Elementary Season 3 Finale Review: Tracking You

Elementary S03E24: "A Controlled Descent"

Obviously I haven't been covering Elementary at all this season—@nullnull2654 did nice reviews of every episode; I hope you read them—apart from the occasional FTW at the end of each week, depending on the episode, of course. It's rather amusing that we decided to cut cord on Elementary this season considering how much it improved over last season. It was also a season that lacked a large serialized element peppered across the episodes. There wasn't a Moriarty story—though she's still around, waiting in the wings!—and there wasn't a Mycroft story—thank god—to bring us to the finale with that sense of momentum serialization often brings.

That's not intended as a criticism. After the Mycroft debacle last season, Elementary's abandonment of a season-long arc was a welcomed respite. We had small arcs, including the absolutely fantastic presence of Kitty that served to both reinvigorate the show with some fresh dynamics as well as get the show back to its earlier status quo, Joan's steady ratcheting up of anti-social tendencies following the accidental murder of Andrew, and Sherlock exploring friendships outside of Joan with Bell and Alfredo (but also past relationships with folks like Oscar, Agatha, and a few Irregulars). Season 3's overall focus wasn't so much on plot as it was on character, and while Elementary has typically married the two together for its seasonal arcs, this season, it elected to allow character arcs stand free of any plot baggage, and it made a huge difference in the overall pleasure of the season. Even the cases of the week tended to be stronger this season compared to last season.

As a result of this different mentality, the finale could have gone just about anywhere and focused on either Joan or Sherlock's particular struggles this season. Personally, I would've been all over a more Joan-centric finale, but I imagined a Sherlock-centric finale that looked a lot like "A Controlled Descent." I didn't imagine the hows and the whys—it would have never crossed my mind to have Oscar kidnap Alfredo as the inciting incident—but I did anticipate it would involve Oscar returning to take Sherlock on a trip through the life of a non-recovering addict in an effort to provoke a relapse.

More so than Rhys—Sherlock's former drug dealer we met in Season 1—Oscar has basically been Sherlock's addiction personified. Yes, he's an example of what Sherlock's life may've become had he not gotten and remained clean, but Oscar's speech at the end might as well have been addiction-related anxieties talking:

When I found her, all I could think about was you. Your voice in my head, saying all that stuff you always say about me. That I'm despicable. I'm dumb. I'm a piece of garbage. Well, you're right, again. And it made me want to show you that I'm right about you, too. I knew if I made you look for her you'd find her, but first you'd have to go through what she went through. See what she saw. Go down the same dark holes. And I was going to be there to watch, watch when it hit you, when you realized that this is where you belong, in a place like this, Sherlock. With people like me. I was going to be there to watch you fall. Why do you keep fighting it, huh? Why put yourself through this? We both know it's just a matter of time. So why not just cut to the chase?

These are things that Sherlock says about addiction, but they're also things that Sherlock has likely felt and/or said to himself as he struggled with his addiction. Indeed, given the bottom he very nearly hit in London before Kitty agreed to continue her training, "We both know it's just a matter of time. So why not cut to the chase?" could've very well been what the little packet of heroin was whispering to Sherlock.

A measure of the episode's success hinged on how well it earned the unshown but heavily implied relapse. I'm a little mixed on this point. On the one hand, Sherlock's relapse felt like the easiest way to justify bringing in Sherlock's dad for a bit next season, and so Sherlock must relapse because Elementary would like to get around to this long-lingering plot point. On the other hand, the relapse felt like the end result of Sherlock thinking he had a very firm handle on his sobriety by shifting his support system away from being drug- and professional-centric to being friend-centric.

I don't want to suggest that a recovering addict can't—or even shouldn't—have both types of relationships, but Sherlock has lowered his personal boundaries enough that Oscar's actions made this quest something deeply personal for the detective. Oscar didn't just target Sherlock's sponsor; he targeted Sherlock's friend. While I think that kidnapping Alfredo The Sponsor would have resulted in much the same course of events, the connotations of the situations are different. Nor am I suggesting that just because Sherlock lacked a sponsor that he was more likely to succumb to the lure of drugs. 

