"You used to know me, by another name . . . Sean Holmes."
Yes, my friends, here there be spoilers. Flee or stay as you will.
This week's Elementary contained a key moment in the character development of Dr. Joan Watson's resident patient: the revelation of the name he used as a child, before he started telling the world his name was "Sherlock Holmes."
There was, of course, the usual titillation thrown in to kick off the story -- a murder victim in an extra large gimp suit. That detail was quickly dismissed, and the accompanying dominatrix hustled off stage for the rest of the episode. She did give Sean a bullwhip to play with, however.
We learn a lot about Sean Holmes this episode, for which I am quite thankful. Sean's being beaten by bullies as a boy, his crush on an attractive accused murderess whose letters offered him both escape and inspiration to become a consulting detective. It's quite a different story than the college visit to the Trevor household of "The Gloria Scott" that Sherlock Holmes fans are familiar with, but we knew long ago that this wasn't the Sherlock Holmes we've always known.
Sean Holmes's correspondence crush with suspected criminal Abigail Spencer (who later changed her name to Anne Barker) as a lad offers an interesting parallel to his current correspondence relationship with Jamie Moriarty (who earlier changed her name to Irene Adler). Murderous women and letters seems to be a real weak spot of his.
We get a little about the good doctor this week, as well: Joan Watson's uncle was a contractor . . . which gives her a talent for spotting false architectural details. Her participation in the solution of each episode is a regular event this season, which is has had a pleasant softening effect. Not that this episode needed it, this week's little mystery is practically a Lifetime channel mini-movie of quiet relationship talks.
After one such talk with the young victim of sexual abuse at the tale's end and the offer of a sympathetic ear, Sean Holmes is shown focusing a lot of deep-seated anger on a punching bag. It balances his fighting practice earlier in the episode, but it would seem to imply he's working out some of his own inner demons. One has to wonder if the physical violence he suffered as a boy didn't have a bit of a sexual abuse factor.
Just as Joan Watson has been coming into her own this season, it seems that Sean Holmes might be headed toward a more sympathetic role as his full character develops outside that great shadow that is summoned by the name "Sherlock Holmes." It has been an interesting year so far on Elementary. Perhaps not interesting enough that I'm recommending it to my friends just yet, but worth keeping an eye on, just to see where it's headed.
Sean Holmes and Dr. Joan Watson. If only they'd just have started with that, this show would have made a lot more sense, but it's been fun playing with insane Baker Street Irregular theories in getting to this point.