Season Three of Elementary has begun, and it’s off to a rocky start. Lest we start on the wrong footing together, I’m talking about the relationship between Joan and Sherlock, not the caliber of the program itself.
As a televised entity, Elementary appears to be firing on all cylinders with a reimagining of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work that’s probably in a truer spirit than any that have come before (or since). Yes, yes, I know, shots fired at Sherlock — and you Cumberbatch and Freeman diehards can’t be angry with me, you have only Moffat to blame.
I thought it was exceptionally bold to begin the show with Sherlock, and then…to keep on not having Sherlock on screen. It went well-over the first act, and no Jonny Lee Miller. Whilst the fan-girl in me quietly despaired, the television aficionado was in quiet awe of a network television show taking such a bold tact. It was more like something you’d find on a premium channel — you know, something dramatically risky and excellent. The payoff of Sherlock’s absence was almost better than his physical absence. When he finally makes his presence known, explaining his prolonged absence and lack of farewell to Joan, she’s able to tell him that she’s fine…and we believe her! Because we’ve seen her life, and it’s going pretty well. There’s a cute guy, there’s her own detective work. Sure, there’s the odd bitch-fight with some upstarting young thing, but still: Joan is thriving.
By the time the episode was over I realized that we’d essentially just watched a sort-of second pilot. Sherlock and his newbie Kitty working at the police precinct while Joan does too. It’s like Kramer vs. Kramer, only Sherlock Holmes, and, frankly, it’s a brilliant idea. I don’t think it’s likely that Joan and Sherlock will be able to keep their distance. Watching them navigate different cases — and each other — will provide enough fodder to easily get us through the first half of the season. The question I have: Is their any doubt about how things will turn out in the end? What is there to prevent us from knowing in our guts that Joan and Sherlock are going to wind up a team once more? The answer is 100% Kitty.
Intimations about her “dark past”, and the fact that she tried to beat-up our heroine in the first episode of the season have her set up to be a mechanical and nothing more. She will be an obstacle between Sherlock and Joan (albeit it an interesting one), and then she will be gone one way or another. At least, if this were any other show, that would be the case. But because Elementary is smarter than your average bear, I wouldn’t underestimate them the way I might other shows. They haven’t taken the traditional route with Joan and Sherlock’s relationship, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kitty evolve into something strange and fascinating. Here’s hoping anyway. Fun fact: I did not realize how worried I was that Sherlock had relapsed until I learned he had not. I need to involve myself emotionally less in the lives of fictional characters.