Elementary Review: “Tag, You’re Me”

photo credit: spoilersguide.com

photo credit: spoilersguide.com

Here’s my review of Elementary season four episode “Tag, You’re Me.” 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.

“Tag, You’re Me” slipped right back into familiar territory like someone putting on a well-worn glove. The familiarity wasn’t bad—it was wonderful to Bell and Gregson again—but it didn’t make things all that exciting. The case was not presented as well as it could be and the Sherlock/Papa Holmes dynamic seemed almost similar to last week’s episode. I’ll probably never say an episode of Elementary was bad, but this one certainly doesn’t leave a lasting impression behind.

Don’t get me wrong, the case this time started off very interesting. Why did the two victims look so much alike even though they weren’t related? I was very fascinated. But in the end, the investigation became a bit tedious and began to feel like any other mystery on any other procedural cop show.

The biggest problem, I think, is the way they began the case. The audience is shown the killer as he kills both of the doppelgangers. One of the victims begins to explain that this seems to be a misunderstanding before he is gunned down. The implication seems to be that the intended target was involved in something illicit and the killer was out for revenge. As the audience, we now have this knowledge as Sherlock and Joan begin to investigate. But the problem of knowing this information means that we know that they are wasting their time with the early part of the investigation. They don’t know that the motive is revenge. It’s not until later in episode that they realize why Tim Wagner needed a doppelganger. The case investigation would be more effective if the audience could have started where the NYPD did. Half the fun of a mystery is getting to follow along with the investigation. Of course, there are many episodes where the audience gets to see the murder but this one just seemed like it was shown to fill time.

In addition, the load of exposition at the end of the episode is entirely too much. We want to know the answer to the mystery but it gets a little boring to be told the information the same way every episode. Usually I don’t mind if the case is interesting but since this one didn’t work as well as usual, it’s extra tedious to sit through.

The lacking case could have been made up for by the b-story, but it was again mostly focused on Sherlock and Papa Holmes. It was good to see them interact and you can tell Sherlock is at least attempting to make amends. But it’s not all that different from what we saw last week. Papa Holmes is still shady and Sherlock is still skeptical. I certainly don’t mind a slow build as they try (and maybe fail?) to fix their relationship, but perhaps the writers could focus on other characters too. The Joan and Papa Holmes confrontation scene last week was very interesting. I think Sherlock and Papa Holmes need to break out of their self-contained bubble of interaction and talk while other characters are around to observe and react. An outside source may help better define their relationship.

Elementary is always like a camera that starts very close up at one point and then slowly pans out to reveal the big picture by the end of the season. It’s like a character puzzle where the pieces are hidden underneath the week to week cases. I enjoy the slow build, but “Tag, You’re Me” may have been a bit too slow this week. Maybe next episode will move the story forward faster.

Extra Case Files

  • The best part of the episode is actually Jonny Lee Miller’s performance. Since the relapse Sherlock’s snarks and quips have been more biting and devoid of his usual sense of humor. He does not seem to get excited by things anymore. It’s been fascinating to see how he’s been affected by that and also his father’s appearance. I’m curious to see how this change will continue to develop.
  • I have missed Bell so much! Glad to see him take an active and useful role in the investigation. Plus his interactions with Sherlock and Joan are always fun. (“Can you imagine two of your partner?” he asks Joan who just grimaces in response)
  • The visuals of Clyde’s new food were a nice gag that kept popping up to make things livelier. Also, Sherlock in a tux was a nice visual too.
  • I’ll admit I’ve never seen Say Anything either but I enjoyed yet another joke about Sherlock waking up Joan.
  • Do you think you’d want to meet up with your own doppelganger??
  • Joan’s announcement that she was going to watch football, followed by Sherlock’s confused “It’s Thursday.” I see what you did there, CBS.

So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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