Episode Title: “An Unnatural Arrangement”
Writer: Cathryn Humphris
Director: Christine Moore
Previously on “Elementary:”
Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) may detest the institution of marriage, comparing it to Chinese water torture and labeling it an “elaborate rouse” that turns people into “howling neurotic versions of their former selves, but he’s warming up to the idea of partnership.
This week’s case puts the focus on Captain Gregson’s (Aidan Quinn) personal life, in particular, his troubled marriage. And though Sherlock doesn’t hide his feelings on the subject, he’s emotionally much more evolved, thanks to Watson (Lucy Liu) and it shows in how he handles the Captain’s delicate situation.
When an armed intruder breaks into Gregson’s home, his wife Cheryl (Talia Balsam) shoots the man in the shoulder before he flees the scene. At first, Sherlock and Watson believe an old enemy of Gregson’s could be the culprit. But who would be dumb enough to break into a police captain’s home?
This leads Sherlock to believe a mentally disturbed man who’d been attempting to get the Captain’s attention via email could be responsible. When they arrive at the man’s apartment, they find him unconscious on the floor with a bullet wound is his shoulder. Gregson is convinced it’s the same man who broke into his house based on the wound and the many pictures and clippings about the Captain on his wall. But Sherlock bursts his bubble when points out the wound is in the wrong shoulder and was self-inflicted.
Meanwhile, the culprit breaks into another home, this time killing Sam Clennon, a soldier on leave from Afghanistan. Clennon’s mother mentions his friend and commanding officer, James Monroe, who just happens to be the Gregson’s neighbor. They also learn about an emotionally disturbed soldier named Jacob Esparz, who stabbed Clennon in a fit of rage.
Though Esparz doesn’t have a gun shot wound to tie him to the crime, he does provide the detectives with some interesting information about the dead soldier. Clennon was having an affair with Beth Roney, a married archeologist while in Afghanistan and Sherlock and Watson suspect her husband could be his killer. The duo questions Roney (Sarah Wynter), but to their surprise, she’s divorced from her husband and the two were already separated when she was seeing Clennon.
At this point, the case heads in a different direction but with the same players. Sherlock learns that the site in Afghanistan where Roney was digging and Clennon was working security is home to several temples containing priceless artifacts. One artifact was a copper bowl which was never accounted for, but Sherlock spots on Roney’s shelf.
And with that, the case starts to come together. Sherlock postulates that Roney stole the bowl with the help of the soldiers. However, her man-hating dog would alert neighbors to the presence of most men – except her ex-husband. They conclude that Roney’ ex-husband killed Clennon and attempted to take out Monroe, to keep the profits from the sale of the bowl for themselves. The detectives arrive to arrest Roney, after her ex-husband gives her up. As Sherlock explains it to Roney, her “feminazi” dog led them to suspect her ex and credit cards records proved he’s in New York. She’s taken into custody and Gregson gives her dog to his wife, along with some thoughtful words about no longer putting his job ahead of his marriage.
In addition to a good case, “An Unnatural Arrangement” also takes time to touch on Sherlock and Watson’s own “arrangement.” When another detective asks Watson to help him with a falafel truck robbery case, Sherlock goes ahead and solves it as a “palette cleanser,” while working on Gregson’s home invasion. Watson is upset and tells Sherlock she needs as much practice as she can get in order to keep up with him. In his defense, Sherlock cites their partnership but it’s equality Watson is looking for. And so in a generous and humbling gesture, Sherlock gives Watson a trunk containing all his cold case files, in hopes they she might learn something and, perhaps, even solve one. As the two grow into their partnership, it’s heartening to see Sherlock share not just his victories but also his defeats with Watson. It also gives “Elementary” another source of cases to draw from besides the NYPD and you know they’ve got to be good if even the great Sherlock Holmes couldn’t solve them. Let’s hope Watson gets cracking on one before the season’s over.