“Elementary”- Tremors (2.10) episode review 2

★★★★★

I didn’t think the show had it in them but they genuinely pulled the rug straight out from under me with the last five minutes of the episode.

Not to say that the remaining portion of the episode wasn’t fantastic, it was, but I’ll get to that in a second.

It may come as no surprise to you that I’ve been feeling considerably disappointed with season two’s offerings as of yet. After lathering the series with praise in its premiere season I was waiting to be blown away by their season two but they, like most sophomoric outputs, hit a slump. They were directionless, lethargic, recycling similar ideas and playing our favorite ones with a heavy hand. It was still a good show with great moments and touching chemistry from our two leads, but the spark that made me go head over heels for it in season one was inexplicably gone.

I think the spark is back, if only for this week’s episode which undoubtedly was the strongest of season two thus far.

The main plot of the episode is that due to Sherlock’s negligence over police protocol he ended up inadvertently getting Detective Bell shot. The entirety of the episode is a retelling—how they got from point A to point B. After doing the same beat for beat storytelling for so long, it’s nice to see that the writers can and will change it up and in this case to its success.

Sherlock is on trial to see if him and Joan should have their consultant work with the NYPD terminated. Sherlock at the beginning isn’t behaving, lying about how him and Joan have gained access to certain evidence (illegally) which will cause difficulties for Joan the next day as she’s also questioned. Sherlock believes that he and Joan deserve a thanks for all of the good work that they’ve done for the city. He tells the court that despite his pitfalls the work that they do has also resulted in many positive moments. He tells the story of a man with schizophrenia who had been wrongly accused of murder and due to Sherlock and Joan’s work was acquitted. He says that yes his methods may be frowned upon at times but they get results. He and Watson assured that a sick man wasn’t forced to go to prison.

However there’s a point made about how there are rules and regulations that are necessary to ensure a safe process of interrogation and investigation and Sherlock has made a habit of forgoing it. Why is it that because of his status he’s allowed to break rules that police officers are forced to abide to?

During a court recess Joan tells Sherlock that Bell during surgery met a complication with a blood clot and while he’ll make a recovery, he may never regain mobility in his arm and as a member of the police department that could be debilitating.

Later at the brownstone, Joan gets angry at Sherlock’s indifference. She tells him that it was his fault for getting Bell shot and that he should be feeling something about it, he should be visiting him at the hospital, anything at all other than going about his day-to-day life without a care.

Sherlock tells her that nothing he does will make it better, that there is nothing he can say that Bell would want to hear so why bother at all. Why put on a charade of false attitudes? Joan doesn’t believe him and tells him that the only reason he hasn’t dropped by is because of guilt he’s feeling.

Joan is right, but Sherlock isn’t ready to admit it.

He is forced to tell the court about his deed that lead to Bell’s accident. It was a mindless occurrence to him, one that he didn’t believe would result in violence. After interrogating someone at their workplace he made a remark about a man’s criminal record, subsequently got him fired and because of his big mouth the man is heading back to prison because of problems with his parole.

He’s a desperate man who Sherlock prodded at too harshly and he’s lost it and pulled out a gun and just as he fires Bell steps in front of Sherlock to try and get him out of the way.

He’s shot and rushed to the hospital as Sherlock watches on with an unreadable expression.

The judge advises the Police Commissioner to take Sherlock and Joan off as consultants.

However, the Commissioner speaks with Bell first who obviously puts in a good enough word to save the duo’s careers.

What a wonderful episode. They beautifully crafted tension, upping the stakes and leaving me to believe that Sherlock and Joan would actually lose their positions. I was fully in anticipation mode, waiting and wondering what the outcome could be.

It proved to be a harsher ending than I would have guessed for the show and one that left its emotional marks.

