The Pleasure Was All Mine

*Warning: This post contains spoilers for CBS’s Elementary Episode 3.14 “The Female of the Species.”*

Ever since last week’s episode I have been fangirling over Sherlock’s progression this past year. Elementary has become one of the very few shows I can still rely on to give me solid episodes. This week Sherlock had a new companion to help with his mystery solving, Marcus Bell. It was an utter delight to see the two of them working together. It also made me realize Sherlock indeed cannot work a case on his own anymore. He needs a sound board, and with Joan out of commision this week he seeks Bell’s company while he is on mandatory vacation. This is one similarity the two of them have. They can not sit still and relax. Bell was forced to take vacation, and Sherlock has never been known to stay still for long. He is always doing something even if only it appears to be is sitting. Sherlock knows Bell is probably restless, and so he enlists in his help to find two zeh-bras (zebras).

Bell and Sherlock have worked together before, but they have never worked together alone before. It is interesting to see how Sherlock treats Bell at the beginning of the episode with calling Bell “Detective Bell” and having him get his lunch without ordering for two compared to the end of the episode. At the end of the episode, Sherlock lets Bell sleep in while he does all the work dealing with the police to catch the zebra-napper and orders Bell breakfast before he even arrives at the diner. The most beautiful thing about this partnership was when Bell tells Sherlock it was a pleasure, Sherlock replies, “No, the pleasure was mine and mine alone, Marcus.” This sentence holds so much significance. There was one a time Sherlock probably would have replied he sure it was Bell’s pleasure. Sherlock has become somewhat humble over the past couple of years. He still has his quirks, but you can also see a part of humanity in him. He finally addresses Bell as Marcus. Bell wanted Sherlock to call him that at the beginning of the episode, but Sherlock kept being proper by calling him Detective Bell. There is now more of a sense of familiarity between the two of them at the end of the episode.

Bell also helps Sherlock where Joan is concerned. He tells Sherlock he needs to be with Joan and help her get through this time, and Sherlock does follow Bell’s advice. He visits Joan throughout the episode, cooks for her, gets her mail, and actually waits for her to let him into her apartment. While the episode showed a new closeness between Bell and Sherlock the closest relationship of the episode is still Sherlock’s and Joan’s. Sherlock is there for Joan in her time of need. It is no longer the take relationship it was at the beginning of season one. Sherlock has now learned how to give as well.

One of my disappointments with the episode is Elana March is now dead. I was hoping Joan’s nemesis would last a bit longer, but Jamie Moriarty had other plans. I had a feeling Moriarty would somehow get involved because Joan bested her in season one. Moriarty has this appreciation for Joan, and now considers her a great adversary in the chess game she and Sherlock are playing. Moriarty saw Elana as a threat, and therefore Moriarty had to get rid of her.

My greatest disappointment is with Joan’s speech to Sherlock at the end of the episode. In some ways I’m glad she is moving back in with Sherlock because it will lead to shenanigans. However, her speech left me unsettled. A part of me thought she was giving up some of her humanity with it. Only time will tell, and I hope this unsettling feeling is nothing.

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“It shouldn’t be a secret, especially from you.”

**This episode contains spoilers from episode 2.15 of Elementary, “Corpse de Ballet”**

Last night’s Elementary featured a bisected ballerina, so… they’re fans of alliteration and gore! Really, there were so many shots of the victim that it was almost gratuitous.

Do I have your attention now? Good.

The primary suspect is a woman named Iris Lanzer, a master ballerina who is the star of the ballet where the victim, Nell, was killed. Through a series of wild goose chases and lies, Sherlock figures out that Iris is being framed by her lawyer, who was motivated to murder and frame her for it in order to make a name for himself. It was a slightly predictable case (Scott Cohen, of Gilmore girls and The 10th Kingdom fame, was a bit of a giveaway, even if his motive was a nice twist) and it lacked some polish (the lawyer stole and hid the security tapes himself, to be submitted into the court case to exonerate Iris, but how would he be able to do that if the police record showed the tapes were missing?) but it was still entertaining.

It was a case devoid of gunplay or foot pursuits, so it was a perfect time for Detective Bell to return! Joan was thrilled to see him, and Bell seems to hold no lingering hostility toward Sherlock. He’s still not allowed to fly solo, since he still hasn’t been reissued his handgun, but it’s a start!

For an episode that was billed as being ballet-centric, it was surprising when Joan peeled off early on to go help out a client for the homeless charity that she works for. His name is Morris Gilroy, and he’s a schizophrenic who is off of his meds. When Joan asks what he was screaming and violent about, the beat cops call him “a nutbar,” which makes Joan bristle. Morris is ranting that one of his friends, Freebo, had been taken, and Joan promises him that she will work to find him.

She enlists Bell’s assistance in tracking Freebo down, but her lack of involvement in the central ballet case confuses Sherlock. He remarks more than once on her peculiar focus on the rantings of a homeless man, but Joan continues to deflect him. It’s not hard to do: Sherlock is engrossed in his own case.

She follows a lead to Queens, where she talks to a woman claiming to be Freebo’s sister. Freebo is an Army veteran who was diagnosed with severe PTSD, and his sister expresses her gratitude that Joan is looking for him. Sherlock later complains about the smell of cigarettes on Joan’s clothing, and makes another allusion to his “monographs” about tobacco as he easily identifies the brand.

It’s not until Joan’s preparing to go to the homeless shelter to talk to Morris that Sherlock presses her for more information. He backs off immediately, apologizing for intruding, but Joan says, “It shouldn’t be a secret, especially from you.” Joan reveals that her father, her biological father, is schizophrenic, and that he is also homeless.

