Though facing tough competition from it's many counterpart adaptations - as well as all the typical third season motions - this American spin on Arthur Conan Doyle's characters continues to be an engaging watch, with a Holmes/Watson relationship that remains both refreshing and touching in equal measure.
When we last saw Holmes and Watson on UK screens, a number of developments had come into place.
First off, Joan (Lucy Liu) had established herself as a strong and independent investigator in her own right, determined to live a relatively ‘normal’ life away from the madness of Sherlock’s methods. Meanwhile, Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) – who remains incapable of working succinctly without a partner – enthused at the opportunities that came with tutoring his sparky new protége, Kitty (Ophelia Lovibond). At the beginning of the season, the dynamic between the trio was tense. The core relationship between Holmes and Watson was at a strenuous point by the end of the first episode; though forgiving enough to allow Sherlock back into the NYPD consultancy with Kitty, Joan remained reluctant to partner up with him again. This, and Kitty’s envy towards Joan and Sherlock’s natural dependency on each other, set up a rigid starting point to slowly unravel from as the season continued.
One question that was heavily impressed upon in the first episode, was why exactly Sherlock had brought Kitty to New York as his protége – apart from his own need for intellectual company. Already, we have gained some insight – in Episode 3, it was revealed that Kitty was a rape victim, who narrowly escaped her vicious captor and is looking to start anew in America. Given her past as a sober companion and doctor, Joan extended her care-giving nature to Kitty by persuading her to go to support group, which in turn allowed the two’s relationship to soften, as well as improve the communication between Holmes and Watson. Their triadic relationship therefore, became something of a family unit – wherein Sherlock and Joan were the guiding protectors of the vulnerable and naive Kitty. However, whether this relationship will remain this harmonious is questionable, since Kitty’s previous captor remains at large.
Joan – as part of her determination to live a ‘normal’ life independent of her work with Sherlock – has also developed a relationship with a man called Andrew (Raza Jaffrey). In Episode 4, he took a job in Copenhagen after working with Holmes and Watson on a strange case involving artificial intelligence. Sherlock seems to like Andrew, but is unsure whether Joan will cope with the attachments of being in a traditional romantic relationship – much to her chagrin. Whether Sherlock is right or wrong about this perception is also yet to be seen. And the ever-cautious state of Sherlock’s sobriety is another subject that will no doubt be alluded to again, as he – a recovering drug addict – continues to struggle against his addictive urges and remain abstinent.
Looking forward to Episode 9 – ‘The Eternity Injection’ – which marks Sky Living’s return to this season, there is, as always, a case to be solved. A nurse that Joan used to work with asks for her help in finding a missing co-worker, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. As the trio follow the woman’s trail, a much larger plot comes to light, and – using Sherlock’s unique intellectual process – they must find a way to resolve it.
As is always the case mid-season, all hierarchical plot-lines hang precariously in the balance, waiting to be resolved at any moment later in the story. However, with a show like Elementary – in which cases are systematically brought to the consultants’ attention and then solved with Conan-Doyle’s trademark flair – it’s not as tense as it could be, leaving it to be a show that is light but still thoroughly engaging.
Elementary returns to Sky Living, Tuesday 17th February at 9pm.