Previously on Elementary: Possibility Two.
Flashback to six months earlier: Joan’s out with her friends, they’re discussing life and work — and just then, the call comes in. The call that will, incidentally, change Joan’s life. And her only question is: “What kind of a name is Sherlock?”
And now, Alfredo — now Sherlock’s full-time sponsor — is teaching her to break into cars. But, hey, for every hour that he’s teaching her that, Sherlock has to spend two hours with him. Turns out, that isn’t so bad, though. Sherlock’s on a good place, Alfredo says — and definitely happier since Joan decided to work with him.
Unleash the squees. Also, watch Joan’s personal life go poof. Well, maybe not entirely, since Sherlock was kind enough to ask Alfredo to relieve Joan and take over the next surveillance shift.
Apart from all of that: Joan’s got her first solo case, the disappearance of a woman. Sherlock doesn’t want it for two reasons: there’s a more interesting case in the form of a tube pusher, and it’s, well, it came to them through his father. But as Joan begins to suspect that the husband killed her, the case turns from the ideal practice case into something more delicate; at which point Sherlock introduces her to the technique of gas lighting. Meaning, scaring the crap out of a suspect.
Turns out, her friends are… yup, they’re totally staging an intervention. And to them, maybe she seems lost. To them, it may look as though she’s been drifting since she stopped practising medicine. In that flashback scene, Joan corrected Emily that being a sober companion isn’t a thing, but a career, and Hope picked up the ball by telling her that she thought it’s great that she found another way of helping people. Apparently, they were already having concerns back then, though. But the fact is, Joan isn’t lost — she’s been found, she found herself and found something that she genuinely loved doing that isn’t being a surgeon. Trouble is, her friends thought they knew her, and they probably did. But then Joan lost her patient, and she changed. And coming up with all sorts of stupid synonyms for consulting detective — Private Eye, gumshoe — is not going to help. There’s asking if everything’s ok, and then there’s broadcasting your disapproval. Their intentions are certainly honourable, but talk about insensitive.
“Opinions are like ani, Watson. Everybody (or, rather every body) has one.”
And being ticked off at her friends also doesn’t help with Joan’s reckless streak.
Role reversal: now it’s Sherlock who has to bust Joan out of jail. Hello, déjà vu.
Drew Gardner apparently not being the killer is a setback, and Joan sees this as a wake-up call, despite Sherlock’s best efforts to convince her to absolutely always trust her instincts. Coupled with her friends’ intervention, Joan doubts that she can really do this. But she can, Sherlock is convinced of it. It’s not that she isn’t like him in that she doesn’t have the talent to do it, because she does. But she’s not like him in that she isn’t impervious to doubt this early in the game.
But then, fate deals her a hand that she can work with in the form of a photograph, and she cracks the case wide open and, together with Sherlock’s penchant for digging and a search warrant, solves both cases; that of the missing woman and the subway pusher. She celebrates this by making her career change official: she couldn’t say it when she first introduced herself to Mr Gardner, but at the end of this case, she puts it into her profile where all of her friends can see — Joan Watson, consulting detective.
And her friends came around, too. They were worried, they were out of line, and they doubted her — something at least Emily vows not to do again. Especially now that she gets to cover one of the craziest stories of the year. All’s well that ends well.
Elementary also continues in its tradition of not sexualising Joan’s living with Sherlock — they are definitely not involved, and when Sherlock runs up to present her with another training case and finds her in bed in her pyjamas, promptly and politely averts his eyes. As promiscuous he is in his general… sexual activities, he’s Mr Manners with her. Still, the show doesn’t categorise Joan as the Good Girl Who Doesn’t and the women Sherlock does have sex with as Bad Girls Who Do; they’re just different women. Sherlock doesn’t place a value on their morals or them as people, he merely compartmentalises and spends time with people accordingly. He spends most of his time with Joan because he likes her best, and in making them simply not interested in each other that way, the show makes a man and a woman capable of being friends, not Harry and Sally; while not making sex out to be a taint on close relationships.
Next: Snow Angels.