Elementary S2 Ep12 – “The Diabolical Kind”

Jaime Moriarty sits in her cell, with an enormous painting of Joan in the background.

Okay, to be fair, the kidnapping was not done under Moriarty’s orders.

Synopsis Time!

The victim, Kaden Fuller, is the daughter of British nationals living in New York, and is also the heir to some old money. So when the kidnappers call the house and announce to the authorities gathered there (Gregson, Watson, and Holmes included) their demand for $50 million dollars, it’s not a surprise. What is a surprise, however, is the voice that makes the call. Sherlock instantly recognizes it as ‘Faux-riarty’, the man who lent the real Moriarty his voice during Sherlock and Joan’s first phone call with the criminal mastermind.

Joan and Sherlock question Moriarty.This throws suspicion onto the real Moriarty, who the detectives find out is not in a maximum security prison, but a ‘black site’, an abandoned warehouse that the government uses to house its most dangerous, but also most useful, prisoners in considerably more comfort than a regular prison. They question her, during which she tries to rile both Sherlock and Joan, denies any involvement in the kidnapping job, but offers her insights on the real identity of Faux-riarty and the men he likely recruited for the crime in exchange for some ‘favors.’

One of these favors is allowing her to be an ‘active participant’ in the investigation, which translates directly to ‘being in Sherlock’s presence for as long as the investigation lasts, distracting him and getting under his skin’. Everyone involved is less than happy about her immediate proximity to them, but she proves to be a valuable asset, giving them names and sketches of all the likely suspects.

There isn’t a break in the case until the kidnappers murder two patrol officers. One of the kidnappers is killed, but the other, Faux-riarty himself, steals one of their phones, which has the sketches of the faces of him and his men on it. This prompts Sherlock into suspecting that the sketches Moriarty gave them have a message hidden within them, and the criminals murdered the officers to get their hands on the message. As he’s confronting her about the real level of her involvement with the crime, Faux-riarty calls the police station and threatens to disappear with Kaden.

Sherlock eventually decodes the message Moriarty sent in the sketches, and ends up with a set of GPS coordinates to an island off the coast of Norway. Joan suggests that Moriarty’s motivation might not be escape, as her expression when hearing Kaden’s voice during the phone call earlier was one of extreme anger. Shortly afterwards, Sherlock  also is able to decode a message Moriarty’s men sent to her in the classified section of the newspaper, which she was allowed access to during her incarceration. The message reveals that Kaden Fuller is in fact Moriarty’s daughter.

Moriarty stands in a hallway, closing in on her victims.Moriarty escapes, and having deduced where Kaden was being kept from traces found on the body of one of her former employees, makes her way there. She manipulates her former employees into killing each other, except for the ringleader, who she dispatches herself quite gruesomely before calling Sherlock and telling him where she is.

When he arrives, she is surrounded by dead bodies and faint from blood loss; it was necessary that she cut her wrists in order to escape. Sherlock approaches her, and she explains how she had given Kaden to the Fullers to raise after concluding that motherhood was not compatible with her lifestyle, and how her employees likely learned of Kaden’s existence from her biological father. They have a little chat, and Moriarty confesses that her correspondence with Sherlock has had an ‘influence’ on her.

Later, after Moriarty is sent to the hospital to recover, Sherlock chooses not to burn her letters to him , but places them back in his secret hiding spot for them.

Analysis Time!

I think the truth about Moriarty is that she can only love other people as games or game pieces, just as she described to Joan when they were investigating the Fuller residence in this episode. To her, people are puzzles to be solved, or games to win, and then thrown away and replaced with the next challenge. Even her final scene with Sherlock, when she is weak with blood loss and telling him how much his letters mean to him, how his contact with her is ‘teaching’ her how to care for other people, is a ploy for his attention.

She’s a mother, so doesn’t that mean that she’s capable of love? She’s could’ve run for it after escaping, but didn’t, so doesn’t that mean she cares? Not necessarily. I think Moriarty’s escape is actually a matter of pride, not love. Instead of going to Kaden to comfort her, Moriarty chooses to slowly torture and kill the man who tried to beat her at her own game (manipulation and extortion). She views herself as above all the common people, so when people challenge her place at the top of the intellectual food chain, they either get eaten, or they get violently put in their place.

She also tries (and fails) to get under Joan’s skin earlier in the episode by suggesting Joan ‘craves attention from superior minds, like Sherlock. And the reason she willingly goes back to jail? So she can continue to be near Sherlock, who is a puzzle she thought she had solved, but then turned out to be more complicated and resilient than she had anticipated. Undoubtedly she’s going to keep trying.

Sherlock looks on as Moriarty is taken to the hospital.

JLM never fails to make me feel for Sherlock. Poor puppy.

Speaking of Sherlock, the more I see him and Moriarty interacting, the more I get the feeling I’m seeing him spiral back towards addiction, except now, he’s addicted to her. Both are such slippery slopes, Moriarty and heroin. He keeps insisting that his relationship with her is strictly scientific, to be used as a means to better understand how criminals think and with that understanding prevent more crimes from happening. But that’s a lie, and a bad one as well.

He obviously cares about her. Why else would he include such personal thoughts and philosophical musings about himself in his letters to her? It’s because he thinks she will understand him, and he doesn’t want to lose that connection with her.

The one problem I had with this episode was how little of Joan I saw. I really loved her scenes with Moriarty, because they really solidified for me her strength as a character. Moriarty is trying so hard to ruffle her feathers by explaining why Joan will never have as deep and true a connection with Sherlock as she does, and why Sherlock will eventually leave her. It’s visible in Moriarty’s face that she wants to hurt Joan, and she thinks she knows just the right strategy to do so. But when Joan turns away, her expression says ‘You can’t beat me at this game. I’m not even playing.’

Joan asks Sherlock about the true nature of his relationship with Moriarty.

“C’mon, Sherlock. Stop trying to kid yourself.”

I really love how much agency Joan has in her own decisions and how perceptive she is about Moriarty and Sherlock, so it was disappointing to see so little of her. What would be really interesting would be to see Joan be the one to figure both the genius characters out and watch their back-and-forth relationship through her eyes. I also want to see her develop on her own as well, outside of Sherlock and outside of her cases. Just because she isn’t as smart as Sherlock doesn’t mean she isn’t as interesting or complex.

I’m hoping as the season moves forward, we’ll get to explore more of her life, but for now, I’m excited for the reappearance of Detective Bell in next week’s episode!

What did you guys think? Leave your comments down below!