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17 November 2015 @ 08:09 pm
Elementary: The Past is Parent & Evidence of Things Not Seen  
I decided to put my reviews of both episodes in one post because I'm already falling behind in writing about these. Not because I haven't enjoyed this season so far but my schedule has gotten increasingly hectic. Plus, these two episodes tie into each other pretty nicely so it makes some sense to review them next to each other. In any case, onward! There be spoilers under the cuts.


We pick up pretty quickly where we left off. Sherlock and Joan are awaiting not only a visit from Sherlock's father but also word on whether or not Sherlock will be brought up on assault charges for beating up Oscar. Good news #1 is that Oscar is not dead so at least it won't be manslaughter charges. Bad news #1 is that this was all the higher ups in the police force needed to terminate Sherlock and Joan's consultancy contracts with the NYPD. It warmed my heart to see Gregson and Bell each separately tell Sherlock and Joan how much they didn't agree with this decision. But Gregson's hands are tied and Bell isn't in any position to dispute this.

Before Sherlock finds out whether or not he might be facing prison time, he and Joan work a case involving a missing, persumed dead wife of the guy who definitely killed two other women from the previous season. Despite being a killer, the guy claims he didn't murder his wife just before he commits suicide in front of Sherlock. The case itself was average and again, thanks to my recognizing certain actors I kind of guessed who the killer was without knowing what the motive was but that's par the course for me with this show. I was much more focused on the character stuff.

Despite his setback, Sherlock does demonstrate throughout this episode he's not back to square one. He has a program he trusts and he hasn't lost the people skills he gained from his three seasons of work with Joan. Him arguing for Gregson to at least somehow spare Joan going down with him was evidence of this. As was his straight up apology to Joan for getting them fired. This is really why I like JLM's Sherlock so much. The writers don't make him frustratingly devoid of decency for the sake of giving him an edgy characterization. He made a mistake and the repercussions affected someone else so he apologizes. He's peopling! I prefer that over characterizations of him being an asshole.

Anyway, that entire scene with Sherlock apologizing to Joan, telling her his plan on how to get her reinstated while he goes down in flames, and Joan's subsequent rejection of said plan was all pretty wonderful. Joan's line about their partnership being the only thing that matters to her so if he goes, she goes gave me all the feels. Even Sherlock, who is not one to enjoy having emotions, looked subtly touched by her loyalty. And her loyalty makes sense to me. The show has done a lot of work to build a genuine connection between the two of them and I never doubted for a minute Joan wouldn't cast her lot with Sherlock because in some ways he deserves that kind of loyalty. So well done, show! You didn't tell me I needed to root for them. You showed me.

In the end, the case gets solved, Sherlock won't be going to jail, and Morland Holmes (John Noble) arrives way past his appointment time. Because that's how he rolls. Onward to the next episode!



I'm not going to get into the mystery portion of this. Sufficied to say it was kind of twisty but a little boring. It involved failed brainwashing and FBI hierarcy stuff. I didn't care.

But we kick off the episode with a scene between Sherlock and his father. John Noble continues his line of playing problematic fathers after Denethor and Walter Bishop. I have to say, I was prett impressed by how much history JLM and Noble packed into their exchanges. Everything coming out of Morland's mouth sort of seemed supportive but by watching JLM's reactions and some of Noble's acting, you spend the entire scene wondering when the other shoe's going to drop. He comes with the offer that he can reinstate Sherlock and Joan to the NYPD. They just need to accept this deal. As he was saying this, images of shaking hands with the devil came to my mind. Morland Holmes is controlling, certainly. And his method of parenting seems designed to minimize Sherlock's agency and maximize feelings of incompetence and shame. He was confusing which is why I totally understood Joan's reaction to him.

Joan discovers that it was, in fact, a deal made by Morland which led to Sherlock not getting imprisoned for his assault on Oscar. I had a very mixed reaction to this. On one hand, I don't want Sherlock to go to jail even though what he did was Not Okay. But on the other hand, Morland's handwaving away this charge felt Even More Not Okay. Not just because he bought Sherlock's freedom but because he did it behind his back and it felt intrusive. I think Morland half considers this good parenting and protecting his son. Which to a certain degree I can see but the way he seems to exude the notion that he has a right to control Sherlock's life in what way he sees fit is very uncomfortable. I can see why it got Joan's hackles up and while she and Sherlock are going to accept Morland's deal, I do worry about the ramifications of this.

