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Elementary - The Red Team - Recap/Review

One does not usually start writing recaps of shows in the middle of a season but then again, when a show is in its first season everything is a little bit up in the air so I figure that as long as you guys are willing to read my recaps starting at the presumably perilous episode number thirteen (a superstition that after tonight’s episode I’d probably believe it if Sherlock told me that he started that rumor when he was still in London). So onwards.

Tonight’s episode of Elementary starts with Sherlock complaining about Joan’s cleaning, take it from me, it’s never fun when people mess with your stuff. Of course the fact he’s slept for two days straight and might think that Napoleon Bonaparte is related to Irene’s death could be a problem. Although according to the Elementary twitter, Moriarty was referred to as "The Napoleon of Crime" in the original books. Sherlock’s observations on conspiracy theorists even after watching the advanced clip, remains extremely funny. Joan then goes to talk to her psychologist,Dr. Reed, who thinks that Joan not telling Sherlock the fact his father did not renew her contract might cause their trust to be destroyed and him to relapse. Personally, I think they are both underestimating the man and his capacities; he might actually appreciate the gesture depending to the timing when it’s revealed.

Sherlock has calls Joan to help him look for the administrator of the conspiracy theorists website and having found him hanged in his living room, Sherlock can now put to rest any notion the swirltheory followers might have gotten in their heads such as the one where the victim was held in a secret NASA prison when they didn't hear from him in a while.

“That’s ridiculous; everyone knows that NASA does not run secret prisons.”

Detective Bell thinks that it would have been better that Sherlock not discovered the body. Sherlock shares his theory that the much larger belt was not the result of autoerotic strangulation or that the man had lost weight but perhaps that he had been killed by larger man. Bell attempts to kick him off the case so one last look with Joan and they’re off. Sherlock of course, takes a bit of evidence needed to the case and picks up the victim's tortoise in the process discovering a fake rock and a hidden microphone.

Back at his house, Sherlock turns off the bug and smashes it with his shoe. He has learned that the bug is not available commercially and one of his contacts in London revealed spyware on Len’s, the victim's, laptop. Len was a lazy thinker and most of his theories laughable but one new one called Red Tape proves to be a good one; the title being a reference to a stratagem used by military colleges. Most of the time, the records are released to the public but 2009’s records were immediately classified. The theory posits that the one person with classified names, i.e. Len, would have been killed to cover up a possible way to take down New York devised as part of a test of the system and that the persons who devised it were being offed themselves. Joan asks about the head of lettuce on the desk so Sherlock feeds the tortoise in his drawer.

Joan goes to Gregson to try and put Sherlock on his good side after nearly killing Moran when he was under the impression Moran had killed Irene. Gregson says that his behavior was not appropriate for an employee of the police department and considers the matter closed. No matter, as Joan had just gotten a text from Sherlock calling her to a mental hospital to talk to a man with early only set Alzheimer’s where he deteriorated over a matter of weeks. Joan states that you can’t give someone Alzheimer’s.

“Most of the time.”

The nurse invites them in and Sherlock asks the poor man about his work before coming to the hospital including college and the war games but the best Carlos can do is say that his father was in Vietnam. Joan thinks that Carlos is having a micro seizure but that staff has been told that that type of Alzheimer’s patient does not have seizures. Sherlock points out that it would have been just as easy to poison him with domoic acid, one derived from off shelf fish and quite real which can cause permanent brain damage.

Detective Bell is not happy to receive Sherlock’s call asking him to look into the war game but he is certain that they have the killer, who has turned himself in. It would be too easy for that man to be the killer and as we’re on seventeen minutes in, Sherlock must agree.

“Just so that I’m, clear, neither of you believe that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon?”

Sherlock then tells Gregson it is obvious that the suspected man is clearly the mastermind of nothing. Gregson asks him why he’s there and orders him to leave, the threat of arrest dangled over his head should Sherlock talk his way into the interrogation room again. Who needs the NYPD? They trace the bug, rent a car, pick some static, and settle into surveillance watching a man posing as a worker in the area. Joan tries to convince Sherlock to apologize which causes him to declare that he is smarter than everyone he meets. He then rationalizes that if the city is supposed to work for the greater good and his work is the greater good, what purpose could they have for keeping him off the case? The worker starts to move and Sherlock traces him to a building where he shows the contents of a plastic bag in his pocket to be the bug and is let in immediately. He demands to know what the place is and is told that is market research. Giving his and Joan’s correct credentials, he proceeds to ask questions of Bill who claims the worker is dating his sister. Sherlock lists off the five people he wasn’t supposed to trace, and shouldn’t have been able to, on the team in charge of attacking the US’s defenses in the previous scenario. The guy in the room suggests that rocket launchers and helicopters would be the way to get rid of the men should the government be behind it. Sherlock was testing the man when he listed the names his target ground his teeth for some name and not others.

