“You know my methods. Apply them, and it will be instructive to compare results.”

– The Sign of the Four, 1890

 

There are two declarations of love in this episode. The latter is the more overt, and we’ll get there. The former is the better one: Sherlock takes Joan aside and asks, as a formality, if she really murdered Michael the serial killer. “I would understand,” he assures her. “In fact, I would do everything in my power to make sure you got away with it.”

It’s a very Elementary mash note. Equally Elementary is Joan’s question to him in turn, after she’s promised she didn’t do it: “Did you?”

This beat is some of the best of what the show can do—glimpses of a relationship where the idea of protecting the other person can easily become overstepping boundaries, and trust isn’t an absolute even after so many years. And for an episode that was originally expected to be the series finale, this tense exchange pays off like so much else of Elementary: almost very satisfying.

I recapped the sixth-season finale of Elementary at The AV Club.