Elementary: A Controlled Descent
May 14, 2015 8:03 PM - Season 3, Episode 24 - Subscribe

When Alfredo, Holmes' former recovery sponsor, suddenly vanishes, Watson and Holmes must determine if he has been abducted or suffered a relapse. (Season Finale)
posted by oh yeah! (10 comments total)
It's strange, I guess, but I don't think I ever really expected we'd see Sherlock have a relapse, despite the fact that the possibility has been there since the pilot. I wonder, if Joan's text had been that Alfredo was dead rather than saved, would he have stayed sober? Thinking about the self-loathing he expressed in the first Oscar episode, and in the one with the woman who wanted him to get her pregnant -- it felt like he went into that train tunnel as a punishment, an acceptance of Oscar's accusations, and that if Alfredo had died Sherlock would have taken the guilt of it as something he had no right to be free of.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:14 PM on May 15, 2015

well. fuck. a) i was utterly wrong about where this season would end up. b) what. do we know he relapsed? or suffered some other sort of break? and months before these answers come...and dear old dad will finally show up - maybe.

i will say as a devil on his shoulder oscar is great. but - as someone who has been around addiction, i'm always annoyed at how popular media portray addicts being the influence that gets other people using again. in my experience it's never so on the surface - and yeah, i know, tv. intrigue. but this show gets so much right about addiction so i was a bit annoyed at how this played, if that's what we saw. the relapses don't come in these giant moments, but in tiny times of feeling comfortable in places you should have your guard up at. i dunno. maybe i'm expecting too much on this specific angle.
posted by nadawi at 9:27 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

I thought Oscar was simply an asshole, almost like - remember that Irregular who thought Sherlock was his friend and Sherlock was clear that he saw them as having a professional relationship, not a friendship and in a way Oscar's desperate stalking and emotional longing for a relationship with Sherlock was horribly toxic and cruel - he let his sister's body rot in an abandoned train tunnel to try to win/drag Sherlock back closer to him.

The last few episodes felt lovely and comfortable and hopeful, and then to see it all tenderly fall apart, the echoes of Alfredo's mother's resignation and strength in saying she wasn't going to go down with her son if he fell, that she knew he could - would - and that Sherlock wasn't forced to take therein, but gave in. Gave in and went into the tunnel with the dead girl.

Then that final scene up on the roof, with the camera on Joan's face and the grief contained there, then slowly turning around to glimpse at Sherlock's face,was just to see the last few episodes as a warm and hazy dream turned to shards and vanished.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 3:51 AM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think he did use - that last shot didn't show the usual shirt-buttoned-up-to-the-collar, instead he seemed to be wearing a loose t-shirt under a hoodie. A look very similar to Oscar's.
posted by Mogur at 5:47 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't see another interpretation, honestly.
posted by pmurray63 at 9:48 AM on May 16, 2015

From the AV Club:
Although these are still fun characters to watch solve crimes, and there remains something inherently pleasurable about seeing a case start and end in the span of an hour, the show reached a point by the end of season three where the writers had run out of ways to draw conflict out of the show’s basic premise.

And so Sherlock relapses.
posted by homunculus at 9:55 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

did he kill oliver? because even if he didn't shoot up, he could consider that a sort of relapse, his dark side coming out and this time it didn't even need the drugs to surface...
posted by nadawi at 10:12 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the only other interpretation I could think of was that he used the drugs to ensure Oliver lethally ODed. I'm about 90% certain he relapsed, though.
posted by tautological at 4:50 PM on May 16, 2015

Possibly killing Oscar is much more ... "Why, writers? Why!" than relapse. Both are cheap soap opera. Especially after a season which kept making the point that addiction is a problem, and not special.

Also, Oscar is quite the action junkie. That planning and execution were certainly believable.

I managed to get past Joan and Holmes' vile brother. Maybe I'll tune in for another season
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:16 AM on July 12, 2015

I am very late to this business but I post here as I have just watched this episode. I admit to knowing almost zero about addiction but I just cannot see this causing a relapse out of everything Holmes has been through. He's seeing only the very worst parts of addiction in his trip through hell this episode.

If he went into the tunnel to shoot up, then Oscar wins. And while sure, he may have just killed Oscar, I just don't see it. (I don't think he killed him either. He would know when to stop, and I think he would stop.)

On the other hand, I am surprised Oscar didn't tell him he would let Alfredo go if Sherlock would just shoot up a little, since that seemed to be his main goal. I see that as a more likely turn of events than Oscar hoping that seeing the old lifestyle would somehow cause Sherlock to use. (On the other hand sure it would be more satisfying for Oscar if Holmes used by his own choice.)

Arrrgh. Frustrated. I just don't believe that would be the end, here. Of course, maybe it wasn't! AV Club can say so because Sherlock looks pretty shitty there at the end! But I don't think so. Which means I must now go watch the next episode when I really should be doing chores today. :D
posted by Glinn at 10:06 AM on July 4, 2016

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