Previously on Elementary: Poison Pen.
Sherlock gets bored, Joan purchases platypus skull. And then, a cold case develops into a very hot case indeed, while Joan takes on a case of her own.
“It’s official! I am superior in every way to the New York City Marshals.”
Well, good for you, Sherlock.
Tracking down a contract killer from the evidence at a crime scene is hard enough, but, hey, try finding the victim of said contract killer who’s now lying in the morgue. As the main case twists and turns nearly out of Sherlock and Joan’s grasp, that’s not their main problem, though.
Joan’s friend Jennifer asks for her help in tracking down Tony, a guy she met during Labour Day weekend the year before. Sherlock tries to dissuade Joan from pursuing the case, using professional pride as a pretence — which, of course, doesn’t deter her. Naturally, there’s got to be some motive behind Sherlock’s efforts, because normally he wouldn’t skip out on any chance to practice for Joan. Tracking people down with very little to go on is an integral part of their work, after all.
Hence, it soon emerges that Sherlock’s ulterior motive was simple: he is Tony. During the beginnings of their relationship, Sherlock used his meagre free time to follow Joan, trying to figure out her motives for working with him. Trying to get more information, he cozied up to Jennifer at the bar after Joan left early. Joan is furious — not just about the breach of trust, but about Sherlock letting her waste her time on something like this when he could have just told her truth as soon as she told him about the case. Sherlock is valiant in his efforts to defend himself and apologise; but an apology doesn’t magically make it ok. To learn, even in retrospect, that someone pretty much annihilated your privacy that way when all you wanted was to help, is enough to send anybody over the edge. By the end of it, Joan probably wonders why she isn’t more surprised that it happened again. Yes, Sherlock talking to Jen and explaining instead of leaving that to Joan was absolutely the decent and right thing to do — as he should, after just flying that whole surveillance bit past her. Joan retaliating by, “Oh, she did tell you she was ovulating, right?” was just brilliant. Almost. She almost had him. Gosh darn it.
In the same vein as not judging Jen for having a sexually active life of her own choosing, this episode also touched on a double standard: women being taught to forgive calculated murder for money in their husbands, but being shamed and divorced for working in the sex industry to make a living any way they can. It also touched on the bit of common sense that tells us, female characters are people. People are all different and don’t go by drawers or filing systems. Lara is a woman willing to commit murder to save her livelihood and what she has made for herself, not cowed by her past. Not proud of it, perhaps, but not ashamed. Yet, her willingness to murder isn’t rooted in a gender-specific trait — just plain self-preservation, which is something we all can identify with.
And here, the anointment for any detective on a relatively easy-going crime procedural: protective gear! It’s always moving up a step when they don this stuff:
As ever, I love seeing Sherlock, Joan, and Bell working together and Bell trusting the other two enough to ask the questions. Captain Gregson doing that is one thing, but after Bell’s initial scepticism, this is great integral character development. The three have great chemistry together!
Next: An Unnatural Arrangement.