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Elementary S02E23: "Art in the Blood"


"Art in the Blood" wasted little time in getting right to a version of the point: Mycroft is an asset for MI-6—"a clearinghouse" for the intelligence agency, as he's remarkably good at sorting through and retaining secrets and information. So Mycroft used his restaurants and himself as a way to go undercover and gather intel on global underworld dealings, and he managed to fool Sherlock into thinking he was just a lazy lout. However, as with many things involving Mycroft, that idea was simultaneously true and inaccurate. 

The lazy lout part isn't true, of course; based on everything we've seen so far, Mycroft is hardly lazy. It would take an extreme amount of energy and effort to keep up that kind of charade, to always be choosing your words and actions so carefully. The challenge was even visible in Rhys Ifans's performance during that scene in the kitchen: Suddenly, his Mycroft went from a soft-spoken stammerer to a man with a sharper edge and hints of smugness. He had fooled his arrogant jerk of a brother, and there was some measure of satisfaction to be had in such a feat.

Of course, even that turned out to be a performance. As it turns out, Mycroft left MI-6 some years ago, and only agreed to come back to protect Sherlock from prison time after Sherlock, during his high-as-a-kite period in London, unknowingly helped a terrorist operation by carrying a package to and fro. Mycroft's continued work with MI-6 has all been for Sherlock's sake; he's been paying off his little brother's debt while his little brother is none the wiser.


If there's a real Mycroft Holmes, it very well could be the man who relayed all of this to Joan in his apartment. Here was a guy who'd sacrificed his life for his brother's sake, to protect Sherlock so that Sherlock could continue to do good by solving the unsolvable. No smugness, no regret. Mycroft now lives with the burden of a good deed that went unnoticed and unrewarded, that almost put a woman he apparently cares deeply for in mortal danger. 

If you can believe any of that. 

I'm not saying I don't, as the acrobatics necessary to get us to this point—a redemptive storyline of sorts for Mycroft—ring true for me. Mycroft's fingerprints on the weapon that killed Arthur West, the bipolar former MI-6 analyst who had stumbled onto a potential mole, were a transparent attempt to toss all that sudden honesty into question, and thus could very easily be dismissed as a red herring. That Sherlock saw it as a frame-up is what gives me a bit of hesitation, and has me weighing the possibility that Elementary is playing us in the same way that Mycroft is playing Holmes and Watson.

Consider: You get roped into a role you were apparently finished with in order to protect your brother. You see a way to achieve some degree of revenge and contentment by selling state secrets and manipulating your brother into clearing your name, only to reveal—[insert evil laugh here]—that it was all part of your dastardly plot to get back at him for ruining your life in the first place.


I don't really think that's the angle Elementary will end up going with, but given the twists and turns this particular narrative thread has taken, and our entry into the world of spies and moles, it's all too easy to fall victim to trying to anticipate a twist by over-thinking it. The show has, at the very least, done a good job of laying the groundwork so that it's at least a possibility, should the writers decide to use it in next week's  finale. I don't know how well I'd receive if it they did go this hypothetical route—it'd depend entirely on how it actually played out—but I already feel predisposed against it because I think the last thing the Mycroft story needs is one last twist.

However, would such a twist stop the show from shaking up its status quo a little bit? Joan's declaration that she's ready to move out of the brownstone wasn't a real shock, as the motivations for it don't feel as fully fleshed out as they might've been. This season has made a few small advancements with Joan's personal life, from one-off friends to her attempt to see men from a dating website, but she's never expressed all that much dissatisfaction with the current arrangement prior to Mycroft's return to New York two episodes ago.

At the risk of sounding like I'm hemming and hawing about this, on some level, I'm okay with it not being fully developed. Yes, I think I would've liked to see more frustration from Joan, but hey, she's a grown woman dealing with a man who has very little respect for other people's boundaries. It's a remarkably adult and self-aware thing to say, "I need a room for a life outside of this, us, what we do." That sort of rationalization is something we don't often see from television characters, who often have to contort themselves to justify staying in their prescribed places to keep the narrative chugging along.

But Mycroft turning out to be a villain (or getting a killed, which is another possibility, I suppose), would be just the thing to possibly send Sherlock into a drug spiral. And a Sherlock drug spiral would be just the thing to convince Joan to stay in the brownstone, albeit in a Season 1 capacity as a sober companion rather than in her Season 2 role as a partner in crime-solving.



