Joan Watson has two significant conundrums currently taking up time in her life: one, the cyberspace collective trying to destroy her personal life and Ezra Kleinfelter escaping capture. Two, her therefore lack of a personal life that escapes the confines of the brownstone.
It’s funny how interconnected these two problems are.
The episode begins with Joan sitting in a park with a friend who’s trying to convince her that she needs to get out in the world more, rather than dedicating so much time to her work. Watson sees nothing abnormal about her life, until she has to describe the dead doll photos Sherlock sends her to try and test her sight reflexes. By the doll’s position she can tell whether or not it was a staged death or suicide.
Sherlock, it seems, builds the doll sets himself and positions them to his liking, all in the name of deduction.
I don’t care if he’s not your favorite version of Sherlock Holmes, but showrunner Robert Doherty has surely created the sweetest version.
Can you picture any of the other versions of the characters on the ground setting up doll death scenarios? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
When Watson arrives home there is another man in the apartment who is scheming with Sherlock about a man named Ezra Kleinfelter who, ironically timed enough, is a Snowden-styled character who’s evading the law for the information he has reveled. The man says that he wants Sherlock to find him so that he can help clear his name, but Sherlock, once the man has left, says that he saw through it as a ruse and the man instead wants to find Ezra to terminate him.
They pursue him once he’s left to try and figure out his real intentions after taking the case to lower his guard.
Once learning of the man—whose real name they discover is Honeycutt—they try and decide what they’re going to do about the case. Sherlock wishes to capture the man because while he doesn’t think it’s fair for his past employers to stalk and execute him, Ezra is still a mystery to much of the police force so his abilities are required.
Their next step is to find connections that Ezra made to discover where he could possibly be hiding out. They find a few leads but they all lead to dead ends.
While investigating, Joan takes a moment to reflect on her friend’s suggestion and asks Sherlock if he thinks they’re cut off from the world to which he replies “we’re engaged in creating one worth living in.” He doesn’t agree with her assertions, obviously. She tells him that she’s going to sign up for the dating website regardless and tells him to be nice to anyone she brings around and he tells her that won’t be a problem since he doubts there will be many visitors.
He tells her that he lives in a post-romantic world that Irene Adler helped liberate him to. Joan wants to take a moment to ask him how he feels about that but Sherlock has had enough talk about personal ordeals and instead leads them on a chase to another clue.
Back at the brownstone, Sherlock has decided the best course of action is to infiltrate Ezra’s website to which led him to Everyone—an online initiative like the real-life Anonymous group.
He stays up all night fighting the only party and the outcome is seemingly favorable with a link to a woman he may have been using for a hideout but when the alert the police they find her apartment and her inside, dead.
This only gives a great initiative to find Ezra now that he may have committed a murder.
Meanwhile, Sherlock and Joan have found themselves in a quite a spot of trouble with “Everyone” who’s determined to stop them from capturing Ezra. They’ve hacked their computers, their phones and internet and are doing everything they can to upset their day to day normalcy. They escape the madness by going to the police station.
With Detective Bell they learn that Ezra may be hiding in a emergency bunker and consult with a man who’s a New York geographical fanatic. Things again are looking on the upside, but luck isn’t on our detective’s side because the second they step outside they’re arrested for their plans of assassinating the President.
The internet is a scary, scary place.
Sherlock talks his way out of interrogation and Joan is fed up with the day they’ve had and just when she’s about to retire there’s a knock on their door from a man. He says he’s from the dating website and that he’s dropped by to tell her she’s been hacked and that whoever is behind it has posted her home address online. She thanks him for checking up on her and says that she’d love to get to know him a little more, but maybe in a few days once things had cooled down a bit more.
And didn’t that scene make you wish that Joan gets the best happy ending ever? Lucy Liu played quiet astonishment so well that one can’t help that hope that Watson gets to be a consultant detective and get a rich personal life.
