‘Elementary’: Waiting For Moriarty

Published 1 year ago by

Jonny Lee Miller and Aidan Quinn in Elementary Season 2 Episode 12 Elementary: Waiting For Moriarty

[This is a review of Elementary season 2, episode 12. There will be spoilers.]


Ever since the reveal that the love of Sherlock’s life, Irene Adler, was in fact also the criminal mastermind known as Moriarty, Elementary has done well to keep the character emotionally present, even while is she supposedly locked away in a supermax wing of Newgate prison. Moriarty hasn’t been seen for many weeks, but she’s been there just same, under the surface of everything. She is the source of unstated anguish etched in the back of Sherlock’s mind that is undoubtedly one of the recent emotional catalysts propelling the character and the series into the interesting emotional territory it’s been negotiating this season.

Of course, the primary conflict that’s arisen from this situation has the otherwise loveless Sherlock Holmes facing the dual predicaments of not only being in love, but also being met with a mind that is as sharp as his, or perhaps sharper. While there is the rather unique situation of someone actually tugging at his otherwise unsullied heartstrings, the larger, more interesting facet of this otherwise unheard of situation is that Sherlock may actually have more of an interest in her now that her true identity and nature has been revealed; the only question is: to what end?

‘The Diabolical Kind’ is just the sort of episode Elementary should have opened up with following the brief hiatus most network shows go on prior to the holidays. Not only was it another strong entry in what has been a surprisingly strong second season, but the episode also worked to focus on what has been the narrative’s greatest asset so far: the apparent emotional maturation of Sherlock Holmes from a distinctively singular person to one who is capable of expressing emotion for something and, in this case, someone outside of himself. Naturally, this transition began with the introduction of Watson and Holmes’ ongoing recovery from addiction, but the inclusion of Natalie Dormer‘s rather alluring Moriarty succeeds in bridging the gap between who Holmes was prior to the start of the series, and who he is now – which is further highlighted by the suggestion that she, too, is undergoing some sort of emotional change/maturation brought on by her dealings with Holmes and Watson.

Natalie Dormer in Elementary Season 2 Episode 12 Elementary: Waiting For Moriarty

There are all kinds of stories floating around within the show’s continually expanding mythology (much of which is admittedly borrowed from what we already know about the Sherlock Holmes character), but Elementary‘s device of looking at its characters through the prism of recovery from a crippling drug addiction grants any connection from Sherlock’s past a varied weightiness. And as the series slowly transitions into a more serialized narrative, visitations from people characters like Moriarty and Sherlock’s brother Mycroft (Rhys Ifans) begin to mean something beyond spotting another of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creations; they showcase Sherlock’s transformation, by simultaneously demonstrating its significance, while making any threat of its impermanence even more devastating.

With its simple opening voiceover detailing the correspondence Sherlock has been surreptitiously engaging in with Moriarty, ‘The Diabolical Kind’ also demonstrated how the show has managed (with a few one-off exceptions, of course) to better integrate character and plot; the kidnapping of Kayden Fuller (Delphina Belle) and subsequent reveal that she is Moriarty’s daughter only reinforced the real story of Holmes and Moriarty’s difficult emotional connection and where it may take them.

All in all, it was a welcome return for a show that has increasingly demonstrated it has a firm handle on who Sherlock is, and where he’s headed. Now if it can do the same for Watson, Elementary could be one of the best programs on network TV.


Elementary continues next Thursday with ‘All in the Family’ @10pm on CBS. Check out a preview below:

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  1. I can’t take this series serious while also watching BBC’s awesome Sherlock.

    • I can’t take this comment seriously having seen season 1 of both Sherlock and Elementary and both Sherlock Holmes movies starring RDJ so far and finding all three versions equally as great.

      None beat the original Basil Rathbone versions or the books but still…

    • The shows are so fundamentally different that this is like saying you can’t take Breaking Bad seriously while also watching Game of Thrones.

      There is room for more than one awesome Sherlock Holmes adaptation in the world.

      • The only way this adaption could possibly get by with being considered a Sherlock Holmes story if it was considered to be written and performed as a parody from the beginning and not a serious modern account of Sherlock. This actor is someone who should be considered as the bery last choice for a Sherlock part that’s serious

  2. This was one of the better episodes this season. Sherlock is SO much better. but i still really enjoy this show.

    I do wish this show would become more serialized, but it looks like its slowly making its way there.

  3. Sherlock is back who cares.

  4. LMAO at all the fanboys of Sherlock that post(troll) on an Elementary review. Is your show doing that poorly that you feel the need to post negative opinions on a show that is doing far better in the ratings?

  5. And now … it’s officially a soap opera. Woman breaks out of a supermax prison being guarded by one guy who leaves the door open … and then reveals the Character Formerly Known As Heartless has a daughter and cares. Oh, and a mentor and secret book of evil stuff. What is this, Rocky and Bullwinkle? Eck.

    • Exactly. Your assessment is perfect. Had I not know what you were describing, I surely would thought you were referring to the 1960′s cartoon for children Rocky and Bullwinkle.

    • Maybe I saw it wrong, but I don’t recall him just leaving the door open. I thought that they said that she somehow used his hand print to open the door and that she avoided the other guards.

      • She also wasn’t inside a supermax prison. They say near the beginning of the episode that she is originally in supermax prison, but managed to bargain her way into accommodation that looks significantly less secure.

        And yes, she used Mattoo’s hand print to unlock the door and escape.

  6. … It don’t make sense to wondering. Its a story, a wonderful story that captivates its audience into a red herring of simple complications that derives complications of a simple tale that mirrors everything and nothing of establish characters lost so long ago.

  7. I can’t wait for the episode when he relapses. I wonder what kind of genius he becomes when he’s high? Is it okay to have day-dreams about Watson and Moriarty?

    • While I’m sure it’ll happen eventually, I actually hope they stay away from it. I think general story of the protanginist succumming to drugs then coming back from the brink has been done too many times.

  8. As a big fan of the source material, I’m happy that I have two bites of the cherry in Sherlock and Elementary. I’m not a fan of the RDJ version…….but you can’t please everyone can you? ;)

  9. It would be interesting they would make or add modern day versions of other characters like Dr.jeckll/Hyde,Nemo,Quartermain,Invisble man,the mummy etc

  10. I hope the “book of evil” and the Moriarity character doesn’t turn into a Blacklist situation. I like both shows but want them to stay distinct.

  11. I like the show and though Johnny Lee is a bit too twitchy at times and his tats remind me of Beckham rather than Holmes, he makes a decent fist of it…

    But… How can anyone take seriously a young, fresh-faced female blonde model type as Moriarty, mastermind criminal and Holmes’ arch-nemesis?? Story-wise, it wasn’t an uninspired reveal regarding Irene, but they might have chosen a more seasoned persona, an older dark-haired, cold-blue-steely-eyed woman, say…

    I can’t take the Moriarty side of things seriously now.