This Elementary review contains spoilers.
Elementary: Season 4, Episode 12
Love is in the air at 221B. “A View With a Room” was your typical, police procedural filler episode — until it wasn’t. Amid a trove of confusing details surrounding a fumbled con, Sherlock was left to play the sulky, brooding, lovestruck teen opposite Joan’s playful match-making. And although it could have all gone very wrong, showrunner Robert Doherty somehow managed to get it right.
As with most recent Elementary episodes, the main plot behind “A View With a Room” was solid enough, if a little boring. After being asked by the NYPD’s narcotics division to help devise the takedown of an area biker gang’s armed headquarters, Sherlock shuffles around the brownstone, staging a perfect, play-by-play replica of what he believes to be a fool-proof plan. Although the undercover detective on the case, Ryan Dunning, is none too happy to have an outsider intruding on his work, he relents and the two form a polite agreement to work together — which eventually turns out to be unnecessary when Dunning, who’s infiltrated the biker gang incognito, is found murdered a short while later, bullet holes riddling his corpse.
Thankfully for the NYPD, a body cam video of the shooting (which took place as Dunning was attempting to steal the gang’s bank account information on his own) is recovered later. The team’s joy is short-lived, however, when Sherlock realizes that the shooter in the video is actually Dunning himself, indicating that the entire video was staged, with Dunning having taken the gang’s bank records for himself much earlier.
After waffling between motives, they finally settle on a single theory, one that pins Dunning’s death on whomever the accomplice was that worked with him to fabricate the body-cam video — someone who also had managed to empty the gang’s bank accounts for themselves. After some eagle-eyed detective work by Sherlock (because no episode of Elementary would be complete without it), the suspect is caught and brought to justice, wrapping the episode up in a tidy bow. At least in some respects.
Much less tidy was this week’s subplot, which crafted a strangely likeable bond between everyone’s favorite consulting detective and a previous acquaintance with a unique gift. When we first met Fiona, a high-functioning autistic woman who described herself as “neuro-atypical”, she was working for tech firm Pentillion and tangled up in a white collar crime turned deadly, much to her chagrin. Now that her work life has been straightened out by Sherlock, Joan, and Marcus, she’s looking for someone to fill the void in her personal life — and it seems she’s chosen Sherlock for the job.
Social awkwardness aside, Fiona’s initial attempts at wooing Sherlock go unreciprocated (polite conversations do little to kickstart romantic relationships, after all), but it doesn’t take long for the two to form a strange, almost innocent connection. “You can kiss me, if you’d like,” Fiona tells Sherlock one night, as they stand on the brownstone’s rooftop. Sherlock wordlessly declines, uncharacteristically flustered by her advances, but by the end of the episode, he’s made his way to her apartment and offers to return the same favor. When she tells him she’d rather not (“I’m scared,” she explains), the two strike up a sweet-natured courtship, agreeing to connect over coffee.
Whenever writers choose to throw their character’s recognizable traits to the wind — in this case, Sherlock’s exuberant sexual appetite and his carelessness in intimate connections — there’s always a chance that it will come off to viewers as unbelievable or jarring. Not so in Elementary’s case. Doherty and company know the detective almost better than they know themselves, and they’ve given Sherlock an outlet to explore all the newest corners of his New York lifestyle, including igniting a potentially traditional relationship with a woman who’s his equal in terms of intellect and approach.
Although Sherlock begrudgingly insists to Joan (who’s more than happy to tease her partner throughout the romantic ordeal) that his past relationships were different, all parties involved seem content to step back and allow the idea to sprout on its own. That’s key to this relationship’s underpinnings, as it is with anything in Sherlock’s life: Unless Sherlock can sort through something alone, there’s little chance of it ever taking hold in a permanent capacity.
Upon confronting Fiona at the end of “A View With a Room”, Sherlock, finally ready to accept her advances, warns that he’s “not typical” — he’s afraid that he may hurt her. “I abhor typical,” Fiona replies, a small smile ghosting her otherwise cautious demeanor.
It remains to be seen whether Sherlock is truly capable of anything so ordinary as a romantic relationship. Certainly, it helps that Fiona is able to match him in terms of candor and book smarts. But more importantly, this potential flame could see Sherlock figuring out another part of his own puzzle — and if fans are ready to be honest with themselves, that’s the real intrigue behind any good Sherlock Holmes story, isn’t it?