ELEMENTARY 1.17 ‘Possibility Two’

Watson begins her training as Sherlock takes on a killer who has mastered the science of murder.

Hilary Rothingby Hilary Rothing

Episode Title: "Possibility Two"

Writer: Mark Goffman

Director: Seith Mann

Previously on "Elementary"

Episode 1.16 "Details"


In "Possibility Two," we see a shift in the dynamic between Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) as they transition from addict and "sober companion" to teacher and student. No longer an outsider observing Sherlock’s erratic behavior and occasionally trying to contain it, Watson is now trying to learn from and even emulate it when called for.

Alright, maybe she’s not going to take up bee keeping and start a padlock collection, but as Watson’s role has changed, so has her perspective. Gone are the eye-rolls and blank expressions we’re used to from Watson every time Sherlock has an outburst or wild theory. Instead, Watson is eager to figure why Sherlock does what he does – like send her to "the worst dry cleaner" on Earth. Turns out it’s not to pick up his cashmere sweaters, but to bust a money laundering operation. Watson’s interactions with the employees, an older woman absorbed in a television show and a bald guy in a tracksuit and sunglasses are a humorous aside, but even we don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to see there’s something shady going on here.

At least Watson is quicker when it comes to the much more pressing investigation of Gerald Lydon, a wealthy businessman suffering from a kind of hereditary dementia, known as CAA, which he claims someone induced in him.

Not one to buy into conspiracy theories, at first Sherlock refuses to take the case, even after Lydon sweetens the pot by having his driver deliver an exotic bee to his home. However, after Lydon kills his driver in a state of paranoia and begs Sherlock to find out who poisoned him, he tells Watson he can’t refuse a dying man’s last wish.

Interestingly, Sherlock, an apparent proponent of Occam’s razor which states the simplest explanation is usually the correct one, is the one running with and expanding on Lydon’s theory. And when a geneticist at Watt Helix, a lab researching CAA, is found dead after tipping off Sherlock and Watson to the molecular formula to reproduce the disease, it looks Lydon might be on to something.

After finding another wealthy victim of induced-CAA, Sherlock and Watson learn that the dead geneticist was acting as a whistleblower at Watt Helix. Sherlock theorizes that the head of the lab, Paul Watt was hoping to bring in hefty research donations by inducing the disease in wealthy people. Their money ups Watt’s chances of finding a cure for his own CAA.

Though Sherlock carries much of the investigative work in the case, he calls on Watson to piece things together for the police on a number of occasions. She’s not always right, but her theories add another layer to what would otherwise be a scene where Sherlock just tells us what happened.

Now that Watson’s signed on as Sherlock’s apprentice and the "stay or go" subplot has been resolved, there’s room for some cool new stuff like Watson’s visits to the money laundering dry cleaner and other elements of her training, like whacking a dummy on the head with a wooden sword. More, please.

My only concern is whether or not this relationship shift will affect "Elementary’s" sense of humor. There’s some great comedic chemistry here and even with their new arrangement, Sherlock and Watson have some funny moments in this episode. And I suspect as Watson builds more confidence in her investigative skills and maybe even challenges Sherlock, we’ll see get even more laughs out of these two. In the meantime, we still get to watch Watson tell Sherlock to put away the acid and Cabbage Patch doll when someone’s at the door.

And with that, "Possibility Two," is a promising start to a new relationship. After fifteen episodes of Watson fretting over Sherlock’s sobriety, her new role takes a little getting used to, but it shows change and growth, which is what good character development is all about. And Sherlock too, has grown, just by allowing someone to aid in his investigations. This new professional and domestic partnership looks to be an entertaining arrangement, though I don’t think Watson will be picking up Sherlock’s dry cleaning again in the near future.  


ELEMENTARY 1.17 ‘Possibility Two’