Sherlock then gets a call from his detective friend and asks for a visitor’s badge to go and talk to the man was brought in. He takes him to a room with the other members he suspects to be part of the 2009 red team. The man tries to leave but is talked down but one of his former team mates. Sherlock lays out the case for him and asks them to provide insight as to who might be targeting them. No one wants to say a word as it would be treason but most agree that something should be said. The all walk away and Gregson considers them to be warned thinking they might be tell something later.

“Maybe one of them just did."

Sherlock sits in his living room reading a book with the tortoise on a stack of them. In one, there’s a photo of the man from the consulting agency who could have very easily been a general in 2009. The doorbell rings and he is shown a photo of Bill, the general, and is asked to come with the two people at the door. At least if something goes wrong, Gregson knows what Sherlock was up to should he decide to take an interest in him again.

The interrogator thinks there's a link between Sherlock’s questioning and Bill’s death. Sherlock thinks that Bill was in charge of the red team and therefore knew everything that the red team did. They threaten to take him down to Virgina so Sherlock provides surveillance tape much to the chagrin of Joan who thought he had removed it after their previous talk.

Sherlock tries to hail a cab with a whistle, which Joan is certain will not work and is proven right when her more socially acceptable way brings a cab on the first try. A beat cops knocks on a suspect’s door and opens it not knowing that the man had rigged his door with a laser to trigger a gun which would shoot any intruders. When Gregson arrives, he notes that the men are lucky that the gun was filled with rock salt. Sherlock keeps e-mailing Bell telling him that he’s not going down to the crime scene and asks if the other members of the red team are safe. Getting confirmation of all but one, he hangs up and goes to talk to him. The detective notes it would have been easier to fire Holmes has they actually paid him.

Sherlock asks over the missing man, the one with the apartment, with Dresden, who has chosen to forgo protective custody. He states that he doesn’t know where the other man is but the effects of the game were profound. Joe often joked that he might as well have been the one to implement it. Sherlock calls to brief them but the detective says that the body has already been found. The fact that Joe’s face was covered when they found him shows that the killer felt a bit of shame as he didn’t take such care with the other victims. As Joe only had one friend, Dresden shoots to the top of the possible suspects. A cut to the hotel shows this theory to be true.

Dresden steps outside his hotel room and nearly shoots the lone female who worked on the red team. A team of police order him to stop. He drops her arm and takes a detective hostage. His demands include only the rest of the red team; two left. Sherlock says he knows what Dresden wants and how to stop it. Gregson, reluctantly, lets him call Dresden and negotiate the situation. Sherlock asks to be let in to talk about how he knows that Dresden only means to harm himself of the three people in the hotel room. After being let in, he chosen to look at the mini bar before talking to Dresden telling him he judges people by their behavior; Dresden’s suggests that he is just trying to stop the plan from getting out reasoning that killing seven people is nothing compared to the thousands who could have been killed if it were to leak. Sherlock thinks it’s notable that he waited two years to start killing people and Dresden reveals that that's when is wife started to get sick. He’d been approached before about selling the plan but then he understood how someone could have the motive to want to sell the plan to save someone he loved. He confesses that he would have confessed had the man actually been able to help his wife. Dresden's new plan entails shooting Sherlock so that they know that he’s serious about killing the detective. But I think if he was going to shoot Sherlock, it would have happened before now. Sherlock tells him that he worked out what Dresden is trying to keep secret within hours of taking the case.

Sherlock comes down a little bit later after convincing Dresden to come down and Gregson asks how he could have possibly known the plan so Sherlock details how it was all just a well thought out guess. He requests a conversation with Gregson and Gregson asks Sherlock to meet him in a bar. He does and explains that he was willing to pay for his revenge had he taken it but he sees no reason to be kept from his work.

“Who are you?”

Because he is not the man Gregson thought he was. And with that small move, he creates the situation Jonny Lee Miller last had with Victor Garber on Eli Stone only this time it’s more easily resolved when Gregson decides to punch him in the face. Talking with Joan and eating soup, Sherlock is not happy to have been reinstated and seems to be surprised Joan took his teasing that he would eat Clyde the turtle seriously as he lets the reptile loose on his kitchen table.
Perhaps the bond he had with Gregson was important to Sherlock although before tonight, many would have assumed it wasn’t.

Well, thank you all for reading my recap and I hope you’ll join me, of course next week, but also for Sunday’s episode. It’s circumstances like this, airing three episodes within ten days of my birthday, that really make me think the television networks want to give me presents too. Last year Justified was renewed two days before so the expectation level is pretty high.