Elementary: Wrong Side of the Road – Cliffhanger (Review)

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Elementary “Wrong Side of the Road” is, clearly, a two-parter that ends with a cliffhanger of sorts. Sherlock is arrested by the red-headed man from DIA and Kitty, who arrived with a tiny tot named Archie, learns that the murder spree she assumed was the work of the paraplegic ex con will continue without its latest victim; the ex con.

This was a splendid episode from its start to the open ended finish. The return of Kitty, who as usual is somewhat fey and more than a little eclectic, marked another chance for the duo of Holmes and Watson to become a trio again.

Kitty Winter, who has definitely moved on from being Holmes’ protege, left under somewhat of a cloud when she shoved her assailant into a vat of  acid. She has returned with news that an another old case that she and Sherlock worked on has crossed the pond to start murdering people in America.

After convincing Holmes of the validity of her claim, he, Watson and Kitty start zeroing in on their suspect, Eli Kotite. The American struck and killed a lady in England and served three years of a four year sentence. Three of the players who put the man behind bars have turned up dead.

While the official causes of death are all “natural” Kitty believes that the man in the wheelchair has hired someone to kill them all. She also believes that she and Holmes are next.

The latest victim was the barrister who prosecuted Kotite and as they question the doctor who signed off on his death certificate, the barrister’s body is dug up and burnt to a cinder.  Meanwhile, Kotite believes that he is now on the “hit-list.”

A red-headed man is a suspect, he was seen by Holmes and by the barrister’s widow, and later in the episode he turns up at Sherlock’s apartment. The ginger haired fellow turns out to be a member of the intelligence community and he places Holmes under arrest.

The chemistry between Miller and Lovibond is, as usual, spot on. Ophelia brings the same level of focus and charm to the character from before. The addition of the child and the German nanny who nearly chokes Watson to death, allows the actress even more in terms of performance. Her character is still somewhat murky and mysterious and this adds to the aura of vagueness and elusiveness she emits.

Elementary ends with the feeling that someone, either Holmes or Kitty, has stumbled into some nefarious government plot where a trio of Englishmen have been murdered, not by Kotite – who is thrown off a building – but by some international assassin. Clearly the DIA agent believes Holmes to be the killer, although in Sherlock’s mind the agent is the villain.

Miller and Lucy Liu continue to spark well of one another, although the exchanges between Liu, Miller and Lovibond are also spot on. The whole “no one needs pizza and pasta” was amusing and so Holmes.

Elementary airs Sundays on CBS. The second half of this cliffhanger will air on March 12.

Cast:

Guest starring Ophelia Lovibond as Kitty Winter, Regina Taylor as Dr. Wilkinson and  Michael Patrick Thornton as Eli Kotite. 

Elementary: Rekt in Real Life – eSports, Gangsters and Global Warming (Review)

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Elementary “Rekt in Real Live” was clever and interesting. Yet for all its intricacies it was ultimately unsatisfying. Whether it was down to Christine Taylor playing against type (she was a murderous villain in the episode) or the sour ending to Shinwell’s short-lived reunion with his daughter; the episode was not overly enjoyable.

Ultimately the plot was very well done. On top of the eSports agent being murdered to learn the location of an up and coming professional “eJock” there was Shinwell and his story.  The murdered gaming agent leads Holmes, Watson and Marcus to another gaming area run by Joey Ng.

The new suspect; Ng, has just hired Tendu (the eJock) to play for his team in an upcoming tournament. Ng has Chechnian escorts to keep his professional players happy and later Holmes and Watson learn that Tendu has fallen in love with the model/hooker a’la “Pretty Woman.”

As Sherlock, Watson and Marcus follow the clues they learn that Tendu was a celebrity, via Instagram apparently, for his “sealfies.” The young man is an Inuit from a small village who took the snaps to fight an animal rights activist.

His counter move to stop the activist from killing off seal hunting in his village made him a star before becoming a professional gamer. It is this link, his village, that leads Holmes and Watson to catch his killer.

Initially they believe that Raina, the activist, had a hand in the torture and death of gaming agent O.G. Pwnzr (Bobby Moreno). Ms. Lindquist, the activist’s lawyer turns out to be more than involved with the agent’s death and putting Tendu on a hit list to die. 

The motive turns out to have everything to do with global warming and nothing to do with the gaming world, Chechnian hookers or seal hunting.  Elementary “Rekt in Real Life” manages to give us a mystery that twists and turns quite satisfactorily until it is solved by Holmes.

As all the clue following occurs Shinwell finds that his daughter Chivonne reaches out to the undercover agent working to take down his old gang; SBK. A young gangster has decided that he wants the 14 year old girl as his girlfriend.

The thug’s way of courting is to have fellow gang members follow the victim and make their life a misery. Chivonne asks her ex-con father to help get Lucien (Andrew Manningoff her back.

