Elementary, Season 2: Episode 11 – “Internal Audit”
Written by Bob Goodman
Directed by Jerry Levine
Returns January 2nd
Ever since the second season premiere, I’ve been singing the praises of the inclusion of Rhys Ifans on Elementary and the general attention to the serialization – the “mythology” episodes, a phrase borrowed from The X-Files. Although I would have liked to have seen a bigger episode than we got in “Internal Audit” before the series goes on winter break, it’s actually an interesting example of how Elementary has the ability to create the feeling of serialization without relying on characters like Mycroft and Irene Adler. These last three episodes have really sunk their teeth into judging Sherlock for the kind of person he is. The most important part of that judgment is that it’s been as objective as possible, without outright condemning Holmes for his cockiness to the point of villainy and without letting get off easy and avoiding the repercussions of his actions. Detective Bell’s injury, while not a major concern of “Internal Audit” as a whole, serves as an incredibly important image for where the series is now. Sherlock is constantly like a kid playing a game. Solving murders is solving puzzles, and you can see the same kind of triumphant satisfaction in his eyes as you would with someone else winning in Monopoly. Like with Monopoly, though, the road to victory is full of setbacks and/or loses. Elementary hasn’t really gone all the way with bringing those ideas of loss and irreparable damage upon its two central characters (there have only been hints of it), but Bell’s arc in these last two episodes really drops that idea down and lets it marinate, which is much appreciated for viewers who like seeing their TV characters challenged.
All these ideas swirl around in “Internal Audit” around the episode’s crime plot, which – and it feels like I’m always saying this – doesn’t exactly stand out among the rest of the crime plots but still manages to be twisty and turny enough for it to be interesting. What’s more, the crime plot allows for a connection to be brought to light between one of the potential suspects and Joan. That connection ends up having nothing to do with guilt regarding the crime, but it illuminates a part of Joan’s character that we haven’t really spent any time with. As much of a mentor as Sherlock has been to Joan, Joan is a completely independent and strong person in her own right capable of being a leader and crutch to others.
And speaking of mentors, perhaps the single most interesting part of “Internal Audit” is Sherlock’s eventual decision to take on a sponsor. His own sponsor says he’s ready, which is mostly truth if it is also partly because it might help with coping with the guilt of Bell’s injury. Based on how Sherlock is portrayed in this series, he seems like the kind of person you would want as your teacher if you were serious about the subject; he’s ridiculously intelligent and he’s harshly critical of error in a way that helps the determined kind of person. But Sherlock has only allowed himself to take Joan under his wing. As a recovering addict and someone who is now face-to-face with some of the not-so-pleasant results of his meticulousness, it’s no wonder why he would be so reluctant to take on a complete stranger and a sponsee. And yet it does make the most sense to rehabilitate his suffering character now. Even if Bell won’t forgive him or even see him, it’s a way to remind himself that he is capable of doing good things for people.
– Sean Colletti