Poison Pen

Is it just us or are more of Sherlock Holmes’ (Jonny Lee Miller) associates getting tied up in criminal cases? This scenario happens again in “Poison Pen” when an old and slightly famous friend from his teenage years reappears as a murder suspect. This week’s Elementary brings surprises that keep us on our toes and make it entertaining to watch.

The Players:

  • Director: Andrew Bernstein
  • Writers: Liz Friedman
  • Cast: Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Jon Michael Hill, Aidan Quinn, Laura Benanti,

Episode Title: “Poison Pen”

A night of S&M goes terribly wrong as a man is found dead before any fun can begin. Sherlock and Watson hunt for the killer but it gets a little complicated when Sherlock comes across an old friend (Benanti). Once she’s been revealed as the prime suspect, due to her past brushes with the law, Sherlock’s on a quest to find the real murderer.

The Good:

  • Friendship: We know all about the continually growing friendship between Sherlock and Watson, but it’s always fun seeing his dynamic with others. The relationship between Sherlock and the murder suspect worked for a couple of reasons. The first being that the actress wasn’t that bad. The second was they took the time to expand on her story which had Sherlock intertwined in it during her darkest hours. In a way, you can say she’s slightly responsible for him developing the mentality of being a top notch detective. It was her case that first lured him into the world of solving crimes. It’s not always great seeing Watson take a backseat but in this episode, it works.
  • That Was Unexpected: “Poison Pen” continues the trend of episodes without a happy ending. A case isn’t fully solved and justice isn’t completely brought to those who’ve done wrong. The episode has the audience guessing about who the murderer really is. It even did us a favor by not revealing the identity of the actual killer until later on. Mysteries like this are a lot more fun when the word is being fully implemented.
  • Joan’s Learning: It was nice seeing some moments where Joan showed off her Sherlock Holmes training. She was able to track down the final piece of evidence that put the rest of the story together. Plus, she broke down Holmes to find  out what his true connection to the murder suspect was. It’s cool seeing her gradually blossom as the series goes on.

The So-So:

  • Is It Done?: There were a couple of times the show made us believe we were close to solving the case. But it was just a clever trick. We were left a little frustrated. We really began looking at the time wondering when it was going to end.
  • Where Are You Going?: In the first 10 minutes, the director must have adopted a devil may care attitude about whether or not the cameraman needed a tripod. The whole screen was shaky for a while there. It was out of place, considering the only scene in the episode where it could have worked was when Sherlock was doing a sparring match. The rest was decently shot but those opening scenes were frustrating to sit through.

The Bad:

  • Excitement: Even though there was a lot of good going on, there wasn’t the same kind of excitement most Elementary episodes have. Instead of rushing out of one building to another, gathering evidence and talking to suspects, Sherlock and Watson were going at a snail’s pace. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it made the episode feel more drawn out than it should have been.


“Poison Pen” doesn’t have much adrenaline pumping through it. But it still provides enough mystery to keep your attention from beginning to end.

Rating: 7/10

Elementary airs Thursdays on CBS at 10 p.m.

What did you think of last night’s episode?