This week’s episode of Elementary begins with a flashback and a question: What kind of name is Sherlock?
Turns out that our case this week, as well as the case of Sherlock Holmes’ psyche, are evidence of what can happen when you put your trust in the hands of a stranger. An unsuspecting woman takes a bouquet of roses from one hooded man while another unsuspecting woman takes on the case of a British client with a love of opiates. Unfortunately, only one of these women are going to survive the experience.
When we flash forward to the current date, Holmes and Watson are brought on to a missing person case. However, this case seems to have an odd, yet unknown connection to the woman who was pushed in front of a subway 6 months earlier. Our detectives believe that the missing wife was emotionally fragile after hearing about the subway incident and it propelled her to get out of her marriage. But they decide it’s likely an unrelated connection, so Holmes assigns Watson to the missing wife case while he takes on the “subway pusher”.
This splitting of assignments means Watson finally gets a chance to stretch her new-found skills. It’s fun to see her grow into her new role as a consulting detective. Breaking into cars. Interviewing suspects. Reading mysterious documents. But after an unfortunate car-jacking incident doesn’t turn up our missing wife’s body, Watson falls into a spiral of self-doubt.
Her feelings of self-doubt are clearly connected to more than this case. Six months ago, just as she first hears the name Sherlock Holmes, Joan’s friends faked their support with a toast for her new life as a sober companion. But as Holmes so wisely points out in this episode, “the human face is like the penis. … It betrays us.” Just a few months earlier, her friends’ faces tell the story: What is wrong with Watson? Why is she leaving medicine? Is everything OK? Fast forward six months and these questions aren’t just on their faces, it’s coming out of their mouths. As she’s finally taking on her own case, Watson’s friends spring an intervention on her that leaves everyone confused and only brings her uncertainty closer to the surface, clouding her decision making and wrenching her nerves.
So when she fails to find a body only hours earlier, it’s no surprise that she starts to think they’re right.
It’s Watson’s temporary moment of doubt that brings our dynamic duo back together. And I have to admit, I was glad it happened. As a viewer, there’s a certain comfort in their easy banter and it’s the reason I keep coming back week after week. Holmes isn’t just pushing Watson into her new role, he’s literally encouraging her and bolstering her self-esteem. This is not the typical methodology of our often cold and calculating Holmes, but he’s changing. He’s softening.
In the end, it’s their partnership that gives her the confidence she needs and the clarity he needs to solve the cases. Of course, Holmes gives Watson all the credit. And she deserves it.
In the end, our murderer’s face can’t hide his guilt.
Holmes can’t hide his pride for his protégé Watson.
Turns out Holmes was right: men do have a head that betrays their real feelings.
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