Shinwell agrees to help but has to stop short of actually killing the young thug. He decides instead, after a chat with Watson, to offer the criminal a boost up in his material world in exchange for leaving Chivonne alone…forever.

The plan works but when Shinwell tries to get closer to his daughter she tells him point blank that this is not what she wants. She asked for his help because of his criminal past and it is his past that she wants no part of.

Ending Shinwell’s storyline on such a sour note brought down the overall tone of the episode. Still, despite the massive downer induced because Chivonne used her father, this was one of the better mysteries on offer this season.

Elementary airs Sundays on CBS.

Cast:

Guest starring James Kyson as Joey Ng, Connor Johnston as Tendu, Madaí Chakell  as Chivonne, Rachel York as Carla Giovani, Kathy Najimy as Raina and Christine Taylor as Ms. Lindquist.

Elementary: Over a Barrel – Statute of Limitations (Review)

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An interesting episode this week on Elementary. “Over a Barrel” starts with a bit of backstory. A father; Jack Brunelle, is convinced that his son was murdered. Initially he approaches Joan Watson and we learn that Connor Brunelle was mugged.

Later, we find that the young man became hooked on pain medication which then segued into heroin addiction. This killed the man’s son and he wants Holmes to look into why he was mugged.

Each time, several of which are shown on the show but according to the storyline much more via written correspondence, etc. Holmes has a more pressing case that he cannot abandon to help the upset father.

Finally, with less than 12 hours till the statute of limitations runs out on his son’s murder, Brunelle takes an entire diner hostage. He demands that Holmes find his son’s murderer or he will start killing patrons.

The irate and now desperate father keeps Watson in the diner with him.  Sherlock works with Detective Bell to track events that occurred back in 2012, when Connor Brunelle was attacked. As time runs out, Holmes finds out a number of interesting things.

Connor was gay, and having an affair, but this was not a factor in his death. It is revealed that smuggling in thousands of barrels of Canadian Maple Syrup was behind the mugging and the young Brunelle’s subsequent death. The gang responsible is said to have been disbanded.

On sidenote: This appears to be dig at the outrageous cost of real maple syrup.  In the episode, both Bell and Holmes feel that the barrels may well be full of cocaine. Later, when they track down the missing barrels, and the men who orchestrated the smuggling operation, they learn that syrup never “goes off.” The implication being that one gang is price fixing the cost of what we put on our pancakes and waffles.

The murderer turns out to be a guy who left the country right after Connor Brunelle was attacked. Ironically he goes to Canada. Holmes, who has missed the 12 hour deadline, realizes that Frank Trimble (the man responsible for the lad’s death) can still be charged due to a loophole in the statute of limitations law.

Rather interestingly, after the series plot thread where Shinwell Johnson is “hired” to aid Holmes and Watson in their capacity as consultants to the NYPD, the ex con has disappeared. He is AWOL and provides no help in this case.

This was an interesting storyline. The  best private detective in New York was presented as not being too sympathetic to a more mundane case.  Although to be fair Holmes’ condition would prevent him from reacting enthusiastically to any case.

It was annoying that Brunelle waited till the last possible moment to play his hole card. Forcing Holmes to look into his son’s death with a 12 hour window was fine for “suspense” but unrealistic even for the brilliant Holmes.

Added to this short turn around time was the action of “tying one hand behind Sherlock’s back” with the removal of Joan as assistant. Still, like most episodes in this series, the episode was quirky and interesting.

Elementary airs Sundays on CBS.

Cast:

Guest starring Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Jack Brunelle, Robert Capron as Mason and  Shuler Hensley as Frank Trimble.

Elementary: Crowned Clown, Downtown Brown – Big Bad Bug (Review)

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Sunday night, regardless of whichever network one landed on, was clown night. The Mick featured a clown and Elementary “Crowned Clown, Downtown Brown” had two. One very much alive and the other was very, very dead. Marcus had a run-in with a different sort of clown, his new girlfriend’s ex, Ray Booker.

Chantal Milner, Marcus’ new flame, is the ADA and she is working on a high profile murder case where the accused, a woman, is claiming self defense. Booker forces a fight with Marcus and then makes a scene in Chantal’s office.

The idea is to have her thrown off the case.

Holmes and Watson have a different sort of case. As two small township safety patrol members chase a clown through the woods, they loose him only to find another very dead one half-buried in the dry forest leaves.

Sherlock and Joan investigate and find that the man in the clown suit stumbled over some nefarious goings on with the NYC water supply. Apparently the dead costumed man caught someone pumping toxic sludge into the water feed.

Later, after some analysis, they discover that the sludge held a “super bug” which would poison all the inhabitants of New York City. Luckily they catch the incident in time and the city’s water is shut off.

