Elementary: Enough Nemesis to go Around (03×01)
Synopsis: Joan took Sherlock’s place at the NYPD and is working a case against the leader of a drug cartel. Sherlock, in his usual fashion, ends up back in NYC and is both a help and a hindrance. Meanwhile, a key witness and her guard are killed in an elevator and no one knows how it could have happened.
I’m glad Elementary is back on, but I was oddly underwhelmed by this week’s episode. It wasn’t bad or anything, just not quite the explosive season premiere I was expecting. It started in a weird place, with Joan out to lunch with another woman who apparently was the head of a drug cartel. From what the audience could gather, apparently Joan had been working this case during the space between last season and this one. What the audience got to see was the culmination of what happened in the space in-between, which was important albeit slightly confusing.
The episode began with Joan making an arrest, but of course nothing ends up as it was supposed to. The witness the NYPD had tracked down to make a case against the drug cartel leader ended up shot in a hotel elevator on her way to court to testify. Along with her was an NYPD detective who had also ended up dead. Since their witness died, the head of a drug cartel was free to do whatever she pleased and it became Joan’s goal to put her away for good.
Naturally the case plays right into perfect Sherlock territory, considering the fact two people were killed in an elevator with no indication that someone had joined them to do it. There was no possible way someone would have been able to get into a moving elevator and no sign that the bullets had come from above. Rather, the two people in the elevator had been mysteriously shot by the thin air. I found it profoundly Sherlock-ian, in the sense that Conan Arthur Doyle often worked these sorts of cases into his stories. There was always some magically-oriented, unexplainable thing that had happened and only Sherlock could break it down to its parts to remove the magic.
Which, speaking of Sherlock, guess who appeared? After last season when he broke off his partnership with Joan and buggered off to England to work with MI6, he decided to come back after being fired. He even returned to the Brownstone, much to Joan’s surprise and ire. Apparently in leaving, Sherlock left behind a lot of unhappy and betrayed people. For six-ish months, Joan had been operating on her own. She lived on her own, worked for the NYPD, and essentially moved on with her life.
So Sherlock reappearing after all that time, wanting to slip back into her life, provoked a less than friendly reaction. She’s not the only one, as Captain Gregson also gave Sherlock an icy greeting when he went to apologize to the Captain for disappearing without saying a goodbye. I don’t think the Captain’s words were true, since he insisted he and Sherlock weren’t friends, because their relationship had come pretty close to friendship. Yet in Sherlock’s absence, I think Gregson realized he had to side with Joan. She needed him more than the slightly dysfunctional, quirky Sherlock who had decided to up and leave without a word.
People were understandably upset when he came back into their lives, but I thought Sherlock deserved at least some grace since he was consistently apologetic. It is clear it will take a bit of time for him to gain trust.
In the premiere we also got to meet Sherlock’s latest trainee, Kitty. To be honest she really didn’t make the greatest first impression. I imagine that was probably the point, considering she is so hostile toward Joan. Sherlock had a good reason for bringing her to the US, though, and I appreciated seeing his character grow while he explained to Joan why he wanted to teach. Being a mentor, a teacher, keeps him grounded. When Joan said she wanted to find her own place and put distance between them, he wasn’t scared of losing her specifically (or so he said). Rather he was going to miss the relationship. Without someone to mentor his talents and expertise would return him to a lonely existence.
If there is one thing Sherlock has attempted to avoid since the beginning, once he accepted Joan, it is loneliness. Since childhood, I think the character of Sherlock has been lonely. His talents and interests always set him apart from the rest of the world. It also leads him to be socially awkward, as he doesn’t play along with all of the conventions of society. He’d always been an outsider, but after finding that needing people was sort of nice, he found he was scared. When Joan wanted to put up boundaries he feared losing a connection that had helped him realize he didn’t have to be alone anymore.
Loneliness is one of the biggest holes to fill and he very nearly turned to drugs again to fill it. Instead, this time he realized what it was that led him into temptation and remedied it. For all of his faults, and even though he left without a word in a bit of a huff, he has grown as a character. We’re dealing with a changed man in this new season.
Thankfully, given his socially awkward tendencies and absolute fixation on winning back Joan’s affections, he refused to back down from the case. In the end he figured out how they did it: with magnets. That’s right, the assassin (Brennan Brown) that was hired by the head of the drug cartel, imbedded bullets in the wall of the elevator and set a magnet on the outside on the other side. When it was time, he flipped a switched and the magnet caused the bullets to go flying through the witness and her guard, killing them both.
It was the break Joan needed to figure out the rest and nail the drug cartel leader. They tracked down the battery to the hotel room where it had been hidden in the bench seat in the shower/sauna attached to the room. Once they had that, it was easy enough to get the assassin to flip on the woman who had hired him. He got comfy digs in witness protection and she got arrested. Though I honestly don’t think this will be the last we see of the drug cartel leader.
Finally, the episode ended with a reconciliation. Sherlock would only be allowed to come back to working with the NYPD if Joan said it was okay, and she finally gave in. She still maintained boundaries, insisting that they needed to take separate cases and they would not be partners. However, Sherlock and his new protégé were more than welcome to take cases for the NYPD. It is all he probably could have asked for at the moment, and thankfully Kitty also took that moment to do a bit of reconciliation of her own. She’d been a complete jerk to Joan the entire episode, which made me wonder just what happened in Sherlock’s time away.
Yet as Joan is leaving, she and Kitty come to some sort truce. I feel like Kitty is going to bring a lot of trouble of her own this season. Time will tell.
So, all in all it was a calm transition into the new season. I wasn’t blown away, but it was still a solid episode that addressed a lot of necessary character development. It almost felt like I was watching a different show. Joan is working on her own, Sherlock has a new partner, and yet crime still runs rampant all over New York City. I just hope we get a peek sometime during the season into what working for MI6 looked like, or how Sherlock met Kitty.