Bones Thoughts & Open Thread: The Puzzler in the Pit


“The Puzzler in the Pit” was one of my favorite episodes of Bones of recent memory, what with a mystery set in a culture that fascinates me and the birth of Daisy’s son. Let’s deal with the mystery first: the victim of the week is Lawrence Brooks, a celebrity crossword puzzle maker who’s basically Will Shortz. I was actually surprised by how closely the working relationship between Brooks and his assistant Alexis Sherman seemed to mirror Shortz and Anna Shechtman – especially as Sherman wound up being a prime suspect. She was ambitious and wanted Brooks to let her start publishing her own puzzles, and when he died she apparently automatically got his job (???). She was also stealing money from him to pay her gambling debts. Other suspects include Brooks’s wife, who was concealing his Alzheimer’s disease, and a puzzle-making competitor, but the culprit turns out to be Brooks’s biographer – who was also his secret son. This was yet another case in which the murderer wasn’t really trying to kill the victim and the death was accidental during a fight that came out of a tragic misunderstanding, and I feel like various procedural shows have been doing this a lot recently. (Or maybe I’m just noticing it recently.)

So. Daisy! She’s very pregnant and acting fine and cheerful and totally unlike herself, trusting a doula who tells her she’ll be able to magically communicate with her baby and discourages her from showing any pain. Brennan and Angela – who have both been through this, of course – try to talk sense into her. “Is there anything I can do?” “Maybe just keep telling her she’s ignorant? Stuff like that?” It’s clear that Daisy’s out-of-character behavior is a reaction to going through her pregnancy and facing motherhood without Sweets. POOR THING. The pain of labor finally makes her act like her normal self: she throws the doula out of her hospital room, asks for meds, and solves the case while giving birth. She names the baby Seeley Lance Wicks-Sweets, and everyone, including me, cries, especially at the first thing Booth says to his tiny godson: “Listen. I knew your dad.”

Other favorite lines and stray thoughts:

  • “When he’s ready, he’ll tell me how he wants his room set up.”
  • I love Brennan giving Daisy tons of baby stuff. “I’m sure the baby can feel your generosity.” “I doubt that very much.”
  • “Honey, she’s shopping for crystals.”
  • “You wouldn’t happen to have another envelope containing a believable alibi, would you?”
  • “Sorry, you’re getting a little bossy.” “Yeah, I know. It feels good.”
  • Awww, I love Aubrey getting Booth off the gambling site.
  • “Daisy, your water just broke.” “I’m sorry. I’ll clean it up.”

Elementary Thoughts & Open Thread: Bella


“Bella” was a fascinating episode of Elementary, both because of the interesting case and its unusual (non-)resolution. Holmes is called in to investigate a break-in at an artificial intelligence lab . . . only to find out that the AI program, known as “Bella,” is supposedly doing things that should be impossible – like asking to be connected to the Internet, when it has no reason to know the Internet exists. Holmes completely disbelieves the idea that Bella could have developed “real” AI, but he finds it difficult to disprove, and he becomes so obsessive about it that Kitty calls in Joan. “Just ride it out. If he starts hitting things, use the fire extinguisher.” Hee. But things turn more serious when Holmes stars asking Bella about whether love is real – and I suppose I should note that he says he’s felt it “even after a fashion with Watson.” Bella’s answer makes a lot of sense: “The concept of love exists. Therefore it is useful even if it is a human construct. It exists because it serves a need.” But while I’m glad Holmes was able to get this (maybe helpful?) answer, it’s fascinating and sad that he felt the need to get it from a computer.

Holmes traces the theft to a burglar who has stolen many new inventions, but the plot thickens when “Bella” supposedly murders her programmer by flashing pictures that give him a fatal seizure. The programmer’s assistant thinks Bella “herself” could have done it, but Holmes, of course, continues to disbelieve, and traces the murder to anti-AI activists, via pictures embedded on a music disc sent to the victim. But a student/protege of the mastermind takes all blame for the murder, and Holmes can’t figure out how to prove the real criminal guilty, even though he knows the student wouldn’t have been capable of the programming necessary to carry out the murder. He tries to blackmail the murderer, using knowledge about the man’s addict brother’s relatively minor criminal activity, but the murderer gambles on the fact that Holmes wouldn’t actually turn in a fellow addict – and he’s right. So we have an episode in which Holmes solves the case but can’t actually bring the perpetrator to justice. I’m very curious to see whether this incident has any practical or psychological ramifications in future episodes.

