Elementary Season 2: Why Moriarty and Sherlock Have the Best Romance on TV

Matthew and Mary are so yesterday, and Jess and Nick have resigned themselves to snugly coupledom, which leaves me with precious few TV romances to root for. Then “The Diabolical Kind” happened and Elementary reawakened all of my dormant Moriarty and Sherlock feelings. I’ve tried to ignore them for the past few weeks as the series returned to cases of the week, but my mind just keeps going back to that perfect moment in the hallway when Moriarty told Sherlock she tried to do what he would have done.

Since their invention Moriarty and Sherlock have been two sides of the same coin, just bare breaths away from one turning into the other.The only thing separating them has been the sides of the law they work on. They understand each other in a special way. Elementary has just taken the relationship one step further by making Moriarty, Irene, or as she is referred to as by Sherlock, “The Woman.” Back when Moriarty was first properly introduced to the series in the season one finale, I found myself drawn to the idea of her relationship with Sherlock. Part of it was the simmering chemistry between Natalie Dormer and Jonny Lee Miller, but more than chemistry, it was the idea of an analytical, anti-romance that caught my attention.

By nature, neither Sherlock nor Moriarty fully understand the emotion of love. They feel it, but they are often more interested in dissecting it than in expressing the emotion. The revelation that they have been corresponding since Moriarty’s incarceration began furthered the curious bond between them. Sherlock, who is more emotional than Moriarty, showed and continues to show sentimentality by keeping her letters. He won’t admit how deeply he is connected to Moriarty, not verbally, but he demonstrates his feelings in small, heartbreaking ways.

The scene in “The Diabolical Kind” when Sherlock finds Moriarty in the hallway bleeding and surrounded by the men she killed to save her biological daughter was loaded with a stunning tension. Their love story is twisted and unlike almost every other love story on television, and that is exactly why it is so addictive. Each piece of the puzzle that is their relationship reveals something new about the characters as individuals. In that particular moment, we saw them connect viscerally not as Sherlock and Irene, but as Sherlock and Moriarty.

When we first met Moriarty, she was convinced Sherlock was just like her. They connected because they were both bright and calculating. They were ruled by their intellect not by their hearts. At least, that is what Moriarty believed. Finding out about Sherlock’s addiction after her “death” made her believe he was weak. Sherlock temporarily became a mere mortal in her eyes, but she harbored similar longings. For instance, her obsession with Joan comes from her confusion over the idea that Sherlock could form a relationship based not on scientific interest, but on creating a real, human bond. Their friendship confuses and frustrates her because only Moriarty is supposed to understand Sherlock.

By far, the most interesting change in their dynamic is Moriarty’s desire to curb her ruthlessness. In a bizarre and lovely gesture of love, she left an innocent alive during her escape because she believed it was what Sherlock would have done. Their continued connection has allowed Sherlock and Moriarty to truly get to know one another as the people they are, not as Irene and Sherlock, the lovers. With every new page that turns, their relationship becomes richer and more confusing for the both of them.

As a viewer, I know rooting for Sherlock and Moriarty to actually get together is hopeless. They aren’t the happily ever after kind. There are no picket fences in their future, no marriage or children, and I love them all the more for it. Their relationship isn’t one to follow the normal television trajectory. They will always be tragic, always separated but connected. Whatever the future holds for them will be doled out in small portions over the course of years, culminating not in a grand will they or won’t they romance, but rather a deep, obsessive love that will be toxic and fascinating for them and us.

I want to see more, just not yet. Elementary is mastering the art of the tease, reminding us of Moriarty’s presence in small ways without letting her consume the story. The balance is perfect so far because it leaves me daydreaming about my favorite unconventional television love story and what could possibly come next.

Are you as fascinated by Moriarty and Sherlock as I am? What do you think of their relationship so far?

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