**This post contains spoilers for the most recent episode of Elementary, “We Are Everyone.”**
This week, Elementary decided to draw from headlines by creating a crime involving hacking, leaked documents, and an anonymous online organization dedicated to protecting said hackers and leakers. It could’ve resulted in an episode where the danger felt all too real–you don’t like to be reminded that the NSA is reading that email you sent to your best friend about Channing Tatum, do you?–but the writers did a good job of keeping the episode feeling like fiction.
The case itself was fun and twisty, starting with a man emailing top-secret files on his iPad (oh sorry, it was probably his Windows 8 Surface Tablet, available in a store near you!) as he ducked out of paying his cab fare due to his frozen assets. My dad always says any self-respecting man should carry cash on him just in case… but please don’t mug my dad, pretend I didn’t say anything! After Joan gracefully accepts a terribly inappropriate dating website subscription from her increasingly-unlikeable friend, she arrives at the Brownstone to find Sherlock talking to a man who is clearly faking a Belgian accent. He asks the crimefighting duo to track down a man named Ezra Kleinfelter, and you just know that for the rest of the episode, every time someone said “Ezra,” I was picturing this:
True to form, Sherlock sussed out the truth through deductive reasoning, connections, and good old-fashioned stalking. He determines that the Belgian is actually a man named Elliott Honeycutt, and that he works for a firm called Redding Enterprises; he also learns that Ezra Kleinfelter used to work there, too, which means Honeycutt probably just wants Ezra to be, ahem, eliminated.
After doing their research, Sherlock and Joan follow the threads to a hipster-glasses-wearing reporter, who keeps in contact with Ezra through a security guard named Hector. Sherlock pickpockets Hector’s phone and finds out that he’s part of a forum called Jamaica Quay, which is affiliated with the cyber activists “Everyone.” This group is intent on getting Ezra to safety, and Sherlock spends all night, as Joan puts it, “Arguing on the internet.”
He wakes Joan the next morning by placing a lettuce-munching Clyde in her bed, and I have to ask, can you imagine a more delightful way to wake up?
Sherlock triumphantly announces that he knows Ezra is hiding out with a friend named Vanessa Hiskie, but when they break into her apartment, they find her body in her living room. This adds a murder charge to Ezra’s espionage-related crimes, and it means bringing in Gregson and Bell.
While they’re processing the crime scene, Joan spots a box that appears to have belonged to Ezra, which leads them to believe Ezra is now hiding out in a Cold War-era bunker. Before they can investigate, Joan and Sherlock are arrested by the Secret Service for posting a blog detailing four different plots to kill the president. It’s an obvious frame-up by “Everyone,” but it still ties up Joan and Sherlock for three hours while they’re questioned, and it enables Ezra to escape to safety before Gregson and his men can get to the bunker.
After getting into more online arguments, Sherlock finally discovers a man named O’Connor, a fellow “Everyone” member who is taking his private plane to Venezuela, where Sherlock deduces Ezra will try to gain asylum from the United States. His deductions prove true: Ezra, disguised as O’Connor’s driver, is boarding the private plane when Gregson and Bell try to arrest him.
Ezra has a card up his sleeve, however: he threatens to reveal fourteen intelligence operatives in the event of his arrest. Gregson is forced to let Ezra board the plane, but Joan pickpockets his watch before he does, gathering the necessary DNA to connect him to the murder of Vanessa Hiskie. This impresses Sherlock, who hadn’t gotten around to teaching her that particular skill yet.
Sherlock appeals to Honeycutt, asking him to release the names of the fourteen operatives to the government, so that they can be put under protection and allow the NYPD to arrest Ezra for murder. Honeycutt reluctantly agrees, and Ezra is arrested.
As for the human element of the episode: Joan decides to try internet dating! At first, it seems like she’s doing it to appease her
terrible friend, but as the episode progresses, we learn that Joan worries about being cut off from the rest of the world. She brings up the point to Sherlock while they’re staking out the reporter, asking him if he thinks they’re cut off. Sherlock gives her a rather sweet, simplistic answer: “We’re not cut off from the world. We’re engaged in creating one that’s actually worth living in. One that addresses our needs entirely, and eliminates anything extraneous.” It seems like a Sherlock-ism, maybe, but it also smacks of recovery talk (routines, stability) and of a deeply broken heart.
He brings up Moriarty, and Joan realizes that they’ve never discussed how it made Sherlock feel. “I feel liberated. I am, now and forever, post-love. And as such, I’m free to pursue a life of meaning.” We are supposed to believe, at that point, that Sherlock is speaking purely objectively, as he does of every other aspect of his life. But this is Moriarty, and he’s never quite detached when it comes to her.
Joan later attracts the online attentions of a man named Jeff Heinz. They exchange a few messages, but after “Everyone” hacks into Joan’s accounts, her profile starts displaying her home address along with a lot of questionable opinions. This prompts Jeff to visit Joan at the Brownstone to make sure she’s all right. This sent up all kinds of red flags to me. I was certain Jeff had something to do with the larger crime of the episode. It’s a misstep for the writers to portray this as anything but creepy and alarming, and really, it should’ve been displayed as such on both ends: Joan should’ve been more alarmed that a perfect stranger showed up on her doorstep to check on her, and Jeff should’ve been a lot more suspicious of some kind of con.
Joan ended the episode by going on a date with Jeff, even kissing him good night on the doorstep, and Sherlock uncharacteristically made no comment about the shadiness of the situation. I can only hope that Jeff will be revealed as the creeper he is in a future episode.
Sherlock, meanwhile, is reading a letter when Joan gets home from her date. We hear it in voiceover form in his voice at first, and then it’s interrupted when Joan tells him, “I think it’s sad that you’ve given up. I think you have a lot to share if you care to. I shouldn’t be the only one who knows you.”
Sherlock is visibly affected by her words, but not as much as he is by the letter he continues reading, as we hear Natalie Dormer’s voice overtake his in the voiceovers: “I find my diversions, as I always do, but the days are long in this grey place. I dearly hope you’ll write soon. Ever yours, Jamie Moriarty.”
It’s clear from his reaction that Sherlock is not post-love, and it’s clear from the letter that we’re in for more Moriarty in due course. But the real delight is the word document (or blog post?) that Joan starts upstairs while Sherlock is pondering his letter. The only glimpse we get is the heading, “Sherlock Holmes.” Hmmm.
Other great lines from this episode:
Sherlock: “I have no designs on the life of your president. I have no designs on the life of any president. Although, I supposed if I’d lived in the age of Millard Fillmore, I might’ve considered drastic action.”
Bell, holding up a box of crackers: “And he doesn’t have anything to spread his cheese on.”
Joan: “How did I end up agreeing to reading a five thousand-page manuscript?”
Sherlock: “Well, you won’t be wasting as much time on the internet, now, will you? You’re gonna need something to fill up the hours you’ve spent selling yourself to strangers.”
Sherlock: “I need a moment free from the internet. Trying to drag myself away, but the people I’m in conflict with are too infuriating to ignore.”
I still don’t know what Joan has against the word “nefarious,” but next week she gets to watch as Sherlock relives his very first nefarious murder case.