Elementary S2 Ep10 – “Tremors”

Holmes, on the witness' stand, during a hearing.

Tremors mark the beginnings of an earthquake, and if this episode is anything to judge by, Sherlock better buckle down and get ready for the ride. Last week, he made sure to make it clear that no matter how genuinely caring he might be, however concerned he might be for the victims of the crimes he investigates, he is not a “nice” man. It looks like now all his not-“nice”-ness is coming back to bite him in the butt.

Sherlock is under review by the New York City Police Department, whose superiors are wondering whether or not they want to continue the strange relationship they have with the two consulting detectives. Days earlier while questioning a suspect, James Dillon, in the murder of a woman who was recovering from cancer, Sherlock flippantly mentioned that Dylan had spent time in jail, within earshot of the man’s co-workers.

Gregson, Watson, and Bell interrogate a suspect for the murder of a recovering cancer patient.After the case was closed, Dillon stopped by the police station and explained to Sherlock that not only had Sherlock’s insensitivity cost him his job, but it was about to cost him his freedom – one of Dillon’s co-workers had alerted their boss, and his boss had contacted Dillon’s parole officer, who was about to send him back to jail. Dillon would’ve shot Sherlock if Detective Bell hadn’t stepped in front of him, and this event caused the police department higher-ups to finally start taking a closer look at Sherlock’s investigative methods.

It’s really interesting (and sad!) to see in this episode how one of Sherlock’s major character flaws can hurt him and the people around him. For most incarnations of Sherlock Holmes, his brilliance somehow gives him license to get away with things like breaking the law or being a jerk to people. Joan asks Sherlock, “Why do we get to be above the law?” And he answers, “Because our methods work!” And I can somewhat understand where he’s coming from. On the one hand, we have all the good Sherlock and Joan do for the city by catching killers and bringing criminals to justice. But on the other hand, we have them crossing over all sorts of lines – legal, societal, and sometimes moral – to do it. Do the ends justify the means? Sherlock certainly thinks they do, but the people he hurts while he’s chasing down bad guys obviously see it differently.

No longer is Sherlock a man who “walks between the raindrops and doesn’t get wet,” as Gregson described him in the first season. The thunderstorms are a’coming, and Sherlock’s abrasiveness is slowly breaking down the only shelter he has, in the form of his friends and colleagues. Joan basically said in the last episode that she isn’t going to be able to “put up” with Sherlock’s insensitive behavior forever. Sherlock had already lost Gregson’s trust in “M” last season when he almost murdered a man under Gregson’s watch. Now, Bell, whose right arm has been partially paralyzed and whose job as a detective is at stake because of Sherlock’s actions, has told Sherlock not to visit him in the hospital anymore.

Bell rests after his post-gunshot surgeryWhat the writers of Elementary have done is taken away that license that Sherlock has for being uber-smart. They’ve taken away Sherlock’s invincibility, and by doing so, I think they’ve made him a better character. Here’s a guy we can admire for his great skill and intelligence, but also dislike for his refusal to respect others who deserve his respect. The same person who got his friend shot also gently and genuinely acknowledged a fellow drug addict and her efforts to keep herself in control. Instead of breezing over the bad parts of Holmes’ character, the writers are pointing them out and saying these negative attributes do have consequences. I think that’s a great decision on their part, because one, it’s more realistic; two, it dispels the trope of the Lone, Insufferable Genius, which I’ve always found annoying; and three, we’ve only rarely ever seen this in a Sherlock Holmes interpretation.

So, while it hurts my heart to see Holmes accidentally-on-purpose burning bridges (bridges he’ll need if he’s going to survive facing Moriarty again), I’m looking forward to seeing where this is going and how and if Sherlock will make amends.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments! Until next week, cheers!


You can check out “Tremors” on Amazon Instant Video.

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