Elementary Review: The Counselor

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"Poison Pen" was not what I expected it to be at all. Normally, with Elementary episodes you get a murder, a case with some twists and a resolution. Throw in some Joan and Sherlock banter and tension, you've got yourself a quality hour of television.

But that wasn't that case here. We all got to see a different side to Sherlock, not just Holmes but the guy who was bullied back when he was kid. We learned of his first love and how she helped realize who he was. Most importantly, we saw a more sensitive side to him.

During this installment, he wasn't just the investigator, he was the counselor too.

A Woman From His Past

Instead of my usual review, I'm going to channel my inner Sherlock and list some key points of observation from the episode:

  • Sherlock has stayed in touch with a mistress because they shared a common interest in torture devices. According to Watson after watching him fight, Sherlock likes to play dirty. *wink wink*
  • Nothing like waking up to a crack of whip and a trip to the Pleasure Palace.
  • Sherlock doesn't look too bad shirtless. Am I right or am I right?
  • The Nanny's night off more like a good time for murder.
  • "Shawn Holmes."
  • One of my favorite ticks that Sherlock does is his twiddling of his fingers and how he bites the inside of his cheek in between lines. Next time you watch him, look for it. You'll see it if you haven't already.
  • "So, your client's statement is: she couldn't kill her husband because she was too busy planning to kill her husband."
  • Watson used to be surgeon. Come on, Bell! She doesn't leave mess!
  • Sherlock was bullied and overcame it. I can imagine Sherlock as a young boy with the mind that he had and it breaks my heart, bullied and beaten. But it almost makes me more proud of the Sherlock Holmes has he become.
  • When I look at the two killers from tonight, the son who was sexually abused and Abigail who was sexually abused in the past, it's hard for me to feel the sense of satisfaction that I normally do when they've caught the killers. I pity these two, having to go through what they did. That's what makes this episode so good.

Overall, this installment was emotionally rewarding. Sherlock was able to be Joan Watson for an episode. He was the one offering a ear to listen and advice. For the first time, we saw Sherlock play the role of companion and counselor.

Not to mention how Sherlock opened up to how he was bullied quite severely as a child and figured out who he was by befriending young Abigail through letters. It's a tragic way to figure out who you are.

This episode stands by itself, great for exactly what it was, which is unique. Just like Sherlock Holmes.


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (108 Votes)

I definitely think Jonny Lee Miller should win an Emmy: brilliant actor! This episode showed an unexpected, vulnerable side to his character: when he opened up about how he was badly bullied as a child, the way he talked about it, so softly (very different from his usual brashness) was heartwrenching. And I was not expecting his character to offer to be a "counselor" for the abused teenager at the very end. JLM is just an outstanding actor (I've seen him in other shows, where he has been totally different); great & growing chemistry with character of Watson.


I totally agree with PHXcowbot. If Jonny Lee Miller doesn't win an Emmy you'd have to wonder what it would take. He is absolutely brilliant and he and Lucy Liu complement each other so well. Brilliant acting!


Best episode of the season so far. Will be tough to follow next week.


Jonny Lee should already have an Emmy for his performance in this show.
Realized for the first time how similar his character is to Sheldon from Big Bang Theory


@zagsfan - Lucy Liu in "Payback"?


It's always amazing how often the same storyline pops up on different shows. Castle had the same one - where the killer took advantage of a woman's prior murder charge and set her up to be framed for murder. I enjoyed this episode, as always, especially the insights into Sherlock. But when Joan said "May I?" to Sherlock and stepped forward, I thought she was going to take the bullwhip from him and show him how it's done, but no, she was just going to work on the computer. Dang!


I was getting a little bored with Elementary but after this episode I'm hooked again, it was a fantastic episode with a emotional ending.


Brilliant, touching episode. Wow, this show and the characters are getting better and better. Jonny Lee Miller deserves an Emmy for his portrayal of Sherlock. In this episode, he was so open and vulnerable, and caring about other people; and I really felt his hurt when he opened up about being bullied; and was stunned when he offered "counseling" to the teenager who had been abused. Got goosebumps when he so softly talked to his 'old' friend and tried to get her to not 'take credit' for the murder she did not commit, out of guilt for the one she did. Great writing, great character development; this is turning into one of my favorite shows as all the characters become more multi-layered. What incredible chemistry between Sherlock and Watson!


loved, loved this episode. Elementary keeps surprising me


The stepmom's alibi is hilarious. Sad ending. Sherlock hides well the trauma he's suffered at Moriarty's hands.

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Elementary Season 2 Episode 4 Quotes

It doesn't matter when I made the assumption, all that matters is that I was right.


[after whip crack] Cause when you're night ends with a dead man and a chem suit, why not start your morning with a live unfolding of a bull whip.