Sherlock is officially walking on shaky ground. The episodes title seems particularly fitting because the foundation of his life, the bits and pieces that give him a sense of stability amid the uproarious cases and people he must interact with day and day out, is beginning to crack a bit. In a storyline that began in the last episode, we’re now privy to what much of the police department think of him and to a lesser extent, Joan. They aren’t admired by all, they aren’t commended for their good work no, Sherlock is being looked at as a loose cannon who sees himself as above the law because his methods work—they bring forth results. And now, those methods have resulted in a man he respects being shot and possibly physically hindered for life.

Sherlock Holmes is a fascinating character for a number of reasons but in particular for this version he’s so interesting to watch because of how deeply we—okay I—sympathize with him.

At the end of the episode he’s gone, finally, to pay Bell a visit and once there he passes along the pleasantries that he told Joan would make no difference. But he says them because it’s easy and maybe, just maybe that’s what Bell wants to hear. He says he is grateful for Bell taking the bullet for him, that it likely saved his life. He tells Bell that he also wants to apologize for anything he could have done or could not have done to make sure that he never ended up in the hospital in the first place.

And lastly, he offers his help, telling him that he’s found the best physical trainer to help with his rehabilitation with his arm.

Bell isn’t buying it and he tells Sherlock that he wants zero favors for him and to stop coming around the hospital.

Ouch.

Despite the first nine episodes of fleeting storylines and uncertain character developments, I still—like many I’d assume—care deeply for these characters, Sherlock especially, with much credit to Jonny Lee Miller’s captivating and nuanced performance as the titular character. So do we think that Bell owes Sherlock anything? No. Do we think that Bell should have to accept Sherlock’s apology? No. Bell is far within in his right to choose not to speak to Sherlock because however inadvertent that it was, he still got shot because of Sherlock’s belief in living above the law, something that could have permanent ramifications on the rest of Bell’s career.

That doesn’t mean we still don’t want him to accept it. We know these two now, we know how difficult it is for Sherlock to care for anyone other than Watson so to see him extend an olive branch, as shaky as it was and have it turned down with no sign of reprieve is unsettling.

On the flip side, how awesome is it that Sherlock’s actions held consequences? That he was held accountable for his mistakes, that he wasn’t pardoned for being a genius but labeled as problematic despite his result history.

Elementary, despite its dealings in death and crime, isn’t considered a dark show. Its lead may be a drug addict who solves murders for a living but the tone has always had a lightness, an air to it that allows viewers to not be so bogged down by the troubling images we’re seeing. There’s humor and there’s a niceness factor that comes from watching the interplay of our characters.

“Tremors” made no great effort in trying to placate us. Sure, Sherlock and Joan aren’t fired due to Bell’s input, but the trial was a sobering moment. Joan and Sherlock were literally and physically separated-— on his high horse, Joan trying to speak to him about the reality of the situation. Sherlock cross-examined her, referring to himself in the third person, and despite it resulting in the betterment of their case, it only further alienated them.

They’re still allowed to consult with the NYPD, but at what cost? Bell is no longer in Sherlock’s corner. How far behind is Gregson? How far behind is Joan? Is there going to be a serial purpose to Sherlock’s further insistence in distancing himself from the relationships he has developed? Is this all leading to a climactic moment between him and Joan?

Or will Bell simply forgive and forget in next week’s episode and the potential will be wasted?

From what we’ve seen I have an inkling it will be a version of the former, rather to a lesser or more severe extent. Show creator Robert Doherty spent the entirety of season one showcasing the development of Sherlock and Joan’s relationship, for good television drama there has to be tremors in the foundation, there has to be cracks and instances of anger and questions of where they stand.

And where will our duo be if this happens?

“Tremors” was an excellent hour of television and for Elementary, it  marks the return of the version of the show so many of us rooted for. There is a vigor back, the courtroom scenes had a cinematic element not often seen on the show and the performances were stellar, particularly Miller’s and Jon Michael Hills’.

I can’t wait until next week and we’ll have to see if any of my predictions come true.

What does everyone else think? Is our favorite detective on his way to a downfall?