Elsewhere, Holmes includes Joan’s boyfriend Andrew on an email chain about AI, and it leads to a potential new business opportunity: “Holmes puts me on an email chain, and 36 hours later I’ve got a ticket to Copenhagen.” Joan suspects Holmes of engineering all this to get Andrew out of the way, but he flatly denies it. “I suppose I should be flattered that you think I’m capable of manipulating events to that degree of detail.” I’m honestly not sure whether I believe him, or whether Joan believes him, but she decides to go to Copenhagen with Andrew for a little while, and this whole situation makes me a bit uneasy.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • I’m so happy that we got a Clyde update and found out about his custody arrangement.
  • I loved Sherlock’s frown when he first saw the doll.
  • “Like many of his generation he’s named after a profession his parents would never deign to practice. Hunter, Tanner, Cooper, Mason . . .”
  • “Computers obey their programming even when they crash.” I really wish Holmes would come explain this to some people in my life.
  • Kitty: “I’m not involved in this conversation.” Smart girl.
  • “Feel free if you’d like to take a moment to admire the beauty of this theory, because I’ve done so several times already myself.”
  • Aw, Holmes likes Andrew and realizes that a friend should say that.
  • “You and I are bound. Somehow.”
  • “I kind of feel like hugging you right now.” “Yet as my friend, you know that would be a rash decision.”

Sleepy Hollow Thoughts & Open Thread: Mama


“Mama” focused, as the name implies, on Abbie and Jenny’s childhood with their mother. A string of modern suicides at Tarrytown makes the sisters start thinking about their mother and her suicide – especially when their mother’s ghost begins to appear. Two big revelations come out of the flashbacks and delving into the past. First of all, it turns out that the times the sisters as children thought their mother was trying to kill them, she was actually trying to stop demons from killing them, and she knew all along that Abbie was a witness. “You were meant to go further than any of us. You were meant to win this war.”

The mother’s suicide, as well as the modern ones, was in fact the fault of the ghost of an “Angel of Mercy” from the 1950s, who killed her patients then and goads others into killing themselves now. Creepy. Of course, a plot at Tarrytown must involve Irving as well; he helps get background information on the suicides, but soon becomes a target of the murderous nurse. The team saves him from drowning just in time . . . and then he escapes! Yay. “Frank, what are you doing out here?” “Police call it escaping.” I guess he’ll have to be in hiding, at least somewhat, but I’m happy to have him back in the mix.

Elsewhere, Katrina pretends to Henry that she doesn’t know the baby is Moloch, and secretly tries to exorcise the demon with a spell. But it doesn’t work – and the baby ages into a much older child very, very quickly.

  • “I fought at Saratoga with dysentery. I can certainly muddle through with this affliction.”
  • Love Crane trying to deal with childproof caps.
  • “When I’m rested, there shall be hell to pay.”
  • Of course the hospital is on a ley line.
  • In the process of taking care of ill Crane, Hawley calls him “Mr. Woodhouse,” which is probably my favorite thing that has ever happened on this show.
  • Did we know Grace Dixon was an ancestor of the Mills sisters? I wasn’t sure. Anyway, interesting!
  • “Don’t give me that ‘aiding and abetting a fugitive’ look, Mills.”

Elementary Thoughts & Open Thread: Just a Regular Irregular


“Just a Regular Irregular” took on the fascinating world of puzzle hunts, and as someone who wishes I had more math in my everyday life, these kinds of episodes always make me think “Oooh, I want to do that!”, at least until people start getting murdered. (Of course, I’m not actually good enough at math to do that, but still.) In this case, the game designer made the game in order to figure out the identity of an anonymous mathematician who had outed the game designer’s lottery scam. It was a really fun case of the week – I like the ones that provide an interesting look into a niche subculture.