I'm not entirely sure how John Noble will work as a regular on this show but I am interested to see where things go with his character.
 
 
 
aelfgyfu_mead: Joan Watsonaelfgyfu_mead on November 18th, 2015 02:46 am (UTC)
Yes. Yes! The mysteries were kind of bland, but I loved all the character work!

I was bothered that charges against Sherlock were dismissed. I didn't want him charged because I like him, but in real life, I would totally want him charged. Yes, there are extenuating circumstances—but that's something that needs to be worked out in public, in court, and not privately by playing favorites. So I was utterly unsurprised that Morland had interfered; I wondered when it was announced at the end of the first episode and then we saw him. I suspect he didn't want to appear until after the charges disappeared so that Sherlock wouldn't connect him to the dismissal—as Joan did.

I think Joan made the right call. I don't like how it was done, but I don't think there's anything to be gained by revealing it to Sherlock. I think the DA and others involved in this little scheme acted unethically, but I'm not sure there's a lot anyone can do.

I loved Joan's reaction to Morland. I love that she told him what she knew.

Even more than that, I loved Sherlock taking responsibility and apologizing. Seeing him grow has been amazing. (And I can't help but compare other shows, not all of which have characters with the same name, where characters who are jerks just never grow. Sherlock can grow while still not infrequently being a jerk!)

I wanted to hug Joan and Sherlock, neither of whom would have appreciated it. And I want to pet Sherlock's squirrel, if it's just a stuffed animal. If that's the result of taxidermy, I'm not sure.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 18th, 2015 03:09 am (UTC)
Yes, there are extenuating circumstances—but that's something that needs to be worked out in public, in court, and not privately by playing favorites.

Exactly. Frankly, if this had played out in court, I don't think Sherlock would have gotten a prison sentence. There was a strong case to be made about what Oscar did (he kidnapped Alfredo!) and Sherlock's record of working with the NYPD (I'm sure Gregson would have vouched for him) that could have reduced it down to either a very short sentence or a huge fine plus some sort of community service.

I loved Joan's reaction to Morland. I love that she told him what she knew.

I look forward to how Joan's interactions with Morland go. I actually do believe on some level that Morland, like Joan, wants to protect Sherlock. It's just that Morland is super bad at it as a long game.

I loved Sherlock taking responsibility and apologizing. Seeing him grow has been amazing.

Next to Sherlock and Joan's partnership, this has been the highlight of the series for me as a whole. The writers have nailed writing Sherlock as consistent but also evolving as one would.

And I want to pet Sherlock's squirrel, if it's just a stuffed animal. If that's the result of taxidermy, I'm not sure.

I was re-watching episodes of season 2 recently and that stuffed squirrel prop was in an earlier episode! Sherlock used it as a counterweight for another object in an experiment. I love continuity like this!
X-parrotxparrot on November 18th, 2015 06:57 pm (UTC)
I love how John Noble has made this whole career out of playing terrible fathers (and then on Sleepy Hollow he got to switch things up...by playing a terrible son who was a generation older than his parents due to magic shenanigans...) What really impresses me is how he manages to play a different kind of terrible father every time! Morland Holmes reminds me a bit of one of the alt!Walters but is his own character, and a pretty intriguing one - awful and intimidating and controlling. --Also I love the name "Morland", it fits so well with Sherlock and Mycroft.

Meanwhile Joan and Sherlock's partnership is so much love - you said it, the series has really managed to convincingly show it. Their commitment and loyalty is so amazing and it makes sense, it's evolved in a way that's true to both the characters. And I love how they work together and figure things out and think in parallel and just, yeah, they're one of my favorite partnerships on TV.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on November 20th, 2015 04:11 am (UTC)
(and then on Sleepy Hollow he got to switch things up...by playing a terrible son who was a generation older than his parents due to magic shenanigans...)

I think this sentence alone captures the sheer lunacy of Sleepy Hollow.

they're one of my favorite partnerships on TV.

Me too. Absolutely wonderful. I hope it remains this good for the rest of the series' run.