elementary paint it black

When we last saw the consulting detectives in “The Man with the Twisted Lip,” a major problem had arisen. Watson (Lucy Liu) was kidnapped, and without Sherlock’s (Jonny Lee Miller) knowledge. In the latest Elementary, “Paint It Black,” we see the lengths Sherlock will go in order to save the most important person in his life. Every minute of this episode definitely leaves viewers in suspense.

The Players:

  • Director: Lucy Liu
  • Writer: Robert Hewitt Wolfe
  • Cast: Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Aidan Quinn, Jon Michael Hill, Rhys Ifans

Episode Title: “Paint It Black”

It’s been hours since Watson (Liu) has been kidnapped, and it’s not looking good for her. She’s in the clutches of deadly French mobsters who demand that Sherlock (Miller) and Mycroft (Rhys Ifans) get their hands on a particular list and person or else she dies. Sherlock is hanging by a string, barely able to concentrate as time flies by. They have only 24 hours to deliver this package and make the exchange.

The Good:

  • Sherlock and Mycroft: There’s always been animosity between the two brothers, but now they have to bite their tongues and work together for a common cause: Watson. While Mycroft appears to have something going on in the background, Sherlock stubbornly moves forward trying to fix the situation. The banter between them is hilarious, as Miller’s performance as the extremely irritated Sherlock is a delight to watch. It’s easy to see that Sherlock is seconds away from storming across the room and smacking his brother, but he doesn’t. He knows what they must do in order to save their friend. There’s always this cool, calm demeanor that Ifans gives off as the charming but flawed Mycroft. His acting blends perfectly with Miller’s.
  • Watson Under Pressure: Time passes and Watson’s tending to the wound of a criminal who has her captive. Shortly after she woke up, her captors revealed the extent of their ransom demands. If they aren’t met in 24 hours, she would be killed. The strange but sweet part about it all is how she acted through most of the situation. She was relatively composed, knowing full well that Sherlock and Mycroft would pull through. The amount of trust she places in their hands is surprising but not completely far-fetched. She’s been through a lot with these two, especially Sherlock, and she knows how she’s perceived in their eyes. There’s no way they would let any harm come to her.
  • Liu Behind The Camera: Another unique aspect about “Paint It Black” wasn’t just Watson’s predicament, but the fact that Lucy Liu directed it. She lends her talents in front of and behind the camera, and does a fine job doing both. She successfully weaves the camera around for particular scenes, adding a thick fog of suspense.

The So-So:

  • End Result: Mycroft’s third party conversations have been mysterious and ominous. When he meets up with the French mobsters for the exchange, he says a code phrase that activates a number of stealthy swat team members who immediately guns down the bad guys. It appears that Mycroft has a large hand in the British government. The part that was a little uneven in the climatic scene was the amount of time it took for these ruthless mobsters to nearly gun down the two. Now it wouldn’t have been a nice ending at all if they were to meet a gruesome fate, but they were certainly standing around for a short while. The suspense, the possible terror that viewers should be feeling began to quickly fade away when you realize the lack of danger.

The Bad:

  • Lag: After the first five minutes the story hits a lag. It’s great that we’re not dealing with an obtrusive B plot, but the general pacing felt off. Once we started following the brothers on their hunt things changed. It didn’t last for the entire episode but the inconsistent pacing did bother us for some time.


“Paint It Black” is the beginning of something big for the remainder of the Elementary season. Mycroft is dealing with some government affiliations and solving a puzzle that’s much bigger than what Sherlock and Watson are used to. Now that they’ve been pulled into Mycroft’s world, will they survive? We’re not sure but we’re anxious to find out.

Rating: 8.5/10

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

What did you think of last night’s episode?