It's not outside the realm of possibility that Sherlock likely thought—as Joan did following Andrew's death—that Alfredo simply didn't sign up for this sort of thing when agreeing to be Sherlock's friend and that he wouldn't have been a target if not for Sherlock insisting they change their dynamics. The relapse is an overreaction, of course, but so was Joan's decision to start carving people out of her life and dedicating herself full time to being a detective. They're not "equivalent" responses, of course, but given that sobriety is a sticking point for Sherlock and that maintaining lifelines outside of Sherlock is one for Joan, both responses are terminal points for each characters. 

That I'm doing some postulating about character motivations isn't the best sign for me, though. At my core, I don't know that I really buy Sherlock relapsing at this point. I certainly bought it during the flashback in London, and those flashbacks only had the barest of stages from which to sell it. I think the key problem was, annoyingly, one of recency. It's just been a while since Sherlock really espoused a big concern about the monotony of recovery. Not every episode can or should have an exchange like Sherlock and Joan had in "The Eternity Injection"—"My sobriety is simply a grind. It's just this leaky faucet that requires constant maintenance, and in return offers only not to drip"—but it's been some time since it was that overtly expressed, or at least that I can recall.

And that's why I turn to the idea of Sherlock's subtle dismantling of his sobriety system as Sherlock easing off the grind for a way to really accept the relapse as the culmination of Sherlock's arc this season. Perhaps it was just too subtle for me, and now I'm seeing it in a fuzzy hindsight? If it is fuzzy, well, I suspect that may also have been Elementary's plan all along anyway. In that same conversation from "The Eternity Injection," Sherlock said this: "I used to imagine that a relapse would be the climax to some grand drama. Now I think that if I were to use drugs again, it would in fact be an anticlimax. It would be a surrender to the incessant drip, drip, drip of existence."

So if Sherlock did take apart his sobriety support system—however consciously (and I suspect it was a subconscious act)—and if we treat Oscar's speech as the final nudge to surrender, then maybe I've talked myself into accepting it now, after a couple of paragraphs of working through it? I think a few more instances of his dissatisfaction being explicitly expressed may've helped, but I also think that Elementary wanted this relapse to, indeed, be an anticlimax. It's not something that came out of nowhere, but it's also not the end of a "grand drama." Kicking the crap out of Oscar was the end of the drama. Using again was just the start of another one.



ADDITIONAL CLUES

– "'Who's on first?' is the most perfect joke ever told." You know, that entire scene of Sherlock explaining the parallels of Abbott and Costello and Alfredo's waiting for a message could probably be applied to sobriety, too.

– "You're going to email her, aren't you?" "I don't know! ... Third base."

– Best episodes of Season 3: "The Eternity Injection," "The One That Got Away," "The Female of the Species," "For All You Know," and "One Watson, One Holmes." The absolute best episode of the season was "Bella." It may be my favorite episode of the show so far, actually.


What did you think of "A Controlled Descent" and Season 3 as a whole? Got any predictions for Season 4? And seriously: Who should play Sherlock's father?


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Jul 05, 2015
I don't think Elementary has "earned" Sherlock's relapse with this episode.
There is a lingering suspicion for me that somehow believes someone orchestrated or at least attempted to isolate Sherlock. The father?
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Jun 04, 2015
You are all missing one important question here.

That question is: "When does season 4 start?"
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Jun 05, 2015
5th November
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Jun 05, 2015
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Jun 01, 2015
I still feel like the end was more of a 'penultimate episode' finale than season finale. Just so abrupt with announcing his dad would be there tomorrow...but we'll see how next season goes, I still enjoy the show.
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May 31, 2015
i'm not convinced that he has relapsed. could his state of depression not just be because his connection with Oscar and they way he spoke to him previously led directly to Alfredo's kidnap? Joan seemed awfully calm about the state he was in and seemed to think there was a chance he might speak about it - if he was back in the grip of his addiction that wouldn't be the case surely? and he'd be back in rehab? perhaps Sherlock's profound depression is not due to him relapsing, rather from the shock of seeing the depravity of the whole situation with sober eyes and his having to deal with the emotions he is feeling with regards guilt over Alfredo's suffering? friendship is new to him, trusting people enough to care is new to him.....all this would have been a real head f*ck. and maybe his father is coming over because Sherlock has been indicted for assault (or worse) on Oscar and his father wants to be present for the upcoming criminal proceedings? that way S4 could kick off with legal battles and Sherlock fighting depression and the continued threat of relapse? that could also bring Moriarity back into the story line, perhaps by killing off anyone who is on the side of the prosecutors against Sherlock? on a different note, what about Anthony Head as daddy dearest? too young perhaps? oh well, nothing for it but to wait and see! i've very much enjoyed this series and think all the major players have done an excellent job. i see absolutely no point in comparing it to the UK Sherlock, the two series have nothing in common at all apart from the same basic source material.
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May 31, 2015
http://tvline.com/2015/05/14/elementary-sherlock-drug-relapse-fathers-arrival-season-4-spoilers/
As a lot of people are still speculating. This interview with Rob Doherty makes perfectly clear that he did indeed relapse and also explains the causes.
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Jun 02, 2015
I have read and re-read the interview--he never actually says that Sherlock used. It is actually very carefully worded to not say that.
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Jun 08, 2015
Question 4 ends: "Are we to take away that he has fallen off the wagon?"
The answer given begins with: "Yes."

