Let me preface this review by saying it is a personal pet peeve of mine when I can correctly figure out the identity of the perpetrator the moment he or she pops up on the screen.
And, yes, that is exactly what happened in Elementary Season 4 Episode 2.
The Law of Conservation of Detail is pretty common, indeed useful, trope in fiction. It boils down to the idea that any detail that is introduced – such as a physical handicap – is likely to become a plot point later, especially if it involves a one-off character.
This help keeps things simple for the audience when time is precious, such as in a 42-minute weekly television series.
Of course, if one starts paying attention, then it becomes painfully obvious after awhile who the bad guys (or the red herrings) will be. Maybe the Case of the Week would've been more interesting if it had been a case of international espionage.
Instead, it came down to an ambitious woman wanting a cushy job as head of DARPA. Is running DARPA really so prestigious and awesome that it would drive a person to murder three innocent people and nearly cause an international incident?
Joan: Good luck explaining why you were locked in a closet with a bloody murder weapon.
Sherlock: No, it could be worse. Imagine how embarrassing this would be if it came out during your confirmation hearing!
Frankly, the Case of the Week was just bland, predictable, and dare I say boring, without even the benefit of the witty repartee with Captain Gregson and Detective Bell, who didn't even appear in this episode.
The only thing that saved "Evidence of Things Not Seen" from complete mediocrity was the interaction of John Noble's Morland Holmes with Sherlock and Joan. Morland offered to restore their relationship with the NYPD, apparently free of charge.
With him, there is always a cost. The toll always comes due.Sherlock
Given the ominous tenor of Morland's final conversation with Joan at the end of the episode, I'm definitely willing to believe Sherlock about his father. John Noble imbues Morland with such a subtle menace as he casually all but admits to bribery and public corruption.
Noble elevates everything he's in, whether it's with dramatic gravitas or comedic tragedy, and this time is no different. Morland Holmes is no simple, one-note character. Does he care for Sherlock, or is he more concerned with him as a concept, an abstract idea of a son?
Curiously, there was no mention whatsoever of Mycroft; was this intentional or oversight, I wonder? What does Morland think of his elder son, who went and tangled with MI-6? From what I've seen of Mycroft and Morland, I'd say that Mycroft definitely loves Sherlock more than their father does.
In any event, Sherlock ultimately decided to take Morland up on his offer to restore their standing as consultants with the NYPD (as many predicted last week), and even provided this insight:
I don't think he's entirely correct that the Department is essential to my support system. Our work certainly hasn't been a boon to my well-being of late. But there are other considerations. I believe it would make me happy.Sherlock
Sherlock is not generally a happy person, in any of the many varied interpretations of the character, and Jonny Lee Miller's version seems particularly tormented. So it was quite a moment of revelation for Sherlock to admit that working with the NYPD made him happy.
We're only two episodes into the season, and Noble's set to stick around. I'm really, truly excited for what Elementary Season 4 will bring!
A few last-minute notes before I sign off:
- "Evidence of Things Not Seen," the title of the episode, is a reference to Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
- What will happen to Dan Zheng? He might not have killed the scientists, but he was pretty much certainly a spy for China. Presumably, he will be quietly sent back home and both countries will try to forget it happened.
- Sherlock is a British national. The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, you may recall. Amusingly, when confronting the pro-monarchy Antonov, Sherlock quoted Sir Winston Churchill that democracy is the worst form of government... except all the other forms. Take that as you will.
- Sherlock mentioned war in the Falklands, referencing the 10-week war between the United Kingdom and Argentina after the latter country invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands in 1982. It's still something of a sore point.
- Though Sherlock and Joan are set to return to work with the NYPD, there's always the chance that Jeremy Bobb will return as Special Agent Burke in future episodes.
So, my fellow fanatics, what did you think of "Evidence of Things Not Seen"? Did you enjoy the DARPA case? Would you like to see Agent Burke again in the future? Are you excited to have Sherlock and Joan returning the the NYPD? Let us know in the comments below!