Television: Elementary, "The Woman; Heroine"

How unlikely is it that a museum would allow priceless paintings out of its possession, to be taken into an unsecured flat for the restorer to work on? Apparently, though, this technicality is a springboard for Holmes to romance Irene Adler (in a flashback set in London two years prior).

Back in 2013, Irene Adler is confused; a "Mr. Stapleton" (from Hound of the Baskervilles?) seems to have traumatized her. Kidnapped her, made her psychologically dependent . . . Stuff of Gothic novels, really.

And of course Holmes blames himself, wondering what he missed, how he could have been tricked into believing Irene was dead. Declaring Moriarty smarter than himself, Holmes concludes he's better off staying with and caring for Irene than trying to figure out what happened to her or who Stapleton is. He brings her home from the hospital like a stray, and suddenly it's Three's Company. (Not really. Watson offers to move out, but Holmes insists she stay—it's up to Watson to follow the clues about Irene's disappearance, reappearance, and all things in between.)

Oh, and Irene has no family to speak of.

Okay, but the house Irene was found in belongs to a 9-year-old Austrian kid who has a caretaker check on it a couple times a year. And while canvassing (har) the place, Watson picks out a pigment she's read about while learning about art forgeries . . . A pigment made from a plant harvested in Vietnam, Cambodia and the like . . . And Holmes did just mention Irene's estranged brother was last heard of hanging out in those environs . . .

Then again, more likely someone local supplied Irene with her paints. But whom?

More flashback: in a date based on an Indiana Jones movie, Holmes & Irene visit Roman catacombs below London.

The flashback is interrupted by modern-day Irene screaming that Mr. Stapleton had changed the rules again. Then she quite calmly asks Holmes how he's been the past year and a half. Truthfully, at this point I don't much trust Irene, mostly because everyone seems to be laboring under the assumption she's a victim here and beyond reproach.

Meanwhile, the paint is traced to an Isaac Proctor, who shoots an officer and goes on the run.

And Mr. Stapleton magically leaves a white peony on Irene's pillow at Holmes's brownstone . . . Considering we've just heard Isaac being told over the phone that there was something Moriarty wanted him to do, I'm guessing we're supposed to conclude this was the job? But . . . Just as easy for Irene to have done it herself and start screaming after. Hell, Holmes could have done it (if one wanted to believe Moriarty wasn't real and this was all an extremely elaborate game he's playing).

Same is true of the flashback in which Irene leaves Holmes a voicemail asking her to meet him, and he arrives to find a ransom note poster(?!).

After the blood-curdling peony, Holmes takes Irene to a safehouse and tells her that, as long as she is in his life, Moriarty will use her against him.

Ah, but Watson discovers Isaac on the security cameras. He's the one who left the peony. Not only that, but additional digging has revealed Isaac once worked for the CIA as someone whose specialty was psychological pressure tactics.

But Irene has convinced Holmes to disappear with her instead of leaving her. So he comes to the police station to tell Watson goodbye. Of course, she argues this is exactly what Moriarty wants and therefore is a mistake, but he won't listen.

We learn that Moriarty has left standing orders that Sherlock Holmes not be touched. However Isaac, frustrated with Moriarty's obsession with Holmes, has decided to take matters into his own hands. "Sherlock Holmes is a dead man." Jesus, really? Who writes this?

Oh, but Irene's birthmarks are . . . wrong. Different. Setting Holmes off. "How long have you been working for Moriarty?!" But she starts trying some psychological pressure of her own. And after laying the guilt on thick, she tells him she never wants to see him again and walks out.

Holmes returns to the brownstone, only to be greeted by Isaac Proctor.

And then Moriarty shows up to save Holmes—and of course it's Irene Adler. (But using a British accent.) They are one and the same. Big surprise. (Again, not really.)

Lots of talking about who is better and smarter than whom. And then Moriarty leaves.

Watson comes home and helps stitch Holmes's wounds while he admits to being liberated by having learned the truth (it sets you free and all that). He is now set on figuring out Moriarty's scheme(s) in New York, since the only reason she would go to all the trouble of reappearing and putting him off his game would be if he were close to derailing one of her jobs.

Now we're back to the speakeasy story from last week. And a clue from a dead man's cell phone in the form of one of Moriarty's coded messages: BN23 Macedonian Sun. Seems to refer to a Greek cargo ship or possibly its ex-smuggler owner.

While staking out said cargo ship, Holmes tells Bell he finds it "energizing" to have a proper nemesis. Makes for better television drama, anyway, or it could if the writers could manage it. The lemurs in the back of the van, though—that was kind of fun. And I love Marwan.

Watson gets strong-armed into a car with Moriarty. And lunch. Moriarty asks Watson to warn Holmes away from her work; Watson reciprocates by observing that Moriarty must be afraid of Holmes else she wouldn't have gone to so much trouble.

Smuggled lemurs lead to a makeshift game preserve where Marwan's (he's Theo on the show but he'll always be Marwan to me) daughter Alethea and son-in-law care for endangered animals. But Alethea has been kidnapped, the son-in-law (Chad) cut out of the loop while Marwan deals with the abductors. And Chad has a Vicodin prescription . . .

Watson's story of lunch-by-decree (actually, they didn't eat) earns her and Holmes security details from Gregson.

And Moriarty? She's setting Marwan up to assassinate someone for her. That is Alethea's ransom, the price of her freedom.

(Political discourse on Greece and Macedonia, the EU and currency, the apparent reason for wanting to murder this particular man.)

"Let's say we go stop this bitch," says Watson. What she doesn't say aloud: "If only to stop me from getting another history lecture."

Gregson does his best to save the guy, but there's always an insider, right? Someone who lets in the bad guy. And the deed is done. And Marwan, knowing his daughter is safe, is also killed.

Insider guy tries to give a story, but Holmes traces the man to Sutter Risk Management (now renamed), and thereby to Moriarty. But it's all circumstantial.

Watson and Holmes argue over his behavior. He admits he didn't take the Vicodin he found because he knew Watson would be disappointed in him if he did. Then he tells Watson he's disappointed in her because she's telling him to step down for a bit.

To Holmes it must seem like Watson doesn't understand his need for work and stimulation to distract him from all that has happened with Moriarty. His frustration must be acute. His desire to best Moriarty—and therefore achieve closure—just as pressing. (And seeing as the assassination happened despite all Holmes's best efforts, he has not bested Moriarty at all.)

But of course from Watson's POV, this is all eating at him. He cannot sustain this pace. He's a backslide waiting for a place and time to happen.

And then . . . News of a drug dealer being beaten and robbed by a British man with his arm in a sling.

Holmes has locked himself in the bathroom. Watson's not home, but Bell is on security detail when Gregson calls to tell him about the robbery. Bell breaks down the bathroom door and discovers Holmes overdosed on the bathroom floor.

Moriarty visits Holmes in the hospital and tells him she wants to help him. He declines. "Would you prefer I just killed you?" she asks.

His answer: "Yes."

More psychological games as Moriarty tells Holmes that only she understands him, that she's leaving the country and wants him to go with her.

But we all know Holmes did this to lure Moriarty in. There was no overdose. And here's Watson, ready with Gregson to take Moriarty into custody.

Alas, no more nemesis for Holmes. For now.

But he does name a new species of bee after Watson. Nice.

No comments: