Elementary this week begins with a hedge fund manager being shot and killed and it’s up to Joan and Sherlock to discover who it was.
The trick Sherlock discovers is that the man in question—Donald—had been about to kill himself before he was killed and presumably tortured beforehand. At the crime scene, Gregson, Joan and Sherlock run into Donald’s personal chef, Chloe (Heather Burns) who was shocked about the crime and had been the one to walk in and find him dead. The audience is able to tell that there’s more to Chloe than we know yet, but Joan doesn’t believe that she’s a suspect like Sherlock does. Sherlock tells Joan that Chloe was noticeably on edge when they were talking to her and he wants to know why.
Joan tells him that she’s going to visit Bell at the station—and updates him on his recovery—before leaving.
It turns out that Joan knew Chloe and that she had been one of Joan’s previous clients. Chloe tells her that she didn’t know what to do when Joan showed up because she was nervous she was going to have to tell that about her past addiction, something that she’s managed to hide from everybody up until this point. Joan tells her she’s fine but she wants to tell Sherlock so that her name is dropped as a suspect.
When Joan tells him he’s surprised he wasn’t able to tell she was a fellow addict but more surprised that Joan was able to keep something from him.
They find two other suspects soon after—one a business partner of sorts, the other a journalist who had been about to reveal the criminal roots to Donald’s business. The business partner creates a cover-up, the journalist is found dead.
The duo continues to piece together why the journalist and Donald would have been killed by the same person. In a park near the second crime they find—due to some skateboarders and their incessant need to video tape what they do—another suspect caught on tape. Joan says she’s going to go and figure it out and Sherlock should go and see Alfredo.
He does and rather than going to a meeting for his unrest—like he assumed would be the case—he’s instead met with a young man named Randy who’s been sober for three months and is the need of a sponsor. Alfredo thinks that Sherlock is the man for the job.
Sherlock thinks it’s all a joke.
Alfredo tells Sherlock that he’s very serious and that he thinks he’s ready to take it on. He tells Sherlock that he’s been feeling so agitated lately because he was unable to help Bell and he’s feeling guilt over it. This is a way to channel that want to help into another person. Sherlock walks out, saying it’s hardly like he has the time for it in the first place.
But we have a feeling that that isn’t what he really wants.
Joan has confronted Chloe about the man in the video and she’s told that no way is she to tell anyone about her connection with the man as he is embedded in her past as a drug dealer. Chloe is the middle of a custody case and if her history came to light she wouldn’t stand a chance.
Sherlock is none too pleased when he hears the news. He tells Joan that in the beginning of their living together if he had been forced to give up his past addiction in order to stop murders from happening, he would have done so in a heartbeat. Joan says she cannot give up her promise for confidentiality and that they’ll have to find another connection to the killer. Sherlock isn’t so sure and the two fight with Joan saying this could be Bell all over again by dragging an innocent name into a case.
Sherlock walks out again and finds himself at Alfredo’s place, having broken into his home and then his car. The two of them have a chat where Alfredo tells Sherlock that the recovery system has helped him out so much, it might be time to return the favor. It’s a nice scene that gives Ato Essandoh more to do and he and Jonny Lee Miller have a comfortable rapport.
The next morning Sherlock returns home to find Joan who has stayed up all night to figure things out and it turns out she’s found a lead and they go to an art gallery and find the dead body of the suspect.
Putting pieces together Sherlock and Joan realize that the gallery was set up as a place of business for money laundering, and the man behind it was the presumed business partner from the beginning. He had been doing dirty business with Donald when all of a sudden Donald wanted out and went to the journalist to tell her everything. The shooter was then sent to Donald’s to torture that information out of him before killing the journalist.
It was a better wrap up than many of the cases of the week but it would have been helped by less in between characters and it seems that the show’s habit of introducing a red herring at the beginning who ends up being the actual perpetrator is becoming too obvious.
We end in two segments which help create a potential storyline for further episodes.
A Deputy Commissioner visits Bell to offer him a possible job. He tells him that he’d a part of a demographics team that keeps a closer watch on those he feels could be a threat to national security and thinks that it would a good place for Bell to set his sights on. Considering he’s looking at that or a career destined for desk work, we have to wonder how easy the decision will be.
Next is Sherlock, pacing his home as a knock comes and in enters Randy from earlier. Randy thinks that this is Sherlock wanting to tell him that he can’t be his sponsor but it’s the exact opposite. He wishes to accept the offer and become his sponsor but on a few conditions. He tells Randy that Alfredo was a pick on a whim, he felt desperate to find someone and get the search over and never expected him to exceed any expectations he had. Sherlock was wrong. He tells Randy that Alfredo never coddled him and he plans to do the same. He will not be his friend, or his therapist, he will be his sponsor plain and simple—does he accept those terms?
Randy responds, “You’re sober, you have been for a long time now, of course I accept your offer.”
We’ve seen the strides that Sherlock has made throughout the show, fighting past demons and allowing others into his life, into his protective bubble, but it’s through his offering of help that showcases just how far he’s come. He’s finally ready to offer the same commitment that Joan and Alfredo offered him.
I would have liked to see a wrap up of Chloe and Joan’s storyline since it was the driving force behind most of the plot. Chloe’s involvement was the utmost test of the duo’s work, of the heart of the matter—the decision over giving up a woman’s confidentiality to solve a case. It was pertinent to the characters and to Sherlock’s storyline that carried over from last week and it gave us more insight into Joan’s past so it would have made sense for the two of them to have a bookend scene to pull together their storyline.
This was a well-designed way to end the episode and set up the residing half of season two that will air in 2014. Procedural shows are typically easy to forget because they offer the viewer the chance to be inactive participants: they don’t have to pay attention, they don’t have to tune in each week, and they can sit and write their outrageously long final paper and have it on in the background without feeling as if they’ve missed something vital.
Elementary has upped the ante in that regard and has demanded the attention of its viewers. It was hinted at the beginning of the episode when we were given a rare “previously on” segment making sure we all remembered that Bell was shot last week with possible career repercussions and had refused Sherlock’s offer of help. We need to remember not just the events that transpired, but we need to remember them so we know how they connect into the motivations of our characters this week because the show is continuing on its mission to serialize a show that could easily dedicate itself to an episodic nature.
And now it has added anticipation to its list of successes. It didn’t have any bombastic explosion of narrative, it didn’t use egregious character moments, it didn’t perpetuate a shallow story just for the sake of viewership; the show did however make sure that the characters had places they were going, characters with whom viewers at this point are attached to, and denied us full answers on where exactly the characters would end up. Bell is offered a new position, Sherlock is taking up a new status that will require something more from him than he’s used to giving.
The show has set up brand new character arcs that are set to pick up in the upcoming New Year, and with the way they were framed, in the context of the story and with what we know of the characters, it’s a wait that’s justified and one that will have an audience ready to watch by the time the airdate rolls around.
There are problems that the show has still yet to fully iron out (the forced nature of the procedurals, the nonsensical leads back to the bad guys, the way Joan’s stories still hardly measure up to the depth of character Sherlock has been granted) but they are continually putting out episodes that at the very least captivate our attention.
What will Bell decide? How will Sherlock’s sponsor relationship with Randy turn out? Will we be seeing more of Alfredo?
We’ll have to wait until January to find out.