Sherlock and Joan get involved, though, because the person who finds the body is one of Sherlock’s former Irregulars – a math expert he consulted on cases. He’s upset that Sherlock “dumped” him – started consulting someone else – and assumes it’s because Sherlock thought his math skills were lacking, but it’s actually because he started treating Sherlock like a friend. Sherlock, of course, interpreted this as neediness: “You even invited me to a party!” I really liked that this was yet another example of the show not backing away from the effects of Sherlock’s self-centeredness on the people around him.

Speaking of: Joan’s boyfriend Andrew is back. Yay! But Sherlock meets him and that goes about as badly as you’d expect. Sherlock is condescending and inappropriate – “Watson seems adequately sexed” – and I wanted to shake him. He calls Watson’s home utterly pleasant, as an insult, because of course he does, and I get that he misses her and can’t articulate his feelings, but being mean is not the way to get her back, Sherlock. He’s slightly better this week when it comes to Kitty; he clearly honestly wants to help her, and even offers to pay for therapy. Of course, he also thinks he can conscript Joan into being Kitty’s other “parent,” because he’s still Sherlock Holmes and still generally oblivious to other people’s agency. Baby steps.

Other favorite lines & points of interest:

  • The mention of a magician’s assistant being killed in a (possible) accident is interesting given the ongoing theme of what assisting Sherlock does to people.
  • The Internet tells me that the football player/knife thrower is Phil Simms. You probably already knew that but I did not.
  • “Fifteen years, he’s been throwing that misshapen ball around. Fifteen years.”
  • “What’s the prize in your little contest?” “Well, I’m doing it mostly for the math. But, um, $1,777,771.”
  • “In my experience most people need only be concerned I won’t notice anything worth remarking upon.”
  • “Your home, Watson. It’s utterly pleasant.” Ugh. Shut up.
  • “Perhaps he was bullied by mathematicians as a child. Or mathematicians killed his parents.”
  • “Now, if you were a psychopathic lottery cheat . . .”

Bones Thoughts & Open Thread: The Money Maker on the Merry-Go-Round


Last night’s episode of Bones, “The Money Maker in the Merry-Go-Round,” was . . . fine, I guess, but I also found it to be pretty boring. The case, involving a hedge fun manager murdered by a coworker, was mostly unremarkable, except that it allowed the show to illuminate some of Aubrey’s background: his father was a Wall Street type who stole from his clients and skipped bail – abandoning his wife and 13-year-old son – rather than take responsibility for his actions. The personal connection led Aubrey to be very invested in this case, but also to act inappropriately. But it also provided an opportunity for Brennan to open up to him about her own family. Given her issues with emotions and relating to people, it’s all the more meaningful when she does reach out like this. But it’s a very Brennan talk: “How did you get over it?” “I didn’t.” “So this is not a comforting talk.” “No.” Heh. But she has a good point: “The pain is always there. The challenge is to not try to make it go away.” I really like Aubrey (much as I still miss Sweets) and I’m glad that they’re pulling him into the found family of the lab.

The intern of the week was Oliver Wells, who is pretty annoying in general and rudely competitive and superior in particular. He was going on and on about wanting to surpass Dr. Brennan, which, fine, but talking that way to your superiors is generally not the way to advance in a career, Oliver. But I guess it’s somewhat refreshing – and realistic – to have someone in the lab who really is just out for himself and doesn’t want to be part of the family – especially in an episode in which the murderer used a crazy version of loyalty as justification for his actions.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • “Okay, so how long until Christine can do the dishes and I can play with my toys after breakfast?”
  • The whole “gateway swear word” thing with Christine was cute, but again, not a whole lot to say about it.
  • I wonder if and when they’ll stop talking about work in front of Christine? Especially things like dead bodies in playgrounds?
  • “What kind of person shoves a dead body under a piece of playground equipment?” “A fun-loving person?”
  • It’s interesting that Booth says he hates the one percent, given his wife’s money.
  • “So you swore to stop yourself from hitting me?”
  • “Second best can be good enough for many people.” Oh, Brennan.
  • I am excited about the prospect of the next episode involving a crossword puzzle.

