Here’s my review of Elementary season three episode “Absconded.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.
Next week’s episode is the season finale which is sort of obvious since “Absconded” did a lot to set up whatever’s gonna happen in this next episode. The big character story this week was Gregson being offered a promotion. Shaking up the status quo isn’t something procedurals often do, but Elementary plays around with it occasionally. But I never expected the possibility of Gregson leaving his desk, so the shock worked well. Along with that, the case attempted to be a little different than usual, making “Absconded” a pretty good episode. Even if it’s only setting the stage for next week.
Right from the beginning, the episode was already playing with the usual story structure. I liked that it opened with the crew closing a case. As I’ve said in previous reviews, any time they show that the characters’ stories continue outside of episodes is a good thing. This makes Elementary seem like a glimpse into real people’s lives (no matter how weird) instead of a story just constructed to fit into a 45 minute show once a week.
While the case got overly complicated this time and that hurt the story a bit, I still appreciated that it didn’t follow the same routine as always. They easily found out who Everette Keck’s killer was before the episode was even halfway over. And instead of finding more bodies along the way, they stumbled onto an attempted murder, a bee conspiracy, and a kidnapped emir of the United Arab Emirates. I really enjoyed that the case wasn’t as routine and standard as the previous one. (Although, curse you writers for getting my hopes up for another locked room case when the guard-witness said that the emir and his prostitute lady just vanished. Imagine how fun it would be to have investigated just their escape for the whole episode.)
But aside from the case, it was nice to see a return to focus on Gregson. He’s been so neglected all season. Even though Sherlock reminded Joan that “he’s not going to stay a captain forever” it’s still weird to think about the possibility. I was genuinely unsure what Gregson would decide as I watched the episode progress. I wouldn’t want Gregson to leave, but Elementary never shies away from changing things. Bell’s shooting incident from last season is a good example. The consequences of his injury took him away from the team for a while and strained his relationship with Sherlock. It didn’t last forever but it did provide some great character development and narrative tension.
In the end, Gregson decides to stay but his friend implies that it might not be for long. I’m definitely curious to see how that pans out. Would the show make a change like that permanent? And if so, how would they move forward from there? I’m excited because I actually don’t know.
The biggest thing that hurt Gregson’s story is that we weren’t shown a lot of Gregson thinking the offer over. He talks about it a few times, but his final decision is never shown so we don’t know how he got to that point. What was the true deciding factor? Maybe we’ll find out next week along with who’s plotting to promote or demote Gregson.
“Absconded” could have been better, especially if we’d had more time with Gregson this season prior to this episode. As it stands now, losing Gregson won’t have as big an impact as it could if he gets sent away. But it’s still an interesting story. This definitely felt like the prelude to something bigger next week.
Extra Case Files
- Speculation on why Joan covered up the handwriting thing? Or guesses as to who wants Gregson gone?
- Why is it so hard to incorporate all four mains into the storyline? Bell was gone for what seemed like the whole first half of the episode.
- I like Gregson best when he is telling people what to do. The scene near the end when he says he’ll have to let the Harpers go if they don’t come up with evidence was just a great example of him being the boss and also why he’s the boss. (His authoritative voice certainly doesn’t hurt either)
- As always excellent callbacks to previous episodes. The continuity is another thing that always makes the world of Elementary feel more real.
- Did anyone else remember season one’s BEE ASSASSIN? I remembered that fondly. I love whenever the bees get to appear.
- One of my favorite bits of humor was the interrogation of the UAE diplomat guy (with the mustache). He was so snarky. “This interview has come to an ignoble end.”
So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feeling the urge to start keeping a beehive too? Exciting for next week’s season finale? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.