 

I thought it was interesting that Sherlock hadn’t figured out that Joan was raised by her stepdad, I think it really humanizes him: Even Sherlock Holmes misses things sometimes. He also shows a great ability to sympathize with her, only asking the pertinent questions (“When was the last time you saw him?”) and grimacing at her in understanding. Watching this version of Sherlock continue to put himself in someone else’s shoes (usually Joan’s) and view the world as an outside observer to his own, that’s really something.

Through her own investigating (and deducing) Joan figures out that the woman claiming to be Freebo’s sister is actually holding him captive in her home, in order to cash his Veterans Benefits checks. In fact, the woman and her husband have three homeless men chained in their basement. Her understanding of schizophrenia (that Morris’ ramblings were not just drunken nonsense, they just had to be deciphered) and her determination to do the right thing resulted in her rescuing three men that no one else would’ve thought to look for. She’s a hero.

 

At the end of the episode, Sherlock appears with a stack of blankets he intends to give out to homeless people at the park. Joan’s touched, and Sherlock smiles at her sweetly as he waits for her to get her coat. Awwww.

Another interesting tidbit: Joan notes early in the episode that Sherlock’s been more sexually active in recent weeks. He claims it is for exercise and nothing more, but Joan’s casual observation turns to judgment when Sherlock sleeps with Iris, the lead suspect in his investigation. Could this be a result of his interaction with Moriarty a few episodes ago?

How Marcus Bell Got His Groove Back

**This post contains spoilers for the most recent episode of Elementary, “All in the Family.”**

This week’s Elementary was heavy on the mob stuff (turns out Joan grew up in Queens! The victim’s name is Handsome Bobby! The Deputy Commissioner is actually a mob plant! Everyone had Italian last names!) and the winter gear (it snowed! Joan wore a cool hat!) but the real focus of the episode ended up being Marcus Bell. Sort of.

That hat!

It started with Sherlock and Joan, in fancy dress, being frustrated with Detective Nash, an “ingrate and a clod,” at the end of a museum robbery case. It turns out they’ve tried to team up with half of the precinct’s detectives in Bell’s absence, but to no avail. We see that Bell himself is trying to fit in to his new job in Demographics, but it’s not going well. He didn’t choose the Knicks, and his cold-weather-hating partner appears to be inherently lazy. When Bell finds a body in a barrel thanks to a tip through the DC, he calls Gregson… who brings Sherlock and Joan.

It only lasted five minutes, but the fancy dress was glorious while it lasted.

During the course of the investigation, Sherlock aligns himself with the DC in a blatant attempt to get a rise out of Bell.

Sherlock: “Watson and I will now be splitting our time between this unit and Captain Gregson’s squad. Or did I mischaracterize your professionalism?”
Bell: “You mischaracterized our relationship.”
Sherlock: “Perhaps what you and I require is an airing of grievances.”
Bell:You have a problem with me?”
Sherlock: “You seem incapable of accepting my sincere apology. A bit petty, don’t you think?”
Bell: “What do you call latching onto my new unit when you know I don’t want you around?”
Sherlock: “For this unit? A profound stroke of luck. I think Watson and I could do great things here. With the help of analysts like yourself, of course. Or do you prefer the term ‘number cruncher’?”

 

Sherlock says it all with such disdain that you can’t blame Bell for not taking it very well. I’m not sure if Sherlock is trying to subtly manipulate Bell by bringing up Joan a lot, too, or if that’s just incidental. Bell goes to talk to Captain Gregson the next day about pulling Sherlock back, but much to Bell’s chagrin, he ends up sharing an elevator with Joan. He’s a great detective, so he figures out pretty quickly that Joan doesn’t know anything about Sherlock’s timeshare plan.

Bell: “I’m sorry, I doubt I get a real vote in this anyway, but you’ve gotta get why I don’t want to see him around.”
Joan: “For what it’s worth, he’s really –”
Bell: “I know, I know, but can you do me a favor? Because he listens to you. Can you tell him to back off?”

 

Joan is none too happy with Sherlock when she confronts him at the Brownstone, and she calls him out for being unwilling to admit that he likes consulting for Bell the best. But they also get a break in the case, one which results in Sherlock believing the DC to be the leak in the investigation. Unfortunately, the DC is Bell’s boss, so they need to break the news to Bell and hope that he gets on their side.

Bell isn’t receptive. He even throws a disappointed look at Joan on his way out, saying, “You know, I expected this kind of garbage from him.” But that barb breaks Sherlock’s practically-nonexistent patience. He confronts Bell at the front door of the Brownstone, and Bell is now at the end of his rope.

Bell: “What is it with you?! I won’t forgive you, so you want to send me on a witch hunt? Wreck my career?”
Sherlock: “Oh, your career, is that what you’re calling it? Sitting behind a desk, analyzing data?”
Bell: “Oh, I’m sorry, wasn’t it you who, just two days ago, told my boss that you wanted a piece of the action?”
Sherlock: “I was attempting to get a rise out of you! To remind you that no matter where you go, or how tedious the work you undertake, it will not change what you are: a detective!”
Bell: “I am a detective!
Sherlock: “Well you still carry the title, yeah. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? It’s a calling. It’s your calling. You are not an analyst, you are not an assessor of data. You transferred from major crimes either because your pride would not allow you to occupy the same space as me, or because you’re feeling sorry for yourself. In either case, a pathetic excuse!”
Bell: “I have a tremor in my hand. I can’t shoot, can’t get out in the street and work cases, because of you!”
Sherlock: “Bollocks! You could’ve stayed at major crimes until you completed your rehab!”
Bell: “You’re assuming my rehab can be completed!”
Sherlock: “Because I have faith in you! I have faith in your perseverance! Be my friend, don’t be my friend! Whatever! But don’t be so foolish as to confuse punishing me with punishing yourself!”

