Elementary Review: “Ready or Not”

photo credit: cbs.com

photo credit: cbs.com

Here’s my review of Elementary season four episode “Ready or Not” 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.

I hate to say it but this was another disappointingly predictable episode of Elementary. Like I mentioned in my last review, the show is suffering a bit of procedural fatigue. The mysteries just aren’t interesting because we’ve seen them all before. “Ready or Not” started out with potential which fizzled out halfway through.

Does Sherlock always have to solve a murder? Apparently yes. There are other crimes and mysteries that could be explored, but somehow it always comes back to a dead body. I realize that working with the police department limits their options if they want Bell and Gregson to continue to be involved. But it’s still a lot of murders to sort through, and it gets repetitive. And after four seasons, it gets really repetitive. The worst part about this episode is that it started with a missing person’s search. That had the potential to be something different and interesting until the body showed up and it got to be the usual again. (Much like episode “A View with a Room” promised us a motorcycle gang hideout raid which was pushed to the side once a dead body appeared) Sherlock and Joan should be able to try other things, simply because this is getting boring to watch, along with it being very predictable (it’s always one of the first people you meet in the episode.)

Another thing that particularly stood out this episode was the unnecessary explanations and exposition. Usually it’s something to be easily ignored because it’s just one or two random throwaway lines of dialogue. But this one had so much of it that it was distracting. Did anyone in the audience need Joan to explain what an audit is and how that would have affected the victim? It’s instances like that which treat the audience like they are dumb while also slowly down the pacing of the plot at the same time. The audience can likely follow what’s going one without the explanations, recaps, and stating the obvious all the time. This hurts the entertainment aspect of the show because it begins to feel more like a lecture instead of fun.

Usually when they cases are boring, the b-story is pretty good at least. But this one was about Sherlock’s love life. Fiona is fascinating and her romance with Sherlock could be interesting, but it all happens off screen. The impact of Fiona breaking up with him would be more effective if we had seen them together. Instead we only get Sherlock talking about it to Joan and then two brief scenes of Sherlock and Fiona talking in this episode. How are we supposed to care about a relationship we’re only told about and never shown? It’s a big step for Sherlock to seriously date someone after everything with Moriarty, so we should at least get to see how that relationship develops and progresses, right?

As I’ve said, this is procedural fatigue. We’re in the comfort zone of run-of-the-mill cases and explanatory dialogue. Elementary seems to be losing its spark a little because of this. I hope what the rest of the season has in store is something outside of the box.

Extra Case Files

  • …was Gregson even in this episode?
  • I don’t usually fall victim to “narrowed it down to the guy I recognized” but after Seth Gilliam only had like three lines earlier in the episode, I knew he’d show up again at the end. (But I’m glad they cast him. It’s always nice to see Shady Deaton from Teen Wolf on my TV)
  • I appreciated that Sherlock was polite enough to warn that guy before he punched him in the face
  • Best line of the episode was Joan’s “I have feeling in my butt too, you know”
  • Great job to Betty Gilpin for gulping that whole glass of water at once! I hope she didn’t have to do multiple takes of that!
  • Next week we’re off, but then the week after is a two hour episode. I’m optimistic about it.
  • Is the moral of the story supposed to be “if you want to be prepared for the apocalypse, don’t be a drug dealer on the side?”

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

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