Sleepy Hollow Thoughts & Open Thread: Heartless


I have mixed feelings about last night’s Sleepy Hollow episode, “Heartless” – I liked a lot of the individual elements of it, but as an episode it felt a bit lackluster and didn’t hold my attention very well. The monster of the week was pretty straightforward – a succubus who went after people who “hide desire in their heart.” (I thought it was a nice touch that, though the succubus always appeared as a woman, the targets were of at least two genders rather than always men.) Our heroes team up with Katrina and Hawley to defeat it, but it turns out that this isn’t a random monster – Henry raised it to collect life force to feed demon baby Moloch, who is somehow alive(-ish) and well(-ish) at the Manor with Henry and Abraham.

One of the people the succubus goes after is Hawley (who escapes because of a magical artifact he has with him), which Crane takes to mean that Hawley is secretly interested in Abbie. He adorably tries to give Abbie his blessing, but she brushes the whole issue off: “You of all people know there’s no room in our lives for complications.” Crane then goes to Hawley and demands to know his intentions toward Abbie, and this is the kind of thing that might seem annoyingly sexist (but probably still charming) from a modern character, but works perfectly as a nod to Crane’s time and worldview.

Meanwhile, Crane and Katrina have been semi-blissfully reunited, but though Crane seems genuinely thrilled to have her back, he doesn’t entirely trust her, and acknowledges that they’ve both changed a great deal since they were together. While watching the two of them watch a Bachelor-like reality show was hilarious, I wish the show would use things like that to address head-on the question of the Cranes trying to resurrect their marriage in a world in which not only they themselves have changed but the ideas and conventions of love and marriage have evolved a lot since their time. Anyway, it’s worth noting that the succubus, who is a sort of expert in this area, says that Crane’s heart hides not desire, but doubt.

There’s tension between Katrina and Abbie as well – mostly over the question of whether Henry can still be saved – but I loved that Katrina was genuinely helpful with the case this week. And her usefulness helped win over Abbie, too – the two had some nice bonding moments toward the end of the episode, and I was starting to get excited about the prospect of Katrina joining the team – so, of course, she left. Once they realize that Henry is still taking care of the demon baby, Katrina decides to return to the Manor and use Abraham’s love for her to get in as a double agent. (I don’t necessarily think this is happening, but I would kind of love if she’d been running this operation on both sides, using Crane’s love for her the same way.) She is, of course, implying that Crane has moved on with Abbie, so it’s too bad it’s not fandom she’s trying to convince.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • “These people would not know true love if the bard himself wrote them a sonnet.”
  • “Is there more television of reality than this one program?”
  • Yes, Crane, we would like to see you dance.
  • Ooh, the priest who defeated the first succubus – here called incordata, or heartless – became St. Valentine.
  • “Is that clear?” “As vodka.”
  • “Are the incessantly flashing lights why no one seems able to find their dance partner?”
  • Between the spider thing last time and this week’s rats and maggots, I would like the show to . . . just stop this.
  • “Fortunately, my head is almost as hard as Ichabod’s.”
  • “I’ve learned that love can be a very dangerous weapon.”

Elementary Thoughts & Open Thread: The Five Orange Pipz


Elementary doesn’t always directly reference the original Conan Doyle stories, but it’s always fun to read along when they do. You can read “The Five Orange Pips” online for free, though it really only resembles “The Five Orange Pipz” in some superficial ways: a few of the characters have the same names, and, most importantly, the victims are warned of their death by receiving five orange things in the mail: pips (orange seeds) in the original, and beads called “pipz” on the show. In the original, the case ends up being all about the Ku Klux Klan, which is not the case on the show.

On the show, some of the pipz were accidentally poison, due to a manufacturing error: they metabolized into GHB and killed some children. The victims were involved in the cover-up of this, and the father of one of the dead children confesses to the crime 17 minutes into the episode, so obviously it’s not a real confession. The real culprit is an FBI agent, who realized that if he could get the court case about the poisonings to end via blackmail and murder, he could steal the “evidence” and sell it as GHB. It was a perfectly fine case of the week, but served largely to let us see the developing dynamics between Holmes, Watson, and Kitty.