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It’s finally the sentiments that Sherlock really had all along: that he doesn’t understand Bell’s sudden retreat into self-pity and torture. Not only did Bell refuse the best medical treatment available to him, he went on and immersed himself into the type of work that he despises. Sherlock, a man who spends his life chasing the dragons of solved cases in a constant effort to avoid chasing metaphorical dragons, doesn’t understand this stasis that Bell has locked himself into. It’s funny because Sherlock actually has experience dealing with that sort of person: Joan did the same thing when she quit being a surgeon to be a sober companion.

But it’s interesting that the concept of fear has not entered Sherlock’s mind; that he hasn’t considered that maybe Bell is a little bit afraid of getting back his gun and his desk and putting himself in harm’s way again. If that’s what Bell’s feeling, he doesn’t let on, and Sherlock certainly doesn’t consider it a mitigating factor.

Bell takes a moment to gather himself before he continues in a calmer voice.

Bell: “You know what I thought the first time I met you? ‘Man, it comes easy for that guy.’ Well I’m sorry. It doesn’t come that easy to the rest of us.”
Sherlock: “I am a drug addict, Marcus. A drug addict. Now that might seem like an abstraction to you, because I have been sober since I made your acquaintance, but two years ago, I was as pitiable a soul as you will ever meet. With help, I fought back, and I got a little bit better! I know what I’m supposed to do with my life. Do you?”

Those are the right words to say. Finally.

What Bell probably isn’t realizing is that aside from the danger of drug relapses, Sherlock is not a man who makes a mistake twice. Taking out pride, vanity, and bruised egos, Bell should actually be pretty confident that Sherlock will never negligently put him in the sort of danger that could get him shot again.

With Sherlock’s words ringing in his ears, Bell goes and talks to the DC to suss things out for himself, and he expertly bends it so that it seems like he’s trying to get Sherlock taken out of consulting for their unit. Nevertheless, Bell shows up at the Brownstone that night, satchel in hand.

 

Bell: “I had a talk with the Deputy Commissioner.”
Sherlock: “You shared our suspicions.”
Bell: “I asked him about the tipster, same as you. And he didn’t blink. He was comfortable, open… but there was something in his voice. It bothered me. Couldn’t tell you why.”
Sherlock: “You have instincts.”
Bell: “My point is, I wanted to know. I had to.”

And it turns out, Bell’s instincts were right. The DC was dirty. Together, he, Sherlock, and Joan cook up a way to entrap the DC so that they don’t have to wade through piles of evidence. Gregson is thrilled to assist in the ambush, clearly happy to work with Bell again. Later, Gregson thanks Sherlock and Joan for “straightening everything out with Marcus. It’s good to have him back.” Sherlock actually had no idea Bell had returned, but he’s happy to see him. Bell grudgingly gives Sherlock and Joan a nod before the episode draws to a close.

People can draw the conclusion that Bell is enabling, even rewarding, this sort of behavior from Sherlock, but I personally don’t see the harm in how he acted. He was boorish and selfish and very harsh, but he didn’t deal Bell any harsh truths that he couldn’t handle. Just because Bell is back doesn’t mean he’s let Sherlock off the hook — it simply means he’s finally decided to stop punishing himself.

No new Elementary until the end of the month, around the same time Sherlock will air in the United States. Anyone here watch both shows? (All three of your friendly bloggers do!)

“Would you be surprised to learn you’ve been on my mind, Joan Watson?”

***This post contains spoilers for the most recent episode of Elementary, “The Diabolical Kind.”***

Thursday’s Elementary did something truly remarkable: It put Joan Watson and Jamie Moriarty in the same room just to let the audience watch the magic unfold. In fact, Natalie Dormer was a game-changer in this episode, reshaping the way we as viewers relate to her, Sherlock, and Joan, all in a matter of 43 minutes.

The voice of Moriarty, a man named Devon Gaspar, kidnaps a young girl named Kayden Fuller for a ransom. Sherlock recognizes his voice and makes the connection to Moriarty herself. In exchange for her help, Moriarty negotiates her limited freedom: She shows up at the 11th Precinct with a posse of bodyguards in tow. Sherlock is insistent for most of the episode that Moriarty is behind this, but the true reason comes out toward the end: Kayden is Moriarty’s biological daughter, and her kidnapping was actually a threat to Moriarty.

Surprisingly, it’s Joan who indirectly picks up on this first. When everyone is gathered in Captain Gregson’s office to listen to Gaspar make his threats, Joan notices the expression on Moriarty’s face when Gaspar puts Kayden on the phone. “I’ve seen that look before. I’ve been on the receiving end. It looked like she wanted to kill the guy.” Sherlock brushes it off as he’s busy rifling through newspapers, but it’s funny that Joan continues to have a better read on Moriarty than even Sherlock.

Her scene with Moriarty in the Fuller home was more indication of that. It was two minutes of two compelling female characters duking it out with only their words. Moriarty tells Joan that she’s been thinking about her a lot, which doesn’t surprise Joan, but Moriarty goes on to admit that she misread Joan initially. She tries to puzzle Joan out further, stating that Joan’s partnership with Sherlock stems from her desire to be acknowledged by “a superior mind,” but Joan surprises Moriarty once more: “Actually, the partnership was his idea.”

Moriarty visibly reacts to this, and Joan correctly surmises that it bothers her. Joan showed perceptive savviness by even mentioning that it was Sherlock’s idea: Moriarty was trying to insult her, and instead of rising to it or laughing it off (as Joan often does when Sherlock subtly insults her on accident) Watson instead feinted and hit Moriarty where it hurt.

“I confess to not understanding it, but I’m drawn to things I don’t understand. Same as Sherlock. Once I’ve figured you out, I’ll move on. Same as Sherlock.”

