Elementary: When Your Number’s Up Review
This week, Joan is confronted with the reality of Sherlock Holmes being more in tune with the importance of a life outside of work...
As a rule, when Sherlock Holmes is more keyed into the state of your emotional well-being AND he’s pro-actively concerned about it, you are pretty up shit’s creek, place-in-your-life-wise. This week on Elementary, after insisting on moving back into the brownstone and abandoning her balanced life, Joan was confronted with the shocking reality of Sherlock Holmes being more in tune with the importance of a life outside of work than she was and she handled it like pro. Admittedly, this didn’t happen in one fell swoop.
For the first time in quite a while, the crime-of-the-week supported the underlying issues between the central protagonists. For a television purist like myself, this was something akin to being orgasmic. Yeah. I blushed through basically the entire episode and maybe muttered “oh my” more than once. What do you want, I’m of English descent, that’s about as wild as I get!
Alicia Witt guest starred this week as the villain extraordinaire and she gave a totally stand-out performance as a sociopathic woman obsessed with wealth who wouldn’t stop at shooting a homeless a man in the heart provided she got to keep her insanely extravagant house. Watson and Holmes worked together to solve the case, as they so often do. But this time, they were back working it out in the brownstone.
Sherlock was doing everything in his power to give Joan the space she needed to figure out that maybe she was running away from her problems, not embracing her true self. I mean this both literally and figuratively. Figuratively, he rented out her old apartment (something she very quickly gleaned) in case she should figure out she had made a mistake. Literally, he took to working at night in the basement in order to give Joan space, space that she wasn’t looking for, not really.
Nothing brings Sherlock and Joan together like self-righteous indignation. This may sound arch, but I mean it lovingly! It a shade of personality they each wear very well. The fact that they very quickly figure out the challenging case easily together, and that Sherlock cops to his motives for meddling in Joan’s affairs was refreshing and logical and kind of great.
I worried that end of last week’s episode, we were being set up for a few weeks of Joan going off the rails. While this might be something she has more than earned the right to do in light of the death of her boyfriend, and the attempts on her life (not to mention Moriarty’s obsession with her), I think with Joan — especially as she is played by Liu — wallowing would have felt really disingenuous. Which in some ways is a shame, because I love a good wallow, and I kind of feel that Miller’s Sherlock would as well, provided he weren’t the one wallowing. One of the fun things about Kitty as a character was seeing her do just that, and Sherlock acknowledging the importance of feeding those sorts of emotions.
The meat of the episode to me was more appealing than the cute capper of an ending. Joan taking over the basement as an office to prove to Sherlock that she can carve out her own space, and that she’s taken what he had to say serious seemed precious and frankly, kind of short-sighted. I mean, a basement with a door nailed shut is still a basement in the house that she’s banished herself to. Still, she admitted that Sherlock was right and that does seem to be a step in the right direction.