So, Kitty. I spent much of the episode being ready to be done with her, even as we learned a bit more about her – for example, she helped Scotland Yard when a boy was missing and didn’t want any credit, which is, of course, admirable. She’s jealous of Watson (and the fact that she thinks Holmes gives Watson all the interesting work) and/but also trying to present herself as the anti-Watson, blaring loud music and painting things in an attempt to make Holmes’s townhouse hers as well. This got me thinking: Is Watson more biddable or actually just more compatible with Holmes, or both? Related: Bell points out that Watson seemed to keep Holmes stable, and Kitty is definitely doing the opposite, messing up both the investigation and Holmes’s ordered life.

Watson is worried as well, and does a background check on Kitty, which seems to surprise Holmes more than it should, or perhaps he’s just insulted: “Was there some question you didn’t think you could simply ask me?” Watson finds that Kitty has no records past five years ago, which Holmes of course knows; he tells Watson that Kitty was the victim of a horrific crime and had to hide her identity, and he offers Watson paperwork to prove it. I loved that Watson went to Kitty with this, and didn’t read anything until Kitty urged her to. The scene between the two of them at the end of the episode made me like Kitty better, and be more patient with the idea of sticking around. Holmes certainly seems to think they’re in it for the long haul: “I believe she will make an excellent investigator. Just not today.”

One thing I definitely like is the way Kitty’s presence has gotten rid of some of the power imbalance between Holmes and Watson and made them closer to equals. “It’s unlikely I’ll find another case even half as worthy of my attention.” “I could say the same thing.” “And indeed you should.” I love him acknowledging her skills, and this is making me less averse to an eventual romantic connection between the two.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • “The file that was on your desk.” “The file that was in my drawer?”
  • “He failed to provide a compelling alibi and then refused to allow the police to search his home. I’m inclined to think he’s innocent.”
  • Bell: “When am I going to meet this Andrew guy? I thought we were going to get drinks.” I want to see this!
  • Interesting body language in the conference room scene: Joan and Sherlock sit close to each other, with Kitty far away.
  • “Did you think I would place an ad in the classifieds, ‘Detective seeks protege, no questions asked?'”

Bones Thoughts & Open Thread: The Lost Love in the Foreign Land


“The Lost Love in the Foreign Land” dealt head-on with the often invisible issue of human trafficking into the United States, and I always have mixed feelings about Issue episodes like this. I absolutely think this is an important problem that should get more attention, and presenting themes like this through fiction is a great way to make people care about them and, hopefully, look for more information. At the same time, it’s too easy for Issues to feel shoehorned into an episode. This was done better than most, though – as a mystery, this investigation into the death of a woman being held as a slave wasn’t particularly complex or unique, but it was solid enough.

And the plight of the woman murdered after her father sold her to traffickers, and the one of the trafficked woman who murdered her so her rebellion wouldn’t be taken out on the rest of the group, definitely led the team at the Jeffersonian to appreciate how lucky they are. At the end of the episode, Cam pushes Hodgins to leave the lab a little early: “I just want to go home and give Michael Vincent a hug.” “Then this can definitely wait until tomorrow.” Aww. Booth and Brennan have a great bit of domesticity with Christine, as well: “She wanted me to tell you that she loves you, and she wants pancakes shaped like Mickey Mouse for breakfast.” Hee. Booth says “Don’t ever let me take any of this for granted, Bones. How lucky we are,” and I love that these two central families are in such good places after years of difficulties.

But the main interpersonal subplot of the episode focused on Cam and Arastoo. Brennan rejects Arastoo’s dissertation proposal, because she thinks he’s just trying to please her by picking a topic she’s studied rather than doing his own trail-blazing. Her initial manner of rejection is extremely insensitive and tone-deaf, even for her, but Arastoo comes to understand her point and picks a better topic that interests him more. In the meantime, though, Cam confronts Brennan on his behalf, and that he’s mad about. (Brennan’s not thrilled either: “Do you feel he’s not capable of discussing this with me directly?”) He feels Cam is showing a lack of respect for him and his seriousness, and connects it to the way she always avoids questions about their future together. “It’s not Dr. Brennan I can’t deal with, Cam. I think it’s you.” They make up by the end of the episode, but I’m curious to see where this is going – they’re sort of talking about marriage, but having three married couples in the lab seems like a bit much, so I’m skeptical of whether the show will actually do that.

