Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson are back on the case in New York in season 2 of Elementary. Here’s how we rated this season’s episodes:
- “Step Nine” – 5.5
- “Solve for X” – 4
- “We are Everyone” – 5
- “Poison Pen” – 6
- “Ancient History” – 6
- “An Unnatural Arrangement” – 4.5
- “The Marchioness” – 4
- “Blood is Thicker” – 6
- “On the Line” – 4.5
- “Tremors” – 5
- “Internal Audit” – 6
- “The Diabolical Kind” – 6
- “All in the Family” – 7.5
- “Dead Clade Walking” – 6
- “Corpse de Ballet” – 5.5
- “The One Percent Solution” – 4.5
- “Ears to You” – 4
- “The Hound of the Cancer Cells” – 6.5
- “The Many Mouths of Aaron Colvillle” – 8
- “No Lack of Void” – 6
- “The Man with the Twisted Lip” – 6
- “Paint it Black” – 5.5
- “Art in the Blood” – 4
- “The Grand Experiment” – 3.5
The average for this season is 5.4, which is fine but a bit of a dip from the first season’s 6.5. There are few standout episodes this season, but none that really fall flat, either. It’s mostly a competently handled second season for Holmes and Watson.
This season sees an attempt to introduce arcs and connected stories, all of which more or less work, but few of which are really compelling. The main arc of the season has to do with Sherlock’s brother Mycroft, an interestingly reimagined version of the original lazy, self-indulgent polymath whose brilliant mind was the interconnecting tissue in the late Victorian British government. This version of Myrcoft is a self-indulgent restauranteur who turns out to have a different but equally complicated role in the modern British government. He makes for an interesting character who plays off Sherlock and Joan in surprising ways, but his story lacks payoff. Our lowest-rated episode of the season is the finale, “The Grand Experiment,” at 3.5, in which the truth about Mycroft is revealed, and it doesn’t add up to much.
Other arcs and extended stories this season include the formation and healing of a rift between Sherlock and Detective Bell, the reappearance of Holmes’s former collaborator and self-promoting drunk Inspector Lestrade, and the emergence of Everyone, an anarchic hacker collective who sometimes help with investigations in return for various acts of public humiliation by Sherlock and Joan. Some of these stories work out better than others. Bell and Holmes’s rancorous split isn’t always fun to watch, but it does give Jon Michael Hill, who plays Bell, some rich material to work with. Lestrade is an entertaining buffoon, another interesting take on a classic Holmes character. The hackers of Everyone are a nebulous group who become mostly-unseen recurring side characters providing useful information for Sherlock and Joan and creating amusing opportunities for Sherlock to do ridiculous things in return.
As usual, though, the most rewarding part of Elementary is not any season arc, but the devious crimes Sherlock and Joan get to untangle while Joan grows as a detective in her own right and Sherlock comes to appreciate the value of their partnership. The best episodes this season, the only two that rise above competently average, offer just such cases. “All in the Family,” at 7.5, gives Detective Bell a chance to shine as he uncovers a long-term mafia plot. “The Many Mouths of Aaron Colville,” at 8, presents a curious challenge as bite marks found on recent murder victims seem to implicate a serial killer who died years ago.
Not everything this season works as well as we might hope, but it’s still a solid season full of intriguing cases for Sherlock and Joan.
Image: Joan and Sherlock, from “Ears to You” via IMDb
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