Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Super Smash Bros. and Street Fighter V professional players brought their talents to Elementary on Sunday for an episode centered around the world of esports.
(Spoiler: This episode contains spoilers for the most recent episode of Elementary, but for what it’s worth, like most Elementary episodes, it ended with Watson and Holmes solving the case.)
In the most recent episode of Elementary, called “Rekt in Real Life,” Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) are called in to investigate the strange murder of a former professional esports player who was killed on camera while livestreaming. The inclusion of gaming into an episode of a mainstream procedural isn’t particularly new — as many fans have pointed out on Twitter, Law & Order: SVU did it as did Degrassi: Next Class. But unlike those shows, Elementary used actual professional esports players from a variety of games to play the role of fictional athletes.
Hendrick “DJ Nintendo” Pilar, Arturo “Sabin” Sanchez, Jordan “JKap” Kaplan, Tarik “tarik” Celik and Ryan “The Moon” Coker-Welch all make up members of the fictional Team ProFine. In real life, however, Pilar and Coker-Welch are professional Super Smash Bros. Melee players, Sanchez plays Street Fighter V, Kaplan is a well-known athlete in the Call of Duty community and Tarik plays Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
It was a cool moment for both the players and their fans who got to watch the five athletes be portrayed in a relatively positive light. For the most part, whenever video games become the subject of a procedural, it’s to condemn the violence. Law & Order: SVU did an episode about Grand Theft Auto in 2005, then followed it up with an episode about the abuse many women in the industry were facing as a result of GamerGate.
In the case of Elementary, however, although the murder happened to occur within the world of esports, it wasn’t pointing to the industry as a negative entity.
As an eSports enthusiast, I 5/7 approve of the eSports models in latest @Elementary_CBS episode.— Lasik (@latisullivan) February 20, 2017
Not only is this an Esports themed episode but one of the characters is supposed to be indigenous. Feels good #elementary— TGL | Tommy Tiger (@Shamunt) February 20, 2017
Many fans of both the show and the esports community were quick to point out, however, that certain antiquated terms and stereotypes were carried over. Words like “pwnage” and “rekt” were used in mocking tones, according to many fans who watched, and like other series that try to incorporate the expansive world of gaming into their shows, it felt inauthentic.
Despite that, it’s clear the Elementary writing team did their homework. The esports professional that’s killed in the show can be seen wearing a Bjergsen shirt — an obvious reference to League of Legends player of the same name who plays as the mid laner for the North American team, Team SoloMid.
Based on the mixed reaction to the episode, Elementary probably could have done a little better at writing for the audience it was trying to serve instead of just poking fun at outdates stereotypes found within the community, but at least the players who were involved had a fun time with it.
Many of them tweeted along with the episode and mentioned how cool it was to see themselves on a a primetime network series like Elementary.
Hope you guys enjoyed the @Elementary_CBS cameo. It happened a few mins ago. Stoked to see it live— TS|Sabin (@nycfurby) February 20, 2017
Elementary airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.