That's pretty unambiguous. "Falling off the wagon" means "used drugs."
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May 31, 2015
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May 28, 2015
It seems to me that the whole scheme to grab Alfredo and drag Holmes down is too much for a junkie like Oscar to come up with, or even pull off. It looks much more like a Moriarty-esque plan to take Holmes down. I suspect that Holmes figured that out, and his apparent relapse is a fake, designed to uncover the balance of the overall plan. We never see Sherlock use, he is not shooting up when we see him, we do not see any paraphernalia laying around on the roof, and the last we heard of Moriarty, she hints of a an unfolding game between herself and Holmes. etc. I just think there is more to it than a simple relapse caused by a druggie's scheme.
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May 28, 2015
might be a paraphrase to The Reichenbach Falls story in which sherlock fakes is own death.
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May 21, 2015
Glad to see Gregson didn't take the promotion.
My predictions are :
Sherlock addiction will not be short lived, he will however get it under control and will be able to function with the help of Watson.
Sherlocks father will be acted by .... Ian Holm.

Comparing Miller to Cumberbatch Sherlock performances makes no sense to me. Both have their merits based on the source material, ones classic, the other contemporary - and both work.

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May 21, 2015
Or Anthony Hopkins.
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May 21, 2015
The pure lethality radiating out of Miller's eyes at points was stunning. I'm still not sure if I buy that he did in fact use, although we have everything pointing to that. The idea that he used to explain having killed Oscar is compelling though. I was worried that we would learn Oscar had even shot up Alfredo after tying him up. I've always liked Michael Weston, and though I'd rather see him in a different role he was a good choice for this. Great episode, rewarding show and season.
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May 21, 2015
That was some truly grim, harrowing shit that I still have trouble getting over. The ending just completely crushed me. But yeah, for season 3 my favorites were Bella, The Eternity Injection, The Illustrious Client, The One That Got Away, The Female of the Species, For All You Know and this. Jesus, that was one very dark episode.
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May 19, 2015
Sherlock has always been calculated in everything he does. Oscar's leading of Sherlock through the trappings of his former existence and constantly asking Sherlock if these affected him, made Oscar's intentions pretty obvious. Surely Sherlock picked up on this as well and maybe he planned to do something to Oscar all along. The only thing holding him back was Alfredo's safety and immediately upon learning of this he proceeded to savagely beat Oscar. So perhaps the "controlled descent" refers not to Oscar's manipulation of Sherlock, but Sherlock's deliberate (controlled) drug usage to give him a different story as to why he did what he did (i.e. so he could lie about the pre-meditated nature of his crime against Oscar).
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May 18, 2015
Your reasoning behind his using again is just what I needed to get my head around the whole situation. Before reading your article I thought it was out of character, especially when this whole season Sherlock seemed to have really kicked the habit. I guess that's the insidious nature of addiction tho. It can get you at any time.
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May 17, 2015
Hey Noel, good to have you here!
About Elementary - I find it one of the more delicate and subtle shows I've watched recently, so I believe that Sherlock relapse was intentionally an anticlimax. Hence not showing us the exact moment of it (and even the moments that followed - we see Sherlock again only 3 days after).
Also, when Alfredo disappears, and Sherlock considers the possibility that he relapsed, Sherlock mentions his friend Alistair who relapsed and died without any sign for it.
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May 16, 2015
Sherlock i am devastated, why not just inject Oscar with the heroin, believe me, no Great Loss.
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May 16, 2015
I do not have a "serious addiction" it's more like a compulsion and it does not compare... still I have felt many times that I have it under control and suddenly something happens and I cannot even understand how I came to "do it again".

