More shows need to realize that you don’t mess with a working formula. Far too many just throw what works out the window in favor of trying things that ultimately fail. Not Elementary. They don’t try to get Holmes and Watson romantically involved. They don’t try to introduce elements outside of their wheelhouse. They just tell consistently good stories season in and season out.
Why can’t other shows know their audience as well as Elementary’s does?
When Joan meets Shinwell, a former gang banger who wants to take down one of New York’s biggest gangs, she and Sherlock help him to infiltrate the gang, even compromising their ethics to do so. But when Shinwell turns up dead, Sherlock declares war on SBK, even as he fights his own internal battle, perhaps for his life.
As usual, they had a series-long plot thread with SBK, filled in with stand-alone cases that got solved with typical Sherlock aplomb. There was nothing special here, which is a good thing because the formula they have works. Great actors in great roles that work great together, the chemistry between Holmes and Watson is fantastic and the secondary characters are consistently good. There is nothing here that needs fixing.
That said, I probably wasn’t as big a fan of the Shinwell story as some were. Now yes, Shinwell was portrayed as the dark side of Sherlock, two men with the same number of letters in their names, who approached situations differently while wanting the same general outcome. Both wanted to take down the bad guys but they had two very different ways of going about it.
And Joan, interestingly enough, became completely invested in Shinwell, to the point that she didn’t notice that Sherlock was losing his edge. Even when Shinwell was killed by SBK, she still thought the worst of Sherlock rather than admit that Shinwell was a cold-blooded killer out for revenge against the gang that hurt him.
To be honest, I’d rather have seen Sherlock and Watson working more closely on the SBK case throughout the season, rather than being bystanders until the very end when they were forced to take center stage in the fight. They could have added more mystery elements to the case, rather than having this huge mystery come about in the last few episodes. That may be the only thing I would have changed about this season because otherwise, it was excellent.
Elementary got picked up for a 13-episode mid-season replacement slot next year, which means it will almost certainly be the end of the series, but it had a good run and unfortunately, the good shows usually get cancelled and the bad ones go on forever.
So until next year, I’ll remain a fan of Elementary. It certainly belongs on the air a lot more than these other crappy shows. It’s a good thing I own all of the episodes released so far because I’ll be re-watching this for years to come.