Previously on Elementary: Internal Audit.
“You look tired.”
“You look evil.”
And thus, with the story of Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective and bona fide genius, becomes a conversation between women. An intelligent conversation based on wit and deception and morality — not petty jealousy or cat-fighting.
It’s a delicious mind game that Joan and Moriarty are playing. Sherlock wasn’t the one who brought down Moriarty, it was Joan — and although Moriarty is trying to rattle Joan by playing on her supposed insecurities, Joan’s not taking the bait. In a way, Joan is fighting for her friend, for his sake — for Moriarty, it should be a fight about a toy, but that’s not what it is. Joan deduces that she’s in love with Sherlock, but can’t be sure, because love isn’t something she entirely understands — in contrast to Sherlock, who’s still feeling it keenly. Which is why he can’t let Moriarty go, perhaps never quite will.
I’m not quite sure if love isn’t ultimately portrayed as Moriarty’s mortal weakness — she’s not going to change entirely, isn’t going to give up her life. She just takes a leaf or two out of Sherlock’s book and, for once, values his opinion over expediency. She doesn’t kill Mattoo (Faran Tahir) because, to Sherlock, it would have been repugnant. Question is, is that the truth? Or just a ploy to keep him close? On balance, if that’s her weakness, then it’s mirrored in Sherlock. He can’t think straight when a case concerns her, not entirely. He needs Joan to see things he can’t, Joan, who’s still too pissed off to be frightened of Moriarty. Sherlock’s an idiot still in love with a master criminal.
It’s two brilliant women who are playing a game of wits to decide a man’s fate. Moriarty begins to obsess over Joan because she stood in her way, got her arrested — and because she’s the one anchoring Sherlock to the other side of the barbed wire. She’s jealous, yes, but it’s more than that: she knows that, in order to get to Sherlock, she must go through Joan — his protector and his friend. Joan is the bigger adversary than Sherlock’s brains here, because she’s not acting out of jealousy or self-interest, but concern for her friend and partner. So she tries to rattle her by saying that Sherlock will figure her out and tire of her eventually — when Joan knows for a fact that the partnership was Sherlock’s idea, which is precisely what bothers Moriarty. Joan’s doubts as to whether this partnership will survive Sherlock’s recklessness aside, for her it’s not about keeping Sherlock at her side, it’s about keeping him safe. That’s an altruistic motive that none of Moriarty’s attacks stand a chance against — except for one tiny pinprick at the end, one that’s beyond Joan’s control because it’s wedged into Sherlock’s head.
Moriarty prophecies that she’s the only one that Sherlock can ever truly relate to, which we can see does worry Joan, because she knows how hard it is for Sherlock to connect with the world. And although he proclaims that he doesn’t have or want to, the temptation that Moriarty represents is right there in front of his nose. And then at the end, he says,
“I’m not sure if I am one of them.”
Oh dear. Now we can start worrying.
As an aside: we see Bell at the shooting range, trying to go through the motions, but failing when his arm starts shaking too badly. I wonder if he’s going to stick around… The montage shows that he’s on Sherlock’s list of regrets, the voice-over making it clear that Sherlock’s guilt over what happened still hasn’t abated. It’s still working in Sherlock’s head, and the conclusion of what comes out of that is probably going to heavily influence his decision in re: Moriarty.
Next: All in the Family.
A truly fascinating episode this.