Elementary Season 3 Premiere Recap: All By Herself

Elementary Season 3 Recap

You don’t have to be Sherlock to figure out that Season 3 of Elementary is going to be a bit different.

Thursday’s season premiere made that pretty clear when it took nearly 13 minutes (sans ads) for Holmes to even appear — and in a creepy helmet, no less. Instead, the opener took its time establishing Joan’s new way of life, picking up six months after the events of Season 2. She’s got an amazing apartment, there’s a meet-cute with her neighbor’s brother (played by Smash’s Raza Jaffrey) involving a lizard and she’s successfully working as a P.I. on her own.

Our second taste of Elementary‘s revamp comes via Sherlock’s new protégé Kitty (Ophelia Lovibond), whom Joan first meets in the park when she suspects Kitty is following her. She was, per Sherlock’s orders. He wanted to see how Joan was faring in his absence, which, as established, is remarkably well. But Joan doesn’t know all that yet as she heads to the brownstone in search of a book relating to her case. That’s when she discovers Sherlock is back in New York City! She’s still hurting from the fact that he abruptly left for London without a goodbye, so she doesn’t particularly care that he’s returned or why; she just wants him to stay out of her case.

“You were right, I didn’t need you anymore,” she says. “Still don’t.” Brrr, did a cold-front just pass through the brownstone?

After a baton face-off with Kitty, Joan realizes the woman is not a stalker, but rather Sherlock’s new partner. And the fight doesn’t earn Kitty any points with Sherlock, who isn’t happy that she went beyond just following Joan. But Kitty couldn’t help herself; she was curious about the original model he never stops talking about. The way Sherlock chides Kitty, it’s clear their dynamic is quite different from the one he shared with Joan, who was much more self-assured and self-possessed during their partnership. We also get a sense that Kitty is troubled when she refers to “moving towards something,” hinting at a dark past.

Meanwhile, Sherlock tries to mend his relationship with Joan. He reveals that he left New York because he was afraid he would give into drug temptation, and he didn’t want to fail in front of her, so he ran away from it all. However, he was wrong to make Joan the face of his problems, and he kept his sobriety intact even though he was on his own. He also found that being a mentor was his calling. Thus, Kitty. Even after all this, Joan wonders why he came back to New York when he could have gone anywhere.

“Isn’t it obvious? I belong here. As do you,” he replies, and Jonny Lee Miller imbues the small exchange with so much meaning.

So although Joan initially seems indifferent to Sherlock’s olive branches and confessions, she does eventually give her OK to Captain Gregson, allowing Sherlock and Kitty to also work with the NYPD. They’ll both work on their own cases, she explains and then offers a fresh pair of eyes should he ever need one.

Well, it’s a start.

Elementary fans, what did you think of the new dynamic between Sherlock and Joan? Did you like Kitty? And do you have any theories about her past?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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52 Comments
  1. PJL says:

    I hope Kitty isn’t around for long, Changes the whole chemistry and dynamics of the show, and for me, not in a good way.

    • Walter Freeman says:

      It’d be nice if you and others could wait more than one episode before passing judgment.

      • Eurydice says:

        Why? Watching TV isn’t a difficult thing, it isn’t something that has to be worked at patiently in order to be understood. If you like what you see on the screen, you keep watching – if you don’t, you move on. That’s all the judgment that’s necessary.

        • sanchopanza says:

          Oh, how I wish more people took this view. I believe it’s up to the people who make the shows to put on something that doesn’t piss people off, and not up to the viewers to take what they’re given without protest.

          I dislike this character because she’s been presented as obnoxious, without a suggestion that she has another side. In fact, Holmes accepts her as presented, so apparently it’s not unusual behavior for her. Who wants to see a snotty brat on the show? Not me. And it does look like interfering with the dynamic. I agree with Ellie’s comment below as well.

          • 1. PJL wasn’t talking about the character, they were talking about the dynamic she brings which takes more than one episode to build. 2. Serial storytelling is meant to have characters and dynamics that develop over time.

