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Elementary, Gender Rep, POC Rep

We are Everyone: An Elementary Recap

This week on CBS’s Elementary, Sherlock [Jonny Lee Miller] and Watson [Lucy Liu] tackle a government leak and fight Everyone.

Ezra Kleinfelter [Christian Campbell] is a bad mix of Ayn Rand philosophy and classified government information, and he decides to go public with it, somewhat similar to the real-life case of Edward Snowden. Sherlock and Watson are initially brought onto the case through Mr. Mueller [Ronald Guttman], a well-meaning Belgian looking to give Ezra asylum. Sherlock sees through this ruse immediately, and Mr. Mueller’s true identity as Elliot Honeycutt, Ezra’s former employer, is revealed.

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While tracking Ezra’s whereabouts, Sherlock discovers he has taken refuge with a member of the online hacktivist group Everyone, which seems to be inspired by the real-life collective Anonymous. When they become aware of Sherlock (by tracing the phone he stole from a security guard and member), Everyone retaliates, cutting power to the brownstone, canceling Sherlock and Watson’s cell phones, and digitally vandalizing Watson’s identity.

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Undeterred, the hunt for Ezra continues, and Sherlock and Watson discover that Ezra has murdered the woman who was harboring him. Ezra is apprehended right before he leaves for Venezuela—and asylum from federal prosecution. He reveals, however, that if he is arrested, he will release the names of 14 deep cover agents, effectively killing them. Ezra escapes them, but Watson pickpockets his watch in the process, surprising even Sherlock (who exclaims, dumbfounded, “we haven’t covered that yet!”). With the DNA from the watch, they are able to pin Ezra for murder. Meanwhile, Sherlock visits Elliot Honeycutt and informs him that he must alert the 14 agents and get them to safe houses to save their lives.

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Throughout this, Watson ponders an assertion from her friend that she is cut off from life and love. Sherlock claims to be “post-love” after Moriarty [Natalie Dorner]. At the end of the episode Watson, rejects Sherlock’s claim of post-love, and unseen to her, he reads a letter Moriarty has written him.

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This episode does an excellent job at showcasing all the skills Watson has learned in her time with Sherlock. At just about every point, she is seen taking initiative, from the opening scenes where she correctly deduces the hypothetical homicide scenes Sherlock texts her (which she calls “too easy”), to picking locks and pockets (the latter of which surprises even Sherlock). While it is great to see Watson, a woman of color, showcase so many acquired skills and be central to the story (if she had not managed to steal Ezra’s watch the NYPD would have been unable to tie him to murder), there were very few other instances of women or people of color in this episode. While Detective Bell [Jon Michael Hill] is present, his role is largely supplementary; he contributes little to the plot. There is also the black security officer that Sherlock pickpockets. While he has no lines, it is stated that the cyber-attack on the brownstone was instigated by him (in retribution for the theft of the phone).

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In addition to Joan, three women (all white) make appearances during this episode. The first is Watson’s friend, who makes an appearance at the beginning of the episode and questions if Watson is “out of touch with life” (and subsequently signs Watson up for a dating site). She does not make another appearance and has no real direct impact on the following events (although her remarks serve as a catalyst for Watson to begin discussing Moriarty with Sherlock again). Ceclia Carroll [Laura Osnes] is the reporter Ezra leaked the documents to. While she has a few lines, ultimately she has no lasting impact on the narrative. The last is the one who was harboring Ezra, whom Ezra kills mid-episode. She is a plot point in the most literal sense. While the number of women in this episode was near equal to the number of men, the importance of these roles (outside of Watson) was far less than those of the male characters. This episode also failed the Bechdel Test.

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Report Card:

PoC Representation: B

While Watson and Detective Bell remain the only prominent characters of color, this was an especially great episode with regards to Watson’s growth as a detective, showcasing a variety of skills she has obtained on the job (such as correctly identifying hypothetical crime scenes Sherlock texted her, deducing that the reporter they questioned was lying, lock picking, and pick pocketing).

Gender Representation: B

Several women were featured throughout this episode, although Watson remained the only truly prominent or developed female.

LGBT* Representation: F

This episode featured no LGBT* characters or acknowledgement of the existence of queer people.

Disability Representation: D+

While Sherlock’s addiction is briefly mentioned, it is not a prominent feature of this episode.

Overall Grade: C+

About DNA

Daniel Na is a recently graduated creative writing major from Ball State University. Media representation is an important topic for him because, growing up Asian American, he remembers how it felt to never see himself on screen (and the travesty that was the casting decisions for The Last Airbender still wound him to this day). He really likes cats.

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