Elementary S2 Ep13 – “All In The Family”

Synopsis Time!

Sherlock and Joan are having very little success finding a replacement for Detective Bell. He is still unable to wield a gun due to the tremor in his right arm, and thus can’t be working on the streets. After listening to them complain about the most recent brute  detective they’ve been paired up with, Gregson tells them that they’ve already burned through half of his department, and if they want to continue being “consulting detectives” for the NYPD, they must “consult” with someone on it.

Elementary S2 Ep13 - Joan and Sherlock discuss old mafia cases with Captain Gregson.Meanwhile, Detective Bell has been busy working his new job with a secret counter-terrorist department. He can’t hold a gun, but he can still use his detective instincts and his eyes. After his skills allow him to find a headless and hand-less body in a barrel, he calls in Gregson to investigate the murder, and is less than pleased when Sherlock and Joan (but mostly Sherlock) tag along.

Joan recognizes the body as “Handsome Bobby” Pardillo, the infamous son of an infamous mob boss that ran New York decades ago. She immediately suspects the Farrara family of being behind Handsome Bobby’s death, as the feud between the Farrara and the Pardillo families made more than a few headlines during Joan’s childhood.So, while Joan digs up all the old case files involving any of the Farrara henchmen who might have done Handsome Bobby in, Sherlock visits Bell’s workplace. Bell is again not happy at seeing Sherlock. He is even more upset when Sherlock talks to the head of the department, Deputy Commissioner DeSilva, and expresses and interest in working with them.

Joan’s digging reveals a probable suspect, Dante Scalise. She and Sherlock visit him at his home the next day. He, of course, denies having any involvement in the death of Handsome Bobby. But the fact that his car explodes with him in it, just after Sherlock and Joan leave, says otherwise. An investigation of Scalise’s home reveals bone fragments belonging to Handsome Bobby, and also a packet of information from the NSA that allowed him to find his victim.

Elementary S2 Ep13 - Joan and Marcus investigate a crime scene.Later, Joan runs into Marcus at the police station, and he asks for her help in getting Sherlock to leave him alone. She finds Sherlock trying to determine the chemical make up of the car bomb that killed Scalise, and confronts him about trying to force a reunion with Marcus. But Sherlock is called away to a secret meeting with an NSA agent, who reveals that the NSA did indeed gather intelligence on Handsome Bobby’s whereabouts, but only on the orders of Deputy Commissioner DeSilva.

Marcus takes the news that his new boss is a dirty cop as well as expected, which is to say, not very well. However, his detective’s instinct does tell him something is going on. He arrives at the brownstone with a folder full of evidence that DeSilva is indeed in bed with the mafia, and has been for decades. In order to cover up his past as a mafia plant, DeSilva had Handsome Bobby killed in hopes of starting a mafia war, during which he could kill the only man who knew his connections with the mob and blame it on mob violence. That man? Handsome Bobby’s father. They catch DeSilva on his way to kill Pardillo Sr.

Afterwards, Marcus returns to the regular police force, taking back his old desk and giving Sherlock a nod as he leaves the station.

Analysis Time!

At last! We’ve seen more of Joan’s background coming through since the very beginning of the season. It’s adorable and badass because, you see, Joan Watson as a little girl wasn’t into ponies or Donnie Osmund or whatever else 70s kids were into (I have very little idea). Joan Watson, as a little girl, was into the American mob.

The way she recognizes Handsome Bobby by only a scar on his leg, the way she explains to Sherlock the history between the Pardillos and the Farraras without even having to stop for breath, the way she wears a fedora completely unironically in New York City in this day and age, all point to the mob being a very interesting and very important part of Joan’s life. Kind of like my generation’s obsession with Harry Potter, I guess.

Obligatory picture of Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu in formal wear and looking a-freaking-mazing in it.

Obligatory picture of Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu in formal wear and looking a-freaking-mazing in it.

I was really happy to see how much of a real asset Joan was to this case, and in a different way than through her medical knowledge. Not that I don’t like it when Joan’s medical knowledge is put on display, but it’s been done on previous occasions, and it’s nice to see more proof that she wasn’t just a doctor before she met Sherlock. I mean, we already know so little about Joan (she’s close to her brother and her mom, she has nosy friends?, she dated a drug addict??) and those personal details only factor marginally into her life and her work now. Sherlock, on the other hand, we know boat loads about (his father was never around, he grew up being raised by a nanny, he was bullied during his boarding school years), and his personal details drive a lot of the decisions he makes in the present, no matter how much he might like to deny them. I’m really hoping to see more of these little details about Joan pop up in the future, and I really hope we get to explore some of the dark secrets she’s hiding as well.

Also, at last! Marcus Bell returns and (somewhat) works through his resentment towards Sherlock! The scene in the brownstone is pretty much amazing, and I’m really glad these two got to “air out their grievances” as Sherlock put it. It was really interesting to see their perspectives of each other change. You could see a sort of light coming on in Marcus’ eyes when Sherlock confessed he used to be a drug addict, and it was a big step of personal growth for Sherlock to do that. Still, he has a lot of room for improvement. He obviously still thinks his apology to Marcus in the hospital was “sincere,” when it was clear he did it more for his guilt than to support his friend. I don’t think Sherlock will be emotionally keen enough to realize that for a while yet, but I’m looking  forward to that day.

One thing that is really beginning to bother me about Elementary is the blandness of their cases. It was something I didn’t mind at first, because of the spectacular character growth and the exploration in the growth of their relationships with each other, but now, it’s starting to get on my nerves. The cases feel like more of a distraction from all the characters’ personal drama rather than an element that is working along with the characters’ drama. I found myself somewhat bored when the mystery was being discussed.

It’s not enough to make me stop watching, but it is certainly getting a little old. Hopefully next week the mystery will satisfy a little more.

What did you think of the episode? Leave a comment below!

 

You can watch “All In The Family” on Amazon Instant Video.