Synopsis of 05×01: Joan and Sherlock are back at it after a long summer, tracking down an infamous bomber who reappeared after many years of dormancy. Piecing together the old case and the new, the team has to figure out who is setting the bombs and how to stop them before more innocent people are hurt.
It is almost eerie how the opening episode of Elementary has to do with bombs going off in New York City, considering the incident a few weeks back in Chelsea, and various parts of New Jersey. Regardless of the echoes of current events, the episode handled the chaos that explosives bring to a community rather well and delved into the mind of a bomber who liked to watch things (and people) go bang.
The episode began with a gentleman attempting to return a soccer ball to some kids at the park. They claimed it was not theirs and resumed their game, and while the stranger contemplated the soccer ball in his hands he noticed wires, and the item exploded, taking him with it. Sherlock received the news while standing on a ledge at the conclusion of another case, catching a murderer rather swiftly before he and Joan made their way to the scene of the bombing.
In the crowds surrounding the scene, Sherlock noticed the trademark “black hoodie, black sunglasses, and a baseball cap” look that bombers love to sport and gave chase to the stranger cloaked in black. It was a fine reminder that Jonny Lee Miller is a runner in the real world, and dang can he run fast.
Unfortunately for Sherlock, he was not quite fast enough and ended up getting hit by a car (only a little bump!) which allowed the man he pursued to get away. Lucky for him though, the man he had chased had left his fingerprints on the window of a taxi he had vaulted over, so they collected the prints and hoped for a match.
While they waited back at the Brownstone, Sherlock clued the audience in to some of what had occurred over the summer. According to him, Joan had been a bit down, and he inquired into her well being. He pointed out that being a detective was her third career, and she had been at it longer than she had been a sober companion. With a note of anxiety, he appeared curious about whether or not her perceived sadness was a result of the work being less fulfilling.
Before they could delve into it more the prints came back and they were put on the heels of Nathan Resor. He had been arrested for negligent manslaughter and was recently released from prison. When they brought him into the station he claimed to be innocent, so Joan decided to talk to an old patient of her’s who may have had a connection to Resor. It is at that point we met Shinwell Johnson, a man Joan saved after he had been shot five times.
She asked him about the bombings, both old and new, and wanted to know if he had known Resor or if he had said anything in prison. He said he did not know anything, but would let her know if he remembered something. With that leading to a dead end, Sherlock continued to harass Resor, even to the point of going through his garbage to try and find evidence of the bomb component.
After Shinwell finished with Joan, he called someone about the bombing and later showed up at the Brownstone to report what he had found. He and Sherlock had a weird conversation which resulted in Sherlock asking what kind of name “Shinwell” was, and Shinwell shooting back “What kind of name is Sherlock?” The man had a point.
When Joan arrived home and broke up the awkward moment where Sherlock tried to engage in small talk, Shinwell told her that Nathan had been close to a man named Cray Fielder, so they may want to look into him. He also asked Joan privately if she would be willing to talk with him sometime about change, as she managed to change and seemed “happier” for it.
Naturally, the team pulled in Resor’s buddy, Fielder, who put on a good show of becoming upset at the implication he or Fielder were involved in the bombings. When he stormed out of the room the interview ended, and later that day another bomb went off even though the police had kept an eye on Resor and he had not gone anywhere near the bombing site. With that evidence in mind, Sherlock decided that there were two partners working together, Resor and whoever else laid the other bomb.
Sherlock and Joan decided to break into Fielder’s house under suspicion that he was hiding something. As they poked around, Joan admitted that the earlier “melancholy” Sherlock mentioned had to do with her desire to help people. As a surgeon, and later as a sober companion, she helped people, and seeing Shinwell had reminded her of that, especially considering how proud she was of the work she had done for him.
Sherlock pointed out that they still help people, but Joan insisted that they are now in the “punishment business,” to which Sherlock conceded the point. Joan also came to admit that since she had watched Sherlock grow and change to the point of not needing her anymore, there was a hole to fill. Before they could dig deeper, Sherlock discovered that Fielder had been hiding his bomb making materials beneath his children’s train set as a cover for his less-than-legal activities.
They brought Fielder back in and eventually got him to admit it, but he refused to implicate Resor. Instead, he claimed he and his partner had left bombs all over Flushing, twenty in total, which were motion activated and tempting to children. Sherlock quickly decided that Fielder was lying because it deviated from his typical pattern, but he and Joan had to figure out why.
In the end, they realized that Fielder and Resor had stood to profit from making Flushing appear unsafe. As long as the headlines read “Flushing bomber,” then no one would want to build there, meaning Resor would be the winner of a lucrative contract to build a sports center in Brooklyn. The deal went through, but Sherlock managed to talk to the company and had it voided, therefore removing any financial incentive Fielder had to protect Resor.
Eventually Fielder flipped, Resor was arrested, and Sherlock encouraged Joan to reach out to Shinwell and try to help him. She decided to take the advice and went to his home to offer to go on a walk. Little did she know behind the door Shinwell had a gun, and it looks like he might be in a bit of trouble.