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Elementary - Evidence of Things Not Seen - Review

Holmes vs. Holmes

The scene starts with the two Holmes’s in the living room of the brownstone. Immediately, Sherlock suspects the worst of his father, that he’s there to evict the younger Holmes, but his father claims that he’s planning on restoring Sherlock to his position within the NYPD. He had been disappointed by Sherlock’s relapse in London, but has come to respect and actually be proud of what Sherlock has accomplished. Sherlock fights back, trying to show he can stand on his own two feet. His father expresses a continued wish to help if that’s what they both want and a new one — to thank Miss Watson for saving his son’s life.

After putting much to do over Morland Holmes’s very existence, he’s a rather unthreatening character. but perhaps that’s what the writers had wanted from him — to be a not all together bad man who has been vilified by his sons over years of perceived his treatment. Then again, a more Holmesian twist would suggest that Morland appears nonthreatening now to lull the viewers into a sense of complacency that Sherlock won’t as readily have.

The set up to this week’s case follows and the viewer sees a psychological study in progress; one that is balancing the effects of classical music and various imagery against responses to moral and ethical questions. The subject asks to stop the test, but the people administering the study are a little busy getting murdered.

Joan walks into the house to find Sherlock sitting at his computer desk; apparently he’s been there all night. Joan prompts him to go to the scene of the triple homicide witnessed in the opener as a job interview of sorts for the FBI. Their liaison is a Mr. Burke, a name which will sadly go unremarked upon, either as the connection between the famed Burke and Hare or the homophonic British slang.

Agent Burke takes Joan and Sherlock to the scene where the project head describes what was stolen as “big work.” Sherlock is unimpressed. The assistant explains that they’ve created a weapon of “soft power,” one that continues to prompt the subject with information or subjects they have responded to in the past. What sort of response the researchers are looking to provoke is not immediately elaborated on.

At the actual scene of the crime, Sherlock immediately notes the absence of one of the key cards that had belonged to one of the victims and a dead rat. The missing key card is easily answerable by that scientist having let the murderer in, the rat…is really only of interest to Sherlock at the moment.

Back at the Brownstone, Sherlock explains the deal his father had outlined yesterday. Joan asks if he’s alright over the potential re-instatement of their jobs with the NYPD. Sherlock explains what his father does for a living and that if they accepted the offer, his father’s wish would be done, but that he’s more concerned at what cost the potential benefit carries. Joan wants to leave the discussion to Sherlock, but since they are a team, Sherlock insists it should be a team decision.

One of the scientists had received flowers from the Chinese consulate, possibly as a way of gaining intel or favour from her before exploiting her knowledge of the new project. Tracing the exact sender takes them to a man named Dan Zheng.

The rent on Zheng’s apartment had been paid six months in advance, the apartment itself only turning up a mouldy peach in the fridge. Burke shows them a cell tower simulator, not unlike the ones that have been used by the real FBI. Burke is impressed with how quickly Watson and Holmes found Zheng, but thinks that this case is going to be scooped by DC for a quiet investigation. Joan then points out a digital billboard showing Zheng has made the news, this will not be the quiet investigation the supposedly more seasoned investigator had assumed.

After a brief interrogation as to their credibility and likelihood of being the leak to the press, Burke attempts to cut Watson and Holmes lose. As a counter point, Sherlock offers the location of Dan Zang. Sherlock is “reasonably sure” that Zheng had left with a bag for drum equipment, leading him to believe that Zheng was on his way to the conservatory to lie low. That gets their foot back in the door.

The senior Mr. Holmes is visited by Joan. At their first meeting, Joan gives her impression of Sherlock’s impression of his father; namely, that he’s a terrible father. Morland seems disappointed, but not surprised. Joan follows up with slight prodding as to how easily the reinstatement with the NYPD would occur. The scene cuts having not really added anything to the discussion other than “Joan Watson has now met Morland Holmes.”

As Burke gets a phone call, Sherlock ducks out to investigate on his own. He attempts to point out a leak in the assigned surveillance and then gives up as Burke appears engrossed in his call. Having found evidence that could lead to Zheng, he tells Burke that his agents will need to be informed as to how to conduct a proper search. In the middle of presenting it, Burke takes another phone call. The information that was so dire? Dan Zheng had turned himself in.

Sherlock shows Joan the results of the brainwashing the DARPA team had been working on. It hadn’t worked on even the most “milquetoast of opinions.” Sherlock thinks at this point, having received an email from the flower receiving scientist, Zheng lost interest in the project, seeing it as a dead end.

“So the Chinese didn’t do it?”
“Worse than that, Watson. I think three people died for nothing.”

Joan wants to tell the FBI about the latest theory and Sherlock offers two sarcastic options of what to tell them. Joan offers that the ex-husband of the flower receiving scientist murdered her either out of jealousy or because he found her theory viable. “Easy enough to ask him.” They’ve found him to be a popular writer, writing under a pseudonym. Once there, they learn he did not kill her because he found the program viable — he had already known it to be useless. How? Apparently because she never changed her passwords. He offers another theory that Samuel Mayer of DARPA might be a suspect.

At the FBI, Burke asks Joan why she had searched for Mayer. She comes up with a plausible reason to have been searching and he asks to be kept in the loop in future searches. Joan did not turn up anything that would suggest Mayer as a viable suspect. Sherlock has “soured” on Mayer as well because of everyone not-murdered, he has had the worst outcome. But this logic operates on the ideal that the murders were premeditated and not a crime of passion.

Sherlock doesn’t think that the NYPD is necessary to his well being, but he does think his association with them would make him happy. He’s also decided that in addition to making amends, they should be on occasion accepted.

Joan suggests that they look for someone who actually did benefit from the murders or the ensuing scandal. Sherlock and Joan confront Alta Von See, a woman looking to move up her position within the agency. She claims that she has nothing to hide and that her records, which she’ll willfully turn over, will prove it.

Sherlock has gone through every potential record that Alta Von See had to offer and he has turned up nothing, but this wouldn’t be Elementary without a twist. Alta Von See has committed the crime despite her zero weapons training, but using a sonic wave gun that the scientists across the hall had been developing. The wave gun incapacitated her victims long enough for her to be able to shoot all of them point blank. None of the human victims had any trace of internal damage from the ray; the rat on the other hand…. As for the other proof, there’s marks in the hall from where the device had travelled.

To end the episode, Joan takes another visit to Mr. Morland Holmes. She had turned up a mansion that he had recently sold for $3 million less than it was worth. The buyer had just founded a superpac that would enable him to have both Sherlock and Joan reinstated, minimal questions asked. Morland asks her why “kick over rocks if you don’t want to know what’s underneath.” Joan forewarns Morland that Sherlock is going to accept the offer and so shall she, but the one thing that will not happen is Morland hurting his son. If he attempts it, he’ll face the wrath of Joan.

The main plot of the episode worked very well, it showed the difficulties of working with a new team as well as having an interesting twist and I'm looking forward to Sherlock and Joan working with the NPYD again soon.. My hangup on the episode is Morland Holmes, as I touched upon earlier. After being painted as a not-good, distant character, this is hinting at another side to him, but not really delivering on it. My other grievance with the episode is the interactions between Joan and Morland seem unnecessary and semi-awkward when the implications of Joan's final statements are considered; for her threat to be taken seriously, Morland Holmes would have to be a far less competent and powerful businessman than he has so far been painted.

About the Author - Robin Smyth

Robin Smyth is an avid watcher of television; her favourite show is Justified. Her current focus is on writing her long-awaited novel.
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