Elementary Season 3 Finale: a weak shot in the arm

71ZBGKzqLXL._SL1058_The Elementary season finale was a couple of weeks ago and it has taken me a long while to write about the final episode in the season. It is not that I dislike the series. I really like the series. I have however, been coming to terms with how it left us, why it left us there and how we arrived at the ending.

Spoiler alert, Holmes relapsed and given the pun in the title of the blog, I apologize. After three long seasons of sobriety, Holmes is using drugs. So the how is pretty much covered. Holmes was a detective and now he is a drug user sitting on the roof staring at the city waiting for the arrival of his father.

The why it left us there is more difficult. Is this a story arc? They teased us at the end of the previous seasons with Holmes taking drugs. At the end of the first season, he pretends to take drugs to capture Moriarty. At the end of the second season, Holmes saves his brother and is toying with his small stash of drugs. Could this be merely another fake? Probably not. Could it be Holmes attempting to get his father’s attention? Maybe, the only problem would be why? We have been given no inclination that he wants his father’s attention. So, it is probably just Holmes taking drugs because he is a drug addict.

My biggest problem is how we got there. I like a good story and this was not a good story. I accept the challenges to the character and the difficulties he had endured maintaining his sobriety. I thought the introduction of Agatha Sparrow in ‘The View from Olympus’ requesting a sperm donation from Holmes so she could have a child was excellent. He declined her request on the basis that his gifts are a curse that led him to drug addict in order to find a moment of solitude. Those ideas had no relevant in the season finale. Instead, a drug addict who used to know Holmes develops a complex scenario that involves the kidnapping of Holmes’ former sponsor and friend Alfonso so Holmes will find Oscar’s sister. Except Oscar’s sister is already dead and Oscar wanted to through Holmes into a sphere of temptation so he would take drugs again. After Holmes then beats Oscar maybe to death, he takes drugs.

I do not claim any more of an understanding of drug addiction than the majority of viewers who watch Elementary, but I question the movement from anger to drug taking. If Holmes could cope for so long with ongoing pressure of his gifts, why would he take drugs again because a former associate try to make him take drugs? Would he not rebel against such manipulation? Would his resolve not be strengthened? I don’t know.

I found it a rather unsatisfying episode. I like to think I can appreciate that each and every day is very difficult for Holmes, what I did not see in the structure of the story was why that day was much different than the previous day. As a story it did not work. Unless the whole scenario is merely Holmes way of drawing his father to him. Oscar did mention Holmes’ father. Did Holmes’ father set him up to fail with Oscar just as his father suggested to Agatha Sparrow that Holmes would make a good sperm donor? Maybe. I would hope that the introduction of Holmes’ father would be interesting as an as of yet unseen character, but the show does have a tendency to establish a great deal of unseen narrative between the seasons and in this instance that does not seem positive.

Short of endlessly searching the internet for season four news or stalking Jonny Lee Miller’s instagram and twitter pages, we will just have to wait and see.

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2 thoughts on “Elementary Season 3 Finale: a weak shot in the arm

  1. In fairness, it’s been a good long while since I saw this episode now, and my brain is notorious for not retaining information very well in the long term. That said, I read the ending as purposefully ambigious as to whether he was despondent over recent events (the deaths, his own stooping to reckless angry violence, etc.) or whether he has indeed resumed his drug abuse. I’d hope the show has enough integrity to retroactively give us a chance to understand the psychology of his choice should the next season premiere indeed reveal it to be the latter, as I completely agree with you the justification seems rather thin. (Though then again, perhaps that is the point — showing that for an addict, you can never truly predict what will be the moment of weakness.)

    I’m quite psyched to see his father, too. They way they’ve built him up, it seems like they’re perhaps doing a fairly similar thing with him as “Sherlock” does with Mycroft — the controlling, overbearing presence who rolls his eyes at the younger Holmes ‘wasting’ his gifts on individual little crime cases. I realise there’s no indication his father will share Sherlock’s gifts, as “Elementary”‘s version of Mycroft, though possessing the related gift of an encylopedic memory, did not seem to share the deductional powers, in spite of the source material. But the father, especially being a Father and not just an older brother, can still fill that sort of a towering dominance in Sherlock’s psyche, even without sharing his brilliance. And I interpret the would-you-be-the-father-of-my-child-plot to be a likely bit of groundwork for potentially showing that Sherlock wishes his father had NOT sired him, indicating that they do perhaps share some of the same gifts.

    I quite like “Elementary”, but I must say the plots of the week often get borderline too predictable. Admittedly, for a 20+ episodes per season procedural, it’s a heck of a lot better at keeping the mysteries fresh than most of its competitors. So it’s these kinds of long-term character plots that keep me watching, and I’m quite hopeful that they’ve not dropped the ball this time, either. But as you say, parts of the finale did seem a little oddly unmotivated.

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