Behold! The return of Lucy Liu, director extraordinaire! And with her? The machinations of one Natalie Dormer as the nefarious Moriarty.
Though the majority of this week’s episode of Elementary was dedicated to Sherlock hunting down a pair of stolen zebras from the Bronx Zoo (yes, really), in terms of actual events, Joan was put through the proverbial ringer though her screentime didn’t really add up to more than a handful of minutes. We learn that the cliffhanger from last week resulted in her about-to-be-ex-boyfriend’s murder, that Gina Gershon orchestrated it from behind bars, that Moriarty is still watching Joan, and that Joan has decided that she no choice but to retreat from the real world and join Sherlock in the brownstone.
That’s… That’s a lot of dynamic progression to slip in between scenes of Holmes sassily hunting down striped horse-type creatures.
But here’s credit where it’s due – Liu as director handles all of this brilliantly. The week’s mystery was silly (minus the murder, which is never funny unless you are murdering a pie or something with your mouth and stomach) but engaging and just weird enough to merit Sherlock’s involvement. While Watson’s conclusion that she must withdraw from “normal” society at the episode’s end isn’t the healthiest choice (or even the right one for her), it’s a choice that makes sense, and sets up a nice conundrum for Sherlock. As a side note, it’s always a lot of fun watching Jonny Lee Miller work, but there’s a certain goofiness he seems to feel more comfortable inhabiting when Liu is behind the camera, and it was a treat to watch that this week.
Back to Sherlock’s conundrum. See, in the wake of Andrew’s demise (who else is glad we were spared a funeral? That somehow made his death even more shocking when it was so casually mentioned) Sherlock stepped into the role of emotional support for his friend quite well — for him. He brought the lasagna, which he expertly reheated and he told her that if she wanted to talk he was there. Sherlock made it clear that he was there for her, while still maintaining that awkward emotional distance that makes it impossible for him to do the aggressive intervention that Watson needs right now. Add to this where Sherlock is mentally and emotionally and you’ve got a tempting cocktail. He has craved a new roommate, a new constant companion and now Joan is offering that up to him. Even though he so clearly knows that Joan is just hiding from her feelings, it’s got to be close to irresistible to do the heavy interpersonal lifting requiring to bring her back to the land of the living.