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'Elementary' fan recap: Old nemeses and new partnerships

Season 3 | Episode 14 | “The Female of the Species” | Aired Feb 12, 2014

In this week’s Elementary, Joan is forced to reconsider her partnership with Sherlock—and her life as a detective—after an attack by an old foe claims the life of her boyfriend, Andrew.

It turns out that sip of hemlock-laced latte was too much for Andrew from 6D, who died before the ambulance arrived. Joan and the police are able to identify the killer, a foreign assassin. She entered the country with a little help from Elana March (Gina Gershon), the cartel leader and erstwhile nemesis of Watson’s who has been behind bars since the season premiere. When Watson confronts March in jail, Elana is less than coy about potential collateral damage resulting from her rivalry from Joan.

“If he was involved with you, he was involved with me,” Elana says.

Joan is placed under police protection, but she’s confident March won’t try to attack her again for a while. But she still needs time to recover, so Sherlock lets her know that he’s available to help—but won’t intrude until she feels ready to get back to work.

But with two pregnant zebras stolen from the Bronx Zoo, Sherlock needs a partner. So he enlists the help of Detective Bell, who is enjoying (read: totally bored by) some mandatory vacation time.

Now, I need to gripe a bit. I realize that a one-hour crime procedural requires an accelerated pace, but this week’s case benefited from a few too many coincidences for my liking. I can buy that the zebra thief scraped a gate while driving away from the zoo, but it just so happens that the truck was painted in a proprietary shade of purple? And that shade of purple happens to be claimed by a specific parcel service with a recently stolen truck? And that stolen truck happens to have been carrying an active GPS tracking chip?

And there’s more, from the receipt and Federal Feeds tag that Sherlock is able to locate, pointing them straight to the quagga thief/veterinarian killer, to the most egregious coincidence of all: The suspect lives in an apartment built over a defunct speakeasy tunnel? Come on!

That said, I’m willing to forgive the writers because of that beautiful shot of Detective Bell and Sherlock chatting about the case over breakfast while the thief/murderer is apprehended just outside the diner where they’re sitting. It’s a Hitchcockian move straight out of Rear Window, culminating perfectly with Holmes standing, shaking hands with Bell (or “Marcus”) over a job well done, and walking away.

But I’m unclear on what parallel, if any, the writers were trying to draw between the case and Andrew’s murder. Sherlock was hunting a man who managed to successfully resurrect an extinct species, with the intent of selling the quagga foals on the black market. Does that resurrection mirror Joan’s self-blame for Andrew’s death? Does it refer to Elana March, who was presumed out of the picture until she suddenly resurfaced? Or could it even refer to Jamie Moriarty, who learns of the attack on Joan and coordinates a hit on Elana from whatever hole she’s currently locked away in?

Or perhaps the resurrection is Joan’s. After Andrew’s death, she realizes that it’s impossible for her to have a normal life. She tells Sherlock that she is ready to fully embrace a life as a detective and live in that dangerous and bizarre world. And to do that, she says, she needs to be in a place where she can fully commit to her work.

“The best place for me to do that is here,” she says. “I want to come back to the brownstone.”

Stray Thoughts

  • I know I’ve been a broken record about Andrew, but I still think killing him off screen was a character disservice. Raza Jaffrey was so underutilized that you’d think the writers would at least give him a chance to shine before snuffing him out of the show for good.
  • The (sort of) return of Moriarty was an exciting surprise. It was a great reminder of how powerful she still is, wherever she is, and hopefully suggests we’ll be seeing Natalie Dormer soon.
  • Sherlock’s contempt for BeeBeeKing17, coupled with his righteous indignation about Colony Collapse Disorder, made me literally laugh out loud. “The cheap punnery of BeeBeeKing17 is offensive to musicians and apiarists alike.

Elementary airs Thursdays at 10/9C on CBS.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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