Oh how dreary these last few Thursday nights have been without our newest Holmes and Watson, but Elementary returned last night after its relatively short hiatus, and it did not disappoint.

Joan has moved from the occupation of sober companion to full-time consulting detective, and seeing her in action should be more than enough to hush the remaining skeptics of Lucy Liu’s Watson. Given the case of a missing woman by an associate of his father’s, Sherlock finds that there is a far more interesting case to pursue, and gives Joan the initial case to work solo. It should be simple enough, as Sherlock is certain the missing woman is alive and well, and simply does not want to be found. It’s Joan’s job to confirm that.

Except Joan – clever, clever Joan – finds that there might actually have been foul play. The woman had essentially left a “Dear John” video for her husband, which he says was painful to watch, but he just wanted her to be well and happy, even if it wasn’t with him. Joan recognizes that this story is a verbatim telling of the story that he had originally told the police, as if it was rehearsed.

Meanwhile, Sherlock is working to find the identity of a subway pusher, who the woman referenced in her goodbye video to her husband, claiming that the incident made her realize life was too short. Around the time Joan and Sherlock were brought together, a man handed a bouquet of flowers to a woman on a subway platform, and walked away. As the train came, the same man returned and pushed the woman in front of it. The sketch provided of the suspect does little good, so Sherlock fixates on trying to identify the patch on the jacket the pusher was wearing.

During this two-part investigation, we’re interrupted by Joan’s concerned friends, who don’t understand the career change she has made. In fact, they don’t see it as a career at all. In retrospect, perhaps it does look a bit worrying to someone who hasn’t seen how Joan and Sherlock’s relationship has developed, but in any case, Joan Watson ain’t got the time for that. She’s got a murder to solve.

And she’s so sure she’s solved it when she finds the husband taking the wife’s missing trunk out of storage. Using the skills she learned from Alfredo (yes, Alfredo is back!) Joan breaks into the man’s car, but is caught before she can open the trunk to see if the wife’s body is inside. As it turns out, the trunk was empty, and Joan gets herself arrested.

Which brings us to the beautiful parallel to the first episode, except this time, it’s Sherlock bailing Joan out of jail. Joan is harder on herself than Sherlock is – while he praises her for taking a chance, she has become discouraged. But not for long.

Because Sherlock, with the help of a subway violinist/pickpocketer, has identified the patch on the subway pusher’s jacket, and upon returning to the missing woman’s sister’s home, Joan notices a photo of the missing woman. Guess what she’s wearing? The jacket with the patch.

And in the end, it’s Joan who pieces it altogether. It’s Joan who sees that the subway pusher did not lead to the missing woman’s disappearance, but vice versa: the husband’s need to cover up his wife’s murder led to him setting up the woman’s death in the subway station. You see, the goodbye video was from the first time the wife had left the husband, and reference a completely different incident in which a woman holding flowers was pushed in front of a train. The man murdered his wife, and to make the video seem relevant, he recreated the subway death of a woman holding flowers.

It’s a bit out there and convoluted, but it’s safe to say the cases have continued to get more and more interesting as this show has progressed. Also, for any of you hardcore Conan Doyle geeks out there, there was a direct quote from A Study in Scarlet in this episode: “There is no branch of detective science which is so important and so neglected as the art of tracing footsteps.” Gotta love those bits of canon!

Alas, just as quickly as Elementary has returned to us, it looks like we’re in for another brief hiatus. Tune in again on April 4 for the next episode!


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