Elementary, Season 1, Episode 11: “Dirty Laundry”
Directed by John Coles
Written by Liz Friedman and Jonathan Silber
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 Melissa Farman (Carly Purcell), Mark Moses (Oliver Purcell) and Jake Weber (Geoffrey Silver).
Warning: spoiler alert!
After a nice break over the seasonal holidays, it is nice to see Holmes do what he does best – annoy Watson. Oh, and solve seemingly unsolvable crimes. “Dirty Laundry” focuses on a murder in a high-end hotel, where the dead owner is found in a washing machine. In the meantime, Holmes presents an opportunity for Watson as she fast approaches the end of her time as his sober companion.
After the complexities of crimes featured in past episodes, it seems that this week’s writers have taken a leaf from the spy thrillers of yesteryear and avoided being predictable by dotting references, or homages if you wish to call them that, all over this episode. From invisible ink, hidden compartments and the revelation that the victim was involved in espionage seems very retro. Kudos to Friedman and Silber; going old-school seems like a nice touch if the viewer is new to the series but after the last couple of episodes, it just feels like the the pace and integrity have taken a step back just to accommodate a justifiable murder mystery.
The real story is, as always, Watson’s impending ‘departure’ as Holmes’ sober companion. Liu is smart as a whip as she effectively aids Holmes in his case, as well as provide a shoulder (and ear) to cry on for Carly Purcell, the victim’s daughter, showing how much she has developed in the series – not to mention remind us (as well as the characters) why she is there. In certain occasions when Holmes and Watson tend to bounce off each other – whether it is regarding murder, motives or dirty dishes, it is easy to forget that the character is there on a ‘contractual’ basis and she is not his partner in crime. Well, not officially anyway.
Miller is charming as ever as his colourful past resurfaces when delving into the hotel’s seedy background. Hearing him talk about ‘whore-fishing’ and propositioning call-girls in bars – only to be humorously dissed for Ms. Watson – raises the odd smirk and never fails to let up the fact that it comes to women, this particular reincarnation of Sherlock Holmes knows what to look out for (the odd hint of misogyny aside, which by the way, is very James Bond).
His attention to Watson is quite evident this week, stemming from his offer for her to become his apprentice to expressing pride as she examines the case notes, Holmes-style. Seeing as motions of general positivity from the ‘master’ to the ‘pupil’ are rare and effectively builds up the anticipation of what is to become of the two characters as we head into the second half of the season.
As we go into a new year, it seems that the writers are seeing this episode as a bookmark of some sorts. The relationship has been established and it has come to a point where it needs more focus on the backstories, rather than the plot – regardless of how smart it presents itself. Shall we expect more of Holmes’ past, notably revelations about his work in London and her relationship with Irene? As Watson intends to leave Holmes, could this lead to the dissolution of their partnership? Unlikely. What will we expect from the next coming weeks?
Only time will tell.
– Katie Wong