Elementary, Season 2: Episode 10 – “Tremors
Written by Liz Friedman
Directed be Aaron Lipstadt
Airs Thursday nights at 10 on CBS
Continuing with the previous Elementary episode’s concerns of challenging Sherlock and Joan’s methods of catching bad guys, “Tremors” raises the philosophical and emotional stakes much higher by having Detective Bell get caught in the crossfire. As stated in the script, it isn’t a direct cause of Sherlock’s almost immature ways of handling his suspects and decisions, but Sherlock and every other person close to the situation knows that Bell getting shot with the possibility of permanently losing function in his arm wouldn’t have happened if Sherlock had been more careful or at least less carefree (in the sense that he does not anticipate the repercussions to his callousness and arrogance). Sherlock, though, doesn’t do things by the book by design. He and Joan exist in the grey areas, he tells her in frustration. With the collateral damage that comes from working in a crime division, it’s almost a wonder that more things haven’t happened like this in Elementary.
But now that it has happened, we welcome it as viewers because “Tremors” is a fantastic episode of Elementary. Not only does it shuck the usual style of the procedural by not focusing the relevance of the script around the crime itself, it uses a structure that – correct me if I’m wrong – Elementary has not used before. It’s not an uncommon structure by any means, but it deviates enough from the way this show usually plays out that it feels more fresh than it needs to be. Cutting back and forth between present-day courtroom scenes and flashbacks to the events leading up to the hearing, the mystery doesn’t become interested in who is the culprit and how they were caught. The mystery comes from how Bell was shot and how Holmes deals with the guilt that comes along with it. Structurally, it does not disappoint, with the right scenes coming at the right time, such as Sherlock desperately trying to outline in detail all the good things that come of the consultancy he and Joan are involved in for the department – just before we go into the messy stuff that has Sherlock on edge.
And, finally, in a season which has seen an episode revolving mostly around Captain Gregson, Bell gets to be in the spotlight (although, we wish it were under better circumstances, because we definitely like Bell). Again, Gregson and Bell hardly serve as interesting supporting characters when compared to Mycroft and Irene, but rather than just accepting that and having them show up to say this or that, it’s nice to see the occasional effort put in to humanizing them enough so that we care about what’s happening to them. Bell may lose his job from this slip-up if he’s unable to wield a firearm. It would have been easy to have written his character as understanding of the situation and to have forgiven Sherlock. But instead, he wants nothing to do with out protagonist – not to see him, not to be given a favor that might help with his recovery. As someone who can apparently separate personal emotion from logical thought, he tells the commissioner not to terminate Sherlock and Joan from their arrangement, but Bell acts as a necessary vessel in “Tremors” to penetrate Sherlock’s thick skull and let him know that he’s not as high and mighty or impervious to the laws of nature and man as he might think. He’d do well to remember that.
- Sean Colletti