After going through a night of ritual embarrassment and tests of good will Sherlock discovers what Ezra’s next move may be and they contact Captain Gregson and make their way to an airport where they manage to capture Ezra right before he boards a plane.
However, he isn’t finished with his tricks and tells them that if he’s arrested fourteen other innocent people will die so, despite their wishes, they’re forced to let him go.
But not before Joan grabs his wrist to tell him that no matter where he goes, they’ll find him.
An inconsequential, albeit cheesy scene at first glance, but luckily there was more to it then there initially appeared.
As our group mourns their missed opportunity, Joan tells them that not all is lost because she managed to steal his watch so that they can get DNA samples to prove that he murdered the girl in the apartment. The absolute joy and pride that Sherlock exudes over Joan’s accomplishment is a highlight in a very strong episode. She apparently learned the sleight of hand on her own and shows her commitment to something Sherlock throws himself so fully into. To see his excitement is endearing, something important in a procedural show. Even nicer is to see Sherlock’s nearly-congratulatory pat on the back before restraining himself: hey, things can’t change overnight and that level of affection may too much for our titular character.
Needless to say, Ezra is caught; the murder case closed and our duo end up home after a case well done.
Joan’s main concern from the beginning of the episode has been that she and Sherlock as a result of their jobs are cutting themselves off from the real world, that they’re limiting their experiences to the extremities of the cases they pursue. Sherlock has done it intentionally, carefully built himself a world that he deems suitable to live in, cutting the unnecessary bits that are nothing but cumbersome to him. Joan notes this, but still wishes to actively pursue a life that’s separate from work, a few moments of leisure and fun.
What’s interesting is that Joan and Sherlock as a result of their work are more connected to the world then most of the individuals that surround them which is especially highlighted in an episode dominated by a plotline about the internet collective “Everyone” (a fun play on Anonymous). Here is a group of people that dedicate their time to interacting over the internet, refusing to meet, refusing to give away any form of substantial information, and Joan believes that she and Sherlock are socially hidden as they walk the streets and learn as much as they can about the public and how they tick.
It’s an interesting discrepancy. Sure, they’re not interacting with many outside of the small circle they’ve formed but each time they take on a case they’re putting together pieces of society and learning how to cope with them.
But Joan still wishes to get out and so she does, going on a date with a man from the dating website her friend so helpfully bought a profile for. When she returns from a fun and easy night, she tells Sherlock, who’s reading a letter by the fire, that she thinks it’s sad that he has given up and that she shouldn’t be the only person who gets to know him.
The next two things that happen are crucial.
One, we see Sherlock’s letter, one that he’d been reading in his own voice, about two people that are connected, who are driven together because of their commonalities, and by the letter’s end the voice has changed to Natalie Dormer’s and we see the letter signed by her character, Jaime Moriarty.
Considering the Moriarty/Irene Adler story arc was one of the most gripping in season one and was one of the first indications of a serial storyline this is exciting. Are we going to see a return of the character? Is she not quite through playing mind games with Sherlock? Who knows, but this allows a quick insight into Sherlock’s character as he reads the letter sent from prison from his former lover and how his idealist hope for a post-love world has been severed. It’s nice to see that Sherlock hasn’t simply been absolved of any affection or feelings for his past love, that would be too neat. What’s a stronger narrative is to show how he’s trying to deal, day in and day out with painful reminders.
Upstairs, Joan is having her own critical moment as well, deciding that she shouldn’t be the only witness to Sherlock’s genius and has begun a story, a casebook on Sherlock Holmes, and it’s blank. But, as we know is the case with the history of the duo, the white page won’t be staring back at her for long as she begins to tell their stories. It’s hugely exciting as a fan of the original series because the stories were always (aside from maybe two) told from Watson’s perspective. It’s exciting within the show itself because it shows that despite Joan’s protests, she is highly immersed in this lifestyle and with little regret.
I think this show may be the best at knockout last scenes. The acting coupled with the score in the background made for a quietly touching scene that makes me, and I hope you, the viewer, instantly excited for next week’s installment.