As the two consultants chase down the perpetrator, who has fled the country, they learn that the bug was not lethal. It would have, had it gone on to contaminate the water system, given all those who drank it severe diarrhea.

Joan, who is somewhat paranoid about the recent attack, buys a home filtration device that is costly and Holmes is not happy. “I’m not using that to make a cup of tea,” he shouts.

As the show progresses Marcus, with some help from Joan, learns why Ray picked a fight with him and Sherlock works out why the water was contaminated. Initially he believes it was to force the city to build a new water filtration plant.

Later, after the purchase of the home filtration system, Holmes traces the filter in the machine, via the patent number, and finds that Wendell Hecht, the New York City water board head, holds the patent and he stands to make a fortune as the city approved his device as a stopgap measure for the public.

At first Hecht denies this but Special Agent Breslin, who was quite off putting earlier in the episode, joins Joan and Sherlock in the man’s “un-masking.”  Meanwhile, Marcus blackmails Ray Booker into dropping the assault charges and forces him to leave his ex Chantal alone.

The comedy quotient in this episode was filled by Holmes’ purchasing a electronically powered calliope that played circus music at top volume. Joan rips the cord out of the machine much to Sherlock’s annoyance. It was, he explains, helping him to get into a clown state of mind.

Elementary featuring a clown theme at the same time as The Mick was purely, it seems, coincidence. The idea was clearly spawned by all those clown sightings in rural areas near a  wood.  In this episode, the reason for the clown’s presence was advance publicity for an upcoming horror film.

This was one of the cleverer episodes, although it was all too easy to figure out that Hecht was behind the whole thing. The many layers that needed to be pulled back to find the brains behind the water bug attack was, however, interesting.

Elementary airs Sundays on CBS.

Cast:

Guest starring Chasten Harmon as Chantal Milner, Robert Christopher Riley as Ray Booker, Barry Shabaka Henley as Wendell Hecht and Damian Young as Special Agent Breslin.

Elementary: Be My Guest – Shinwell’s Training (Review)

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Elementary “Be My Guest” left much of its comedy alone in this episode. Holmes helps to pull in a murderer who killed an employee for a valuable baseball card and a woman is found to be the victim of a sexual predator.

Holmes notices another employee reacting badly to the police being at his place off work. Sherlock can read the man’s lips and realizes that the murderers work colleague is holding a woman captive.

He steals the man’s phone and it contains a video of an Asian woman shackled to the ceiling.  This starts a search for the captive woman by a sort of reverse engineering. Captain Gregson, Holmes and Watson begin to look for the woman in earnest.

Meanwhile both Holmes and Watson are less than pleased with Shinwell’s progress in terms of training. He fails to pick any of the locks that Watson has presented him with and Shinwell appears to be more interested in setting up a drug sting operation than his training.

The main storyline of Elementary this week was quite possibly one of the weaker in the entirety of the series. Decker, the man who kidnapped the Asian woman, Preeda Boonark, may have led the police and their investigators on a short merry chase but his accomplice was clearly the ex-wife.

From the moment they learned that Decker did not leave himself a “backdoor” entrance into the immigration  database, the only person it could be was the ex-wife.

The case this week felt almost “tacked on.” It started well, with Holmes acting on his hunch and looking where the police could not. However, the questioning of the ex took any mystery out of the investigation.

Holmes’ interaction with Det. Bell had one amusing moment, the only real comedic bit in the episode, where Sherlock brings in two coffees. Bell reaches for one and Holmes pulls the cups back away from Marcus. “These are both for me,”  he says, “I didn’t get much sleep last night.”

“Be My Guest” did focus a little on Shinwell and both Joan and Sherlock’s displeasure that he was not taking the training seriously.  Toward the end of the episode though, Johnson proves that he has been paying attention.

He unlocks all the padlocks, except for the rusted one, and picked the lock to get into the apartment. More importantly, he recognized that the man he was using to set up his old gang was hiding something.

Clearly Shinwell is paying attention to the lessons given him but at his own pace and in his own time. Johnson  is still very keen to take his old organization down and he wants to do it quickly. He has learned that patience is a virtue though and he may start doing more for Joan and Sherlock and less towards his own goal.

Shinwell is the underlying storyline this season. He is slowly becoming a member of the team and it seems fairly certain that he will be part of a huge season finale. This penultimate episode seems to be setting that up nicely with Shinwell’s impatience to take down his old gang.

The main mystery, the kidnapping of Boonark and the murder of Decker was just so much window dressing. It was far too easy to solve and with the end of the episode revealing that Shinwell is paying attention to Joan’s lesson plan, clearly the gang is going to be the finale focus.

Elementary airs Sundays on CBS. Tune in next week for the season five finale.

Cast:

Guest starring Luna Tieu as Preeda Boonark