**This post contains spoilers for episode 3.01 of Elementary, “Enough Nemesis to Go Around.”**
Elementary returned for season 3 last night, and let me tell you, I had no idea how much I missed this show until it was on my TV screen. Even if things aren’t hunky dory in Holmesland, at least we have reliable and creative storytelling to get us through the rift between Sherlock and Joan.
The case was technically pulled from Holmes canon, and it’s one that BBC’s Sherlock also covered: The Adventure of the Sealed Room. It’s not from the Arthur Conan Doyle stories, but it was written based on a comment Watson made in a previous ACD story. Whether it’s part of the “official” canon or not, the premise is something inherently Holmesian in nature. The BBC version referred to it as “the invisible man” in the episode “The Sign of Three” (and that particular case starred one Alfred Enoch, who is now kicking it opposite Elementary on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder) while our Americanized CBS Sherlock refers to the case as a “locked room” mystery. A person or people, seemingly alone, are murdered by an invisible suspect.
This one is solved more elegantly, I think, than the one on Sherlock, because I’m more willing to believe that an electromagnet was stolen from Rutgers to ricochet bullets around an elevator than I am to believe that soldiers were unknowingly stabbing themselves with their belts. It stumped Joan and Bell for two solid months before Sherlock came back to propose his wacky theory, but hey, remember that case with the ears on someone’s back last season? That’s way wackier.
The bigger takeaway is that Joan was an intended target on the elevator. Crime scene investigators assumed one of the bullets had missed its target, but in reality, it was meant to kill Joan. She chose to stay behind and go to the courthouse with Marcus (thank goodness for Marcus!) leaving the client alone on the elevator with the bodyguard.
And why was Joan a target? Why, it’s because she made good use of her time away from Sherlock to get herself her very own nemesis! And not just any nemesis — she got Gina freaking Gershon. If you ever thought “Wow, how will they ever top Natalie Dormer as a frightening and powerful nemesis?” well you never considered Gina Gershon. She killed it in her role as Elana March. I mean that literally — she killed a bunch of people, off-screen of course, and she also has an amazing house with stables and an awesome wardrobe. Basically, this show is really making me consider becoming a kickass Lady Villain.
Elana is arrested and taken into custody at the end of the episode, but I have a feeling we’re going to see more of her throughout this season. Joan gets her moment of triumph, and that’s all that matters.
Sherlock returns to New York just before the second commercial break, sporting a creepy 1920’s “isolation helmet” as he sits in the dark on the garden level of his unpowered brownstone. He tries multiple times to apologize to Joan, but Joan’s not having any of it — she’s clearly hurt and is striving to move forward, but Sherlock is and always will be an anchor who will either keep her in one place or drag her down. It’s just his nature.
He later tells Gregson (whose entire dialogue in this episode is just sassy one-liners, have I mentioned how much I missed this show?) that he was fired from MI-6 and that he intends to come back and work for the NYPD. Gregson awesomely says he can come back only if it’s okay with Joan, and Sherlock looks properly apprehensive about that.
The problem is, he didn’t come back alone. He brought along his new protegee, an upstart young woman by the name of Kitty Winter. If you recognize the name, it’s because she’s from canon too! The Illustrious Client. Kitty is clearly jealous of Joan, calling her “the original model” and treating her with half-hearted scorn, but really, she’s mostly intimidated by Joan. She has a bit of baggage herself, as evidenced in her closing conversation with Joan when she reveals that she’s “moving toward something” as well.
Joan pretends not to be fazed by Kitty, but I have to think it hurts a little bit when Sherlock goes on and on about basically replacing her with a new person. A lot of the dynamic from the first two seasons was this balance of power because while Sherlock was this brilliant but impossible man, the only person in the world that he held in esteem was Joan Watson. He even held her above Moriarty. Now that Joan is being told that she’s pretty much replaceable, Sherlock probably doesn’t realize the imbalance he’s creating there, or the fact that he’s inadvertently creating antagonism between Kitty and Joan.
As for me, the viewer, I was apprehensive about this Kitty storyline, and while I’m still not sold on it, I think it has potential. The heart of the show (and the canon) will always be Sherlock and Watson, so really, Kitty is destined to be temporary as a protegee or partner. It’d be fascinating to see her go on an apprentice-turned-nemesis arc, especially if we get to see it all play out up close with Sherlock not reading the signs, but I doubt this show will go that way. I guess it really depends on Kitty’s backstory and what she’s running from… or what she’s running toward.
If it means a few more episodes of Bell and Joan being a dynamic duo, I’ll take it. It warms my cold, dead heart-space to think of them working in tandem for eight whole months!
— Lucy Liu was amazing in this scene:
— Joan has a boyfriend now! He has a bearded dragon, and his garlic-loving brother lives on Joan’s floor. I’m hoping there’s a vampire story in there somewhere.
— Joan has taken ownership of Clyde, and so far, it doesn’t look like he’s involved in any dioramas. He looks happy, though.
— Her new apartment looks nice, but I have always been partial to the dilapidated brownstone, myself. Sherlock brought her wire hangers as a housewarming gift, because “There’s little open at this hour.”
— Sherlock was tight-lipped about why his work with MI-6 ended, but he did admit to Watson that he came back to New York because he feels he belongs there.
Next week: Double the detectives! Double the fun! Or double the dead bodies.