Elementary‘s latest episode gave us more of Sherlock and Morland’s relationship, and opened a new series of questions about everything that happened. Notably, Jonny Lee Miller and John Noble put in outstanding performances as a parent and a son struggling to find their footing.
There were two wonderful scenes between Sherlock and his father in this episode. They spent half the episode working together but these two scenes told us a lot about both Sherlock and Morland. We’ve spent 4 seasons with Sherlock to know how he feels about this father but this episode gave us a clearer view at Morland himself and how he feels about his relationship with his son.
The first scene is quite good in terms of acting. These two actors are among the greatest we have right now and they know perfectly well how to say a lot by not saying anything at all. Sherlock comes to Morland’s office wanting to know why he is still in New York. He claims that he doesn’t have the ability to fully focus on the case knowing his father is there. Sherlock keeps waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop and it’s injuring his cognizance. Sherlock’s words during this scene tell us a lot about where the man’s head is at. He keeps waiting for everything to go back the way things were before “I had assumed as with similar occasions in our past you would take the completion of our transaction as your cue to be on your way”. We knew their relationship was bad and this gives us another view of it, we see Sherlock views himself as a nuisance to his father. Maybe that was the way Morland knew how to deal with him, he would fix his mistakes and leave, not giving a second thought to the opinion he was leaving his son with.
We see him taken aback by Sherlock’s questions and he claims he still has business in New York, and that it’s a bit of a puzzle. He might not know this new Sherlock, might not know the best way to approach him but he knows one thing, Sherlock can never resist a puzzle. That gets Sherlock hooked and for us watching from home it gives us this beautiful moment acting wise from Jonny Lee Miller. He is absolutely incredible in this moment, Sherlock is quiet for a moment then he says “I’m quite good with puzzles, you’ve known that longer than anyone”. His voice subtly breaks, something you don’t hear it if you’re not looking for it. When you do hear it for that particular second you hear Sherlock as a little boy who always loved solving puzzles. A little boy who perhaps could never get his father’s attention. Like I said it lasts merely a second before his voice goes back to normal. Then the cocky intelligent Sherlock we know and love is back, “You’ll get the benefit of my help and I’ll get a father free New York.”
I had a suspicion throughout the episode that Morland wasn’t in New York still just for the case. There are these little looks that John Noble gives that make you think there are other reasons for staying in New York. There’s the comment about not drinking because he’s heard it’s not good to drink around addicts, which tells us that while he might have gotten it wrong he was at least trying. I kept thinking throughout the episode what is this is Morland’s weird way of trying to make things better with his son. That final scene confirmed it.
Morland Holmes is staying in New York to try and fix things with his son. As a Sherlock fan I admit I am rather pleased by this development. It could work or maybe it will fail miserably but at least there will have been an attempt to fix things. Sherlock wouldn’t have to deal with the What Ifs of this particular subject in his life.
When Morland admits to wanting to stay in New York to stay close to Sherlock the latter is still thinking of the negative side of things. He wonders if his father is just waiting for him to relapse again, or have to be bailed out of trouble again. I think it’s in this moment that it hits the elder Holmes how much damage he has done to his son. I sincerely hope he plans to fix his mess, the right way, without hurting Sherlock in the process. Although we know Joan would definitely kick his ass if that happened.
Sherlock calls him out on the fact that Morland wants to be a parent after all this time and the latter alludes to not really knowing how to parent Sherlock. His parting words though are part of what make this scene so rich.
Morland: Ask yourself when you were a boy could anyone have parented you?
Sherlock: I can think of one person
Morland: If she were here, what do you suppose she would want us to do
Sherlock is lost for words after that and I have to admit I got doubly excited. If I’m not mistaken this is the first time (or at least one of the first times) the show has referenced Sherlock’s mother. I cannot wait to see if we can find out more about her. From the few things that were said in this scene we can allude that she at the very least tried to be a good parent. I’m guessing Morland didn’t know how to deal with a genius son and perhaps had more in common with Mycroft than with Sherlock? Perhaps his mother had more in common with Sherlock herself? Plus we don’t know if his mother is dead or if she is alive. From the expressions on both their faces I’m going to assume she’s dead for the moment.
Joan: Fluent in 3 dozen languages but the man has never seen Say Anything
*Shout out to Clyde for always looking fabulous, I always love when they have little moments with Clyde in the background. Sherlock making food for him was just adorable.
*It’s a true pleasure to see Gregson and Bell back. Elementary wouldn’t be the same without them that’s for sure.
*I love Say Anything so I definitely enjoyed the little references to it in the episode.