Previously on Elementary: While You Were Sleeping.
Right—since Elementary is now airing on German telly (Sat1, Thu, 9.15pm), I can take the time and review it on a weekly schedule again. It feels so good to be finally catching up!
But on to the case…
Oh my God, this creepy kid! Proper little psychopath, twisted by the sight of his parents begging for him to be returned. Adam Kemper’s not the victim, not anymore: he bent Sam Abbott to his will, and made him kidnap more children—maybe he killed them out of jealousy, or because it was easier to stay on the move without more kids tagging along, we’ll never know. The fact remains that Adam is, mildly put, quite deranged, but the boundaries between trauma and psychosis are blurry with this kid. His last words to Holmes indicate that he is entirely in control of his faculties.
So, would he have been a classic example of the Bad Seed? Would Adam have started manipulating and torturing others regardless, at some point in his life? Did Sam abuse him, or did Sam just want a son?
The turn of this case—beginning with Sam’s suicide, which was when I did a double-take and realised that something wasn’t conforming to theory there—is truly fit to freeze the blood in your veins. Knowing that he’s not able to fully ensure Adam’s punishment and that the boy might have to be set loose on society again in a few years, with millions of victims right in front of him, drives Sherlock barmy; so much so that the old jackknife makes an appearance again, stabbing the deal the DA made with Adam in exchange for information. Nailing Adam for killing Billy Crawford, at least, is a small victory, but I doubt Sherlock will sleep well the night before young Kemper might be let out of prison again.
For Sherlock, it’s not just about being right. In cases such as this, it’s about the people he cannot protect.
Joan, in the meantime, is trying to reconcile both her exasperation with her charge, and her enjoyment of the work (not the case itself, but solving it). Sherlock is an ass, no surprises there, but this relationship with his Watson is so different from all others because Joan is doing her job—she might also like him, and I think she definitely enjoys the distraction that working with him is offering her, the purpose, which is an intrinsic part of the Holmes & Watson alliance the world over; but a third pillar of her inflappable composure in dealing with him and putting him in his place is her professionalism, she feeds on it the way John draws on the stoicism drilled into him as a soldier (and while I’m still miffed that they didn’t leave that bit of her CV intact, making her professional excellence an explicit part of the relationship this way almost makes up for it). She knows when to expend her energy and get properly pissed at Sherlock, and today was not that day. A couple of calm words sufficed and he stopped lashing out at her—didn’t stop insulting her on the whole, mind, but he realised that she’s an asset, not a nuisance, and that listening to her is a very, very good idea. In other words, he’s starting to wrap his mind around the fact that she knows how to handle him, and that she’s willing to put up with him, for his sake—that’s a first.
It’s going to be cause for a lot of tension between the two when their time as sober companion and client are up—time will tell whether it’s not Joan’s oath that will have her refuse to walk away from him, but their friendship. He favours her over Angus, in any case.
Reviewing like this is a bit cheating, because I’ve seen bits and bobs from the upcoming episodes on tumblr and other places, but I’ve largely kept away from big spoilers, so I can just say that I’m looking forward to learning more about Joan’s past—she’s got a masterful pokerface; and I’m wondering if there’s a great anger hiding behind that. Lucy Liu said in an interview that the two need each other, that the damage and baggage they’re both carrying around with them makes them fit together into a complete whole. Let’s see more pieces of the puzzle.
Next: Rat Race.