Previously on Elementary: Ancient History.
After an armed man threatens Captain Gregson’s wife Sheryl, Holmes and Watson run off doing… Holmes and Watson things. Bell’s words.
This episode affords us a closer look at the team that Captain Gregson has built around himself, and how close-knit they are. He doesn’t want anyone but his trusted three working on this — he’s very well aware of how quick the rumour mill is, and his return to the precinct the following morning reveals why he didn’t say anything to anyone: he fears the pitying looks, the whispers. He’s very well respected, so no-one would say anything outright, but still. It’s his private business, and to have it forced into the open…
Seeing as I was talking about closing ranks: Sherlock refers to all of the other detectives at the 11th precinct mainly as “not Bell” — which tells you everything you need to know about how much he respects him.
On balance, this episode also gave us insight into two important relationships — different in nature, but equal in importance. The Gregsons’ marriage is a partnership, same as Joan and Sherlock’s. Although theirs might not be romantic, the writers make a point here that I really like: both romance and friendship can be equally important bonds. As Gregson has to realise that his jealousy was not only completely and outrageously unfair to Sheryl, but also unnecessary, he understands that what his wife needs isn’t just a respite, it’s time to think. He’s not just going to move out for a bit and then move back in, there’s an actual decision coming up that Sheryl has to make, and it might come down in his favour — or it might not.
For Sherlock and Joan, it’s a matter of responsibility to each other and to their clients, and a matter of Sherlock taking into account the imbalance of experience. As Joan rightly says, a partnership isn’t just about fluid boundaries and mi casa es su casa, it’s about equality of responsibility. Sherlock can’t just grab a case that was hers to begin with and declare it alright. One, because it is a breach of trust — if they’re partners, they need to discuss these things. Barter system or not, this isn’t about a waistcoat, this is about Joan’s professional career. Two, because she wanted the opportunity to hone her skills independently and under her own steam, and Sherlock has to let her do that. Same as Gregson, he’s learnt that, in a partnership, two people make the rules and that their principles, though noble, do not outweigh the wishes of the women in their lives.
Next: The Marchioness.