Elementary, Ep. 1.03, “Child Predator”: An engaging and well thought-out episode

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Elementary, Season 1, Episode 3: “Child Predator”
Directed by Rob Holcomb
Written by Peter Blake
Airs Thursdays at 10pm (ET) on CBS.

Two episodes in and Elementary hasn’t stood out as a worthwhile UK-to-US adaptation.  It may have made us chuckle with choice moments and the chemistry between lead stars Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu slowly simmers, but as a whole, the show has not become compulsory viewing.

After a short two week break, Elementary comes back with an interesting case of a child kidnapper/murderer called as the “Balloon Man”, who leaves ‘thank you’ balloons for his victims’ parents.  Delving into his clippings from 2005, Holmes refreshes his theories when a new disappearance is reported, leading to a unexpected outcome.

‘Child Predator’ is more engaging and darker than previous episodes – touching on child abuse, unassuming psychos and kidnap, leading to a genuine sense of danger and a well thought-out police case.  There is more deductive reasoning here than in previous episodes, showing the true complexities of Holmes as a character, rather than some guy who is just purely sociopathic.   What is really great about this episode are the interactions between Holmes and Adam, a victim of the Balloon Man, as it brings out another side to his personality as well as sheds a little light on his somewhat concealed history.

Liu’s Watson becomes more of a crime-solving partner/mother, rather than a sobriety companion, as she encourages Holmes to exercise and sleep.  However, she is more accommodating of Holmes’ craziness in the same way that he finds himself appreciating (and partaking) in Watson’s assistance, hinting at the all-important mutual respect between the two protagonists.  It is also good to see supporting characters Detective Bell and Captain Gregson (Jon Michael Hill and Aidan Quinn respectively) be more than the receiving end of Holmes’ tongue and actually contribute to the case in question.
Thanks to House writer Peter Blake and established US drama director Rod Holcomb, Child Predator raised the bar in comparison to the earlier episodes with an intelligent adversary and tense storyline.  If Elementary continues to deliver a similar standard in the rest of the season, then humble pie will be eaten.  In the meantime, bring on the next case.

– Katie Wong

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