As season finales go, this was as good of a season finale for THIS show as any I’ve seen for any show. It just fits the specific tone and dynamic of Elementary. It doesn’t rely on shocking twists and a hyped run up to the end of the season; instead, it deals in emotional payoffs and the connection between characters.
Sherlock is convinced that Mycroft has been framed for West’s murder; to prove it, he demonstrates that Mycroft’s car was set to explode as the trio scramble to get out of the apartment. Sherlock puts his brother up in a private library that’s also cleaned by the spectral Mrs. Hudson (though Candis Cayne is becoming a series regular next season.) His instructions are not to touch the first editions or Joan, which indicates Sherlock has not been able to distinguish his partner from material possessions. Sherlock is playing both sides in this scenario — he is hiding his brother and attempting to find MI6’s mole, all while seemingly working with MI6 to apprehend his brother.
While Sherlock meets with Sherrington and Sir Walter, Joan is setting out to get Mycroft something to eat when he tells her a story that reveals much of how he sees his relationship with his brother. He tells her how he overheard Sherlock telling their father that Mycroft was unambitious and a “drifting idiot.” It’s not that Mycroft didn’t have drive, it’s that he wanted less than Sherlock and his father, which was read as laziness. Basically, Mycroft took the job at MI6 to prove both his brother and father wrong.
Later, Joan joins Sherlock in a car he conveniently broke into outside of Azatan Books, whose owner, Julian Afkami, was the man West suspected of working with the mole. Sherlock does take a moment to question why Watson went from hating his brother to falling into bed with him; a question she studiously ignores (good woman) in favor of asking how his meeting with MI6 went. He tells her they are suspicious of his motives and that his help is no longer welcome.
Afkami likes to keep late hours, but Sherlock manages to get into the basement, where he finds a splicer on the phone line, evidence that West was monitoring Afkami. The pair watch as Afkami leaves, which is their cue to break into the shop. As they are searching, the tension between them starts bubbling over. Sherlock doesn’t understand why Watson wants to move out when she’s still unformed as a detective; furthermore, it might risk the balance of their partnership. Joan, for her part, emphasizes that it’s not about him. Before they can argue further, Sherlock notices a surge protector that’s not protecting any of the valuable hardware.
When he pops the protector open, he finds a scrambler. So, if West couldn’t listen in on the calls, how did he assume Afkami was working with the mole? That’s where the mysterious numbers on West’s arm come in. He could figure out the location of the mole via numbers that identify cell towers all over the world. Back at the private library that is Mycroft’s safe house, Mycroft realizes that the locations on West’s arm correspond to locations where he was at that time. Whoever the mole is, he used Mycroft’s travels to frame him. The only other person traveling with Mycroft was Sherrington, also known as MI6’s mole. At first, it doesn’t make sense because Sherrington wouldn’t want Sherlock near the case, but it’s probably Sir Walter who wanted Sherlock, not Sherrington.
Sherlock manages to put Sherrington off by telling him that Mycroft has been embezzling funds from a charity his father runs to fund his hide out. Watson overhears the phone conversation and asks what she can do to help. Sherlock, being more than a bit bratty, insists he work alone since he’ll have to get used to it soon. The next morning, Joan wakes to find a bread crumb trail of notes with dates and events posted on them: an aid worker arrested for espionage, a computer virus, etc. She finds Sherlock in the living room, having had a productive night and declaring he CAN work ALONE!! Alright, we get it, you’re pissed.
All the dates of the phone calls correspond to events that had to do with the international spy game. For example, a computer virus was unleashed on Iran’s computer systems in hopes of halting their nuclear program, but a tip from an anonymous source reached the government and they rooted out the virus before it was effective. Sherrington most likely tipped them off. Sherlock can account for all the dates of the conversations and their corresponding events except for one, but before he can work further, he gets called to the station by Gregson.
The police have the murder weapon that killed West, which inconveniently has Mycroft’s prints on it. Detective Bell, being the thorough detective he is, worked with departments overseas and got a hit from the Cambridge Police Department from when they arrested a young Mycroft on pot possession 30 years ago. Gregson has to search for him, despite Sherlock’s insistence he’s innocent.
Sherrington shows up at the brownstone while Joan is there alone and asks to come in to pick her brain. She stalls, asking him to wait a few minutes before letting him in and taking him into Sherlock’s mind palace. Sherrington would like to know if Joan has any insights into where Mycroft might be since they were “involved.” Watson gives a vague answer about Mycroft running to the Catskills, which contradicts information Sherlock gave Sherrington about the charity scheme. In a very genial tone, Sherrington threatens to torture and kill Joan. The manner in which he says it is just wholly terrifying. As per usual, men underestimate Joan. She has 15 members of the hacker collective Everyone on Skype and various faces pop up on the screens behind her. I do love how the renegade hacker collective have been a running theme throughout the season, putting a modern twist on the Baker Street irregulars.
