Season 2 of Elementary has ended in a surprising way. After all season 1 ended with the arrest of Moriarty/Irene and thus I was expecting her to spring herself from jail and further attempt to take over the world. Apart from the episode in which she does come back she has been absent. Strangely enough season 2 has thus felt somewhat unhinged. Without an arch criminal behind every act of murder we are left with just the procedural aspects of the show. As such season 2 has both strong and weak episodes. To fill the void it did have a number of small story arcs, such as fallout between Detective Bell and Sherlock and the return of Inspector Lestrade. However, the story arc that saw the return of Mycroft Holmes has been the best so far, and that arc was concluded with the season finale ‘The Grand Experiment’.
The Grand Experiment
The episode starts where the previous one ended, in Mycroft’s apartment. Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) has interrupted Watson and Mycroft having sex by stating that Mycroft is being framed for the murder of Arthur West. Sherlock proofs his point by blowing up Mycroft’s car, stating that whoever framed him also wants him dead. Sherlock contacts Mi6 accusing Mycroft of being a mole and the murderer thus trying to get ahead of the inquiry. Meanwhile Mycroft and Watson are hiding in a library maintained by Mrs. Hudson. Mycroft laments his involvement with Mi6, fearing what he and Sherlock have gotten caught up in.
Sherlock continues his investigation by shadowing a Iranian named Julian Afkhami who owns a bookstore. Arthur West suspected him of being the connection between the Mi6 mole and Iranian intelligence. Sherlock and Watson (Lucy Lui) discover West had recorded the time and place of all of Afkhami’s phone calls, but he couldn’t listen to the conversation because the calls were scrambled. Inside the bookstore of Mr. Afkhami Sherlock finds such a scrambler hidden inside a power jack. Sherlock analyzes the data written on Arthur West’s tattoo and discovers that the last column are cell tower identifiers. The location of the calls match up with places where both Mycroft and his handler Sherrington have been.
With the focus on Sherrington Sherlock discovers that after each one of the phone call between Sherrington and Afkhami a Mi6 operation was busted by the Iranians. Only one phone call has no corresponding incident. Captain Gregson and Detective Bell confront Sherlock with the evidence linking Mycroft to the murder of Arthur West, but Sherlock remains evasive. Sherrington visits Watson at the brownstone and the two confront each other with each other’s secret. After Sherrington hints at violence Watson reveals that a select group of hackers have listened in on their conversation. Watson shows to Sherlock that the last phone call matches with the death of a Iranian citizen.
The relationship between Sherlock and Watson becomes strained because of her decisions to find her own lodgings. Sherlock is angry by the fact that Mycroft ruined their professional relationship, but Watson reveals that Mycroft (Rhys Ifans) tried to protect Sherlock by joining Mi6. At the home of the deceased Iranian Sherlock is vexed by the perplexing blood splatter. If the man had been killed with a baseball bat than why is the blood concentrated on one wall? Watson presses the issue with her leaving, saying he needs to be more independent. Mycroft meanwhile confronts Sherrington. Sherrington suggests he kill Mycroft to prevent Sherlock and Watson becoming a victim of the French Maffia.
At the police station Gregson and Sherlock confront Afkhami, they show they know that Afkhami stoned the Iranian citizen to death because he was having an affair with his wife. Afkhami gives up Sherrington as the murderer of Arthur West. This clear Mycroft but shortly afterwards Sherrington ends up dead, shot during an apparent robbery. Mycroft reveals that the NSA killed him in return for information. The NSA has faked Mycroft’s death to protect him from the Maffia. With that the relationship between Mycroft and Watson is over. Mycroft admits that he cares much about Sherlock.
The episode ends with Sherlock overhearing how Watson buys her own apartment. Sherlock talks with Sherrington’s boss about the offer of Sherlock joining Mi6. Sherlock accepts the offer. Sherlock is also seen tucking away some drugs he located in a previous episode into his own jacket pocket.
The episode and indeed the season ended strongly by using the complicated relationship between Sherlock, Watson and Mycroft to its fullest. In many ways the finale causes Sherlock to come full circle. During the early part of season 1 he was often impulsive and prone to being irrational. During the last two seasons we have seen him come to grips with his previous addiction and the consequences of his impulsive behavior. Sadly that meant that some of the rough edges I like about the character have been smoothed over. The loss of Watson and the pocketing of the drugs means that we will perhaps see some of the earlier Sherlock back in season 3. The show’s writers have done an incredible job with planning this transformation. Watson has also undergone a transformation. She has become a professional detective in her own right, by moving into her own place she proofs she does not need Sherlock as much as he thinks she does. This strain on their relationship prevents the show from immediately jumping at the chance of using a Sherlock/Watson sexual relationship. It seems like at times it can only be the inevitable outcome, by moving into the opposite direction the show remains fresh.
The Grand Experiment actively promotes change, where the season 1 finale promoted continuation. I hope season 3 will make that change happen. This show has a lot of promise, though problems with the procedural aspects remain. This season finale tried to fool viewers at times by letting the think Mycroft may have been the mole after all, but I don’t think many viewers bought into that. Sherlock will be back for its third season sometime September I should think. This was the Elementary Season 2 The Grand Experiment Review.
Score; 9 / 10. The writing manages to skirt around the obvious suspect handsomely in this exciting season finale of Elementary