Elementary Recap

Elementary Season Premiere Recap: Change You Can Believe In

Has the five-year itch struck Elementary‘s Joan?

During Sunday’s Season 5 premiere, Sherlock worries that his partner might be restless after five years as a P.I. He notes this is her third career, so he has to wonder if her wanderlust has subsided. Joan agrees that life is short and she hasn’t been “a construction worker yet or a biker [or] Indian chief.”

“You think I don’t get the Village People reference, but I do,” Sherlock replies.

During the course of tracking down a serial bomber, Joan realizes she and the suspect have someone in common: Shinwell Johnson (new series regular Nelsan Ellis, True Blood), a drug dealer whose life she saved as a surgeon after he was shot by rivals. He’s now on parole, working in a boxing gym and cleaning up other people’s spit. But back in prison, Shinwell worked in the cafeteria with the potential bomber, so Joan pays him a visit. Immediately, there’s a level of connection between the two that suggests Shinwell wasn’t just a regular patient to Joan. She gives him her card in case he needs anything.

Elementary RecapSherlock picks up on the “warmth” between his partner and Shinwell during their first meeting. (“What kind of a name is Shinwell?” “What kind of a name is Sherlock?”) Joan is horrified at the idea that Sherlock might be suggesting they slept together. She explains that she’s proud of how she saved his life under extreme circumstances, causing Sherlock to wrongly assume that she is nostalgic for her old life. It’s “helping people get better” that Joan misses, especially now that Sherlock doesn’t need her as a sober companion.

Shinwell brings the P.I. team valuable intel, but he also wants something: to pick Joan’s brain about how she went from doc to her current profession, because he wants to change, too.

“I think the answer is to let people help you,” she later tells him, paying a visit to his apartment. As they prepare to go on a walk, the camera pans back to reveal that Shinwell was holding a gun behind his back during the exchange. The ex-doc is still a lifesaver.

Elementary fans, what did you think of the season opener? Grade it via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your pick!

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16 Comments
  1. tstephen51 says:

    This episode felt boring to me. No red herrings, no other suspects even, no Sherlock-esque penetrating insights. The most entertaining part was the suicide jumper in the opening. I don’t know if the writers have run out of ideas for material or if they’re just mailing it in, but this was the least exciting season premiere of any show I’ve watched in a long time.

  2. Preacher Book says:

    Joan rocking the “naughty librarian” look. Yes, I feel shallow this morning.

  3. pamela says:

    Looking forward to the rest of the season. Im enjoying Nelsan Ellis as an addition to the show.

  4. dman6015 says:

    Was her arrival at his apartment a life-saver or was he prepared for danger when he opened the door?

    • I thought the latter myself. This episode was one of the least inspired of the entire series. For the first time, it felt like a run of the mill CBS procedural. I’m hoping this was an anomaly. Nelsan Ellis is a welcomed addition.

    • skrable2a says:

      My wife thought he was just prepared, but I thought he was suicidal. Since he kept the gun behind the radiator, he didn’t appear to have enough time to grab it if he were concerned about who was knocking. Plus, the suicide theme dovetails with the opening bit with Sherlock and the jumper.

      • Morisot says:

        I was thinking prepared. And that is his “gun safe” while he is out. (But he keeps it next to him while he sleeps.) Sad.

      • iceblast says:

        I think your right. Suicidal seems a good guess. The show started with a jumper, and showed how much he hated his life, and he even asked Joan how she changed her life. He really wasn’t a happy guy.

        Or he kept the gun near at hand while home, and put it away, when he left. He isn’t allowed to have a gun.

        But Suicidal fits as well. Maybe he’ll reveal more in future episodes. :)

  5. MMD says:

    It was very sad to see the “In memory of our friend Eric Justen” which I promptly looked up. He was a Emmy nominated sound mixer who died just shy of his 44th birthday.
    2016 continues to be a truly sad and deadly year for people in the entertainment field.

  6. DS says:

    Who did Shinwell call on the phone in the gym?

    I also have another question (not related), has the blind item happened yet and what was it?

    • lrdslvrhnd says:

      It was, apparently, a cameo from somebody on Mad Men who briefly appeared on The Last Man On Earth, which apparently already has somebody else from Mad Men in it. I’m not entirely convinced it was as OMGworthy as it was made to appear, but then I never watched Mad Men. But I suspect if I had watched it, it would’ve been about the same level of reaction as if, say, another TNG actor showed up on Patrick Stewart’s show and it was kept a secret. “Oh, well, that’s pretty cool, nice.”
      .
      And I have no idea who Shinwell called, unless it was the ex-felon he claimed to have called when telling Sherlock & Joan about it. Which it may’ve been, but he surely did sound all mysterious when calling, so maybe not.