Synopsis for 4×01: Joan and Sherlock are on rocky terms with the NYPD after Sherlock’s relapse at the end of last season. With his father’s impending appearance, they take on the case of a missing wife of a now-dead man.
The end of last season left viewers wondering just what was next for Sherlock Holmes. After being led down a dark path by an old drug using buddy, Sherlock relapsed and put everything he had built with Joan at risk of crumbling. He was promised, at the very end of last season, that his father would be coming to deal with the situation, yet that’s not quite how the season began. His relationship with the NYPD on the rocks and a pending criminal investigation looming over his head, Sherlock had to turn his attentions elsewhere while he waited to hear what his fate would be.
Sherlock kept himself busy with ancient cold cases, while Gregson dropped by the brownstone hoping to talk to him. Joan was the only one there, and Gregson dropped off groceries. It was a little awkward, but clear that the Captain was a bit worried about both Sherlock and Joan. However, Joan reassured him that Sherlock was a different man at this point than he was when he was first trying to stay clean and that he shouldn’t worry.
After Gregson left, Sherlock showed up and inquired into how Joan’s meeting with his father went. Of course, it turned out he didn’t show up. Sherlock wasn’t surprised, but Joan was certainly frustrated.
Due for a meeting, which it appears Sherlock has been going to with vigorous regularity post-relapse, he was stopped on the way in by a familiar face. Bloom, a man Sherlock had stumbled across when following the drugs that would hopefully lead him to Oscar’s sister, wanted to hire Sherlock on to investigate the disappearance of his wife. While he was more than willing to admit that he had been behind the murders of two girls, he was also pegged with disappearing his wife which wasn’t the case. With his face all over the news, he had a simple request: prove him innocent in his wife’s disappearance.
Sherlock thought Bloom was going to compel him into helping him, but instead Bloom just smiled and shot himself in the head. At the station, he recounted the encounter to Detective Bell and then tracked down the Captain to talk with him. Captain Gregson finally revealed the bad news that Sherlock and Joan would no longer be consulting with the NYPD. Apparently the higher ups had been looking for a way to get rid of them for a while, and this just made it easy. With that news weighing on him, Sherlock decided to take up Bloom’s case in an attempt to help bolster Joan’s credibility even in the face of his failure.
As he dealt with that, Joan dealt with the issue regarding his father. A man by the name of Cook got in touch with her to let her know that there was a “very good chance” that the older Holmes would show up at some point in the week. That wasn’t good enough for Joan, who ended up tracking Cook down to make it clear that Sherlock’s dad either needed to show up, or not. There would be no more in between.
On the case, Sherlock requested some assistance from his contact at the NSA as a favor for the work he’d done for them in the past. While they talked, he also pitched the idea of him and Joan consulting for the NSA. It was quickly shot down, however, because Sherlock and Joan were essentially damaged goods. No one in the government was going to touch them, not anytime soon.
With job prospects looking bleak, even though he wasn’t going to be charged with assault, Sherlock finally revealed to Joan the exact nature of their relationship with the NYPD. Instead of being angry that he’d held out on her, she acknowledged that she hadn’t expected much less. Sherlock revealed that he’d taken Bloom’s case in an attempt to get her back into the NYPD’s good graces, and Joan made it very clear that she didn’t take the job to work with the NYPD. She took the job to work with Sherlock, and nothing would change that. They’d figure it out.
Now on the same page, they dug into the investigation. Apparently Bloom’s wife, who was from Honduras, was traced back to a coyote who had brought her into the country. She and another woman who had also disappeared around the same time had apparently been plotting to kill “El Gato” out of revenge for what had happened to them and their families. Sherlock and Joan followed the clues to a restaurant where both women had gone, but after talking with the owner came out of it empty handed.
In the end, the evidence led them right back to the seemingly innocent restaurant owner who turned out to be the mastermind El Gato. They accused him, and he didn’t seem worried until Sherlock brought up the extradition treaty the United States just so happens to have with Honduras. With American agents, and Honduran police in tow, he was taken away and the disappearance of Bloom’s wife was explained. They’d close the case rather successfully.
Sherlock took his leave after telling Joan he had some errands to run. He made his way back to the brownstone where his “errand” was revealed – in the form of his father. Papa Holmes (John Noble) was there waiting, and after they exchanged a few barbs his intent was revealed. He felt he had to show up to help Sherlock “clean up his mess.” Whatever that means, it probably isn’t going to be particularly pleasant.