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Warning the following contains spoilers for the Season 5 finale of Elementary, read at your own risk!
Many Elementary fans were able to breathe easy for the first time in awhile last month when CBS finally announced the series would return for Season 6. Now, fans may be holding their breath yet again, as Executive Producer Rob Doherty says that Sherlock's health will play into Season 6.
It's going to create some problems, both personal and professional. For starters, Sherlock made a mistake when he decided to keep his condition from Joan. He'll have a lot to explain and a lot to make up for. He'll also find his sobriety regimen 'competing' with a regimen designed to address his prognosis. There will be times he'll question whether he can tackle one problem without succumbing to the other. And, of course, there will be an impact on his work. Sherlock is accustomed to being the finest detective in New York, if not on the planet. But the work won't come as easily to him when the new season begins. At least not at first. In the meantime, he'll to have to commit himself to his health and to his partnership in ways that will be very challenging to him.
Those who saw the finale of Season 5 of Elementary could've guessed that Sherlock and Joan Watson's relationship was already feeling some strain. It appears not telling Joan about his condition is only going to lead to more confusion on her part, and more assumptions that he is back on drugs. Doherty also alludes to EW that Sherlock's new prognosis could affect his sobriety as he looks towards facing whatever that MRI showed at the end of Season 5.
As far as what ails Sherlock Holmes in Elementary, that remains a mystery. Holmes' memory loss and hallucinations could be a number of things like schizophrenia or dementia, to a less severe diagnosis like a Vitamin B-12 deficiency. As evidenced by the MRI machine in the finale, whatever is going on has to involve his mind. The prognosis Holmes gets will be important to the show, as a serious diagnosis will likely play into the show up until its very end. Could Sherlock Holmes be dying? Considering the show is centered around him, probably not, but maybe with the show's ratings on the decline, showrunners could be building towards a big dramatic finish.
The twist comes at a good time for Elementary, who will need its declining fanbase to tune in as often as possible if they wish to see a Season 7. Giving Sherlock Holmes a potentially life-threatening illness, while sad, will undoubtedly liven up the show's "must watch," factor. And with no official prognosis for what he has, fans will be more inclined to pay attention to that premiere date to find out. If they don't, Season 6 could very well be the final season of Elementary.
With Elementary confirmed for Season 6 but absent from the CBS Fall Schedule, fans will need to wait and see when they can expect to see Sherlock and Joan back in action. In the meantime, there's a lot of great summer programming currently airing that people who love great television don't want to miss. See what's on deck by visiting our summer premiere guide, and also be sure to bookmark our finale guide to see when all the hot shows of summer will come to an end.