Synopsis for 3×15: Joan moves back into the Brownstone, only to have Sherlock act strangely. Meanwhile, the beneficiaries of those killed in an airplane crash turn up dead with cash and a note left next to their bodies.
Joan wanted to move back into the Brownstone, so this week’s episode picked up there. She showed up at her apartment to find Sherlock had already packed away all her things and was in the process of moving her into the Brownstone. When Joan told him she had planned to leave the majority of her stuff, Sherlock seemed hesitant to allow her to do so and insisted they had room to store it.
Meanwhile, viewers were introduced to the killer of the week. It was a slightly different format to the show, as we don’t typically get to know the killer before the characters do. Instead of experiencing the crimes from the point of view of our lovely detectives, we experienced them through the eyes of the killer herself. She was seen selling off jewelry her late husband had purchased for her in order to get cash. That cash ended up in an envelope with a note in it, which was left on the body of a homeless man she decided to shoot in cold blood.
It was later found that the note had a certain equation on it that was meant to calculate the value of a person’s life. Such an equation was used by a lawyer, Arlen Schrader, when companies needed to calculate out how much they’d pay in wrongful death suits. The equation led him to the man himself, but he has no idea who could possibly want to get his attention.
Sherlock continued to be weird about Joan living with him. So much so that he changed his behaviors from what they had been before. Instead of waking her up or pestering her or doing any number of the annoying Sherlock things he used to do, he tried to give her space. Joan was obviously weirded out, but any attempt to discuss it was thwarted by Sherlock’s phone. They always had to turn their attention back to the case.
Again, we got a chance to see more of our lady killer. This time she was taking part in some sort of support group and zero’ed in on a young man who had a lot of issues with his father. Later, after the group, it was revealed that she had been sleeping with this particular man. Unfortunately for him, he was actually her next victim and she shot him in cold blood and once again left money equal to what his life was worth according to Schrader’s equation. Though it was substantially less than it would have been given he was a smoker, which she found out moments before she murdered him.
With another body and another note, connections were made. Joan and Sherlock realized that it all connected back to an airline that was dealing with the aftermath of a plane crash. Eighty-one people had died and their families were due for a settlement since the crash was probably the fault of the airline for cutting corners. It turned out that the airline had been planning on using Schrader’s equation to determine what each family would receive. However, in light of everything that had been happening and the controversy around the equation and the murders, they were considering switching to giving everyone a fixed amount. All the families would get the same amount regardless of status or lifestyle.
When Joan went to do the final walk-through of her apartment she found out someone had immediately rented it out. That someone? Sherlock, which ends with her getting angry and asking if he was insinuating that he didn’t want her to live with him. Again, their personal crisis was interrupted by a phone call.
Back to our lady killer, it is revealed that her husband was one of the ones who died in the plane crash. he had been a relatively wealthy man and had paid for their lifestyle, a lifestyle she did not want to give up. She received a visit from her sister who explained to her that if she didn’t figure out her finances fast, she would lose her house and a number of other things. She simply couldn’t sustain her lifestyle anymore. With no other option available, she decided to make another bold move.
That evening, the shooter who had been taking out other beneficiaries took a shot through her window to try to kill her. Joan and Sherlock showed up on the scene and believed her story to be generally true, though certain things Sherlock noticed didn’t add up. She seemed genuinely shaken, but in a later news conference she bashed the airline for wanting to do equal payments. She made the claim that her husband’s life was worth more than the lives of other people and she deserved more of the money. However, by putting all of this in the spotlight she was essentially forcing the airline’s hand. They had to act fast, and the fastest, easiest way to avoid a complete disaster would be to pay everyone a fair amount.
Joan and Sherlock managed to talk about the situation and Sherlock admitted he was simply worried. She was being hasty, and he didn’t wish to enable her. Joan pointed out that, at that moment, what she needed was a safe place. She didn’t need to move forward, but needed to regress a little after Andrew’s death. He said she was welcome to stay and he appreciated her there, but he still did not want to seem like he was enabling her to backslide. It was refreshing, as it has been all season, to see Sherlock notice how he influences other people. What is good for him isn’t necessarily good for others and he is learning to take a step back and empathize.
After that, Sherlock finally figured it all out and they brought the lady killer in moments before she was posed to kill her sister, who had begun to put the pieces together herself.
In the interrogation room it was revealed that the killer’s husband actually hadn’t been worth all that much in terms of payouts. He had been diagnosed with a fast moving and deadly form of cancer and had perhaps a couple of months to live. Even if he’d survived the plane crash he wouldn’t have had a long enough life expectancy to receive a huge payout for his death. So she did everything in her power to create a situation that would force the airline to pay everyone equally, ensuring that she would get more money than she would have otherwise.
She was sunk and knew it, ready to make a deal in order to have some control over where she’d spend the rest of her life while in prison.
Finally, Joan figured out a compromise to help Sherlock feel a little less like an enabler. After luring him into the basement she nailed the door shut with a nail gun and then went down into the basement through an outside entrance. She explained that she was going to make the basement her space. While she still planned to sleep upstairs in the bedroom, she would see her own private clients and have her own work space in the basement. If either of them wanted to enter it, they’d have to first physically leave the Brownstone, and it would be a symbol of separation. It was quite clever and a nice conclusion to Joan moving back in.