Joan asks if that’s why Moriarty’s been writing to him: because she can’t understand him and is trying to figure him out. Moriarty avoids the question by asking what Joan thinks.

“You think you’re in love with him, only you can’t be sure, because as much as you claim to know about the world, love is something you don’t quite get.”
“You’d be surprised what I’d do for love.”
“Nothing crazy people do surprises me.”

Joan doesn’t notice, but Moriarty is holding a picture of Kayden in her hands and she absently strokes it when Joan says that Moriarty doesn’t understand love. She further misinterprets Moriarty’s statement about what she’d do for love as something to do with Sherlock, when it’s not–she’s vowing to get her daughter back to safety, but Joan doesn’t know about that yet, and she doesn’t yet have the experience to be able to deduce something that farfetched. (That’s likely why the writers don’t have Sherlock in this scene, or why they had Moriarty make such a statement when he’s not around. That’s something he would normally pick up on.)

“I write to Sherlock because he’s the only person on the planet I can really talk to. He writes to me because I’m the only one he can talk to. The only one he can ever truly relate to. If you don’t understand that, you will someday. I promise.”

Moriarty gives Joan that cold, murderous stare she’s always giving her, but Joan just rolls her eyes, unafraid as ever. Moriarty talks to Joan that way because she wants to deconstruct her, figure her out, complete the puzzle. She’s trapped in fascination, and she said herself that she won’t be able to “move on” until she’s figured it out. Joan, on her side, recognizes all of the barbs from Moriarty because she’s spent so many years as a sober companion, and no one is more biting than someone in the throes of addiction recovery. This is barely even a case of two women fighting over a man: Sherlock is at the center of it, sure, but this is more about Moriarty wishing to figure out someone who is more enigmatic than anyone she’s ever met, and about Joan looking out for herself as well as someone she cares about. I will be shocked and saddened if this scene doesn’t win some sort of award, it was one of the more brilliant things I’ve ever seen on television.

 

Almost as brilliant, and infinitely more nuanced, is the scene Moriarty and Sherlock have at the end of the episode, after she’s killed the kidnappers and sent her daughter back to safety. She hints at having a mentor (perhaps another big baddie on the horizon?) and admits that “In this case, I had the added benefit of assistance from the keenest mind I’ve ever met.” Sherlock barely smiles at this, like he still craves her approval, or perhaps that he simply feels the same way about her: she’s the keenest mind he’s ever met. “All’s well that ends well, right?”

Sherlock asks why she’s turning herself in, why she didn’t run, and she scoffs at the idea of being a fugitive. “The world’s corruption runs deeper than even you know. No need to skulk about, I’ll be a free woman soon enough.” She goes on to add, “Your letters have meant a great deal to me. I find them influencing my decisions in the most surprising ways.”

He points out that she could’ve killed her bodyguard, and she admits that she considered how upset Sherlock would’ve been if she had done that. In a way, this makes Sherlock the Joan to Moriarty’s Sherlock. He said in the season 1 finale that he didn’t pocket some Vicodin because he knew how disappointed Watson would be in him; in fact, he said that was the only thing that kept him from taking the drugs. If this is a rare moment of vulnerability and honesty on Moriarty’s part, then Moriarty feels more or less the same way about Sherlock as he does about Joan:

“Tell me, is that how you learned to be one of them? By learning to care how your actions seem in the eyes of another?”
“I’m not sure I am one of them.”

 

And why shouldn’t that be a real moment between them? She didn’t kill someone that was, in her mind, completely expendable. Maybe she really can change. Maybe she’s manipulating him. Either way, it’s telling that Joan wasn’t in this scene.

After Moriarty is taken away for medical assistance, Sherlock and Joan share a long look that belies their partnership. Sherlock now has an even deeper understanding of Joan in the wake of his conversation with Moriarty, even after he admitted his deepest fear: Maybe he’s not one of “them” after all. But the truth is, as long as he has Joan, he’ll be as close as he can to “them” as possible. It’s probably my favorite shot of the whole episode, odd lighting and all.

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He keeps Moriarty’s letters, storing them once more in his bee box as the song playing in the background says, “So collect your scars and wear ‘em well, your blood’s as good an ink as any.”

Next week: Things look a little more lighthearted, and it looks like we get a substantial amount of Bell back! (In this episode, he was only shown in a montage of Sherlock’s voiceover in a letter to Moriarty. Bell was at the gun range, trying to practice target shooting, but his hand shook too badly to aim the gun. He looks broken as Sherlock says, “If I truly had the purity of all my convictions, I wouldn’t regret so many of the things I’ve done.”)

Favorites of 2013: TV Ships and Friendships

This is the big one–the one with our favorite TV ships and friendships/partnerships/bromances/what-have-you of 2013.

Ships

Oliver Queen / Felicity Smoak

{Arrow}

ship_oliverfelicity

Felicity: You killed again, and I am the one who put you into the position where you had to make that kind of choice.
Oliver: He had you, and he was going to hurt you. There was no choice to make.

All three of us are big fans of Oliver and Felicity. They complement each other really well, they have great chemistry, and they deeply care for each other. And they’re just so pretty together. —Kerry

Danny Castellano / Mindy Lahiri

{The Mindy Project}

ship_mindydanny

Mindy: “You should get the Philadelphia roll. Danny says it’s amazing, it’s his favorite.”

Mindy: “Haven’t you ever had to do something because of work?”
Jason: “Yeah, sure, I just went to my boss’s kid’s graduation, but that doesn’t mean I’ve memorized her favorite sushi order.”

