I probably wouldn't have believed you if you'd told me that the writers stuffed a bomb, a cartel, roller derby, small-time drug dealing, a teenager with serious mental problems, and a vigilante cop all in one episode. Why, you ask? Because it would end up like Elementary Season 4 Episode 11, too scattered to make a truly compelling story.
It felt like the writers were throwing darts at a board and tossing in everything they hit.
The train of logic required for Toby's father Neil is mind-boggling. Let's look at the chain of events:
- Toby, who was clearly mentally ill, wanted to do her harm; Neil ended up killing her himself.
- To destroy the evidence, he killed some other random dude, cut him open, popped out some of his internal organs, and inserted a bomb.
- Said bomb then exploded, killing an unfortunate innocent morgue employee
At no point did "call the cops" apparently enter into Neil's mind. His son was incredibly disturbed, and Neil didn't consider, say, committing him? Yeah, it's terrible to force one's child into the mental health system, but wouldn't it be better to do that than risk the growing possibility that that child might kill someone?
And what about Toby's shrink? Was he just twiddling his thumbs during all that was going on?
All things considered, this episode started out much bigger than it ultimately turned out to be, opening with that dramatic bomb explosion in the morgue. Unfortunately, with the writers playing trope bingo, they couldn't really maintain the drama, and it ultimately fell flat for me.
There weren't even very many entertaining quotes to redeem it. What saved this episode from being a total drag was Joan and her subplot. I love it when Joan is awesome.
Detective Cortes seemed to be in need of a shrink herself, as she apparently thought it was a good idea to try to recruit Joan for her vigilante activities on account that Sherlock sometimes goes outside the law to get justice.
What Cortes didn't seem to be aware of was the fact that Sherlock only did that sort of thing in incredibly personal circumstances (think the kidnapping of Moran), and was fully prepared to accept the consequences of his actions afterwards. And Joan didn't approve anyway!
Cortes struck me as a person who was so burned out that she couldn't see the light anymore, to the point where she lashed out at anyone and everyone just to make herself feel better. Does anyone actually believe that her assault on Hector Mendoza was actually about the brain-damaged basketball player?
Something tells me that we haven't seen the end of Detective Cortes.
Frankly, though, the few minutes we got with this B-story felt far more interesting and directed than pretty much anything in the Case of the Week, despite the fact that Cortes is a grade-A jerk who needs a good shrink and a very long vacation.
A few final thoughts before I turn the discussion over to you, fellow fans:
- You may have recognized Neil Dannon as Lt. John Stillman from Cold Case.
- Fans of Grimm might have found Maureen Dannon familiar as well; she appeared in the first two episodes of the series is Nick's dying aunt, Marie Kessler.
- Cortes's exchange with Joan at the end, how Joan and Sherlock might end up getting arrested when they go to far, reminded me greatly of a similar exchange between a different female cop and a different Sherlock Holmes in the first episode of the BBC's Sherlock.
- How did Neil know that the NYPD had Janet's body? Was he hanging around and watching? And why in the world would he go to "blow it up with a bomb" as his next option? Methinks that Toby was not the only Dannon in need of a shrink.
So, what did you think of "Down Where the Dead Delight"? Did you find its twists compelling or distracting? Did you predict how it ultimately played out? What do you think of the development of Joan's nemesis in Detective Cortes? Let us know in the comments section below!
Did you miss this episode? Fear not! You can watch Elementary online to catch up! Meanwhile, Elementary Season 4 Episode 12, "A View with a Room," is slated to air on Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 10/9 on CBS. Be sure to tune in!