Elementary Review: “Down Where the Dead Delight”

photo credit: @Elementary_CBS

photo credit: @Elementary_CBS

Here’s my review of Elementary season four episode “Down Where the Dead Delight.” 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.

Elementary gives Sherlock a rather large amount of recurring acquaintances. Joan, on the other hand, has just that one friend who see maybe twice a season (and she also had her ex-boyfriend before he was murdered). So it’s really nice to see Cortes back again as someone Joan can interact with outside of Sherlock. “Down Where the Dead Delight” was a fascinating episode because of what they allowed Joan’s character to explore.

“I don’t have enemies. I’m not you,” Joan says to Sherlock at one point during the episode. It’s a strange statement considering how antagonistic Joan and Cortes have been in all of their interactions. They really are like enemies transition bumpily to frenemies, and it’s really fun to watch. Every time it seems like they might reach a truce, someone says something to set the other off. Perhaps it’s because Joan has been on edge all season, but she’s quick to assume the worst. She thinks Cortes is snooping again, she thinks Cortes is framing her, etc etc. It’s honestly a more Sherlock reaction than anything—an impulsive reaction to assume the worst. If it had been Sherlock in a bitter feud with someone like Cortes, it would be easy to imagine Sherlock practicing his boxing skills and hurling accusations at every chance. When you consider Joan’s behavior in context with previous episodes, it really seems like Joan’s becoming more and more like Sherlock. “I’m not you,” Joan says, but is that really true? Joan’s character development has always been quiet and subtle, but it’s episodes like this that put it into perspective.

The last scene of this episode was wonderful because it allowed Joan to speak her mind about what Cortes was doing. Cortes is a bit of a vigilante and she thinks Joan could be too. The conversation is a constant battle. Joan begins with “I’ll help you” but it’s not the way Cortes wanted assistance. Every time it seems like they might come to an understanding, they are automatically at each other’s throats. Joan’s last threat—“race you to the bottom”—is chilling and also an excellent way to conclude the episode. Joan might not call Cortes an enemy but they certainly don’t see things eye to eye yet. The end left me hoping we’ll see another appearance from Cortes soon because I really want to see where Joan’s story is headed next.

Extra Case Files

  • The case had a lot of nice quirks this time: it started with an explosion, Sherlock had to wade through a swamp, there was briefly ROLLER DERBY, and they had a Jane Doe to identify. For a while the case was promising, but the end of it was not very satisfying. The reveal that the father did it seemed a bit over-the-top unrealistic. I just can’t believe he went through all the trouble to kill a homeless dude and hide a bomb inside him just on the off chance it would destroy evidence.
  • I’m actually really upset that the writers set up a sweet romance for Eugene Hawes the morgue guy and then they blew the girl up! Their scene was only like 3 minutes but I was already invested. I was also a bit disappointed that Eugene didn’t get to play a bigger role in the episode.
  • On the other hand, I was again pleased by how much screentime Bell got in this episode. It’s nice to see him get to be a competent investigator himself. And even Gregson got a chance to participate in more of the investigation than usual.
  • “Down Where the Dead Delight” was a nice break from all the punny titles. And I say this as a big fan of puns.
  • A+ to whoever decided that Nicole and Eugene would sing Loretta Lynn songs together.
  • What was your favorite roller derby name for Joan? I rather liked SWATson!

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

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2 thoughts on “Elementary Review: “Down Where the Dead Delight”

  1. I liked the episode title because it is a reference to the Latin motto visible in the morgue scene. Also, that motto is famous from the real NYC morgue. Elementary fans might like the book The Poisioner’s Handbook, or the American Experience episode of the same name (PBS). I think the motto is explained on the American Experience episode. It is a history of the NYC medical examiner’s office.

    • Ah, I had no idea! That’s interesting to know and cool that the writers tied that into the story. Thank you for sharing!

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