Elementary, Season 2, Episode 3, “We Are Everyone”
Written by Craig Sweeny
Directed by Michael Pressman
Airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on CBS
This week, on Elementary: Joan tries out a dating site, Sherlock puts a shoe on his head, and they both get hacked
“We Are Everyone” continues Elementary’s strong start to its second season, with a fun case of the week and interesting character moments for both Joan and Sherlock. It’s been interesting seeing such a minimized role for the NYPD characters, with Gregson and Bell only appearing significantly in one of the first three this season, but their slack is more than made up for this week by the examination of Joan and Sherlock’s lives, friendships, or lack thereof, and choices. Elementary doesn’t often rip from the headlines, Law & Order style, so their take on Anonymous and a Snowden-like figure is a fun change of pace. The highlight, though, is the thoughtful look writer Craig Sweeny takes into our leads’ circumstances and how their lifestyle affects them, as well as those around them.
Christian Campbell, who this writer became a fan of thanks to Showtime’s delightful Reefer Madness: the Movie Musical, plays our Snowden stand-in, a leaker/whistleblower running from the authorities. After the teaser, it’s a surprise to get so little time with him, and so little discussion or examination of Joan and especially Sherlock’s thoughts on him. While changing up the narrative with a murder puts the episode more squarely in the show’s usual format, it also takes away any moral murkiness. Sherlock Holmes’ thoughts on the leaking of classified information would actually be very interesting, particularly given his touchy relationship with Mycroft, keeper of any number of state secrets and orchestrator of many a nefarious scheme (at least in the novels). It’s a shame Elementary takes the simplified, safe route instead.
The rest of the episode, however, opts for complexity. We’ve seen several glimpses of Joan’s friends over the series and touching base with them again here makes sense. With as high-maintenance a friend and business partner as Sherlock, her social life would have to suffer. It’s nice to get a sense of her life outside of him and even better to see that she has friends who care about her and want her to be happy, without judging her new direction. In a week where at least two other shows have seen main characters try dating websites, it’s refreshing to see a positive portrayal of them for once. More and more people are meeting online and the common TV stereotypes of online daters have already more than begun to wear thin. Joan is an incredibly bright character, but while she’s strong-willed and self-assured, she’s still realistically tentative with her profile and use of the site, a nice detail.
The single best, most satisfying development with Joan all season, though, is her growing confidence and proficiency with detective work. Usually Sherlock Holmes adaptations keep Watson somewhat bumbling and lesser-than, intellectually, no matter how long s/he’s been with Holmes. Even the fantastic Sherlock has not seen fit to have Watson grow as an investigator. Elementary’s approach to the dynamic is different, with Joan as an apprentice rather than just friend and adventure-seeking companion. As a Holmes aficionado, this reviewer was as hesitant as anyone about the changes the Elementary team were making throughout season 1, but each week, their adjustments pay bigger and bigger dividends, with Joan’s new sleight-of-hand skills only the latest fun addition.
This week’s exploration of Sherlock’s inability, or more accurately unwillingness, to form new relationships is another welcome thematic return. The obvious silence over the past two weeks on the Irene/Moriarty issue is finally addressed and fans of Natalie Dormer’s season one-ending turn as the character are undoubtedly glad to hear, if not see, her back this week. Joan and Sherlock’s individual journeys with connection should be interesting to follow this season; hopefully this will be a recurring thread, rather than one briefly toyed with then forgotten for weeks at a time. As a relatively recent convert to the series, watching Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu’s performances continue to settle and deepen in the past few months (of marathoning) has been a lot of fun. Their rapport has continued to strengthen throughout season two and, while Elementary has completely different goals than Sherlock, it continues to earn its place next to that brilliant adaptation as another worthy entry in the Holmes library.
What did you think of this episode? Did NotSnowden work for you? Anyone else enjoy seeing Sherlock humbled by the internet? Joan’s dating website drop by- sweet or creepy? Post your thoughts below!