These two snuck up on me. I love their bickering, their friendship, and the way that they seem to be in love with each other without even realizing it. —Kerry

Monroe / Rosalee Calvert

{Grimm}

ship_rosaleemonroe

Monroe and Rosalee’s romance could have seemed shoe-horned into the main narrative, and the differences in their upbringings could be overlooked, but the evolution of their relationship was natural, and they are confronting their contradictory natures in a way that’s both realistic and believable. —Moff

April Ludgate / Andy Dwyer

{Parks and Recreation}

ship_andyapril

“I’m going to tell you a secret about everyone else’s job: No one knows what they’re doing. Deep down, everyone is just faking it until they figure it out. And you will, too, because you are awesome and everyone else sucks.”

This is probably the relationship most would have believed would fail, but it hasn’t. The love and support they show each other is unique and genuine. —Becca

Barney Stinson / Robin Scherbatsky

{How I Met Your Mother}

ship_barneyrobin

Barney: “Our wedding is gonna be legendary.”
Robin: “No ‘wait for it?'”
Barney: “I’ve got you, I don’t have to wait for it anymore.”

Who knew they’d make it all the way to the neverending wedding weekend? The writing isn’t doing them any favors (they keep having to spin their wheels as the writers try to fill the entire season with pointless shenanigans) but they’re still growing into a supportive, if unconventional, couple. —Kerry

Jemma Simmons / Grant Ward

{Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.}

ship_wardsimmons

F.Z.Z.T. is the episode I started shipping these two together. It is also the episode I finally started to like Ward. The scene where Ward mocks himself and Jemma corrects him sealed it for me. Plus: height difference. —Becca

Kensi Blye / Marty Deeks

{NCIS: LA}

ship_kensideeks

Deeks: “I’ve never had a girl give me her knife before. Does that mean we’re official?”
Kensi: “You know sometimes a knife is just a knife.”

Ah, one of the great ‘will they, won’t they’ partnerships of the police procedural world. As much as I continue to hold out hope Eric Christian Olsen will one day return to Greendale, I can’t put into words how pleased I am Kensi and Deeks have finally taken the logical next step. —Moff

Joan Watson / Marcus Bell

{Elementary}

ship_belljoan

Bell [to Sherlock]: “Where’s your better half?”

Bell and Joan have always had a unique chemistry; Bell initially liked Joan better than he liked Sherlock, and Joan always had a deep respect for Bell’s talents as an investigator. This season, there was a one-off line where Bell complimented Joan in her bulletproof vest, and suddenly, it felt like there was something there. It’s never overt: even when Joan brings him meals after his injury, it’s played as Joan just being a nice person. I won’t be mad if they never date, but I think they’d be great together. —Kerry

Ryan King / Carrie

{Go On}

ship_ryancarrie

Ryan: “I know we work together, and that’s weird. I don’t know what I want. I just- I just want it to still be a possibility between us.”
Carrie: “You’re right, it’s complicated. We work together… I quit. Ball’s in your court.”

The show got canceled, but before it ended Carrie kissed Ryan and told him the ball was in his court. I would like to believe this May/December romance actually worked out. —Becca

Ben Wyatt / Leslie Knope

{Parks and Recreation}

ship_benleslie

“Your heart is in the right place. Your heart and your butt.”

They’re married! They’re still amazing together! And sometimes I go back and watch the early seasons, where Mark Brendanowicz calls Leslie a dork and treats her enthusiasm like it’s an annoying little quirk, and I get really, really, insanely happy that Leslie found someone who loves that about her. —Kerry

Rumplestiltskin / Belle

{Once Upon a Time}

ship_rumbelle

“You were the only one who could ever see past it… past the mask of the monster.”

While the Charmings have already had their somewhat happy ending, it feels like Rumplestiltskin and Belle will never get theirs. The pairing is beautiful, but it is hard for them to catch a break (especially after the winter finale). —Becca

Harvey Specter / Donna Paulsen

{Suits}

ship_harveydonna
Harvey: “You and Stephen, it bothers me. I know it’s not fair, but it does.”
Donna: “Good.”

I just want them to be together and happy. Is that too much to ask? —Kerry

Friendships

Shawn Spencer & Burton Guster

{Psych}

friendship_shawngus

Shawn: “I think we should call the police and let the chips fall where they may.”
Gus: “You’re talking like a real white guy right now, Shawn. Brothers don’t get the benefit of the doubt. I will not rot in a cell. You said we were in this together!”
Shawn: “C’mon, man. You know I’m gonna bake you a cake with a gun in it.”

Their friendship has only gotten better over this past year. Gus supported Shawn during his breakup with Jules, and Shawn learned to share Gus when Gus started a serious relationship with a woman. —Kerry

Sherlock Holmes & Joan Watson {Elementary}

friendship_joansherlock

Joan: “You named a bee after me?”

Best partnership on TV. But, you know… besides all the other partnerships we have listed here. —Kerry

Team Arrow (Oliver Queen, John Diggle, Felicity Smoak)

{Arrow}

friendship_teamarrow

Felicity: “What are you doing?”
Diggle: “Calling 911.”
Felicity: “Digg, wait!”
Diggle: “We can’t wait!”
Felicity: “How are we supposed to explain this? Everyone’s gonna find out Oliver is the vigilante!”
Diggle: “It won’t matter if he’s dead! Felicity, we can’t save him!”
Felicity: “I know! You’re right. We can’t.”

They all have their own special friendships with each other, and they work well as a team. It will be interesting to see how dynamics might change when/if someone else fully joins the team. —Becca

Ichabod Crane & Abbie Mills

{Sleepy Hollow}

friendship_ichyabbie

The friendship has grown so quickly in just a few episodes. It is a strong friendship, and their camaraderie is enjoyable. —Becca

Sarah Manning & Felix Dawkins

{Orphan Black}

friendship_sarahfee

Felix: Sarah.
Sarah: What?
Felix: Um, just don’t die… ’cause your first funeral was just agonizing enough.