ADDITIONAL CLUES

– I kept waiting and waiting for Marion, Arthur's ex-wife, to be revealed as the culprit. Maybe she set up Mycroft. That's the theory I'm going with, if it's not this Juliam Afkhami fellow.

– "I saved your bother's life, too." "I'll let that slide."


What did you think of "Art in the Blood"?


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Honestly if they keep up this Joan and Mycroft bs up i'm gonna have to stop watching this show cause I simpy can not handle it. I just can not. WHY does she need a love interest, but if she must for the love of god, not Mycroft the Baffoon. I often say I'll stop watching a show and then I don't, but I have skipped through most of these last few episodes because of these two. Proving to me that I'm very close to done with it. Unfortunately because I LOVE Sherlock and Joan together. What a waste.
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@Noel:

"– I kept waiting and waiting for Marion, Arthur's ex-wife, to be revealed as the culprit."

I thought that, but the moment I saw her hair I was reminded to fall back to the default of Miss M.
(Although the intro of the MI-6 senior-level boss made me think of Jon Voight in the first Mission: Impossible (Cruise era) film. Which of course I really hope is not the case, because I felt that storyline was so mishandled and weak.)
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Yesterday the eurovision song contest took place and when I listened to the Norwegian song I immediately thought of "Elementary". It is a beautiful song and the lyrics fit so well for the character of Sherlock .
Check out for yourselves.

http://youtu.be/BTMli8U17MM

Performer: Carl Espen
Song title: Silent Storm
Head to toes
Flesh and bones
Should feel whole
But the void
A silent storm
I’m here to use my heart and my hands
Somehow the bruises changed my plans
And there’s a silent storm inside me
Looking for a home
I hope that someone’s gonna find me
And say that I belong
I‘ll wait forever and a lifetime
To find I’m not alone
There’s a silent storm inside me
Someday I’ll be calm
Ask myself
What comes next
Will I fly?
Will I fall?
My silent storm

Chorus


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thanks for sharing! bookmarked
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I hope Sherlock doesn't start using drugs in an attempt to entice Joan not to move out... :(
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he such just kiss her than she'll stay. she just wants a proper partnership ;)
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Joan and Mycroft have NO chemistry and his hair is hideous! they are coping out on joan being into him YUCK
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As soon as Mycroft started telling Joan his story of going back to MI-6 for Sherlock's sake, I though to myself: more BS. Mycroft acted all humble about it, but there was a note of pride in his voice. I surely think he played Joan. BUT, I could end up being wrong. I do think a happy brother reunion just doesn't seem right for this show, and Mycroft still needs to be bad in some way.
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That kiss actually made me like Mycroft, and now I want him to be good and a main character please.
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"it's all too easy to fall victim to trying to anticipate a twist by over-thinking it."
-& and that's what you're doing right now :-) :
- why should he want to get at his brother, a recovering drug-addict? It was his own decision to go back at MI6 without rubbing it in to his brother that he's doing it for him. But now he suddenly wants revenge?
- If Mycroft is really that smart, he wouldn't get caught because of a gun with his fingerprints. That's too amateurish.
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I definitely kept thinking the ex-wife was in on it and I still do, I just kept waiting for the twist that she was MI-6 too.
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Ugh, I hate Mycroft and this plot annoys me. I'll stop watching if he keeps appearing.
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Mycroft said that Sherlock was more fragile than he cared to admit. I think you could see that in the scene where Sherlock comes home in the beginning. He is breathing so fast that Joan has to get up and calm him although she had been the victim. She talks to him like a mother to her child. Brilliantly acted!
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I think Joan needs to be hooking up with Sherlock instead of his brother.. Is that weird?
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Joan needs to hook up with someone who has a last name that is ANYTHING but 'Holmes'. Both Mycroft and Sherlock are terrible choices as romantic partners. They are both too self-centered.
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This was my favorite episode of season two. How I wish every episode of Elementary can be like. I have to sit through some pretty boring ones to get to this. I was thinking after last year Moriarty and Natalie Dormer, they might not be able to top it but they did at least kept in on par which I am pleased.

Wow...Mycroft and Joan getting it on.

It was not unbelievable because Joan sees Mycroft as very protective of Sherlock and they now have a common bond which they never had before. I am not sure if whether Mycroft protecting Sherlock is the whole truth.