After seeing Sherlock kicking the sh$t out of Alfredo I immediately thought: that's it! He has lost control for a brief moment, he's opened the door to it, the monster is coming in: he will relapse...

Excellent article @noelrk!

Really enjoying the show!
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May 16, 2015
Should have been a double with more buildup, but good episode and season.

I really hope they bring back Moriarty, can't just have the hands down the best character on the show "locked up in jail". I liked Kitty but it feels like her storyline concluded, and Mycroft and Alfredo just doesn't do it for me and i just don't care much about his struggles trying to stay drug free, and little we see he should solve with Watson, i kind of liked it in the first season because it was a chance for the main characters to interact.

We don't need another boring sponsor plus mr boring as a friend. Even if Natalie Dormer doesn't come back, him and Watson should be challenged and try to solve more serious crimes, not just whatever local crimes.




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May 22, 2015
Well, her current character on Game of Thrones just went to prison, even though she was the queen! So, maybe Elementary will get her back for more than one small part next season. She is the best actress on the show!
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May 16, 2015
Sherlock's father...Sean Connery.
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May 18, 2015
I vote for Peter Capaldi, that would be nice ;)
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May 16, 2015
interesting but I think the man swore off ever acting again.
I'm thinking more like... Ian McKellen
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May 16, 2015
McKellen is great no doubt but for me Charles Dance would be the perfect fit. He has the voice, the sharp piercing eyes and brooding intelligence needed for the part. Problem is he only just finished playing Tywin Lannister and its nearly typecasting. Still I would pay good money to see him and Sherlock spar.
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May 15, 2015
I woud have liked to have some more of seasonal or half-seasonal arc. Didn't need to be very important, but something unifying. I did enjoy the Kitty part. I think the cases are better, too (they were pretty bad last season). And I can see that a point or anothet Sherlock was meant to relapse, but I didn't see that he was at that moment, it really feels like a plot device. Well, let's see where it leads.
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May 15, 2015
I hear so often how the UK version Sherlock is so much better than the US version Elementary and every time I have trouble seeing it, mostly because the only thing they have in common is the original source material of Holmes and Watson. Just about everything else is completely different.

I do quite like the format of the UK version. The stylized camera tricks are great and the "movie" vs episode format does allow for much more in depth cases. But the down side is that it's much tougher to see character progression in what equates to a 4.5 hour season cut into 3 separate segments. And for as much as the US versions of shows have unnecessary filler episodes which get annoying, UK shows will often make large leaps in their shortened seasons and just expect the viewer to "go with it", regardless of how improbable (looking at you UK Moriarty arc conclusion).

In this role, Benedict Cumberbatch is a little better than Johnny Lee Miller...but just barely. The inverse is true with Lucy Liu and Martin Freeman. As tandems, which is how they should be judged, I think they're pretty much even.

How does any of that relate specifically to this finale? I don't know that it does, but I dug it. The only complaint I've read both in the review and comments is the unlikelihood of Sherlock's relapse. I don't agree. From the pilot, Elementary hasn't hidden the fact that Holmes struggles with his sobriety. Sometimes he keeps it together pretty well, other times he comes close to using again. But it's usually not more than 3-2 episodes either way, which seems like a pretty real portrayal of what it's like to fight an addiction. One good week, one bad week.

That Holmes this season has been altering and changing the dynamic of his support system could mean he was consciously or unconsciously sabotaging himself and waiting for an excuse. It could mean that he thought he had a grip on his sobriety and was taking steps towards the socialization of a normal person and got smacked in the face by reality. Both are valid theories, which I think is, in part, of what makes this incarnation of Sherlock Holmes so well done.

