Elementary: The Hound of the Cancer Cells.

Previously on Elementary: Ears to You.

Loaning bits and pieces from The Hound of the Baskervilles, this episode doesn’t just give us a really creepy pre-credits murder sequence, but also a more than welcome look at what’s not only the sleek and sophisticated parts of town and hunting grounds for criminals. And then, at the end, it throws in a heart-warming moment between Sherlock and Marcus, accepting that not everything can be fixed in the great classical detective story.

Jonny Lee Miller, playing Sherlock Holmes

I’ve complained about this before, albeit in connection with FOX’s SciFi series Almost Human, but it struck me when I watched this episode that it at least partially pertains to Elementary, as well. Victims and, thus, suspects usually come from the upper echelons of both money and society, or at least the investigations mostly move in circles that are closer to downtown Manhattan than Flushing, if you catch my drift. So to add in a storyline about the strife that organised crime, gangs, and drug trafficking puts on the “difficult” neighbourhoods. The tragic ending also goes against the usual schemata of everything being returned to its rightful state at the end, when the mystery is solved and the bad guys punished. That is a pattern established in the Classical English Detective story in Victorian England, and one maintained by this show, a lot of the time. At the end, the criminals are caught and brought to justice, and Holmes and Watson can sleep at night because, in spite of all ambiguity surrounding Sherlock’s sobriety, they’re alright, and they helped achieve closure for the victims.

But this time, there’s no closure for Marcus Bell. He knew the legend, and his belief in the system is shaken by Rose not only taking the law into his own hands, but by refusing to rely on the justice system to do its part and convict the criminal on what they have, lacking Nicole’s testimony.

Lucy Liu, as Joan Watson

This sense of failure is alleviated by Sherlock taking care of Marcus when he’s reluctant to join the party in his honour. It’s a beautiful moment between them, because it shows Sherlock knows enough to care, and cares enough to not pretend he doesn’t. They’ve come full circle after Sherlock so vehemently expressed his faith in Bell’s recovery, revealing his own history of substance abuse, offering trust and a tentative olive branch; and I dare say they’re even closer now than before the shooting incident. It’s an example of intertwined character growth that’s difficult to pull off without either underplaying it or overdramatising it, but here the writers found just the right balance, in addition to going a long way to pull the core cast closer together.

Next: The Many Mouths of Andrew Colville.

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