        • Grey says:

          Well said Eurydice.

        • rinaex says:

          Amen. I was nearly done after the gross Mycroft/Joan storyline, and I’m not sure I want to stick around based on what I saw last night.

        • SJS says:

          I totally agree!

      • Boiler says:

        Agree with you Walter…one episode is not a way to judge what will happen

    • Ellie says:

      I did not have a good feeling about her. There was already a good tutor/student relationship with Alfredo – are they going to ditch that? Also – the mysteries almost take a back seat to the chemistry between Holmes/Miller and Watson/Liu that is really good. It was like the bad decision to have Watson hook up with Mycroft – upset the balance and I don’t know anyone who wasn’t turned off by it.

      • Grey says:

        I have to agree with you too, Ellie. That whole Mycroft thing didn’t work for me. I tried to stick with it thinking well, surely the writers can see this isn’t really working as well as they thought it might and will wrap it up now. But I’m afraid I lost interest and didn’t even bother to watch the last few episodes of last season. I was going to give it another try this season but, between the delayed premiere and this new “twist,” I think I might be done with “Elementry.” Sad. I came here to read the recap and viewers reviews to determine if I should bother with a delayed viewing. I have several shows I need to get caugt up on this weekend. I’ll put this at the end of the list but if I don’t get to it I’m not going to worry about it.

    • dman6015 says:

      Well, the character was originally only in one short story, so hopefully the producers will take Doyle’s hint and keep her Elementary stay just as short.

    • Gaedhal says:

      I agree completely. This could be the Jump the Shark moment, and that would be unfortunate.

    • davej13 says:

      I like Joan being more self assured. I would like to see her and Sherlock back as partners again. I think that will be a fun dynamic to see. kitty can stay, bot only as a 3rd wheel. frankly, she is trouble unless she shows Sherlock some skills and starts following orders. Actually, I would like to see Sherlock’s sponsor, the car thief, become the 3rd wheel.
      I have found over the years that I like things better when the core of a show stay together. I found that true on Fringe when they separated Olivia and Peter and Walter and even on Castle when they put Castle and Beckett in the Hamptons with Ryan and Espo back at the precinct.

    • I hate the change to Joan, she’s gone from an understanding sober companion to an egotistical child who turns her back on a friend that was suffering from addiction.

      • Mark says:

        I agree with you Patrick. I’m also a Sherlock Holmes purist. After 2 years, Watson is now Sherlock’s equal? Sherlock was born with a gift (the ability to remember any detail ever encountered). Also, the captain calling what he does parlor tricks was an insult to Sherlock. My wife and I watch the show but I told her after viewing this episode I was going to probably let this show go.

      • KCC says:

        I think it’s a natural progression for the character. She was not being a egotistical child and didn’t turn her back on him. He abandoned her. She wanted to move out and have a life outside of her working relationship with Holmes. He was the one that was not being supportive of her needs. She completed her assignment as his sober companion and was no longer responsible for him in that respect. He had a sponsor to help him with that. She made sure of that before telling him she was going to move out. Is she supposed to live with him forever? Because addictions are forever. As friends and colleges it becomes a two-way street, not just what Holmes wants. He is responsible for his own sobriety and has to accept the new dynamic their relationship has developed into. Otherwise it would continue to be completely one-sided which would not be good for either one of them.

    • CS says:

      I agree. I hope she leaves soon. It almost makes me not want to watch it anymore.

    • Mastergate says:

      Yes I agree, I can’t stand Kitty Winter and I really hope she is written out soon.

  2. Coal says:

    I liked it. Unfortunately I feel sorry for Ophelia Lovibond for the amount of hate she is going to get, because shippers don’t like any new characters whom take away screen time from Sherlock and Watson being together. It would be good to see how Watson functions independently.

  3. DarkDefender says:

    This season 3 premiere reminded me of everything I loved about the pilot. Elementary is (for now) back on my “must see live” list.