I was actually surprised that Sherlock saw it as a frame-up when he burst into Mycroft's apartment. I was expecting him to accuse his brother and I thought Mycroft have managed to fool everyone again. It could still go that way in the finale but I doubt it. Sherlock must have seen something that we have not as viewers to convince him of Myrcroft's innocence.

Whether for good or bad, this version of Sherlock seems to be someone who needs Watson a lot for him to function properly.







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Just when I think Elementary can't get any better, they twist the characters into such a knot not even Alexander could cut apart. Can't say they didn't try though, since Alexander cut a little too close since it left Mycroft with a scar.

Puns aside, I really enjoy seeing Mycroft for who he is. I can completely understand why Sherlock is so adamant about being disturbed by his deceit (smart people always take it the hardest when they get played) but Joan was the surprise. However, I think her problem is that Mycroft's attention sorta balanced out Sherlock's. What I mean is that while Sherlock intellectually stimulated her, Mycroft stimulated her on a more personal and social level. One of the most brilliant pieces of writing was Sherlock trying to commiserate with Joan over them both being decieved by people they fell in love with. The very fact that Sherlock even attempted to make that metaphor, that connection inadvertantly suggests even he understands their relationship better than either Mycroft or Joan does.

Of course he's jealous of Joan. He does have a particular need for stability in his life, so I completely understand his reaction to it, even his avoidance of Joan's growing awareness that she does need more than Sherlock. I think of Mycroft as being the Mary figure of the BBC series: yes, she's married to John but that isn't going to interefere with John's work with Sherlock. Likewise, I think Mycroft wants his personal piece of Joan while letting Sherlock have her for their cases. The fact that it's Mycroft and Sherlock fighting over Joan just makes the similarity all the more interesting.

It's also why I didn't get upset over Joan's reversal. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that Joan's attempt to cut off Mycroft completely was an overreach. you get hurt, you retaliate as hard as you can. Also, Joan has learned to hide alot of her feelings around Sherlock, despite her angry protest to Mycroft that Sherlock at least is honest with her. He may be honest with her but she's anything but honest with him, if only because she doesn't like the fight that ensues. So I wasn't surprised by her wanting to move out nor was I surprised by how quickly she returned to Mycroft once she learned about him going back to MI6. Thats what people who have strong feelings do: they fight intense, they make up intense. Did you see the smile on her face waking up with Mycroft, she hasn't had a smile like that in awhile.

What Sherlock doesn't understand is how he's part of the reason why she likes Mycroft so much. It's not so much transferrence as it is confluence: the things you love tend to congregate. People who love flying find their favorite job flying and then fall in love with a stewardess...desire congregates and defines itself within that particular sense of space. So no, Joan being with Mycroft is not going to take him out of his life, its going to bind her further into it. what that means for Mycroft returning to London, we'll have to see.

As for the mole: I think it's either Mycroft's handler or the head of the SIS (if he knows everything, how could he not know about the mole?) The outside favorite is the ex-wife (is it caring that makes her visit or is she keeping tabs on him to prevent him from spilling secrets?) The fact that she is the center of wherever those numbers appear (on West's arm, then stolen, then at the Brownstone while Sherlock decodes them) makes her a prime suspect, and explains why no defensive wounds (he wouldn't expect the ex to be the mole.) However, i just don't like the ex-wife being the secret mole, too cliche. Could be the jealous new boyfriend but that's an even bigger stretch, since so little of him has been mentioned it would feel like left field if it was him.

The season finale...hurry up please, I can't stand the anticipation this show is building lately.
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Forgot to say it, thanks @noelrk for the review. As always fun and insightful to read.
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Finally, we get to see the real Mycroft! I was worried since his introduction on this show that they had done away with the brilliance of his original role as the information hub of British Intelligence.
Lets face it, Sherlock isn't just mad that Joan was put in danger and Mycroft knew it, its that he didn't see it all along. in previous literature, Sherlock was always quick to point out that Mycroft was actually smarter than him and could surpass his detective skills if he could bother doing his own investigating (Mycroft was also exceedingly lazy). All we can hope for on this show now is that it doesn't descend into sibling rivalry and Sherlock's inability to see his family isn't as dumb as he thought and that actually they have done more for him than anyone.
My guess is that the Holmes family as a whole are influential in more ways than just money back in England, with Mycroft as a small indicator of that. To keep Sherlock away from terrorist charges requires more than a small job on Mycroft's part and maybe his father had to help in that regard.
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When you consider what Sherlock said about his father during the whole series and especially in last week's episode ('My father is a Lovecraftian horror') I think he might be the cause for Sherlock's problems. Even Mycroft referred to the father as "mercurial". It is very speculative but it is possible, that Mycroft looks after his brother now, because he couldn't save Sherlock from their father's temper when they were children.
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I made a mistake, it was Sherlock who called him "mercurial" , his brother said "capricious"
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Am I wrong or did these reviews for Elementary disappear for a while?