Personally, I don't really care where they take the story next season because I know I'm going to fully enjoy it. Though, I would request the return of Moriarty, because Natalie Dormer is FANTASTIC in the role and her chemistry with Johnny Lee Miller is amazing. Just sort out the whole Game of Thrones shooting conflicts would ya?
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May 15, 2015
That was an unusual finale! Interesting and unexpected, yet, it felt a bit out of Sherlock’s character! Yes, we've been expecting the relapse, but not in that way. I mean, Oscar’s agenda was too obvious… how Sherlock couldn’t see it?
I generally enjoy moments of psychological tension and emotional conflict – the always add to the character – but Sherlock’s relapse felt somewhat dry, felt too “controlled” to have a strong emotional impact, or even better, to have an emotional impact with the right gravity!
The episode was good, but for a smartly scripted show like “Elementary” I was expecting more!
So, next season will be about Sherlock’s relapse and the Sherlock senior arriving to New York! I can't wait!
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May 15, 2015
Great review and yes, this season has been so much better than the debacle of Season 2.... thanks to the absence of the awful actor Rhys Ifans and the just as awful Mycroft he interpreted. Instead we had Kitty who was brilliant and made the whole Holmes-Watson dynamic all the more interesting... Even the Andrew arc was surprisingly interesting...
  • I think the entire season there's been an undercurrent of Holmes being increasingly weary if not depressed (with some subtle references as to what might have happened to him in London during his time away from NYC) so perhaps this episode was designed to push that storyline one step forward and finally bring Holmes down to relapse but I 100% agree with Noel that I did not buy the relapse... Partly because I found Oscar so despicable and pathetic that I can't believe anyone would be convinced by him to do anything...
  • I suspect that instead of the implied relapse it was perhaps an 'aggravated assault / manslaughter charge (if he harmed or even killed Oscar) that might have landed Sherlock in trouble and gotten his dad on a plane? He did seem to kick his head pretty badly in a way that could have been fatal...
  • I do not have much knowledge of addiction so it is hard to speculate but throughout the episode Sherlock seemed utterly disgusted with everything he saw. There was no glamour or even escapism in any of the aspects of drug addiction we saw through the episode from grotty drug dens to predators like that to the saddest of endings seeing Oscar's sister dead on abandoned train tracks. So I really did not see that Oscar was making a great case for Sherlock to relapse... beyond his blackmail threatening Alfredo's life, I really couldn't see Oscar's argument convincing or tempting in any way.

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May 21, 2015
Okay, Ifans was NOT "awful" at all.
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May 16, 2015
I too am hoping for something different than a relapse. He did kick Oscar very hard and many times! So something more could come from that action but I think it's a relapse story line.
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May 15, 2015
http://tvline.com/2015/05/14/elementary-sherlock-drug-relapse-fathers-arrival-season-4-spoilers/
Just read this interesting interview with Robert Doherty where he explains everything about the last episode. Sherlock definitely relapsed.
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May 16, 2015
Thanks for posting!
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May 15, 2015
It's interesting to follow the debate about the merits of a show that is only still alive because of a fluke syndication deal. If you want to watch the trials and tribulations of an abrasive self-destructive genius, House reruns will give you the real thing without all the phoney touchy-feely pablum, a show that earned respect (and renewals) for originality instead of relying on a lame Sherlock adaptation and incompetent execs at WGN and Hulu.
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May 15, 2015
Of all the finales to have Sherlock relapse, I'd say this was the LEAST reasonable way. Let's take a look at the previous seasons:

-Season 1: The love of Sherlock's life, Irene, comes back and reveals to him that she is Moriarty and staged her own death to distract Sherlock. She executes her endgame and is always one step ahead of him. Sherlock's angst over knowing EXACTLY what Moriarty was up to but not being able to stop it apparently resulting in him relapsing, but it was just a ruse by Watson, who learned Moriarty's genuine love for Sherlock was her biggest weakness.

-Season 2: Sherlock and Watson are now besties and Sherlock learns that his brother Mycroft is sleeping with her, much to his annoyance. Watson, wanting more privacy and a life outside of crime-solving, suggests she move out, and Sherlock spends a great amount of time and effort trying to dissuade his best friend from leaving. Watson is kidnapped, and Mycroft helps Sherlock find her and reveals that he's an MI6 agent. Mycroft is framed by a rogue MI6 agent, and while Sherlock and Watson try to find the agent Mycroft confronts him, kills him, and then fakes his own death so he can disappear. Heartbroken, Watson, not wanting to talk to Sherlock, amps up her apartment search, wanting to get out of the brownstone as soon as possible. Sherlock, in order to deal with the grief of losing both his brother and his best friend, is seen taking a heroin pill he stole from a previous case and then accepting a job in London, leaving the viewer to think he's going to relapse (though he met Ketty during the hiatus and she unknowingly convinced him to ditch the pill and focus on training her.)