Felix has endured a lot (Sarah’s threatening ex-boyfriend, obstruction of justice, countless police interrogations, and oh yeah, all of that clone stuff) and he’s still deeply loyal to Sarah. That’s what family is for, right? —Kerry

Samantha Shaw & Root

{Person of Interest}

friendship_rootshaw

While former government agent Shaw hesitates to give anarchist hacker Root too much free reign, the morally dubious Root’s willingness to take immediate action appeals to the trigger-happy Shaw. —Moff

George Altman & Noah Werner

{Suburgatory}

friendship_georgenoah

The news of Alan Tudyk no longer being a regular on Suburgatory depressed me. I found George’s and Noah’s friendship was one of my main highlights for the show. In some ways, they don’t appear to have a lot in common, but the time they spent on screen together were some of the best moments of the show. —Becca

Ron Swanson & Leslie Knope

{Parks and Recreation}

friendship_ronleslie

Ron: “You are a wonderful person. Your friendship means a lot to me. And you look very beautiful.”
Leslie: “Okay, weirdo. Let’s go.”

He walked her down the aisle. Twice. He also punched out a jackass at her wedding. Leslie, in turn, organized a beautiful wedding present for Ron: an intricate trip up to the Lagavulin distillery in Scotland. It moved Ron to tears. —Kerry

Lance Sweets & Seeley Booth

{Bones}

friendship_boothsweets

Dr. Lance Sweets and Agent Seeley Booth have grown from bickering antagonists to friends and coworkers who trust each other’s instincts. —Moff

Ryan King & Steven

{Go On}

friendship_ryansteven

Ryan had his support group, but he also has his best friend, Steven. Steven was still the one who understood who Ryan was, and wanted to be there for him. In my head, they are still the best of friends and double date together (Ryan with Carrie and Steven with Lauren). —Becca

Quentin Lance & Felicity Smoak

{Arrow}

friendship_lancefelicity

Oliver: “Felicity…”
Felicity: “Already on it.”
Lance [amazed]: “How the hell can she do that?”

Felicity and (former) Det. Lance have had only a few instances where they’ve worked together, but I think future episodes will reveal their values are more in line than they currently realize. —Moff

Favorites of 2013: TV Characters

Merry Christmas (or as Penny from Miranda would say, “Happy What I Call Christmas”) to all of our dear readers who celebrate the holiday. Today is all about characters, so here are our favorite TV Characters of 2013!

Abbie Mills and Jenny Mills

{Sleepy Hollow}

char_abbiejennymills

Jenny: Corbin said, that one day, you’d be back. When you were ready. Asked me to find a way to forgive you. I said I didn’t think I could.
Abbie: I’m sorry that it took me so long to find you.

The Mills sisters, despite being estranged for years, manage to make working through their past issues while saving the world look manageable. That they’re quicker witted than their male counterparts is simply a bonus. —Moff

Alice Morgan

{Luther}

character_alicemorgan

Yes, she may be a murderer, but her loyalty to Luther is wonderful. She is an intelligent woman, and she always makes an episode of Luther even better. —Becca

April Ludgate

{Parks and Recreation}

char_aprilludgate

“Leslie said it was a ‘come as you were in the nineties’ party, I assumed it was the 1690s.”

April has slowly grown up over the past few years, and it has become more obvious over this last season. She still has her Keep Away demeanor, but the loyalty she has for her friends is genuine. —Becca

Carlton Lassiter

{Psych}

char_lassiter

“I have one speed, and it is full throttle.”

Lassiter is finally a happy and well-adjusted adult, thanks in large part to Juliet and in small parts to Shawn and Gus. He’s more relaxed, open-minded, and willing to compromise than he was when we first met him, and he’s become an even better cop thanks to Shawn forcing him to stay sharp. —Kerry

Diane Buckley

{Trophy Wife}

char_dianebuckley

“Oh, relax, it’s just some light catfishing.”

The wives of Trophy Wife are sort of like the Hogwarts houses: who you relate to says a lot about your personality. Most people seem to favor Jackie, the second ex-wife of leading man Bradley Whitford, but me, I’m a Diane girl through and through. (I’m also a Hufflepuff, if you were wondering.) She clearly loves her kids, but she also wants the best for them. She is passionate but calculating, strong but practical, and above all, she gets stuff done. —Kerry

Donna Paulsen

{Suits}

char_donnapaulsen

“If you were ever lucky enough to have me, you wouldn’t want to share.”

This season of Suits did some not-so-great stuff with Donna, but she still came out of it looking classier and stronger than any other character on television. —Kerry

Felicity Smoak

{Arrow}

char_felicitysmoak

“Never meet your heroes, right?”

It says something about an actor when a one-time appearance turns into a recurring role. It’s even more remarkable when that actor goes from recurring to series regular. The quirky, bright IT girl has won several hearts, saved countless lives, and helps humanize Oliver Queen. —Becca

Jemma Simmons

{Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.}

char_jemmasimmons

“I can’t be a part of your bad-girl shenanigans. I like following the rules and doing what’s expected of me. It makes me feel nice.”

When the show started off, the focus was on Fitz-Simmons, but the show gradually began to separate them. Now they are Fitz and Simmons, and Simmons has my heart. The episode “F.Z.Z.T” made me cry (which I hardly do) because of the way Elizabeth Henstridge plays her role. —Becca

Joan Watson

{Elementary}

char_joanwatson

“I think it’s sad that you’ve given up. I think you have a lot to share, if you cared to. I shouldn’t be the only one who knows you.”

