Tonight’s episode of Elementary made up for a lackluster case of the week by doing the dirty business of establishing just what the Kitty, Sherlock, and Joan dynamic will look like for the rest of season three — or at least, what it has the potential to be.
Sherlock finally made the decision to reveal Kitty’s past to Joan. It was a smart bid to slowly but surely regain her trust (and, it’s Sherlock after all, he’s got an eye on making their work situation as unfettered by interpersonal drama as possible). Joan, in turn, was canny herself, opting to not look in Kitty’s file (sounded dirtier than I meant it to) until Kitty herself insists she do so. Well I won’t say it might as well be spring, but you can definitely hear the first cracks presaging the end of a veritable second ice age.
This week Joan and Sherlock went from being a powder-keg to the world’s most well-adjusted divorced parents. Of course they are working together. They are always going to be working together. That Joan didn’t immediately see through Sherlock’s bid (two bodies, two detectives) gave me pause. In fact, you’d think after her time with the dude Joan would have at least speculated that Sherlock had orchestrated the murder in an effort to get her back where he thinks she belongs: Consulting at his side. Thankfully, this Sherlock is no sociopath, so this wasn’t an actual concern I had watching the show. As I might have, perhaps had Moffat been at the helm (I’M JUST SAYING).
The case that brought Watson and Holmes back together was underwhelming. It was one of the traditional ripped-from-the-pages-of-Dateline type stories: GHB in a children’s toy. Toy manufacturers murdered, greedy FBI agent eager to get the evidence released so he can sell it on the street is the perp. It wasn’t the juiciest, most pathos laden case the show has ever dug into. But it was a perfect opportunity to see just how Kitty was going to fit herself into the equation. Kitty doesn’t know where she belongs or who to trust (aside from Sherlock). Given the very little we know about her past, this seems fair enough. The duo of Sherlock and Joan have become, in a sense, her parental figures. She storms out of the living room because she feels insecure and out of place while the grown-ups solve the case and figure out how best to handle her and each other.
From one season to the next I’d forgotten the — there’ s no other really decent word for it — gentleness and care that Jonny Lee Miller imbues his Holmes with throughout. It’s continually too refreshing to say a portrayal of the famous detective where he is driven not by a lack of a sensitivity chip or a need for amusement and puzzles for his massive brain, but by a genuine care for people — in a non-lame way. Joan might not realize it, but he is handling her with the same kid gloves he uses on Kitty.