Elementary, Season 1, Episode 21: “A Landmark Story”
Directed by Peter Werner
Written by Corinne Brinkerhoff
Airs Thursdays at 10pm (ET) on CBS
It has been several months since Elementary viewers were teased with the big storyline of the season: the introduction of Moriarty. In amidst the murders, banter and the logical conclusions, none of the cases have brought Holmes to same focus and drive as the capture of serial killer (and Moriarty stooge) Sebastian Moran. Now, with four episodes left to go, writer Brinkerhoff revisits Holmes’ personal quest against the killer of his former love, Irene Adler.
The death of a philanthropist guides the incarcerated Moran to feed Holmes the breadcrumbs that will lead to the mysterious Moriarty. Guest star Vinnie Jones is as intimidating as he was in his first appearance; now a terrifying presence behind bars, his association with Moriarty has essentially made him a bargaining chip for Holmes. It seems that if it weren’t for Moran’s assistance, Holmes wouldn’t be as close as he is to finding Irene’s killer – unfortunately, this is a short-lived alliance as Moran’s association to the criminal mastermind practically signs his death certificate. The subplot involving a New York landmark is unfortunately uninteresting as it serves as a mere distraction as to whether this is the episode that finally reveals Moriarty, so the introductions of two additional associates, including Daniel Gottlieb; a Heisenberg lookalike with the same criminal intent, is almost frustrating.
Holmes is great in this episode; his aforementioned personal motivation towards revenge has steered him towards blurring the line of morality. However, during a late-night conversation, he admits that he won’t go off the rails this time round because of one thing – Watson. To be honest, it is such a rare and tender moment in this season between the two protagonists that when Watson steals a smile, it is hard not to wallow in her barely concealed joy. Watson has a chance to show off her super surgical skills during an illicit autopsy (easily the most graphically gruesome scene in the season) but it is curious that when it comes to this pivotal moment – winning Holmes’ admiration – she brushes it off with the a stark reminder of the duo’s criminal activities. Her concern for her partner is evident (and unsurprising, given the last time Holmes was close to anyone associated with Moriarty, he had an array of weapons with the intent of torture) and the fact that she is the thing that has essentially kept Holmes in check signifies that the emotional stability from her initial role as a ‘sober companion’ has become just as critical in his rehabilitation as is their partnership.
“A Landmark Story” is a truly enjoyable episode, if only slightly frustrating as it only inches slightly closer to the final showdown. But that cliffhanger works its magic: a long, overdue chat between the great detective and his nemesis?
Next Thursday can’t come quick enough.
– Katie Wong