Joan Watson set herself apart from traditional representations of the World’s Greatest Sidekick in season one, but she’s quickly becoming the fulcrum around which the show revolves without being anyone’s girlfriend, wife, mother or mistress. That’s nice to see both for Dr. Watson and for a woman in a mostly male ensemble. —Moff

John Diggle

{Arrow}

char_diggle

“I’ve been meaning to tell you, it really weirds me out to no end the way you refer to yourself in third person like that.”

Any scene with Diggle in it is a good scene. —Becca

Leslie Knope

{Parks and Recreation}

char_leslieknope

“No one achieves anything alone.”

It’s difficult to picture a scenario in which Leslie Knope doesn’t top my list of favorite characters. —Kerry

Marcus Bell

{Elementary}

char_marcusbell

Sherlock: “Have you always been this observant? I’m asking that quite sincerely. I was wondering if exposure to my methods had helped you in any way.”
Bell: “Actually, before you came along, I had never closed a case before, neither had the rest of the department. Most of us were thinking of packing up, leaving, letting the city fend for itself.”

Bell is such a great detective that Sherlock has taken to referring to all other detectives as “Not Bell.” Two of my favorite episodes of Elementary are Bell-centric ones (“Details” and “Tremors”) and I always look forward to his one liners to Sherlock. —Kerry

Oliver Queen

{Arrow}

char_oliverqueen

“The world doesn’t work anymore. It broke a long time ago, but it was like you were the only one who noticed. That makes you angry, and you’re afraid that that anger is going to burn you up inside if you have to live in the world one second longer knowing that you could do something to fix it.”

Oliver’s really come into his own since Tommy’s death, choosing now to save the city through non-murderous means. He still lives two (sometimes three) lives but now that he’s more removed from Laurel, he’s more three-dimensional and sympathetic. He’s still struggling to trust people, and thanks to the flashbacks to the island, we’re starting to realize why. —Kerry

Robin Scherbatsky

{How I Met Your Mother}

char_robinscherbatsky

“I’m Sparkles, bitch!”

I love Robin, and I relate to her so much this season. I just wish we didn’t have to see every excruciating hour of her wedding weekend, but hey, that’s not her fault. —Kerry

Rosalee Calvert

{Grimm}

character_rosaleecalvert

Rosalee Calvert may have started as a one-off, but the decision to make her a series regular was inspired: She’s a source of wisdom, knowledge and reason on a show that routinely asks its audience to suspend disbelief. —Moff

Sara Lance

{Arrow}

char_saralance

“No woman should ever suffer at the hands of men.”

Sara Lance managed, in a handful of episodes, to make a memorable impression as a variation on a classic comic book character normally inhabited by her sister, Laurel. But Sara made the role of Black Canary her own, and I can’t wait to see her return to Starling City. —Moff

Sarah Manning

{Orphan Black}

char_sarahmanning

“Art, if you’re hearing this, you found a body. It’s not Beth. It’s me. My name is Sarah Manning and you’re about the only person I trust to figure the whole thing out.”

Sarah is the most practical and level-headed of the clones, focused solely on keeping her daughter, Kira, safe. I think she’s my favorite because her main instinct is survival. She’ll do anything to protect the ones she loves. —Kerry

Slade Wilson

{Arrow}

char_sladewilson

“I’m sorry… for not telling you how I really feel.”

Former A.S.I.S. agent, island survivor, unlucky in love, and that accent? What’s not to love?! Kerry

The Cannon

{Back in the Game}

char_thecannon

“No, Gannons, we inflict pain, and then we laugh!”

Rude, brash, drunk, and definitely not in touch with his feelings, The Cannon was an oddity on TV this season. There was no one quite like him, because while he said and did all these terrible things, he knows it’s his fault that he’s unhappy. He clearly loves his daughter and grandson, so I’m sad we won’t get to see what happens with them. —Kerry

Tinker Bell

{Once Upon a Time}

char_tinkerbell

“I may have lost my wings, but I haven’t lost my dignity.”

There hasn’t been a whole lot for me to love on this season of Once; I was never a fan of Peter Pan in any of its various forms, so the idea of a whole arc set in Neverland made me wary. I especially dreaded the introduction of Tinker Bell, because I was sure this show would ruin that sort of complex female character. While this Tink has a backstory firmly entrenched in the Enchanted Forest, she still manages to be the best side character to join the show this season. The actress who plays her, Rose McIver, deserves most of the credit. —Kerry

Later today… Our favorite supporting characters from movies!

“Welcome to the world of grays!”

This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of Elementary, “Tremors.”

This week’s Elementary started out rather ridiculously. A schizophrenic man was shown into the precinct by an officer who was not alarmed by the man’s odd behavior or the fact that he was carrying a bulky and concealed item. When the young man, Silas Cole, revealed that he was carrying a shotgun, the entire precinct drew their weapons. Sherlock managed to defuse the situation by distracting Silas until the officers could tackle him.

elementary

I’m pointing that out because it’s a very glaring flaw in an otherwise brilliant episode. Any trained police officer would’ve noticed Silas’ odd behavior, and most police stations institute a strict No Weapons policy for visitors, which would naturally lead to searches of people who appear to be carrying anything that could conceal a weapon. Why couldn’t Silas have just wandered in unnoticed? Sure, that is unlikely to happen too, but I think it’s more likely than a trained police officer leading him right up to Captain Gregson, don’t you?

Clyde made an unforgettable appearance.

This episode was about Sherlock dealing with the consequences of his actions, both in the James Dylan case and in the hearing for the James Dylan case. It broke its usual structure this week, choosing instead to go with flashbacks with added Sherlock “flourishes” which made for great jokes, but also contributed to Sherlock’s bigger problems.