  4. Rodger lolley says:

    Not much on mystery solving & to much on Watsons new life. We were avid viewers but your losing us

  5. Carrie says:

    I just get a weird vibe the Kitty is actually working for Elana

    • Mitra says:

      Actually, Kitty Winter is very much Conan Doyle’s character. In the canon, she comes to help Sherlock in “the illustrious Client” where they want to clamp down on a sadistic German aristocrat who had abused Kitty and other women. He had forced her into prostitution. So, Kitty is very much collaborating with Sherlock. In fact, in the whole of this first episode, she was the only one to have played her role as it existed in the canon. Therefore, I think she’ll probably be the only one to shift the balance away from the show becoming too much of an American style procedural. British actors in Elementary have always been absolutely essential, more so now since even Watson’s boyfriend, who is actually a British actor is also presented as an American. I must say, once Sherlock Holmes was put in NY and taken away from Baker Street and everything was drastically changed, in Elementary, then the only thing that was vital for the show was to keep the momentum of that quirkiness of Sherlokian spirit going. Life in the dilapidated brownstone, strange and mysterious objects and very down-to-earth individuals walking in and out of the scenes were the life blood of Elementary in presenting Sherlock as very much a “people person”. This episode, on the other hand, started with a scene in a slick restaurant, a “Versace, Botox” type female as the nemesis of Watson’s. Then, she is met by Bell and Watson at her plush LA type domaine. This sort of affluence was never shown beforehand in Elementary and that was precisely its charm. Now, I feel they want to dazzle the viewers with what Hollywood style affluence looks like on TV screen. Change this for God’s sake, change it and go back to showing the content and not the “spectacular”, because that’s not at all what Conan Doyle is all about, nor is it at all relevant in the context of Sherlokian procedural.

    • John says:

      Actually I was, and still am, more suspicious of Joan’s new “boyfriend”, if that term applies so quickly. If we don’t soon see he, his brother and Ioan all together and acting normally I will be more suspicious. If the brother suddenly moves away w/o our seeing him I will be convinced the new guy is working for someone.

  6. daviddavid says:

    Thought the first half-hour was just ok, but the last half-hour showed why this has always been a first-rate show.
    Love Johnny Lee, though he does look a lot different w/o a beard.
    Great show … yiou have to think about this one kids! Aidan Quinn awesome!

  7. Mitra says:

    After 8 months of waiting and looking forward to seeing Elementary, it was a real disappointment to wait 13 minutes before seeing Sherlock and get so little of him all throughout the episode. The lizard,Clyde, Joan’s boyfriend and even the LA type cartel woman occupied more space than Sherlock, whom, by the way, is the whole point of Elementary, isn’t it? If it’s true that one judges the year by it’s Spring, then I fear Elementary writers are going down a wrong road. At least not one that distinguished them from all other American cliché type TV series. A real pity! What a waste of Jonny Lee Miller’s brilliant acting! Kitty seemed ultimately the possible sa iuor because of her character in the canon. She has an interesting past in the canon, hence the brief reference to Germany.

  8. Piers says:

    One of two shows to see Angelina Jolie’s ex-husbands on CBS last night. Billy Bob Thornton was great on TBBT, too.

  9. J.Norman says:

    The plot had holes in it big enough to drive a Mack truck through.

    Spoiler alert:

    The 2 major ones being:

    1) The final piece of evidence needed to get the International assassin to role on the woman cartel leader.
    – Let’s be real. They (the cartel) had 2 months . . 2 MONTHS. . to send in wiseguys and the like to rent the suite and remove the 2 ton magnet. C’mon!!

    2) Do you really think the NYPD would just simply put a trained killer – who by the way killed or was directly invoved in murder of one of their own detectives – into witness protection with no criminal charges involved.

    There are other questions, for instance why is Watson still alive? that could be asked, but we know the answer to that one. It’s a TV show!

    It was good to see the subtlety of Sherlock figuring out in less than a day what Watson and the NYPD couldn’t figure out in 2 months.

  10. Renee says:

    I really really did not like the Kitty character. Sherlock and Watson are the team.

