Elementary Review: “Render, and Then Seize Her”

photo credit: spoilertv.com

photo credit: spoilertv.com

Here’s my review of Elementary season five episode “Render, and Then Seize Her.” 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.

We are three episodes into the season and it feels like a rough start. While the cases have never been super riveting on Elementary, I feel like the ones we’ve had so far this season are not as good as they could be. This episode is no exception. Normally, the strong b-plot would make up for this, but even this episode’s character story fell short of the mark. “Render, and Then Seize Her” is just not up to Elementary’s previous standards.

The case, like almost always, begins with a murder. It later becomes focused on a kidnapping case, but the murder is what sets things into motion. Once the missing wife is introduced to the puzzle, the murder victim falls to the wayside. It feels like a waste to introduce the nudist retreat, only to leave it behind for a boring tech company. Elementary works best when the cases are quirky and complex. This one was neither. Last week was more interesting since they were working on behalf of some angry drug dealers. It added an element of danger we don’t usually get. Perhaps it might be in Sherlock and Joan’s best interest if they took on more freelance work. The homicides they’re focusing on right now could easily be solved without the work of consultants. Hopefully, these kinds of cases are not a trend as the season continues.

The secondary story concerns Gregson and his girlfriend Paige. It’s great that Gregson’s finally getting some screentime because he’s been like a ghost for a while only appearing in brief flashes. It’s nice, too, to see Paige again because I’d forgotten she existed. It’s been a while for her too. Most of the side plot centers around Sherlock investigating Paige’s doctor’s office, but it pivots towards the end to the question of marriage. Sherlock suggests it to “game the insurance system,” but also Gregson and Paige seem to be in love. This could be a good situation to develop Gregson’s character and create a very nice emotional moment. Unfortunately the relationship has been developed offscreen, so the end doesn’t resonate with the audience like it should. In fact, it makes the whole marriage idea seem rushed. If there are consequences to this in future episodes, then it’ll be worth it. Otherwise it seems very random and contrived.

The lack of character development isn’t just a problem relegated to Gregson. All of the main cast have felt stagnant so far, although Joan at least has her storyline with Shinwell to push her forward. It’s a little disappointing to be five seasons into the show but can only point to significant character arcs for Sherlock. Shows with bigger ensemble casts do better at using the characters’ full potential than this. Since this is early in the season, there is time to put things into motion. Maybe they’ll turn things around soon.

Extra Case Files

  • Can you imagine the potential this show would have if it hadn’t been developed as a CBS procedural?
  • The fortune cookie scene was really nice. More scenes like that scattered around before this episode would have made the marriage talk more interesting.
  • But when will we get a Bell-centric episode where he gets a chance to shine?
  • Can Sherlock and Joan do their job without resorting to searching places illegally just once??
  • The most interesting line of the episode was Sherlock telling Joan she used to be more patient. That could have been a hard-hitting line, but it was brushed off.

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

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