An Unnatural Arrangement

For the second time in the show’s run, Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) step back and let a supporting character have the spotlight, as Captain Gregson (Aidan Quinn) deals with some family drama in “An Unnatural Arrangement.” It’s one of those situations where Gregson’s story is a lot more appealing than the real mystery that unfolds throughout the episode.

The Players:

  • Director: Christine Moore
  • Writer: Cathryn Humphris
  • Cast: Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Aidan Quinn, Jon Michael Hill, Talia Balsam

Episode Title: “An Unnatural Arrangement”

The crimes that fill up Captain Gregson’s work routine land on his doorstep, when his wife is ambushed by a masked assailant. As Sherlock and Watson look to uncover the criminal’s identity, Gregson struggles to keep his family troubles from bubbling to the surface. At the same time, tensions are running high between the consulting detectives as Watson’s solo work is constantly undermined by her mentor.

The Good:

  • Gregson’s Story: This episode managed to entertain, while giving us a better look at Captain Gregson. We see the normally tough-as-nails Captain’s personal self, the broken man trying to keep it together despite what’s going on at home. This story is just amplified by Quinn’s performance. You really feel for him when you see how much in shambles he really is. It makes his “I’m not giving up on you” speech to his separated wife even sweeter.
  • Let Watson Grow: At a certain point in all our lives we separate from our parents and take control of what we do. Watson is doing just that but with her detective work which, at this point, is her whole world. She’s being approached by other officers to help with cases, which shows how much she’s grown over the course of the show. Sherlock stifles her to a degree, which makes Watson’s outburst entirely called for. Instead of having her bend to Sherlock’s wishes, it’s the other way around.
  • Direction: In “An Unnatural Arrangement” the visual style felt unique and equally fitting at the same time. When we’re dealing with potential criminals, the camera slithers around the room. It’s a blast seeing such soft but cool shots because they make the show fun to watch.

The So-So:

  • The Mystery: “An Unnatural Arrangement” is filled with the typical story twists that keep the episode intriguing, but not that much. Again, the stories happening between Watson and Captain Gregson are so appealing that the main plot is a secondary thought. It’s like background noise. We absorb it to a faint degree but it doesn’t leave a lasting impression because it wasn’t that interesting in the first place.
  • Dialogue: Some of the dialogue didn’t entirely fit. Not in just the context of the story, but in how it filled up time. While Watson’s big argument with Sherlock was poignant, it felt repetitive. The same goes for a couple of the interrogation scenes with the woman who turns out to be one of our perpetrators. It’s never fun having to hear the same thing over and over again. It gets boring.


“An Unnatural Arrangement” brought us closer to Captain Gregson but still contained a lack of balance between Plot A and B. One was great enough to keep us hooked, while the other floundered.

Rating: 8/10

Elementary airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on CBS.

What did you think of last night’s episode?