Sherlock comes back concerned and angry. Joan stops him before he goes on a rant and tells him that she’s figured out the mystery of the unaccounted call. An Iranian man was beaten to death in Brooklyn and a conspiracy blog said it was a political assassination. Since it’s local, they have jurisdiction to investigate. Sherlock is still pissed; accusing Mycroft of being a cancer that is eroding their partnership. It’s then that Watson tells him of Mycroft’s sacrifice to keep him out of trouble with MI6.
Armed with this information, Sherlock visits Mycroft in the library, asking why Mycroft would sacrifice his livelihood for him when he has frankly always been terrible to Mycroft. It’s simple; they’re brothers and it’s what brothers do. Sherlock swears he will clear Mycroft’s name and work to pay Mycroft back for what he did. Sherlock asks Joan to meet him in the apartment where the Iranian man was killed. He is sitting in front of a wall where he has recreated a blood spatter pattern. The killing was too emotional to be a political assassination; this was personal.
It’s there that Sherlock makes his appeal to Joan; their partnership works because they can work through tension to the edge of breakthroughs. It’s beautiful in it’s own way. It’s been a grand experiment and Sherlock sees that he can and will change for Joan. He asks her to stay. Joan tells Sherlock that he has this pull, like gravity. She feels so lucky that she fell into his orbit, but if she continues to live at the brownstone, she will forever be orbiting Sherlock. She needs more. She reassures him they will work this out, but the look of quiet heartbreak on Sherlock’s face is devastating. Still, I was so happy that Joan stood up for her autonomy by not letting herself get pulled back into Sherlock’s orbit so easily. It must have been difficult.
Sherlock figures out the meaning of the blood spatter pattern and sends Mycroft to a pub where Sherrington is eating his favorite shepherd’s pie in the city. Sherrington gives his villain monologue, complaining about how he came up through the trenches; he’s not titled and from money like Sir Walter and Mycroft. He hit his own glass ceiling. Mycroft is ready to end Sharington, but he has one trump card; if he dies, a letter gets mailed to Le Milieu about Mycroft’s involvement with MI6, putting Mycroft, Sherlock, and Joan in danger. Sherrington has a counter offer: let him put a bullet in Mycroft’s head and Sherlock and Joan go unharmed, leaving Sherrington can continue his double-crossing ways.
At the station, Gregson, Watson, and Sherlock confront Afkami about the murder of the Iranian man in Brooklyn. It turns out that he was killed by having projectiles thrown at his head; which is another way of saying that he was stoned to death. It’s a very personal and visceral way to kill someone. Sherlock produces emails between the man and Afkami’s wife, provided by said wife. She was having an affair and she’s still angry that her husband brutally murdered her lover. Mrs. Afkami kept some evidence, which she handed over to the NYPD. Afkami wants a lawyer, but Gregson offers him a deal: tell them all about his spy work and the mole at MI6 and he may get fresh air sometime in the distant future.
Afkami sings like a bird and they have the evidence to go after Sherrington when they get a call from the morgue. Sherrington has apparently already been killed. Gregson orders an APB for Mycroft, though Sherlock insists he’s not a murderer. The pair find Mycroft back at the brownstone and while he didn’t put a bullet in Sherrington, he informed the NSA of the whole business and they took care of the rest. He also had the NSA fake his own death; he was officially killed by a fire at Diogenes. It was the best way he knew to protect his brother and Joan from Le Milieu. Joan storms off, upset, and Sherlock starts in on his brother, calling him lazy and a sloth and starting on a righteous tear when he’s stopped by an embrace from Mycroft. This moment is why I love Miller’s Sherlock. So much is said in the tension in his shoulders as Mycroft embraces him and tells Sherlock he loves him. He wants to hug back, but doesn’t.
Later, Sherlock heads upstairs to talk with Joan, but she’s on the phone, trying to schedule apartment viewings. He sneaks back downstairs and takes the heroin out of its hiding place and into his coat pocket. Is this part of a ploy to get Joan back to the brownstone by having her as his sober companion again? Not cool, Sherlock. Not cool.
The final scene of the season is Sherlock meeting with Sir Walter, who gives Sherlock his condolences about his brother. Sherlock inquires if the offer of employment Sharington put forth was legitimate. It was and in fact, the offer came from Sir Walter. The season ends with Sherlock accepting the job offer at MI6.
So what do you think of this new turn? Will Sherlock’s work with MI6 take him away from the NYPD and Gregson and Bell (who have gotten very little screen time lately). Is he joining MI6 to clear Mycroft’s name so he doesn’t have to remain in hiding? How will this affect his relationship with Joan and will he fall off the wagon? We will just have to wait ’til the fall.