'Elementary' Season Finale Episode 'The Woman'/'Heroine' Recap: Sherlock's Descent

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'Elementary' Season Finale Episode 'The Woman'/'Heroine' Recap: Sherlock's Descent
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"The Woman" - As Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) reels at the reappearance of his former lover, Irene Adler …

Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) and Irene (Natalie Dormer) are off to a rocky start in the "Elementary" Season 1 finale double-header episode, "The Woman" and "Heroine." The lost-and-found romance begins when Irene, the love of Sherlock's life -- whom Sherlock believed to be dead -- attempts to scratch Sherlock's face off as they reunite with an embrace. And with this begins the most exciting episode of the first season to date.

Sherlock meets Irene

There are several flashbacks, detailing how Irene and Sherlock first met. Sherlock is the first to become intrigued when Irene shows off her talent at restoring art, and later, at pilfering art in order to "preserve" it.

The flashbacks begin with a "sexual marathon," which Irene uses to tease Sherlock, challenging him to think up increasingly unique ways to keep her interested; she insists on every encounter being different. She also does not create her own original artwork, insisting that she has nothing special to offer. When she finally decides to share her first original artwork, she is whisked away by Moriarty, who leaves a message telling Sherlock that he may instead enjoy the large pool of Irene's blood as a unique work of art.

Sherlock focuses all attention on Irene's recovery

Sherlock flips out just a little, deciding to sit out the investigation into Irene's disappearance so he can care for her. That puts Watson (Lucy Liu) in charge of the consulting side of the investigation, along with Capt. Gregson (Aidan Quinn) and Det. Bell (Jon Michael Hill).

Irene has severe post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from psychological torture and being moved to new locations at least five different times over the years she was missing. Sherlock knows that the kidnapping was meant to be a form of psychological torture against him, as well. He feels that "Moriarty is quite clearly smarter" than he is, having beaten him entirely at the game of wits.

Watson follows the clues

Watson is able to follow the subtlest of clues in Sherlock's absence, causing Bell to claim that "it's just like having Holmes here." Watson has got to feel vindicated hearing that, finally able to be a great detective in her own right, on the most important case of a lifetime.

The clues lead to Isaac Proctor (Erik Jensen), a man who has a second life that even his family doesn't know about. That life includes working for Moriarty and keeping Irene concealed. But he unexpectedly goes rogue -- killing some of Moriarty's own men -- and is determined to kill Sherlock against Moriarty's orders.

He shows up at Sherlock's home, shoots Sherlock in the shoulder, and raises his gun to take the final shot, when Moriarty herself walks in and takes Isaac out. Moriarty is Irene! Now, that is the most interesting and unparalleled twist of the whole series!

Irene, the sociopath, was simply intrigued

Irene toyed with Sherlock merely because he piqued her curiosity. He had foiled several of her plans. She could easily have killed him at any point. But her sociopathic nature was to fake emotion and use it as a way to study the "thing" known to her as Sherlock.

Sherlock begins his descent

Sherlock insists that Watson remove the bullet and patch his shoulder. He chooses to forgo all forms of pain medication in order to keep himself on the straight and narrow. He even lies to Watson about the pain, claiming his pain is approximately Pi (around 3.14). Besides, any pain medication worth using would be addictive, as Sherlock points out.

As the pain seems to worsen, Sherlock's tries to redirect his misery into a new-found focus on finding and bringing his first nemesis to justice, but it doesn't seem to work very well when Irene is able to go through with her evil plot to assassinate two people through a man known as the Narwhal (Arnold Vosloo). The assassination allows her to make about a billion dollars after having invested heavily in Macedonian currency and killing the only person who was about to cause that currency to become worthless.

Sherlock's utter failure against his nemesis results in an overdose of heroine -- or so it would seem. It is actually Sherlock and Watson's final attempt to trap Moriarty, as she basically confesses on tape to the assassination as she studies Sherlock in the hospital before planning to skip town. She also confesses to being surprised for the first time by Sherlock's descent into drug addiction, all caused by her.

What she doesn't realize is that Watson "diagnosed" Moriartry, knowing that they could trap her with Sherlock's fake overdose. Sherlock and Watson both surprised Moriarty... and the viewers! With that, Sherlock's nemesis is taken down in the first season. Now all he needs is a new one to keep his job interesting.

In the end, Sherlock honors his new, highly competent partner by naming a new species of bee after her. They sit and watch together through a magnifying lens as the new form of life emerges into the world.

More from this contributor:

'Elementary' Episode 'Risk Management' Recap: Sherlock Works for Moriarty

'Elementary' Episode 'A Landmark Story' Recap: Moriarty is Back!

'Elementary' Episode 'Dead Man's Switch' Recap: Sherlock's One-Year Sober

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