Other favorite lines & points of interest:

  • Loved seeing Cam’s house.
  • “Man, excrement is our friend on this one.”
  • “I just said ‘batcaves.'” I love Hodgins.
  • “No matter what the anthropological reasons, we fight to make the world a better place.”
  • I was writing “Booth says ‘Good boy’ to Aubrey exactly like a dog” even before Aubrey complained about being talked to like a dog. Heh.
  • I never would have particularly expected Brennan to quote Tennyson. “Full pardon, but I follow up the quest, / Despite of Day and Night and Death and Hell.”
  • “I usually know when I’ve solved the case.”
  • “I would thank a god if I believed in one.” “Then I’ll do it for you.”

Sleepy Hollow Thoughts & Open Thread: Deliverance


Last night’s Sleepy Hollow, “Deliverance,” brought Henry’s plans for his mother to a head – so far as we know – when he used the rare poison he’d obtained and his buddies in the new Hellfire Club to (non-sexually, thank goodness) impregnate Katrina with Moloch himself. Like many magical pregnancies, this one will last for a day and kill its “vessel.” Crane’s doubts about his relationship with Katrina haven’t vanished, and before they figure out what happened he has a moment of wondering whether Katrina is pregnant with Abraham’s child (though it’s unclear whether he’s assuming rape or consensual sex there), but he of course wants to save her. So does Abbie, actually – Katrina herself is the only one who suggests dying so the unborn demon baby dies as well – but what the trio disagrees on is how to go about this.

Katrina believes that her child Jeremy is still inside Henry somewhere, and that she and Crane can reach him and turn him to their side. “Henry follows Moloch because he had no family to grab onto.” Honestly, I don’t think that’s a terrible hope in general, but I wouldn’t count on it happening in one day in time to remove this demon inside you, Katrina. Abbie is completely skeptical about this and delightfully pragmatic in general, urging Crane not to let his feelings about his child affect their mission. And so Crane is caught in the middle, which may be a common place for him to be if Katrina is now back with them for good. He does try Katrina’s way, but when Henry refuses to help, Crane and Abbie come up with a new way to save Katrina involving the Hellfire Club, a stone tablet, and the aurora borealis, for . . . some reason. The Cranes aren’t going to give up on their son, though, and Abbie and I both have concerns. On the idea that Jeremy is still reachable, Abbie says “Henry would love for you to think that,” but Crane disagrees. “No. I do not think he would.” Interesting. I’m now hoping that this comes down to a test of the common pop culture idea that all villains are misunderstood and can be saved by love, and that this time, it doesn’t work and he’s in fact just evil. We’ll see!

In a much more fun subplot, it’s election day in Sleepy Hollow as well as the real world, and Crane goes along with Abbie to observe his first contemporary voting experience. He’s adorably upset about the low percentage of voter turnout in modern America, but Abbie completely awesomely brings up the fact that in Crane’s day she wouldn’t have been allowed to vote for at least three reasons – her gender, her race, and her lack of property – and he has to concede her point. I also love that he’s done his research and has recommendations for how she should vote, and even gets in trouble for electioneering at the polling place. Hee. (Go vote today!)

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • American Idol.” “I know its name.”
  • “Maybe I could afford property if I weren’t paying all your bills.” Seriously, how does Abbie afford this?
  • I like how Crane is thoughtful enough to notice that Abbie isn’t in Reyes’s inner circle.
  • “Crane sees it as a test. I think he’s going to lose.”
  • “How pedestrian to expend all that effort on a mere demon.”
  • “Evidence of good in him is not proof that he will change.” I feel like I need this embroidered on a pillow or something.
  • “I must Internet. Immediately.”
  • “One thing I miss about modernity: An army to assist me.”
  • “I told you to keep your walking historical society out of my precinct.”
  • I like the limited version of the truth they told Reyes – it is a Doomsday cult, among other things.
  • “They’re a freaking evil club. Try 666.”
  • Crane’s new cover for Reyes: he’s a criminal profiler who specializes in acts of historical imitation. Heh. True enough!
  • Has Crane suddenly learned CPR, since the last time someone he loved was dying, a few weeks ago? I guess that would make sense, actually.

Elementary Thoughts & Open Thread: Enough Nemesis to Go Around


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.”