Once a show goes on for a while, it can get a bit stale as the same thing happens over and over again. Some shows manage to remain fresh, some keep trying to return to their roots, as Elementary did this year. But trying to recapture what made you great to begin with only works if you can spark the same creative spirit that you once had without becoming derivative of what you once were.
So, did Elementary manage to breathe new life into what has become a staid police procedural? Read on and see.In an early season, we found that Sherlock’s former girlfriend, once thought dead, was in fact the mad genius Jamie Moriarty. However, she was captured and put in prison, but her vast criminal organization remained. This year, they explore what happened to that organization with a much more active role for Sherlock’s father, Morland Holmes.
Now that’s not a bad place to start the season, but the overarching plot never really went anywhere interesting. Okay, we revisit Moriarty, although honestly I’d have liked to have seen her come back for a cameo or two because the relationship between Holmes and Moriarty is much more interesting than the relationship between Holmes and his father. But overall, I never found the existence of a massive ultra-secret criminal organization to be that believable to begin with and as the season went on and we found out that, for all intents and purposes, it’s the Illuminati, it just stretched credibility to the breaking point. The idea that they’re in almost every country on the planet is a bit silly. I also didn’t like that Morland was the ordained new leader of this super secret cabal, I think it put way too much attention on him and not nearly enough on Holmes and Watson. That was the case throughout much of the season.
I know that a big part of the season was focused on trying to get Morland and Sherlock to resolve their hostilities, at least to a small degree, but I never bought it for a second. Sherlock has every reason to distrust and hate his father and trying to resurrect their relationship, especially since it’s been trashed since Sherlock was a child, seems pointless. The forgiveness, as much as there was any, wasn’t convincing and even in the finale, where Sherlock is saying his father left him with the brownstone, the “least valuable real estate holding” in his collection, you can feel Sherlock’s disappointment with his father. I don’t blame him, Morland, at least as far as we’ve seen in the series, has been a really awful father.
Individually, the episodes weren’t bad and it’s clear that the series is trying, with plenty of growing pains, to convert from a primarily episodic series to a primarily serial one. This can work if they have some solid overarching stories during the season, but I fear this has been too little, too late. The series’ flagging ratings probably indicate that there isn’t much life left in Elementary and part of me thinks that’s too bad.