TV Review – Elementary S04E01: The Past is Parent

Elementary is finally back in our screens. This is a procedural show but its core is the relationship between Joan, Sherlock and the people around them.

This season, we jump in right where we left off–on the roof where Sherlock gave into temptation and relapsed. We hear that Sherlock’s mysterious father is coming to town, but Sherlock writes it off as the usual no show his father is so known for. Of course, as the audience knows, Sherlock’s father is coming this time but we don’t know when he’ll appear.

We see Sherlock intercepted by Jonathan Bloom on his way to an AA meeting and that’s what starts the chain of events of the episode. During the season 3 finale, Sherlock accused Bloom of being behind the disappearance of 3 women. Bloom admits to being behind 2 of them, going as far as telling Sherlock where to find the bodies, but claims he didn’t do anything to his wife–before shooting himself in front of Sherlock.

This episode is held by two storylines, whether or not Sherlock will charged in relation to the finale’s events (the heroin, and beating Oscar almost to death) and the investigation into Alicia’s disappearance.

This episode hits us with a major problem; Sherlock and Joan are dismissed from being consultants for the NYPD. Which means they have to find other venues of employement to be able to continue their work.

Captain Gregson tells this to Sherlock almost at the beginning of the episode and the former ends up spending most the episode trying to find alternate meanings, even asking his contact at the NSA. Who tells him that while their work is good, they are liabilities, so finding someone to take them in won’t be easy.

This is something I love about Elementary: it’s not afraid to have things not work out for its characters, and yet at the same time it doesn’t go to the extremes like some other shows do.

All of this allows us to see how Sherlock reacts to everything. The Sherlock Holmes we see today is nowhere near the Sherlock Holmes we met in the pilot. He’s grown a lot from the almost completely antisocial genius we met back then. He spends most of the episode trying to solve this case not for the glory or because he wants to know what happened, as has been the case many times before. Instead, he does it because of Joan. He feels guilty that she got dismissed as well and thinks that if they solve this high profile case and she takes all the credit the department will have to take her back.

No matter how you see this relationship, if you see it as romantic or as simply a meaningful friendship, there’s no denying that the most important person for Sherlock Holmes is Joan Watson.

The DA decides not to charge him and when Joan mentions celebrating, he finally tells her the truth about what Gregson said. She makes it clear that she won’t let him go through this alone When it comes to what we do the only thing that matters to me is our partnership so you go I go.”

When he tells her what the NSA contact said, the only thing she says is “We’ll figure it out we always do.” Which shows that Joan is just as devoted to helping Sherlock as he is to helping her. Their partnership means the world to both of them and this is what makes this the best adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s  famous character. Sherlock and Joan are complete equals and they both learn from each other and grow as characters because of that.

We saw a taste of what’s to come with the Sherlock’s father storyline with Joan this episode. He obviously doesn’t show up to their meetings and she spends a large part of the episode trying to contact him. Her interactions are mostly with his employee Mr. Cook who informs the audience that Joan has left quite a few messages for the elder Holmes. The best part of the episode in this regard is when they meet face to face. She’s civil, telling him that the elder Holmes can’t just threaten to show up and never make an appearance. Of course that’s the moment Mr. Cook makes the mistake of saying some mocking remarks about Sherlock–at which point Joan all but threatens to kick his ass if he doesn’t deliver her message. It’s a beautiful moment, especially when you him realising that she means it.

Which of course leads us to the last scene of the episode: Sherlock going to the roof of the brownstone to find someone waiting for him, his father. It was a short scene, enough to show us that these two do not have a good relationship. I’m very interested to see what John Noble adds to the cast; I have a feeling it is going to be a truly fantastic season.

Favorite Lines:

Joan: “What’s the hardest you’ve ever been hit?”

Cook: “Excuse me?”

Joan: “It’s a simple question. Talk to Mr. Holmes tell him what I said, I hate to have to come back.”

Sherlock (to his father): My compliments to the virgins whose blood you bathe in.


*We got a Moriarty mention! Sherlock and Joan are talking about the possibilities that he’ll get canned and he tells her he wouldn’t want him to visit him but rather to write to him. He mentions he is still in correspondence with the famous Jamie. Considering the number of times she’s been referenced, including last season’s The Female of the Species, I’m hoping we see her soon.

*Once again this show does a wonderful job with addiction. Even though Gregson and Joan claim that Sherlock’s fall off the wagon was entirely on Oscar, he disagrees. Sherlock says “I chose to use”. Oscar might have been a catalyst but in the end it’s on Sherlock and he claims full responsibility.


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About the author

Maii Trueba

Maii is a 27 year old writer, who can get emotional and protective over certain characters and their stories, also pandas. And don't get her started on A Song of Ice and Fire because you'll never hear the end of it. She graduated in film and has a certificate in Art History so the nerdiness comes out from time to time.

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