Elementary Review: The Ukrainian Angel of Death

at . Comments

This episode of Elementary was one of my favorites of the season. The theme for this week's investigation was "The Angel of Death" and he was man who was mercy killing patients that were a sure fit to die a slow and painful death.

Last week, we focused on the growth of Sherlock and here loved the installment because of Watson's growth. We have known that Joan had completely changed her life because she had lost a patient and tonight we saw her in her "old element." It was nice to see Watson as a doctor, wasn't it?

First, let me talk about the case. Since this is the first review I'm doing for this show; I need to tell you that I love Johnny Lee Miller as Sherlock. The way Johnny delivers his lines and the attitude he puts with it is just how Sherlock should be portrayed. "Lesser Evils" proved just that.

Killing the Weak

I always wait for the last 10 minutes of the episode where we get to sit down and listen to Holmes explain how he figured out the truth and the steps he took to get there. It's so enjoyable as a viewer to watch the culprit realize that he/she has been caught. I will admit that I knew the janitor was going to be the killer or would at least play a major role in the case; they gave him too much to do in the beginning of the episode to be insignificant. 

"The Angel of Death" has to be my favorite case they've done yet. I've been waiting for an investigation to put Watson back in the hospital and this was perfect opportunity. The idea of a merciful killer versus the brutal murders of the past made the episode feel a bit lighter. It felt like a nice break, but it had me thinking: where's the twist? When is the twist coming? Then it finally did.

When the janitor confessed to the murders and utterly was convinced he did not kill anyone who wasn't already dying, I knew someone set up a killing. Honestly, I did not think that Dr. Baldwin was going to be the one responsible mainly because he was such a jerk when he was first questioned by Holmes, I figured that he was going to keep living his life being a terrible person. I was pleased to find out it was him indeed.

Then there was the secondary storyline of Joan and her friend Dr. Carrie Dwyer. We met Carrie and she wasn't on the screen for five minutes before Holmes came in and explained their past, which was such a pleasure to see; Sherlock and his all-knowing mind doing his usual over sharing. Anyway, when Carrie let Joan sit in on one of her patients, a young girl with a torn ACL, I was hoping it was going to be where we'd get to see Joan in her natural element - and we sure did. 

I adore Joan as a doctor and watching her concern for the patient was wonderful. When Carrie wouldn't listen to her I thought, "she's going to kill this patient because she's too stubborn to listen to Watson." Joan has to be right, she is around Holmes too much to not be. When Carrie came to their door I assumed she lost the patient. Thank goodness I was wrong and Joan was actually correct.

Forging papers so that the patient would get the right test, brilliant Watson! This reveal was one of my favorites in the episode. 

Then Carrie said, "you're a great friend Joan, but you're a better doctor." I felt that burn through the TV. The way Watson reacted to her comment affirmed what I have to come to believe: Joan had not fully accepted the fact that she let go of her career as a physician. In the last scene - when she deleted all of the photos from her iPad -  it was a metaphor that she was letting go of her past and willing to completely move on. 

Does this mean we'll see Joan eventually go back into a medical career? I think not. At least not for awhile. She's good where she's at with Holmes.

Overall, Miller and Lucy Liu make a great Holmes and Watson. The portrayal of these two characters is unique and it's what makes Elementary a must-see show. 


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
  • 5.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (96 Votes)

I agree that janitor was a giveaway. Recognized him immediately as an actor who usually has big featured parts. They should have used a less familiar face... Have enjoyed other episodes tho.


I love this show, it's a mixture of everything and it so entertaining. Keep up the work.


I am totally loving Elementary -- love Sherlock contemporized, love Johnny Lee Miller's super fast staccato delivery, which evokes the speed w/which his brain works. Was never a big Lucy Liu fan, but she's holding her own in the role.


Janitor was a giveaway. After the janitor's confession, Jerk Doctor's responsibility was also apparent. Good for character development for Watson but her subplot was cliched.


DeAnn said
"I enjoyed Basil Rathbone as Holmes in movies made in the 60s". While she might remember them from TV in the 60's they were actually made from 1939 until sometime in the late 40's. After the first 3 or 4, they reestablished/updated him as being in the 40's during WWII (as opposed to the 1890's).


Anyone else notice the empty coffee cups? So obvious Lol


I've really enjoyed this series so far, probably because I think Johnny Lee Miller is such a wonderful actor, and Lucy Liu is no slouch, either. But then, I enjoyed Basil Rathbone as Holmes in movies made in the 60s, and I loved Jeremy Brett as Holmes in the 80s, and I can't get enough of Benedict Cumberbatch as the millenial Holmes with his hobbit Watson! That is why I think it is so hard for JLM to really distinguish himself as Holmes when there are so many great actors who have portrayed him previously and are still portraying him today, in Britain. We are fortunate to have an American version of Sherlock Holmes, a very OCD kind of guy who would probably get on your nerves if you were to actually meet and talk to him. But I do love how JLM managed to be funny and fascinating with the case in this episode. His calling Joan to the door was like an irritated parent calling their child to the door to see a playmate, "JOANIE!" he bellows! LOL


I really liked this episode better. Miller and Liu were more at ease in their delivery, it didn't feel forced or artificial at any point. I knew that it would be the janitor but the twist about the surgeon putting him up to it and it being proven by a photo of the false evidence planted in the patient's file was very clever. Figuring out a crime is one thing, proving it is quite another.
Over a century of Sherlock Holmes and his descendants solving crimes for us in literature, film and TV make it unlikely most of us won't figure out who the culprit is, the fun is in how the writers have it come out and how well the actors play it out: Elementary is doing an excellent job on these two points.


Can't wait until they have a modern Irene Adler show so I can watch Watson (Lucy) kick her a**.


I enjoyed the way Holmes right off recognized there was murder done and jumped right in. A lot of energy. This is the second episode I've thought was elevating the series. Because I get shows I like on DVD sets and watch them again and again and therefore know who the killer is, I don't grade a show on if I was originally stumped (and in the last one, I didn't know it was the secretary because I thought it was the "name" actor guest starring as an obnoxious CFO). I will be tuning in for the next episode because I enjoy the Holmes-Watson dynamic (and enjoy it more and more over the early episodes)!

Tags: ,

Elementary Season 1 Episode 5 Quotes

Joan: You said the attendant was a friend of yours?
Sherlock: We post in the same bee keeping chat room. He has an impressive amount of Caucasians.... Species of bee.
Joan: Of course it is.

Idiots rely on luck.