Elementary season 3 episode 14 review: The Female Of The Species

Elementary’s two plot threads couldn’t be more tonally different in this week’s gloriously bonkers/tragic episode…

This review contains spoilers.

3.14 The Female Of The Species

Now that it’s been around long enough to have one, Elementary’s past is starting to pay real dividends.

Take this week’s reappearance of Gina Gershon’s mob boss. Elana Marsh was last seen thirteen episodes ago being put away by Watson in the season three opener. Elementary hadn’t forgotten about her in the meantime, it was simply waiting to harvest the seed planted all those months ago.

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It was a structurally neat return for Gershon’s character, who bracketed Watson’s experiment in flying solo as a PI. Marsh was there for the beginning of Watson’s enterprise, and her death coincided with its conclusion. Andrew’s misadventure with the poisoned latte has convinced Watson that a normal life was beyond her reach, and to work like Sherlock she must live like Sherlock. It’s goodbye swish apartment and hello early morning wake-up calls at the Brownstone for Joan.

Aside from erasing the only real character development Watson has had since season one, what will her defeated attempt at independence mean for the show? Well, Clyde is now the tortoise of a two-parent family again, no more weekend Dad visits for him. For the non-reptiles of Elementary though, we’ll have to wait and see. If the writers are simply planning to rewind the clock after Kitty’s departure, that will be a disappointment. If there’s something new to be learned about Holmes and Watson by reuniting them at this stage, then I’m in. In Elementary’s creators we trust, show us what you’ve got, folks.

One thing the show’s creators do have judging by this week’s episode, is a mothballed evil genius – or deus ex Moriarty if you like – one who can henceforth be called upon to clear up messes off-camera from the comfort of her jail cell, wherever it is she’s being held (King’s Landing, last time I checked). Natalie Dormer’s voice made a welcome return at the end of The Female Of The Species, fixing Watson’s assassin problem and promising that the game wasn’t over yet. Are we going to see more of Moriarty in season three? Cross your fingers, toes, and eyelids for the possibility.

When he wasn’t adorably delivering groceries and making lasagne for his pal, Sherlock was involved this week in a yelpingly fun case the likes of which you just don’t see on other detective shows. I’m pretty sure that The Adventure Of The Two Stolen Pregnant Zebras isn’t strictly canon, but it nevertheless has my vote for pure bonkers fun. The Quagga plot wasn’t just inventive and entertaining, it also incorporated several facets of the classic detective mystery. We had a locked room mystery, secret tunnels, a ‘the killer is in this very room’ moment – in short, a tonne of great stuff.

As soon as it was established that said zebras were unharmed and had given birth to offspring with internet meme levels of cuteness, I fell in love with the story. Evil plotting geneticists, extinct equines, a Holmes/Bell bromance, zebra droppings and abandoned psychiatric hospitals… That’s how to make a case fun. Thank you Jeffrey Paul King. The smile hasn’t left my face yet.

Read Frances’ review of the previous episode, Hemlock, here.

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