Joan Watson is my favorite character on Elementary. It’s fair to say that she’s the main character, and she deserves that station. She matters. I can’t wait to see more of her when I finally reach season four. And this is why.
She is extraordinary | Joan and Sherlock’s relationship is a joy to watch, not least of all because Sherlock considers Joan his equal. In other renditions, Watson appears as an overbearingly normal person—a sidekick. While Joan began as a student, Sherlock eventually makes her his partner because he finds her extraordinary and goes to fitting lengths to accommodate her presence in his life. He wants the best for her because she’s worth it to him. That makes for a precious friendship.
She is on equal footing | As stated, Sherlock finds Joan special. This does not just mean that he likes her as a friend, but that her voice holds a great weight in their cases and their friendship. Neither Sherlock nor the NYPD can brush her aside because her opinion is worth respecting—so people listen when she speaks.
She is intelligent | Joan weighs things with both logic and emotion; she makes decisions with both head and heart in mind. Just because her heart has a say doesn’t mean she makes unwise decisions. She often negotiates a compromise, which allows her to make good decisions without putting human beings at risk.
She is kind | Joan’s kindness extends beyond being nice. Sometimes Joan doesn’t seem nice—but that’s the point. She can make tough decisions and do something someone might not like at first (especially with Sherlock and his history of drug use). No matter what she does, however, she does it because she cares about the whole person she’s trying to help.
She has friends | Joan lives her own life. She meets up with people from her old work and college buddies and gal pals that women are wont to collect. She goes out to eat with her mom, she phones her brother, she dates people. Joan makes a point of cultivating a life beyond Sherlock and mysteries, and it is good for her.
She restarted | Joan, true to the Watson character, was a doctor before joining with Sherlock. Then she became a sobriety companion, and after that, a private detective. This gives Joan a level of expertise pertinent during cases, but it matters more than that. Joan has faced a lot of change in the last few years, so her ability to change, and what she changes for, always has significance.
She has a past | Smart people mess up sometimes. For Sherlock, that means getting sucked into drugs and losing himself. For Joan, that means causing a death as a surgeon. Since she’s someone who values people and helping others so much, she has a lot to work through. But she also has someone to work with.
She will help | When Joan saw that a teen girl was hurting after her mom’s death, she gave the girl her phone number. They were strangers, it was a “just in case” scenario, but the girl called. Joan sits with people out in hallways and has a heart for the homeless—she makes herself available to others because she understands that people are resources. She offers herself as one to make sure we don’t lose them in others.
And, she’s a good detective | Watson isn’t a sidekick because when Sherlock up and left, she started her own private detective business and she was great at it. Joan does more than simply exist to record Sherlock’s stories. She writes her own. And she writes them on her own terms.