This show has been getting meatier lately, I like when they expand the universe around Sherlock more. The weekly procedural cases with no connection to each other can get boring. I hope Sherlock considers the MI-6 offer and heads to the UK with Joan for next season, could be interesting and we 'd get to learn about his former life.
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Some reviews did not appear on the front page because Noel did them out of his love for the show and it appears on the communities pages. In another words, sometimes he did it for free :-)

We thank Noel for that.
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Oh man. I didn't know that I will go look them up then. Noel actually is my favorite reviewer on this site, he does the amazing Arrow reviews which lead me to start watching the show.
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It certainly seems like Mycroft was set up and that his latest story to Joan was all true. However, I keep remembering the source material, where Mycroft is actually more brilliant than Sherlock, but less inclined to solve cases and more inclined to serve his own interests (this has been kept to form in the British version "Sherlock"). I'll entertain the possibility that Mycroft is actually up to something that nobody has figured out yet. On the other hand, in the original stories, Mycroft's brilliance was not a secret to Sherlock. So Elementary may have just truly changed that bit. I don't know why, but I'm kind of expecting Moriarty/Irene to factor into this somehow. She warned Sherlock when last they met that "more stuff was coming than he could possibly imagine" and this could all be her manipulating Sherlock somehow. i.e. get leverage over Sherlock's brother to compel him to do her bidding. Or I could be totally wrong.....just a theory.
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I can see why Sherlock would believe that Mycroft was framed. Despite Sherlock's insults, protests, and sibling rivalry, I think Sherlock does love his brother. Obviously they come from a very dysfunctional family that rarely showed any kind of affection, but they still go out of their way to protect each other and the family's reputation. Sherlock must know that Mycroft or any real spy would be intelligent enough not to leave fingerprints on a murder weapon or to leave the weapon where it could be so easily found so Mycroft must have been framed by the mole. The mole would have been someone in the organization who knew that Sherlock had been tasked with ferreting out the mole. As for Joan wanting her own space, that is quite reasonable since Sherlock does not respect anyone's boundaries and especially not Joan's. As for Sherlock, the threat of losing Joan or Mycroft would definitely be a trigger for Sherlock to dispair and fall back to addiction. Sherlock has few friends and fewer people who really understand him enough to put up with his hubris. Sherlock said in the AA meeting that he had no peer, but really what he said was that he was alone.
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I do think he WAS framed, actually. By his very handler, the one who said to Sherlock that he was friends with the victim. It would explain no defensive wounds, etc... Also why bring in TWO super spy characters, if one of them isn't the mole ?
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When Joan kissed Mycroft, I actually screamed at the TV. And when they showed the "morning after", I had to leave the room for a minute. So disappointed. From "I can't believe a word you say and I don't want to see you ever again" to "you're so wonderful: bone me" in less than 24 hours. Have some dignity, girl.

Not believable.
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I KNOW YUCK and a cop out

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Thank you! I had the exact reaction. Like, after his story about helping Sherlock, I can understand if she had a little more sympathy for him, she was still kidnapped because of him. It really wasn't believable. She didn't seem like Joan in that scene.
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Me too! Honestly, I really like Elementary! But when Joan kissed Mycroft I screamed something like: "Dear writers, if you ever do this again, I'll stop watching this show immediately!"
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I can somehow believe it, and in some ways I expected it, but I let out a huge groan when Joan kissed Mycroft. That felt too unlike Elementary to me, and more like most other dramas that heavily feature lovey-dovey relationships. The fact that that kiss led to bed was probably worse, although by that point it was to be fully expected. Blah, oh well. I enjoyed the rest of the episode.
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The personality whiplash is theoretically possible, but in practice it would fry the brain of anyone who attempted it - I mean drooling-on-the-floor, twitching, tased-while-standing-in-a-puddle kind of fried.

