At the beginning of this past weekend, I saw Searching in my favorite local theater, a great mystery starring John Cho. Some twists, some turns, and a solid story told in a unique format that worked. And tonight, I watched the last episode of season six of CBS's Elementary. (Yes,there will be spoilers! HUGE SPOILERS!!! FLEE OR BE SPOILED!)
Entitled "Whatever Remains, However Improbable," it starts with the ham-handed accusal of Joan Watson by an FBI special agent who is a little too determined to take Joan to jail for the murder of a serial killer by beating him to death -- the very episode after we saw him nearly beat her to death.
Her partner, whom I like to call "Mr. Elementary," decides to work outside the rules to solve the case, and spends a lot of this episode making an ugly face that seems to indicate determination at his friends at NYPD. Our first suspect in the case is the very FBI agent who is accusing Joan, as no other characters have really shown up yet. And I was starting to suspect Elementary of losing its touch of adding random tittilations for seasoning when a man who is aroused by bees is referenced.
Jonny Lee Miller can't seem to give up scowlilng like he's doing a bad Popeye impression, making that ugly-face as he questions folks along the way, and at the halfway point through the episode we get the big shocker . . . could Captain Gregson be a part of whatever's going on?
So, Mr. Elementary makes a mess in Gregson's house, sits and waits for him in the dark . . . probably not a good move with a cop who carries a gun. "How much do you know?" Gregson asks grimly and the two sit down at the dining room table.
Between the two men, they talk out who actually killed the serial killer, walk through how she did it, and basically give us a solution that was not set up for, not led up to, and was just inserted to provide a reason for maximum drama between Captain Gregson and Mr. Elementary.
"She's my daughter . . . and my best friend."
Hannah Gregson is the killer. Mr. Elementary yells at Gregson with all the same points the FBI agent yelled at Joan Watson earlier in the episode. Then Mr. Elementary yells at Joan Watson as they debate letting Hannah Gregson's going away. He brings up the fact Joan wants to adopt a child.
"WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE PARTNERS!" he yells.
"We are . . . so be one," Joan calmly states back.
This show is all about the relationships between its characters, but who are those characters? Whatever they need to be in a given scene. Twists don't come organically, they come with all the sudden pop-up of a deus ex machina, one after another. A fan of this show might be watching this episode thinking that it's showing how much the characters care about each other that they'll try to save each other (or their loved ones) from taking the fall for a crime by dramatic self-sacrifice, but for the viewer coming in cold late in the season, there is no one in this wild caper of . . .
Excuse me, but in the last commercial break, the face of the man the good Carter and I bought our house from appears on the screen. He defends criminals for a living, I wonder what he would make of the mess the Elementary crew has gotten themselves into.
The part past the commercial break is the big scene this episode has been leading up to: Mr. Elementary and Joan Watson saying good-bye as he returns to England, taking the blame for the crime in question and escaping the law to be protected by MI-6 for some reason. It's a very emotional good-by, full of gratitude and admissions of love . . . what? They can't mean "in love," as that was the one thing the show runners swore they never did.
So Mr. Elementary winds up with an office and Lord St. Simon coming to his office with the classic "Noble Bachelor" case . . . and he's back in London at 221B Baker Street, next door to 221A Baker Street, and who lives at 221A Baker Street?
Joan Watson. And they're "two people who love each other" solving crimes in London. A wonderful happy ending for the series. Man, I hated this whole episode, but the last five minutes was a happy, ridiculous bit of fun, as much of a tribute to the actual Sherlock Holmes as this series has ever done, and . . . wait, there's going to be a season seven. Could it possibly take place in London?
After all the grim New York garbage trucks and precinct houses and park benches, a shot at Elementary in relatively exotic London? I don't believe it. They just let a murderer walk free without giving us any real justification other than that she killed a bad man and her father loves her.
This show! Very curious how they top this ending when they actually end the series after season seven . . . unless there now isn't going to be a season seven.