-Season 3: After Kitty leaves, Sherlock starts realize he needs more friends than just Watson and become more social. (Watson, on the other hand, begins to go the opposite direction after her boyfriend is killed and she throws herself into her work) He ditches the sponsor/sponsee relationship with Alfredo in exchange for becoming Alfredo's actual friend, and his friendship with Detective Bell gets stronger. Oscar learns about the friendship with Alfredo and kidnaps him under the guise that he's using it to find his sister. Oscar tempts Sherlock with drugs, but Sherlock resists and finds Oscar's sister, who was dead all along. Watson finds Alfedo, alive, and Sherlock, angered by being used by Oscar just because Oscar had an inferiority complex, pummels him... and might have taken the drugs Oscar offered in the first place.

Yeah, this relapse scenario DOESN'T work. For one, most of the time that it looked like Sherlock was going to relapse (with the exception of "A Giant Gun, Filled With Drugs" where Rhys tries to tempt Sherlock into using to get him to focus and save Rhys's daughter) it was because of some major loss or failure. Sherlock getting into drugs in the first place was to deal with the loss of Irene, and he always seems to get crazy stupid when the very few people he lets into his life leave when he doesn't want them to. (Kitty being the exception. He seemed to have expected that she was going to leave New York after he gave her the choice to kill her rapist or let him live and she chose the latter.) If Bell and Watson found Alfredo DEAD then Sherlock's relapse would be justified , but Alfredo was alive and in relatively good condition, and I'm sure Oscar's speech wasn't THAT powerful that he would go back to using.

This season was... strange. With the introduction of Kitty, I thought we'd see sides to the characters we never would see before, such as Watson's home life, Sherlock and Kitty solving the lions share of cases this season, maybe a "Sherlock-lite episode where Watson and Kitty solve the case and Sherlock is either kidnapped or in another country, since we got a "Watson-lite" episode where she doesn't appear AT ALL! Going back to the season 2 dynamic (Sherlock and Watson are partners, best friends, and roommates) after only two episodes after Kitty left makes the season wonky, since really there was NO difference in tone between most of Season 2 (except for the mini arcs with Mycroft, Lastrade, and Bell's shooting, and the final arc... a grand total of 10 episodes out of 24) and season 3 post-Kitty/Joan moving back. I thought I would love it if they pushed reset since I initially HATED Kitty and missed the "wake-ups" Sherlock would do, but then I got exactly what I wanted and it just made me miss Kitty.

Favorite episodes this season- Rip Off (the episode that made me LIKE Kitty), The Nutmeg Concoction, The One That Got Away (my favorite episode in the entire season, with Sherlock's speech about how much Kitty means to him and Kitty admitting that Sherlock is her best friend) The Female of the Species (Bell and Sherlock need more partner episodes, cause this episode was hilarious and awesome), When Your Number's Up (Nice knowing who the murderer is at the beginning and spendng the rest of the episode figuring out WHY she did it), A Stitch in Time, and The Best Way is Always Through. Overall, a good season. 8 out of 10 for the Kitty arc episodes, 6 out of 10 for the post Kitty episodes, and this particular episode gets a 7 out of 10.
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May 15, 2015
Great episode. The second he got Joan's message and finally snapped was pretty intense, all the rage he had accumulated to that point was, in part, coming from his own frustration about how much he was struggling with his addiction, and how Oscar was a reflection of that matter.
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May 15, 2015
I didn't buy the relapse either, but thanks to Noel, now I do. That "drip, drip, drip" can definitely wear on you. Oh well...
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May 15, 2015
Really, a screen grab of Sherlock punching the stunt man, and not Oscar? I know this show doesn't get reviewed by the site on a regular basis, but if you're just going to check in for the season finale to pretend you care at least try to use the characters and not the stunt doubles.

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May 15, 2015
Yes, really! And, you know what, it came from the official CBS press site included in the batch of photos for the episode! OMG. Right? SO HORRIBLE OF THEM. AND THEN I USED IT. JUST A CYCLE OF AWFULNESS.
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May 15, 2015
That is somehow funny in an absurd kind of way... So just for that, glad you kept the stunt shot!
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May 15, 2015
On one hand, I didn't really buy the relapse. On the other, in the reality of addiction relapsing doesn't have to be 'incited', it only requires one to get tired of maintenance for day.