Reminds me of two other characters I've done a lot of groaning over. (1) Rachel Zane from Suits. Strong one minute, a wet paper towel the next. Just can't get her **** together and comes across as an unlikeable flake. And from a few years ago, (2) Wilhelmina Slater from Ugly Betty. She was pure evil one episode, soft and seeking redemption the next, and back to demonic in the next. Couldn't hate her, couldn't like her, ended up apathetic. (Also reminds me of my Dallas Cowboys: you never know which team is going to show up.)

I'm sure there are more than one writer for these shows and they're not all on the same page, but the characters end up acting less and less believable - or relatable.
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I didn't care for that, either, but it's not unreasonable. When she realized that all the stuff she was pissed about were due to a selfless desire to save Sherlock, there was no longer any reason to be mad. She saw him in an even better light than before.
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Nope. Still not believable. Nope.
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It's not as if this was a guy she never liked and suddenly fell in love. This was a guy she liked very much and then was very angry with. So, when she learned her anger was a bit misplaced, it's totally believable the anger would totally lifted.
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I am thoroughly confused as to what's going on with Joan Watson. One minute she's telling off Mycroft with all of the words and disdain that I wish I'd had for all of the exes who have showed up at my door, and the next, she's falling for the dashing big fat liar of a "spy." I wanted to shake her and ask, "Girl, WHAT is wrong with you?!" And was I the only one who had to cover their eyes during the "love" scene? And, no, Noel, I don't believe any of it. I really need this arc to end soon because I, too, feel like we're getting punk'd. I honestly thought I was witnessing a shark jumping in progress. It completely overshadowed Sherlock's wonderfully interesting foray into the world of espionage.

Also, I'm not convinced that the spy's wife isn't the culprit. She clearly knows too much to be a civilian, even if her husband was bipolar.
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She doesn't strike me as a civilian either. But i don't think she is the culprit.
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I wonder how she knew so much about Sherlock, especially the sentence about that it should be familiar to him that someone has problems and needs help.
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She has been in a position to get Mycroft's fingerprints. She is almost too obvious.
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Thanks Noel for another great recap. I think your insights are spot on and reflect most of my thoughts on the shenanigans that are going on.

I'm not completely sure what I thought of this episode. It was good but I'm not sure if I was distracted in general but I just had a harder time then usual keeping up with the case of the week. Maybe it's all those whispered English accents that at times I feel like I need subtitles for even though it's spoken in my native tongue :) Not complaining as it's pretty sexy, but yea....sometimes distracting.

I guess my biggest complaint is Watson right now. What is going on with her character? She is being the biggest Ice queen to Sherlock now and I can't really understand why. This show to me is all about their partnership and this last half of the second season has felt very "off" in that department. I mean poor Sherlock kept trying to ask her how she was, showing concern and she just rudely keeps shutting him out. It's getting old fast for a show that's biggest draw for me is the funny, compelling relationship between the two of them.

I'm also already tired of this Mycroft storyline. Is he good? Is he bad? Ping ponging constantly between that is getting boring. Don't even get me started on the "yuck" factor that was the bed scene between him and Joan. My eyes will never un see that, so no thank you Elementary.

I just hope that next weeks season finale brings it better than this episode for me. I also hope we don't leave the season with Sherlock/Watson's relationship totally in shambles.
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I was watching live yesterday ( that 99% never happens I work nights) when I heard: "I saved your bother's life, too." "I'll let that slide." I twitted it right away LOL!

Why is everybody talking about Watson being selfish? The 1st year she served as a sobriety companion. This second year has been all about being partners and there's a strong mentor/mentoree relation-ship but why do they need to live together? It's no longer for economical reasons either (Watson is getting paid although less than before probably)

Why can't she have her own space? Is she indebted for life to Holmes in any way? Holmes is the one that wants her close because it is extremely convenient for him... Holmes has always been the selfish one. Everything revolves round him...

