At the end of the last season of America’s contemporary take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, all was not quite well in the Brownstone.
After solving a case, acquitting his brother Mycroft of the involvement in a plot to overthrow MI6, former-drug addict Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) seemed distressed at the news that his deductive partner and former sober companion, Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) was moving out. So distressed in fact, that he appeared to collect a sachet of heroin that he had previously hidden and then suddenly accepted a job of employment back in London for the aforementioned English spy syndicate, leaving us all in suspense as to whether he would return to old habits.
Jump forward eight months, and a fiercely independent Joan is now running her own consulting business, working for the NYPD in Sherlock’s absence. And she’s been doing a “hell of a job” at it, according to Aidan Quinn’s Captain Gregson – bringing down a drug cartel run by a ruthless female boss – until the unusual deaths of one of her protected witnesses and a bodyguard occurs in a lift that never stopped. The classic locked room mystery, as expected, is irresistible to the newly returned Sherlock, who turns up much to Joan’s surprise, already putting his feelers out into her case. Understandably, tensions run high and the reunion of the two gets off to an incredibly frosty start in which Joan, still clearly hurt by Sherlock’s sudden relocation without saying goodbye, forcefully states: “You were right, I didn’t need you any more. Still don’t.”
Things only get more strained as it is revealed that Sherlock did not come back to New York alone, having recruited a new protégé in Kitty Winter (Ophelia Lovibond), a sparky young girl with a mysterious past, who instantly finds herself at loggerheads with Watson, to the point that they even have a single-stick melée in the street. The episode runs as is now the formulaic norm – a case is brought forward and solved in an innovative fashion by the deductive duo (or should I say trio), whilst also taking moments to shine a light on Sherlock’s ever-increasing emotional development – as it turns out, Sherlock is still, happily, drug-free, but saw the sachet of heroin in Season 2 as a test, and resented Watson for planning to leave him at such a fragile time in his sobriety, though he stresses to Joan that he has since realised that he was wrong to do so.
While their separation and subsequent reunion is not nearly as emphatic or devastating as that of their English counterparts (the BBC Sherlock‘s Reichenbach Fall), it is still interesting to see a strenuous new aspect to Holmes and Watson’s relationship. There is an element of forgiveness granted at the end of the episode, when Joan allows Sherlock to consult for the NYPD again; though she makes it clear that they are still no longer partners. This therefore sets up what seems to be the main theme of focus throughout the rest of the season – the gradual reconnection of their partnership, whilst also dealing with the invasive presence of Kitty, whose involvement also warrants many questions. Who is she? What secrets does she harbour? And will she truly live up to Sherlock’s expectations and become a part of the team? Time will only tell, as the third season of Elementary continues…
Elementary is broadcast on Sky Living on Tuesdays at 9pm.