[SPOILERS BELOW FOR THE SEASON PREMIERE OF ELEMENTARY]
Elementary is finally back! Boy, I missed this show. Unfortunately, after season premiere “Enough Nemesis to Go Around,” I still miss the show as it was, though I’m willing to go with it and see what it will be like now.
Because we start with a big change: Joan is on her own in New York, working as a P.I., consulting with the cops, and generally being awesome. The first section of the episode really drove home the point that Joan can stand fully on her own, both within the show as an investigator and as a character to carry the show. Not that I don’t love this version of Holmes, and love them working together, but I would absolutely watch The Joan Watson Show. We don’t need to rehash the whole case she’s working on, but it’s a reasonably interesting one in which an assassin “shoots” people by pulling bullets toward a giant magnet. And the mastermind behind the murders tells Joan that Joan herself was an intended target, and threatens her. Will this thread come back going forward? Don’t hurt join!
But in spite of herself, Joan winds up getting some help on the case from Holmes, who is back in New York after being fired by MI6. (“Creative differences, I’m afraid.” Hee.) He sends the police a tip letter about Joan’s case “from” a fake name that leads her back to him, but she is absolutely not ready to forgive and forget: “You ended it in that note you left me eight months ago. The one that was five whole sentences long.” Oh, Sherlock. Joan tells him “You were right. I didn’t need you anymore. I still don’t,” and I love that this is true, and that painful as the separation is for them and the viewers, it may lead to them coming back together as equals. But I’m happy that Joan isn’t forgiving him immediately for the way he left, because one of my favorite things about this show has always been the way it makes Holmes deal with the consequences of his actions rather than just having everyone excuse him because he’s a genius.
Speaking of consequences: Holmes’s abrupt departure is a factor when he tries to get his gig with the NYPD back as well. Gregson doesn’t oppose him coming back – he couldn’t and still be professional, really – but he’s extremely cold about it: “We’re not friends . . . We just never said it out loud before.” And, smartly, Gregson leaves the decision as to whether Holmes can come back up to Joan: she’s the one who’s been reliable, and she’s established herself as a skilled investigator in her own right, so of course Gregson wouldn’t want to risk losing Watson to get back the unreliable, difficult Holmes.
All of this is complicated by the fact that Holmes has returned to New York with a new apprentice, Kitty. Holmes briefly has her surveilling Watson – “I wanted to know exactly how much to apologize for.” – but she keeps doing it after he tells her to stop, and he is not pleased. He’s also not happy that Kitty told Joan she was his new partner: “I told her I was your partner.” “So you lied to her.” Kitty is obviously curious about and probably jealous of Joan – “The one you never shut up about.” What’s her deal, exactly? How long is she going to be around? How long will Holmes possibly put up with a non-Joan replacement?
Because he is, quite literally, trying to replace Joan, and he says as much. He tells her about the heroin he had in his possession as a test, and the way her announcement that she was moving out made him immediately realize he’d fail the test and that, therefore, he was depending on her too much. “It was wrong to make you the face of my problem.” But he decides – or at least is trying to tell himself – that the important thing about Joan was simply his role as mentor and teacher: hence Kitty. I doubt he’ll be able to keep up the pretense for very long that there was nothing special about Joan herself, and he already seems impatient with Kitty and is trying to work with Joan in some capacity – he offers to be a sounding board for her on cases. Joan agrees to let him work for the police, but is very hesitant to let him back into her life. (For good reason!) And when she presses him on why he returned to New York, he says “Isn’t it obvious? I belong here. As do you.” I will confess that at this point my notes say “OH MY GOD SAY YOU’RE THERE FOR HER,” and I don’t even mean that in a romantic way, just that he needs to admit to himself and everyone else that she is important to him and that that’s okay.
As I said, I’m curious to see how this season goes – will our duo fall back into working together all the time, or stay somewhat separate? How long will Kitty stay and how will she change the dynamics? I am of two minds about this – I recognize that changing up the show can make it narratively interesting, but at the same time, I enjoy it more when Holmes and Watson are spending a good deal of their time interacting.
Other favorite lines and points of interest:
- “You’re running a narcotics cartel now. You have to look your best.”
- “I have a turtle.” Did Sherlock just leave Clyde??
- “You’ve had worse roommates.”
- I like Joan’s new boyfriend Andrew so far, and I hope he doesn’t turn out to be evil. The reptile meet-cute was great.
- The brownstone all covered up was so sad.
- Here’s the Mystic massacre the fake John Mason name came from.
- “I was thinking of no one but myself.” “Must have been a day that ended in Y.”
- “Don’t be sorry. Be better.”
- “I got into a baton fight with someone named Kitty.”
- “Please note, this model is not to scale.” Hee.
- “His body’s probably at the bottom of the ocean.” “You’re so negative, Joan.”
- “I guess I didn’t see it as throwing anything away. I saw it as moving towards something.”