Entertainment Magazine

Review #3858: Elementary 1.8: “The Long Fuse”

Posted on the 30 November 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Bronzethumb

Written by Jeffrey Paul King
Directed by Andrew Bernstein

“The Long Fuse” is a back-step in the journey this show has taken, the one that’s been edging it away from an in-name-only police procedural and into something with its own charm, its own characters and its own style of storytelling. It’s only the protagonists’ fun dynamic and the sly introduction of a new character that keeps the episode from being a complete and abject failure, but there’s precious little else to enjoy about this instalment.

Review #3858: Elementary 1.8: “The Long Fuse”

A bomb explodes in the air vent of a web design firm, but when examination of the bomb reveals it was built with outdated parts, Holmes concludes that the perpetrator left the bomb several years ago and the detonation in 2012 was a complete accident. He soon finds out the original target of the bomb was one of the office’s previous occupants, and his investigation embroils him in old secrets and a mysterious disappearance. Meanwhile, it’s only a few weeks until Watson’s contract as a sober companion is up, but her attempts to make Holmes face up to this fact by finding a rehab sponsor prove difficult.

It wouldn’t be surprising to learn this episode was made very early in the production run and then scheduled for a later broadcast, judging by the way the writer handles the Holmes/Watson dynamic. It’s still a fun part of the show — really, it’s the only consistently enjoyable thing about “Elementary” — but there’s a lazy, content quality to the way they handle it. For one thing, they try to ram home the idea that Watson will be leaving, but it’s a pathetically obvious attempt to create some tension when we all know there’s no way Watson is going anywhere.

There’s also the continued manner in which things that could move the dynamic forward are ignored or stymied. The Irene connection is briefly mentioned again but just as quickly dismissed, and the rest of the episode carries on as normal. On the plus side, the new character, Alfredo, will be an interesting addition if they keep him around. He bears a striking similarity to both Holmes and Watson, but he’s also quite serene and has a good dynamic with the two leads. But he’s only a tiny part of the episode, and it’s a mark of how uninteresting “The Long Fuse” is that it’s only relatively small things that can be complimented.

The case was typical “Elementary” fare, which is to say it was repetitive, mostly boring, and suffered from the typical meta-problems of TV procedurals. There’s really no suspense when, of all the suspects, there’s one who’s clearly the big guest-star, and so far every other episode of “Elementary” has held to that same formula. There’s also such a lack of character to this week’s A-plot. At least other episodes worked the Holmes/Watson dynamic and the great eccentric performance of Jonny Lee Miller into the investigation, but their moments were so by-the-numbers that anyone — ANYONE — from the CBS line-up could’ve been subbed in their place.

“Elementary” has never been excellent, but there’s usually a few morsels for the more critically-minded viewers to enjoy. This time, the show is giving us nothing. It makes some of the previous weak episodes seem positively stellar by comparison, and it’s a wonder “The Long Fuse” didn’t put members of the audience to sleep with its bland, strictly-formula presentation and its squandering of the best thing “Elementary” has going for it.

Score: 5/10

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