And I agree about "Bella", best episode of the series.
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May 15, 2015
Great episode and great review. Sherlock's expression in the last scene send a shiver down my spine. When I talked about the Promo photo with a friend of mine she said he looks like he was dissolving. Think she got it quite well. All that's left is sadness and emptiness so that even the arrival of his father doesn't matter anymore. It seems the moment Watson wrote that Alfredo was OK something broke in him. Only positive thing if you can see it that way is that he hasn't even got any energy left to kill himself.
The method Oscar used to steer Sherlock into using again can be described as psychological torture. He pulled every trigger one after another. First Alfredo, then talking about physical abuse, Hemdale, his father, the shooting gallery, Irene, abuse again, the dead sister with a needle in his arm and finally the blackmail, saying he would be responsible for Alfredo's death if he didn't shoot up. He systematically psyched him out. As fragile as Sherlock is, I think it was no surprise that he relapsed in the end.
To the question who I guess could be his father. the authors wrote that it will be announced next week and that it is someone incredible. So maybe Donald Sutherland? He would be perfect in age and character and can be British enough. My other tipps are Jeremy Irons or Alan Rickman but they are both a bit too young.
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May 15, 2015
Hey the next time TV.com decides to cut the cord on a show for reviews....Is there anyway you can let us know?
Anyway....
Great review....I left the season finale feeling very confused. As I throughly enjoyed it and the performance from JLM was outstanding as always, Sherlock falling into relapse is heartbreaking (if that is what happened). How could it not? Through out this season "the relapse" as been on the surface and I've been waiting for it. I'm not going to lie a relapse will provide some great story and performances but now that it possibly has happened I feel disappointed in Sherlock. I wish I could take back my thoughts of "looking forward" to this storyline. So sad I'm sure Sherlock is more disappointed in Oscar being "right" than his actual relapse. I will miss Elementary until the fall. Can't wait for next season.
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May 15, 2015
Yeah, my feelings are pretty similar with ImSoDoneWithUsernames below. Good episode but not exactly great for a finale. A little too anticlimactic, and I'm not sure how much I bought into Sherlock 'using' again in that situation.

But this review made me remember the previous struggles and all the quotes and mentions about sobriety and 'using' throughout the show's previous seasons and it paints this finale in a better light for me. Seems more poignant... more fitting. Still nothing amazing, but I like it.
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May 15, 2015
a very eloquent review, not every tv show has to have some 'life in the balance far-fetched and overly dramatic climax. Sometimes something quiet can be just as shocking.
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May 15, 2015
I enjoyed your review. I think elementary is a very good series. I just don't compare it to Sherlock because Elementary can't hold a candle to that show, but on the same note..Elementary is very good on it's own..It still is one of my favorite shows. I think this season has lacked a lot to be desired, but it was still good. Yes Watson has been a bit of a bore but, I like her, they just are not giving her meaty things to do...I for one was upset with the final not because it wasn't good, it just hurt my heart to know what was coming..that ending even made me say oh nooo and got teary eyed. I think this next season will be very interesting to see what becomes of this sad thing that Sherlock has done.
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May 15, 2015
Joan has been pretty boring this season, their attempt at giving her a life went nowhere. As for the finale, I'm actually surprised Sherlock didn't go farther with his beating of Oscar. An interesting twist would have been Sherlock on trial for murder.
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May 15, 2015
Oh man, that last sequence. When Sherlock first picked up the box, I wondered if Oscar had pushed Sherlock so far that he'd make the guy overdose...

And then Sherlock started walking into the dark tunnel, and I was like, "Oh please don't let that be symbolic. You've won! Walk away! Prove him wrong!"

Then we cut to Joan entering the brownstone, and I was sure she was going to find a drug-addled Sherlock...

But then she went up to talk to him, and started talking about his father, and how it had been 3 days, and I was confused... had Sherlock killed Oscar after all?

