Elementary Review: The Estranged Daughter

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The return of Elementary from its winter break featured the return of a a pivotal character as well. 

And it actually turned out to be a complete surprise... on top of a total twist.

On Elementary Season 2 Episode 12, Moriarty made her way back not only on our screens but into Sherlock’s heart.

Holmes' Challenge

Having gone into this episode knowing that Moriarty would be coming back briefly, I had many questions that I hoped would be answered. To wit: Would she still be in custody? Did Sherlock write her back? Did she still love Sherlock?

Simply enough, all of my questions were answered in the affirmative.

Much to my surprise Moriarty, like Sherlock, had changed. I always thought that if she became “good” like Holmes had, she would lose everything about her character that her great - but I was very wrong.

Natalie Dormer is one heck of an actress, from her appearances here to her stops by Game of Thrones and The Tudors, along with her most recent films Rush and The Counselor.

Is there a petition somewhere to get Dormer as a series regular? If not, there needs to be.

When you put two great actors together like Dormer and Miller or Dormer and Liu, you’ve created something that a lot of shows struggle to grasp: momentum in scenes and intense chemistry. These three have helped create great success and have made viewers want more. Much more.

In the final moments between Sherlock and Moriarty, their faces were only inches apart and you know that you leaned in a little bit closer or adjusted how you were sitting because it was that dramatic. Or consider when Moriarty and Joan had their moment at the crime scene.

They just pull you in and you can’t get out because, honestly, why would you want to? It’s captivating.

On top of all of this, the plot was driven by a kidnapping of a young girl who happened to be the estranged daughter of Moriarty. A nice little twist that I did see coming. It seemed that the writers were working really hard on humanizing Moriarty and it worked.

In order for her and Sherlock to have a love, whether it ever happens again or not, she can’t be who she was and Sherlock cannot either.

Overall, I have nothing bad to say about this episode or this season in general. I think about how outstanding the second half of Elementary Season 1 was and how I used to think, how could you possibly top what they did? Well, they’re doing it on a weekly basis.

This installment is my current favorite of Elementary Season 2. Or maybe I am just bias because my top three episodes are all Moriarty-centric. Can you tell that I am a huge Natalie Dormer fan? How could you not be after her compelling performance in this episode?!?


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (86 Votes)

In the first episode of season 2, Sherlock's lapel pin is a noose (love it!) but I can't make out the lapel pin in the following episodes. It looks like a coin as in season 1.....but not! Maybe a badge of some sort? Someone please observe and deduce this mystery and let me know before I go blind or nuts!


I adore Elementary. The nuances the actors bring, makes the show far more character driven, then plot driven, imo.


What happened to the kidnapped girl? " she was relocated". What? We never saw her mother after the first half of show. Really pissed me off. What kind of conclusion was that to the episode?

@ Bj

I too wondered about the little girl.

@ Bj

I wondered too, what happened to the little girl?


That painting of Joan spoke volumes. Moriarty is jealous. Because Sherlock needs Joan. he wants Joan in his life. He is a better man because of Joan not Moriarty. She was a little snitty with Joan at the crime scene only because she thought this lesser woman needed to be knocked down a peg or two. But Joan is a wise old soul that can hold her own against these two. If Sherlock doesn't have that painting hid away somewhere, I'd be very surprised! And it wouldn't be because of romantic notions, it would be that he truly cares for Joan on a level that is beyond sexual or romantic!

@ MickeyG

You totally got it! Sherlock and Joan are partners and all that that implies. Which is why Moriarty was shocked? hurt? angry? stunned? when Watson revealed that their partnership was Sherlock's idea....not Watson's as Moriarty had assumed (hoped?) Sherlock's feelings for Moriarty cloud his vision and Watson understands that but Watson sees Moriarty clearly and is immune to her "charms". Some "mascot"!


I love Elementary BUT I could not stand this episode I do not like the Moriarty person. It was OK when I thought she would not be on again but last night UGH!! I want Sherlock to be better than that.


I love Natalie Dormer as Moriarty, she is M lol!! I love this episode, JLM/ND/LL performances was off the hook..I literally want more of Moriarty scenes with Watson and Holmes.

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Elementary Season 2 Episode 12 Quotes

Love is a game I've failed to understanding


Moriarty: Would you be surprised to learn you've been on my mind, Joan Watson?
Joan: Not really