  11. Dot says:

    I had a hard time digesting Oct. 30 episode of Elementary. I did not like the Kitty addition and would like to see Holmes and Watson be partners though in separate abodes. Working together and good working chemistry. I hope thT things will not change too much. They changed th Mentalist characters and locale etc and it had lost it,s appeal.

  12. Having watched an advanced screening before the premiere, the episode doesn’t hold up a second time with major holes in the magnet twist.

  13. SJS says:

    What happened to Sherlock’s brillance? As a fan of the Sherlock legend, I thought the premiere was lackluster.

  14. Emma says:

    I really don’t like the Kitty character at all; I preferred the dynamic previously and I’m sad that’s over but also, Kitty’s extremely combative and unpleasant to watch. I also don’t want to be expected to feel sorry for her if/when we find out about her past.

    Time will tell I guess.

  15. Smel lowone says:

    New character kitty is unnecessary and annoying. I might stop watching the show.

  16. Irish says:

    Hate hate hate plot with Kitty. Awful choice to change Sherlock Watson dynamic . If she remains on show I waont be watching. You ruined show adding this character

  17. my opinion says:

    I hate the new character kitty, like another post read, it changes the chemistry of the whole show. Her character is very unlikable also. I fell in love with the original idea of Sherlock and Watson, not this strange trio.

  18. victory says:

    love elementary….but they introduced a new girl…..bad bad bad choice….lost it’s magnetism….lost it’s appeal….too scattered now…..where have the good writers gone…..please have the new girl leave to take care of her aging grandmother…..it’s an insult to lucy liu…..she is splitting image of the famous nefertiti statue, and great actress…..how dare they upstage her!!!

  19. Andrew says:

    I am not sure what the writers have in mind but the whole dynamic of the show has changed and not for the better with the addition of kitty.

  20. MHA says:

    Just looked at this episode, I have enjoyed the other series very much and I was really disappointed about the direction is went. I switch channels after “You were right, I didn’t need you anymore,” she says. “Still don’t.” , in the “real” world this is a relation ender. And for me the ending of a mostly good show.

  21. bk says:

    Hate Kitty. Probably not be watching

  22. Peggy york says:

    Johnny is a superb British actor. Lucy dresses a bit unflattering sometimes, but I love the series!

  23. ckf says:

    I dislike intensely the character of kitty foisted on the viewer this third season. Whoever decided on this insertion into the dynamics between Watson and Holmes was very misguided. I do not enjoy the show nearly as much.

  24. Lose the Kitty character or my friends and I will find something else to do on Thursday nights at 10. I have given the “experiment” several weeks. It has destroyed the work between Holmes and Watson

  25. Anne says:

    I loved Elementary from the beginning. However, the entire show has changed. Adding Kittie, Joan leaving, downplaying Sherlock and many other changes have been the wrong way to go. The show has lost its great chemistry, luster, wit that made it a great show. The show in my opinion has lost everything it had originally to impress us and so many different ways to look forward to watching it every week. It is now just another show lacking interest to it’s viewers.
    I don ‘t think the writers are going listen to the viewer. Consequently, I believe a great show will eventually be gone. The original actors were wonderful and had great chemistry together.

  26. Jane Capon says:

    I absolutely loved Elementary. But the addition of Kitty is a mistake. She is just not a very good actress and she’s surrounded by people acting her off the screen all the time. Really not a good idea. Sulky little miss who needs to be sent packing. Sadly because she seems to be on a *journey* that is all *meaningful* and stuff, I suspect she will stick around. Which means a lot of us won’t. Writers pls note.

  27. aaanderson says:

    I used to really look forward to the next episode of Elementary. The dynamic between Holmes and Watson were truly watch worthy. However the latest season and the addition of Kitty leaves me more inclined to watch reruns of Charlie’s Angels. One more female lead in this show and it might as well be Sherlock’s Angels.
    For this season, I’m out.

  28. lynne hughes says:

    I love Elementry. Holmes and Watson are a great double act