And then we see Sherlock's face. ****.
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May 15, 2015
agreed I think he used but he's stopped again. Joanne would not leave his side if there is a chance he's continuously using.
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Jun 08, 2015
She would if he insisted. Addicts have to want to stop before anyone can help. She knows enough to know that can't be forced. No one can save an addict from relapse.
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May 15, 2015
Agreed and if he had killed Oscar he might have actually been in prison... at least for a few days until they could sort out whether it was self defense or not.
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May 15, 2015
I felt like the episode was building and building, until all of a sudden it just ended with Sherlock sitting in that chair. I thought it was super anticlimactic and was kind of disappointed. That is, until I also remembered that quote from the earlier episode about his relapse being an anticlimax. That's when I realized how brilliant it was. This episode had something I like about the original Sherlock Holmes stories. They didn't spell it out for you. They expected you to think back and make connections on your own. It was this rare kind of intelligent storytelling and trust in the audience that I ended up appreciating, even if I was underwhelmed when I first finished.
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May 15, 2015
Sorry I'm all for character building, but a show needs that build up to a finale. This just felt like another episode. So much so that I didn't even realize it was a finale until I came here. As an episode it was okay as a finale it was terrible.
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May 15, 2015
My ultimate pick? Jeremy Brett, the most recent TV Sherlock prior to Cumberbatch. He has the debonair nature combined with the required arrogance.

I'd have immediately said someone like Michael Caine, Liam Neeson or Sean Connery (neither Neeson nor Connery is English, yes, I know), but I know that budget won't allow for it. Patrick Stewart has played too noble of characters and would likely drown out Jonny Lee Miller's performance. (Plus after X-men, he's likely out of range too.)

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May 15, 2015
Since my "ultimate" is deceased (see below), my next realistic (budget) pick would be Peter Capaldi, assuming principal filming on Series 9 of Doctor Who would be wrapped by then. (Yes, I know he's from Scotland.) Whatever you may think of the writing of Series 8, there is no denying his talent--his capacity for gravitas, ironic humor, and downright obnoxious insensitivity, that still can let little cracks of warmth show whenever needed.

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May 15, 2015
brett's acting and rathborne's appearance makes for the ultimate holmes.

i would like patrick stewart or ian mckellan.
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May 15, 2015
Jeremy Brett would indeed be a great choice but sadly this fine actor died in 1995.
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May 15, 2015
Ouch. Thanks for the info, but, man, what a loss.


(I didn't realize how old he was when he played Sherlock--such flair!)
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May 15, 2015
If he's out of range is also based on the fact if he likes the show. If an actor likes a show he might do an episode for less than his usual fee (so to speak)
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May 15, 2015
ending was awful. they half ass it.
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May 15, 2015
I enjoyed season 1, once I stopped thinking of them as Sherlock and Watson. I just can't SEE Sherlock Holmes the way he's played in Elementary -- especially with Cumberbatch as a comparison.

The show was mostly fun. But, just like Sherlock's sobriety, Season 2 and 3 have been a grind for me.

The ENERGY of the show is sow LOW. Every single main character talks like they're board out of their skull. In every scene.

And, I really, really hate the incessant theme of Sherlock's addiction. Doyle's Sherlock had addictions, but it was only a key element of a couple of his books. It's too much for me in Elementary.

Elementary's Sherlock is almost autistic in his mannerisms and it's not fun to watch, anymore.

I'm really, really hoping we didn't end with a relapse -- that he either murdered Oscar or did something else drastic -- and that his morossness has more to do with how CLOSE he came and not that he succombed.

I just may be done with the show.
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May 15, 2015
I have to agree with the 'low energy'... I think the overall tone of the show used to be funnier or more light-hearted perhaps? It is no wonder that the ratings are so poor... Most people who tune in for a police procedural tend to want something ultimately uplifting (often with a touch of romance that doesn't seem to be in the cards here) but as much as I love Elementary, Sherlock's increasing depression? apathy? disillusion? seems to be permeating the show... I still watch it but I can't say that it is enjoyable or entertaining... I am fine with that (I even appreciate the integrity of the writers sticking to their vision of how tough life is 'being Sherlock Holmes') but I can see why viewers do not tune in...
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May 15, 2015
Why is it too much for you? The Sherlock in Elementary has flaws that at times take him to the edge. What they've done with Sherlock his brother and Irene allows the show to keep its edge. Joan though has had minimal development and they keep her tied too closely to Sherlock to interesting anymore. I'd at least stick to see what they do with his father.
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May 15, 2015
I dug the episode, as well as your insightful review.
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