Warning, contains spoilers for previous episodes in seasons one and two.
On The Line
It’s a beautiful evening in New York City this episode of “Elementary,” and we’re treated to a lovely view of its skyline from the side of a bridge, where a young woman creatively shoots herself in the head and frames her suicide to look like a murder.
Sherlock begins harassing an NYPD officer as soon as he and Joan arrive on scene, so it’s a regular Thursday. Lt. Gregson comes over and lets them know, “Hey, you know what? We got this one already. Turns she called her murder in ahead of time, we’re questioning the guy now.” Six years ago Lucas Bunsch was a suspect in the murder of the dead girl’s sister, Allie Wabash, but didn’t seem enough like a murderer to warrant further investigation. Sherlock figures out how she framed him but, since they’ve already started questioning Bunch at the station, goes to watch anyway.
Bunch cheats on the polygraph which is obvious to Sherlock, but hard to prove. Of course, he really didn’t kill the victim of the day, so why plan ahead to cheat? Whoops–Sherlock just let a possible serial killer get out of a framing and escape jail. FUN. They bring on the detective involved in Allie Wabash’s murder to reexamine the case. He’s ticked off to have Sherlock questioning his investigative work. Ridiculously ticked off. There’s being understandably offended by someone who called your work lacking in front of the entire office, and then there’s giving a murder suspect that person’s home address. Wow. Even if you’re positive the guy didn’t do it, that’s the height of nonprofessional. Bunsch shows up at the Brownstone; Sherlock explains that they’re onto him, and Bunsch makes it very clear that Sherlock and Joan will regret pursuing him as a suspect in his best creepy-calm, expressionless tone of voice. (How did the NYPD not think he was suspicious again?)
The plan to make them regret pursuing him is, apparently, to destroy Sherlock and Joan’s reputation via wild goose chase that has them bringing an entire town’s police force to the house of a woman who is NOT in fact being held captive by Bunsch. He hardly should have bothered, though; thanks to Sherlock’s habitual bluntness when it comes to dealing with other members of the force, both he and Gregson are already being thrown some serious shade. Detective Unprofessional threatens to call the NYPD’s union on Gregson if he doesn’t kick Holmes off his old case, under the grounds that Holmes is making them look bad. Back at the Brownstone, Joan is uncomfortable with how tensions between Sherlock and the other officers have been mounting. She frustratedly demands why it’s so impossible to extend his “courtesy zone” to people other than her. (And Gregson, who Sherlock awkwardly attempted to comfort and reassure about his marriage troubles three episodes ago, and who he’s admitted to respecting for a while. And Bell, who he’s gotten along pretty well with since clearing his name of murder last season. And his brother, who he’s begrudgingly beginning to let in again. And the numerous number of victims and victim’s family members with whom he’s used his own trials with drugs and Moriarity to comfort–okay writers, it’s true Holmes doesn’t have the greatest tact and has his mean days, but this seems a speech way more suited for BBC’s “functioning sociopath” Holmes, not CBS’ “possibly a little tactless” one.)
Sherlock’s pissed at Bunsch for his prank and goes to confront him at the studio where he works, which goes exactly as well as any sensible person would expect confronting a serial killer alone in his workplace would go. At least he manages to punch Bunsch in the face. The downside of that is, now Bunsch has a restraining order against him and Gregson, already getting flack for supporting Holmes’ bad behavior, kicks both him and Joan off of the case to avoid more trouble. As yet another taunt, Bunsch uses the burner phone from his previous prank to text Sherlock and Jones an address: the house of his latest victim, already abducted. Sherlock blows a fuse and decides the dead girl on the bridge had the right idea; he’s going to plant evidence to frame Bunsch.
Joan, thankfully, whips out a can of “if you frame Bunsch, who’s going to bring the kidnapped girl food and water while we look for her?” logic. Even if Sherlock’s not always the best at thinking about how his actions affect others, Watson’s got the bigger picture covered. This also leads Sherlock to realize that Bunsch has to keep his victims close by to covertly care for them: his workplace. The police bust in, rescue the victims, and Gregson makes sure the haters know Holmes and Watson are here to stay.
Not everything ends happily though. Holmes lets Joan know that he is, at heart, not a nice man, and that’s something she will just have to accept. Joan’s answer: “No one can accept something like that forever.”
So that episode was darker than usual. What do you think? Does Sherlock need to curb his ichor? What sort of problems will this cause our dynamic detective duo in the future? Let us know.