Elementary Review: “The Games Underfoot”

photo credit: cbs.com

photo credit: cbs.com

Here’s my review of Elementary season four episode “The Games Underfoot.” 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.

This is one of those Elementary episodes that just comes together nicely and works very well. The case has its interesting quirks which makes it entertaining to watch, and the b-story is focused on Sherlock and Alfredo’s friendship. “The Games Underfoot” is a solid episode because both the a-story and the b-story are strong narratives.

The case this time began with a torched corpse of an archaeologist. It seemed at first like maybe this would focus on some strange historical find, but the fun twist was that Eddie the archeologist was actually just searching for some video games in a landfill. The focus on the missing games allowed for things like the inclusion of Everyone again along with interrogations of interesting suspects. In addition, the killer was not someone the audience had seen as a suspect earlier in the episode, as many procedural shows tend to rely on. Instead, the audience was given small clues, like the brief mentions of the angry building owner during the episode until they figured out why he was so angry. This is a more interesting way to set up a case to investigate. Half the fun of watching a mystery is being given clues along the way and the opportunity to piece them together ourselves.

The case of the archaeologist searching for missing video games turned out to be something that could keep the audience interested, much more so than the strange case from “All My Exes Live in Essex” which relied on the more cliched aspects of procedural investigations to solve the case. One of my favorite scenes was when Sherlock and Joan had to beat a video game to figure out a suspect’s name. This was a great scene that showed more about their personalities and how they interact with each other. Just their facial expressions alone where enough to make it a fun scene. When cases can include things that aren’t normal for investigations, it works much better.

The best part of the episode though, of course, were the scenes between Sherlock and Alfredo. Over the course of four seasons now, the audience has watched the two of them go from an addict/sponsor relationship to real friendship. And it’s not the kind of friendships we usually see on TV, where the two people are always happy and things seem to be ideal. This is a realistic portrayal. Things aren’t always great. Sherlock has been avoiding Alfredo since the relapse and Alfredo has trouble admitting that he’s going through a rough time. Communication is an important aspect in any sort of friendship, so I like how Elementary takes the time to explore how communication can be difficult sometimes. It was a very understated, subtle conflict that was resolved nicely by the end of the episode.

This is the kind of episode that makes Elementary a good show. It provides opportunity for character development while also mixing it with an interesting mystery to solve. “The Games Underfoot” is a nice mix of fun and poignant moments, making it a good episode even if it doesn’t connect with any overarching storyline.

Extra Case Files

  • “The Games Underfoot” is a very punny title, and I like it.
  • Do you think Everyone should make Sherlock play video games more often? I think yes!
  • There was a good amount of Bell in this episode. It’s always nice to see him being able to contribute to the investigation.
  • My favorite line was Sherlock’s snarky “You do realize pink coconuts do not occur in nature.”
  • Next week looks like the return of Papa Holmes. I wonder how he’ll shake things up this time!

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

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