I've enjoyed this season very much.
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Are people saying she's being selfish? Because she's not.
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I can't speak for the entire fandom but I don't think she's being selfish but I will say I think she is being a little insensitive. I understand her need for more privacy and space. Obviously her work as a detective does not define her total person like Sherlock. I'm probably being selfish for not wanting her to move out because as a fan of their partnership I don't want to see more space come between them as I feel like there is already to much of that this season anyway. I'm just saying Joan is being a bit insensitive because Sherlock apologized last night for his personal part in her kidnapping (which I can't even imagine what that was) and instead of her maybe I don't know....Thanking him for nearly going crazy and finding the list that helped save her life, she just cuts him off and gets all distant. She then proceeds to give Mycroft the verbal thrashing that he needs but the moment he boo hoos that his involvement into espionage is because of saving Sherlock she jumps on top of him again, without even pausing after all his lies to both her and Sherlock to process it all. I guess after two seasons of a pretty smart Watson, she is just looking kind of dumb right now.
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It is a great responsibility to care for someone like Sherlock. I think how Joan and Mycroft react is quite realistic and sensible, too. When you are in constant worry about somebody you need to take some time off for yourself . Otherwise your task will consume you completely. What Joan and Mycroft do is just self-protection and that is healthy.
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Well Watson is supposed to have a romantic relationship of sorts with Mycroft, with Sherlock it's all about business the 1st year, and the second year it is still business but in a more - I don't want to use the word intimate - close way.

Hey let's face it: the Holmes brothers might be as clever as you want but they still have their issues and being clever doesn't make up for being an utter jerk... doesn't work like that!
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I kept waiting and waiting for Marion, Arthur's ex-wife, to be revealed as the culprit. Me too, but every time a piece of information by here appeared to be true, I got confused.

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I hadn't read it before, but obviously 'Jycroft' is the shipping name for the combination. Reading what people think about them, I believe the name 'Moan' would be better.
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Yup. "Moan" wins. After all, that's what I do whenever they get together.
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I SO agree.

And I had a hearty laugh at reading that :)
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Mission accomplished!
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It's a shame 'Mrs' H doesn't actually get used in this variant. They dangle (pun intended) the she/male character and then dismiss it.
I love seeing Ifans turn up and the glib jousting but fear the Joan arc is naff and makes little sense. On the one hand she's Sherlock's friend, colleague and just say no saving grace but then on the other she's suddenly moving out and rather selfishly deciding to date and deeply unsettle him with Mycroft.
Hard and fast relational changes for an addict can be catastrophic and yet she's now flaunting and joking about it. If we're to believe Sherlock is so vulnerable, as Mycroft reiterated, then this is all hokum. You can't write in one moment that 'Jycroft' are so careful and thoughtful about their 'charge' and then have them acting like juvenile bear pokers.
The case has been dropped now as to whether Sherlock will use it in a secondary fashion to destroy 'Jycroft, which is a shame as it could've proven to be an inventive and broad one.
This remains one of my favourite shows but God it gets clunky at times with emotion traps, in its ever troubled concerns over not making Sherlock too abstract for the more general viewer. Perhaps the writers should watch some episodes of House.

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Maybe is Joan really does move out, Mrs. Hudson will move in to help Sherlock out around the place.
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That would be excellent. :)
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I'm loving this new MI-6 and Mycroft angle to Elementary, its been handled brilliantly. The writers will have to pull out all the stops next season when it goes back to crime solving with the NYPD!
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Why does everyone keep expecting sherlock to fall into a drug spiral?
i think elementary plays up the threat all too much.
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I don't think the show plays it up too much at all. Sherlock is, in addict's terms, very newly sober, and that fact that he realizes daily what he faces is realistic. People outside the show however (fans, reviewers) present his eventual relapse as a given plot development, and I disagree. I do agree with fellow poster current, who believes the 'Jycroft' arc makes little sense. Watson's dedication to Holmes' sobriety and their friendship has just flown out the window, all for a nice roll in the hay. Not in character, and not really believable as a whole.
I don't truly believe anything Mycroft says. or that Sherlock actually believes his brother is being framed. The outcome here could go either way.
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No, Joan's actions seem quite out of character to me. The last scenes of the episode had me wondering was the show about to jump the shark. I was grossed out by it all.
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I was also waiting for the Ex-wife to be the spy. And after Sherlocks epiphany I though it would be Mycroft... I fell in every pittrap this show is laying out right in front of me ;) Now I can´t wait for next weeks episode!
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