Elementary Review: “Worth Several Cities”

photo credit: cbs.com

photo credit: cbs.com

Here’s my review of Elementary season five episode “Worth Several Cities.” 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.

Compared to the season opener, this week’s episode, “Worth Several Cities,” is much better and slightly more interesting. Although the character work was not nearly as strong as in “Folie a Deux,” the case was more engaging and Joan’s storyline continued to move forward.

There was nothing truly profound here—no grand philosophical musings from our main characters on addiction or family or justice, etc like we’ve had in the past—but a guest character in a minor role did plant a tiny idea that has the potential to grow in future episodes. At one point, Joan takes a break from the case to help Shinwell find his daughter, so she ends up having a conversation with the girl’s aunt. The lady presents an idea to think about: a question about change, or lack thereof. She says Shinwell only thinks he’s changed, but he really hasn’t and never will. It’s too soon to know whether her words will ring true, but it’s nice to have something to think about for future episodes.

And that idea is something we can consider for our main characters as well. Sherlock is an addict and sobriety will always be a struggle for him. Can he truly change or does he just think he can? Is he doomed to fail again with a relapse? And, as Sherlock pointed out in the previous episode, Joan has a penchant for switching professions. Has she truly settled into the life of a detective or does she only think she has? There’s a lot of potential to explore here. It’s just disappointing that this episode only introduced the idea and left it at that.

As for the case, it wasn’t terrible. We’re back to investigating murders again, but it’s at the behest of a drug cartel (who kidnapped Sherlock at first) so that was an interesting added element. Having the Chinese imperial jade seal, which has apparently been missing for centuries, be the center of the case felt a little cheesy. But on the bright side, there didn’t seem to be any weird objectification of Chinese culture that many shows tend to fall into. And the case incorporated in some things that are always nice to see, such as Sherlock wielding a microphone and help from an Irregular. (I don’t remember C but I’m sure she’s appeared before.) It is little details like this that make even a boring case fun to watch.

I enjoyed watching “Worth Several Cities” even if it perhaps wasn’t worth that much. It could have been improved by a solid character b-plot, but since it seemed to set up a potentially good idea for future episodes, I’ll give it a pass.

Extra Case Files

  • Joan wears a lot of clothing with ties now. She looks amazing as always but I wonder why her style has changed. It wasn’t like that during season one right?
  • I hope we get a Bell or Gregson-centric episode soon. It’s been a while since either had any sort of focused character development for them.
  • Take note: Joan won’t be bribed for anything less than a billion dollars!
  • It’s only been two episodes, but Shinwell is a character that’s been fleshed out nicely. I’m already invested in how he’ll progress as the season goes.

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

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