In the aftermath of Silas’ arrest, Sherlock believed Silas was out to kill someone Silas had been calling “The Queen,” who ultimately turned out to be Silas’ ex-girlfriend, Rada Hollingsworth. Rada was found dead from a gunshot wound to the chest, leading Sherlock to believe that Silas wasn’t the murderer. During the investigation, he questioned many suspects, including Rada’s oncologist, Dr. Phineaus Hobbs, and a viatical settlements manager named James Dylan. It was the method in which he went about questioning Dylan that eventually got him into trouble… even though Hobbs turned out to be the murderer.

During his hearing, Sherlock lies on the stand after being questioned about his and Joan’s illegal activities, such as breaking into houses or illegally obtaining evidence. Sherlock believes these things are necessary for a consultant because he is able to work outside the law; the problem is, he does nothing to hide this attitude on the stand, which makes him something of a loose cannon to the people who write and enforce the rules.

It puts Joan and Gregson in the crosshairs, but Sherlock is adamant that his work and methodology is more important than the rules forced on them by society.

Joan: “Why do we get to be above the rules?”
Sherlock: “Because our methods work. And I’m comfortable that our actions are guided by a morality that supersedes any clumsy employee manual. The danger with rulebooks, Watson, is that they offer the illusion that leading a moral life is a simple undertaking, that the world exists in black and white. Welcome to the grays!”

He’s right, in a sense, that morals are subjective according to personal codes, and it’s funny that he questions why we, as a society, choose to follow certain ones even as he works with them. Even during his trial, he challenges the prosecutor on whether she’s ever jaywalked, asking, “So some degree of criminality is acceptable, the rest is just negotiating boundaries?”

It comes out about halfway through the episode that Detective Bell was shot in an incident related to the Dylan case. Sherlock clearly feels some guilt, but to the prosecutor and judge, he appears unaffected by his colleagues injury; the prosecutor even goes as far as sarcastically saying, “Your affection for the man really shines through.” We (and Joan) know him better, and the dead giveaway is Sherlock’s refusal to go visit Bell in the hospital.

Sherlock: “I’ve got nothing to offer the man other than a few banal bromides.”
Joan: “What makes you think that’s not enough?”

Joan eventually has to take the stand, where she keeps to Sherlock’s story about puppies and loud TVs, and Sherlock even cross-examines her about the Rada Hollingsworth case, which is how we find out that the doctor did it. But when his line of questioning is over, the prosecutor asks Joan, “Then what happened?” and Joan is forced to recount the events of Bell’s shooting.

 

While he was questioning James Dylan, Sherlock asked if Dylan’s employers knew he was a convicted felon. Dylan had managed to keep that fact a secret from his bosses, so he begged Sherlock to keep his secret in exchange for any information he had about Rada. Sherlock kept his secret, but it turned out that he’d talked too loudly in the office, and one of Dylan’s cubicle neighbors had heard the accusation. Dylan had lost his job, which meant he had violated his parole, so he was going back to prison. He ambushed Sherlock in the street, just as he, Joan, and Bell were leaving after having arrested the oncologist, and Sherlock goaded him rather heartlessly until Dylan finally pulled his gun to shoot. Bell reacted quickly, jumping in front of Sherlock to take the bullet to the gut as other bystanding officers shot Dylan.

The tragedy of the story is that Dylan was not entirely a loose cannon. He’s responsible for his actions, but the whole situation could’ve been avoided if Sherlock had been more patient, understanding, or compassionate. Heck, it could’ve been avoided if he’d just used his inside voice while questioning Dylan. Any number of things could’ve gone differently in order to keep Bell from getting shot, and it’s the reason Sherlock’s being investigated in the first place.

Bell has complications during his surgery; a blood clot formed which obstructed blood flow to his right arm for half an hour. The chances of him regaining full strength in his gun hand aren’t high. When Joan visits Bell later, he’s struggling just to grip something in his hand. It is, hands down, Jon Michael Hill’s best work to date.

 

But he’s not done acting yet! After the judge (who was played by the great Frankie Faison, by the way) handed down a recommendation that Sherlock and Joan be terminated as consultants, the police commissioner, Patrick, visits Bell in the hospital. He puts it to Bell to decide Sherlock and Joan’s fates; are they enough of an asset to risk these kinds of incidents, or is Sherlock too much of a loose cannon to keep around?

At the end of the episode, Sherlock finally visits Bell in the hospital. It’s a beautiful scene between two very talented and nuanced actors. He tells Bell that he and Joan have been reinstated, though he doesn’t know why. (We know: Because Bell did the right thing and recommended it to the commissioner.) Sherlock apologizes for his actions and admits that he should’ve done more to avoid that sort of confrontation, and he thanks Bell for saving his life. Bell remains stony the entire time, not speaking, not smiling, just staring at Sherlock without turning his head.

Sherlock continues to offer services, such as sending Bell to the best clinic in Sweden, or having the doctor fly in to care for him here in the city, at no cost to Bell. But Bell, either too hurt, too stubborn, or too proud to accept Sherlock’s guilt-induced offers of help, refuses the services. The episode ends with him snapping, “Holmes! I don’t want a favor from you. I’d rather not see you around here.”

I’m hoping he reconsiders next week; he has every right to his feelings about Holmes, but it’s in his best interest to take advantage of the very best medical care he can get, and Sherlock is offering that. I get that he probably doesn’t want to owe his recovery to Sherlock, but does he want to owe his persistent injury to him instead? If Bell truly wants to get well enough to be a detective again, hopefully he will reconsider.

Next week: Alfredo’s back! It’s been too long, good friend.

(And yes, I have learned my lesson: Never beg for Bell-centric episodes again. IT ONLY RESULTS IN HIM GETTING SHOT.)