The theme of this episode seemed to be romance and companionship, or the lack thereof. Both Joan and Sherlock have a tendency to be isolated from typical social interaction due to their careers, and it’s left them both without any romantic entanglements. Sherlock describes himself as “post love” whereas Joan is pursuing options from a dating site suggested by a friend of hers. They are taking two very divergent paths in the world of dating, but begin at the same point: completely and entirely single.
In this episode Joan’s friend sets her up on a dating website, which Joan initially scoffs at. Eventually she begins to rethink her instinctively negative reaction and realize that she is rather isolated and could do with a little socialization outside of her business with Sherlock Holmes. She decides to put her profile up and start testing the waters. Perhaps this ‘Jeff Heinz” character will become a long term love interest. Perhaps not. But we focused on him to such a strong degree this episode that I severely doubt he’ll be a one-off character. We haven’t seen enough of him for me to form an adequate opinion on him, but it’ll be interesting to see where it goes.
In ACD canon, John Watson marries a woman named Mary. Part of me hopes that if they pursue the path of having Joan in a long term romantic relationship with someone, they won’t flip Mary’s gender, but I doubt they will go that route. So far, Joan’s only looked at men’s profiles and her entire dating history is with men and now we have this Heinz fellow, but hey, a girl can dream for some protagonist queer representation, can’t she? Oh, well. Moving on…
Sherlock is alone partially due to isolation from his career, but mostly due to his complete and utter heartbreak over Moriarty. He loved Irene, but it was all a lie. He was shattered when he thought she was dead, emotionally damaged even further when she returned to him broke and confused, then completely destroyed when she revealed her true identity. His stance against romance isn’t too terribly surprising all things considered, though it certainly doesn’t help with his increasingly intense isolation from everyone who isn’t Joan.
At the end of the episode, when we learn that Moriarty has been in frequent contact with him, my heart broke for him. Regardless of whether Moriarty’s feelings for him are genuine, her continued contact with him is cruel. I have no doubt that with each new contact, he breaks just a little bit more inside. And the more he breaks, the more us viewers break. It’s a terribly depressing thing to witness.
“I shouldn’t be the only one who knows you,” Joan tells him. And indeed, that is the predicament that they’ve found themselves in. They have an incredibly deep friendship, but Joan is actively trying to stay social and engage with her ‘normal life,’ while Sherlock seems content at locking himself away. Keeping Joan as his only source of emotional contact seems like a perfectly acceptable course of action to him. It seems like his only option. He doesn’t want anyone else in his life but Joan; she’s the only one he trusts.
Which brings us to Clyde. You know, the turtle? Okay, so it’s not a legitimate source of companionship, but I wanted to include him in this review anyway because he does have an important, if not slightly silly, role to play in the narrative.. Clyde is essentially Sherlock and Joan’s pet and the lighthearted nature of his existence in this episode was a great balance for the otherwise emotionally heavy episode. His return brought a smile to myself, even though the closing scene of the episode left me a sobbing puddle of sad on the floor. Long-live Clyde. May your comedic relief and aptly-timed cameos save us from complete emotional breakdown for the rest of the season.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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