It’s little secret that this writer wasn’t the biggest fan of Elementary’s premiere episodes, and that even that statement is something of an understatement. Nevertheless, the first appearance of Vinnie Jones as Sebastian Moran managed to ignite my interest a little more earlier this season, so my hopes were raised considerably for the inter-linked final four episodes of Season One.
Here, then, is where you find out exactly whether the concluding instalments of this ambitious first run paid off the viewer’s expectations of a modern-day US take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary hero. We’ve rounded up our definitive verdicts on A Landmark Story, Risk Management, The Woman and Heroine, so read on to discover for certain whether this take on Sherlock produced the ‘greatest man we’ve ever known’…
- A LANDMARK STORY (5/5)- If ever there was a need for Elementary to pick up the pace, it was in Episode 21- A Landmark Story- after a slum of tedious ‘case of the week’ jaunts. Thank goodness, then, that the return of Vinnie as ‘M’ proved to be utterly spellbinding, setting up a host of plot threads regarding the emergence of Moriarty onto the scene while equally dealing with an emotive and harrowing moment of mortal closure for Jones’ sub-antagonist. This was by far the greatest episode of Elementary’s varied first season, managing to live up to its title as a landmark story in every sense of the phrase.
- RISK MANAGEMENT (3/5)- On the other hand, once Moriarty had made his first call to 221B Baker Street via telephone, things became considerably less thrilling. We ended up back in a rudimentary run-of-the-mill detective case for the first three quarters of Risk Management, dragging the episode’s quality down notably. Its redeeming grace? The stunningly handled final scene, where Jonny Lee Miller perfectly pitches Holmes’ heartbreaking realisation that Irene Adler did not bite the proverbial bullet, and is fact alive and well.
- THE WOMAN (3.5/5)- Undoubtedly a stronger episode, The Woman benefitted from a show-stealing performance from Game Of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer as Irene. Miller and Dormer’s flashback chemistry as the Great Detective and the titular Woman was incredible, making the flashbacks the most compelling element of the episode. All the same, most of the modern sequences riffed on predictable plot twists, the only truly memorable one here being that in the world of Elementary Irene and Moriarty are one and the same!
- HEROINE (3/5)- Another missed opportunity, in this reviewer’s honest opinion. There was a lingering sense in Season One’s finale Heroine that the writers didn’t know how to follow up its predecessor’s jaw-dropping cliffhanger, leaving them to provide Sherlock with a rather simple Moriarty scheme to untangle and worse still, a painstakingly obvious resolution which fans wouldn’t have missed from a mile off. It’s a true shame, as Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu and Natalie Dormer all shine throughout, but from the evidence in Heroine, it seems that the show’s production team still have a lot of work to do if they want Elementary to come even close to matching Sherlock’s consistently groundbreaking quality.
Elementary will return to Sky Living for Season Two this Autumn, and you can be sure that we’ll bring you reviews of all the ‘landmark stories’ as and when they come…