ticks all the right boxes…here’s hoping that Elementary continues on the same path as they could be onto a winner.

– Katie Wong

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