Oh, how the plot thickens and twists, albeit not in a way I necessarily like, but that’s what happens when you’re a viewer. This season has had its ups and downs for me, though the show remains one of my favorites.
Having said that, I have to admit that I’m not liking where they’ve taken Joan this season and I’m a bit worried, based on this episode, of where the writers will take her in the future. This episode began with Watson getting some of her autonomy back and I almost cheered out loud, but in the end, we see her placing her faith and lot with a man who may not deserve either and would actively use those things to hurt her. Given that the finale is next week, we shall see if I’m right.
After heading to the precinct to ask Captain Gregson and Detective Bell for help (and seemingly not able to get the words out when Bell asked what was wrong), Sherlock gets the call from Watson telling him that’s she’s alright. Sherlock bursts into the brownstone, which is filled with several heavily armed men and a doctor looking over Joan. Oh, and Mycroft, too. Upon seeing Watson, Sherlock rushes to her like he’s going to hug the shit out of her, but stops short. It’s clear he wants to embrace her, to offer her some comfort, but he holds back. I’m just sitting there like, “Hug her, damn it.”
Mycroft: British intelligence isn’t here to arrest me; I am British intelligence.
After Watson excuses herself to go to bed because she’s 100% done with everything, we get the confrontation we’ve all been waiting for and it is good. It’s full of self-righteous snark on both ends, though I give major points to Sherlock for answering Mycroft with increasingly sarcastic one-liners. I have to admit, I do love when Sherlock’s a little shit to anyone other than Joan.
The show has decided to adhere closely with canon in Mycroft’s occupation; he’s an operative of MI6, recruited when the French syndicate made him an offer, which MI6 capitalized on. Since then, he’s made himself invaluable to the agency as a gifted strategist.
Mycroft tells Sherlock that he’s expected to meet his handler, a man named Sharington, the next day. They meet at a club that is modeled after the Diogenes Club in canon, where old white men gather, but don’t talk to each other. The purpose of the visit is to give Sherlock a job, in return for their help in rescuing his partner. The case involves a former analyst, Arthur West, who was diagnosed with bipolar and killed in his apartment; the apparent victim of a robbery gone wrong. After his dismissal from the agency, he had contacted them through the years with various conspiracy theories, most of them ignored. He called them one last time, saying he had valuable information, before he was killed. Sharington wants Sherlock to simply look into the case and tell him if this is more than a simple robbery/murder and he’ll consider them even.
Sharington: I did you a favor last night. I saved your partner’s life.
Sherlock: You did and I’m grateful.
Sharington: I also saved your brother’s life too.
Sherlock: I’ll let that slide.
Sherlock informs Watson of the case and, not wanting to sit around, heads to the morgue with Sherlock to examine the body; which incidentally, is missing its arms after arriving to the morgue intact. It’s doubtful it was an inside job by any of the employees, so someone with considerable skill must have taken them.
The inevitable confrontation between Watson and Mycroft happens when they meet outside the brownstone during the investigation. This scene was so full of “YES,” I couldn’t handle it. She tells him in no uncertain terms that she wants nothing to do with him, laying out the reasons why in exact and excruciating detail, basically telling Mycroft, “no,” in answer to any excuse he may have.
… I don’t want to see you again, and it is not because I almost got killed. It is because I cannot believe a word out of your mouth.
There is nothing Mycroft can say (at least right now) that will make what happened alright. Liars will always be liars and though Sherlock is a pain in the ass at times, Watson knows where she stands with him. I was cheering at this moment. And Holmes DOES try. One of the next scenes has Sherlock offering to commiserate with Joan on his experience with Moriarty, a subject he does not like talking about, but he will if it can offer Watson some comfort.
An interview with West’s ex-wife, Marion, reveals a clue as to why someone would take West’s arms. She’s a tattoo artist and there are clues that she uses invisible ink for tattoos that only show up under ultra-violet lights. It’s a good way to carry valuable information for a person who might be under surveillance or at risk of being searched. Someone like a former MI6 analyst. When Marion visits the brownstone later, she confirms Sherlock’s suspicions and tells him that West was a big fan. West was ordered by MI6 to spy on Sherlock while he was in London, make sure he wasn’t a threat. He came to admire what Sherlock stood for and kept the agency away from him until his disease overtook his mind. West was convinced there was a mole in MI6, working in New York, but the tattoos on his arms, a series of numbers, are a mystery to Marion, who fears for her life.
After getting Marion settled in a spare room, Watson drops the bomb to Sherlock that she’s moving out of the brownstone. For all her faith in Sherlock, he still manages to piss her off. He thinks her moving out is all about him and that Joan is simply having an emotional reaction to trauma and she’ll get over it. He’s dismissive and “reduces her feelings to a psychological cliche.” He should know better. Watson cannot live as Sherlock does, working 24/7 and living and breathing detective work. She rightly asserts her need to have her own space, trying to establish firm boundaries with Sherlock just as she did with Mycroft. Of course, Sherlock doesn’t take it well.
You would think that in his emotional state, Sherlock would take Sharington up on his offer in the next scene to come work for MI6, but he’s too much of a loose cannon and independent to do that, though he should be flattered that MI6 watched him a few years back. Sherlock is back at the precinct, now at loose ends and looking over cold cases when Captain Gregson informs him that they found the gun used to kill West. They were able to get prints; rather distinct prints in fact. Two of the fingers have distinctive scars and from Sherlock’s reaction, he knows owns those prints. His suspicions are confirmed later when he dusts a jar Mycroft picked up in the kitchen the other night and finds matching prints.
Meanwhile at the brownstone, Marion reveals that West also knew of Mycroft while he worked at MI6 and that Mycroft had gotten out…at least for a time. However, something brought him back, like a debt or a job. Whatever the reason, Mycroft didn’t come back willingly. As Sherlock is contemplating the prints he found, Watson arrives at Mycroft’s apartment (12B, in another nod to canon). Watson asks Mycroft about a name given to her by Marion. The man, Han, was an Indonesian businessman who worked in London at the height of Sherlock’s heroin addiction. He asked Sherlock to act as a courier for him. What Sherlock didn’t realize was that Han was financing a terrorist plot. The plot was thwarted, but to prevent Sherlock from being sent to prison for a long time, Mycroft cut a deal; he would return to MI6 in exchange for Sherlock’s freesom. Mycroft wasn’t helping MI6 for money, it was to protect Sherlock.
Apparently, this is enough to forgive all they lying and scheming Mycroft has done during the time they’ve known each other and they kiss and make up and engage in some…adult activities. Honestly, I can’t buy it. Yes, Mycroft lied to protect Sherlock, but he still lied. That still makes him a liar. I am thoroughly unimpressed with all the men in Watson’s life at the moment, Sherlock included. I think I’ve officially changed my OTP from Watson/Bell to Watson/Complete Independence. The entire scene is just one big “NOPE.”
It gets even more awkward when Sherlock bursts in on them post-coital to tell Mycroft that he and Watson have to run. See, he doesn’t believe that Mycroft is the murderer; he believes Mycroft is being framed as the mole. The aftermath of these revelations will be revealed next week during the season finale. My personal prediction? Mycroft IS, in fact, the mole and he’ll manage to drive a wedge in between Sherlock and Joan. Sherlock takes the absence of his friend and partner so badly that he falls of the wagon; getting high on the heroin he stashed in that book a few episodes back. We shall see if I’m right next week.