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TV Review: Elementary – “The Long Fuse”

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When a four-year old pipe bomb detonates in a computer company’s offices, killing two, Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) helps Captain Gregson (Aidan Quinn) find the bomber on this week’s Elementary episode “The Long Fuse.” It’s not an easy task, since the bomb has been hidden in the ventilation system for years, long before the computer firm took over the space. 

The likely target is the former tenant of the office space that had vacated the space four years earlier — a crisis communications firm headed by Heather (Lisa Edelstein, House, M.D.). The firm certainly had its share of enemies, particularly an eco-terrorist organization called ELM that had a habit of detonating environmentally conscious explosive devices at businesses it opposed. 

But ELM’s not responsible for this deadly bombing. Perhaps, instead, the bomber is a former (and perhaps disgruntled) employee, who had disappeared right around the time the bomb originally was to have detonated. But when he turns up dead — and hidden within the walls of his own home — Sherlock realizes the motive was rather more personal. 

How better to conceal a murder than with a copycat bombing? The string of ELM bombings must have seemed to Heather, a convenient idea to cover story to rid herself of an embarrassing employee — one who could (and had threatened to) expose her past as a hooker. But when the bomb failed to detonate, she’d found another way to dispose of her blackmailer — quite literally. 

Sherlock’s keen memory, uber observational skills, his heightened sense of smell, and even his penchant for crossword puzzles combine to help identify Heather as the bomber/murderer. 

Sherlock seems a bit worried, though not so much in words as expression, by the imminent departure of sober companion Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu). She has only six weeks left on her contract with Sherlock’s father, and then she will be gone. She tries to help him identify a permanent sponsor — a former addict — to help him through his long-term recovery. 

It is clear that Holmes is in a state of denial, and as much as he would hate to admit it, I think he is worried, perhaps even terrified. I always love the scenes between Joan and Sherlock; each of them is reserved and reluctant to admit to any sort of (even platonic) attachment to each other. But it’s there, particularly in Sherlock’s eyes, when Joan tells him that whether he likes the idea of a sponsor or not, she will be “out of (his) life in six weeks.” 

He reminds her that he’s “self-sufficient,” but we know he will miss her terribly. Sherlock is not generally a social being, except of necessity, but he’s drawn to Joan, and perhaps even needs her and I think that scares him, particularly since he realizes she will be out of his life very soon.

In the end, Sherlock does actually begin to connect with an unlikely potential sponsor Alfredo (Ato Essandoh, Blood Diamond), a former addict and thief now hired to test high-end, impossible to crack automobile security systems — a guy, who like Sherlock, had turned to drugs out of boredom. It is, perhaps, a marriage made in heaven, although I doubt Joan will be leaving any time soon. What, after all, is Sherlock without his Watson?

Of course something will happen to keep her in his life, but I’m curious as to how they’re going to play it over the next six weeks. Any ideas, dear readers?

It’s always great to see Lisa Edelstein again on primetime TV. I had smile during one scene in particular in which the flirtatious banter between her character and Holmes reminded me (just a bit) of Lisa Cuddy’s banter with that medical Holmes, Dr. Gregory House!

A new episode of Elementary airs next Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on CBS. In the meantime, be sure to read my interview with series creator, Executive Producer Rob Doherty. 

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.
  • http://buddy2blogger.blogspot.com Buddy2Blogger

    The acting was good, but the writing needs to improve. It is becoming a pattern in Elementary. It is either the guest star or the minor character who gets introduced briefly and then disappears only to pop up in the climax…

  • smkearns46

    have to say i thought lisa e was very weak in this role…a one note performance.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/barbara-barnett barbara barnett

    smkearns46– It was a fairly small role, so the plot didn’t revolve around completely, but around Sherlock and Joan. So not a lot of opportunity for character development, but I do have to agree with you.

  • Action Kate

    All I could think was, “Of course Cuddy is both drawn to and repelled by this guy, given her relationship with House!” :) Actually, the direct approach does have its charms. I wouldn’t have kicked him out of bed for eating biscuits if he’d offered me that line.

    Yeah, Heather was a shallow character, but Edelstein didn’t do much with it. Nice to see her again, of course. Not that we needed to see her in tighty-redsies, even in a small screen, but…

    Oh, and speaking of the “date” scene: My husband asked me to pause it. “What’s wrong with the video?” he asks. My first thought is, “She’s a professional hooker and her bra and panties don’t match?” He says, “This is a video on a VCR tape, being shown on HD TVs. The aspect ratio shouldn’t match. There should be black bars or cropping.”

    I’m not seeing Jonny have much need for Lucy, but he is getting used to having her around, and she’s proving to be pretty useful when she’s not restating the obvious.