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Elementary - From Russia with Drugs & Miss Understood & On the Scent - Review


Episode: "From Russia with Drugs"
Directed by: Michael Hekmat
Written by: Sean Bennett
Air date: July 4, 2019

In this episode, Captain Gregson finally returns to duty and we say goodbye to his interim replacement, Captain Dwyer. We haven't really focused much on this character, so when he's accused of inappropriate behavior towards one of the female detectives it's no surprise that none of our main characters have much to say regarding the matter. Dwyer's appearance on the show has been brief and normal. Nothing eventful or memorable happened when it comes to this Captain, so I wasn't too invested in his character. I remained mostly neutral when it comes to him, but I was a bit surprised to see such a dark turn taking place during the hour. His behavior clearly changed when he was confronted by Captain Gregson but I suppose it is good to highlight just how unexpected cases like this one can be. It's not always the people that you suspect that turn out to be a threat or simply terrible people. More than anything I think this plot served as a compelling story for our returning Captain, showing just what a reliable leader and a good guy he's always been. After his conflict with Sherlock and questionable behavior overall at the end of last season it was good to see him in a bright light once again. His interactions with Det. Bree Novacek were certainly the highlight of the hour for me. Emily Swallow was a great guest star and her character's speech about all the things that could happen to someone like her, someone accusing her boss and a police captain of inappropriate conduct, felt both powerful and awfully familiar. I'm glad we end this plot on a rather hopeful note for Detective Novacek. We could definitely use more of that.

As for the case of the week, a man is found lying dead on a pile of cash, which starts a conversation about a possibility of toxic money with traces of fentanyl being the cause of his death. It's a small thing but I like how confident Sherlock was in his assessment and how he was proved right in the end. The banter between Holmes and Det. Bell regarding this topic was a nice touch. A simple way to show how two people can disagree with each other but still be respectful about it. There was also a glimpse of Sherlock's internal struggle with hiding the truth about Reichenbach and his organization. The most interesting part of the case for me was probably Holmes visiting another familiar face - a known Russian spy named Olga Berezhnaya. Formerly a stripper and now disguised as a teacher, she owes Holmes a favor for not revealing her identity so she shares an important lead with him. She also makes him a witness to an explosion in the middle of the city, quite a memorable conversation, I have to say. In the end however, it's all about the money. Once again people are willing to go to extreme measures just to keep their wealth and their company prospering. There were some clever twists involved in this one, but most likely I won't be returning to this hour anytime soon.

Episode: "Miss Understood"
Directed by: Michael Smith
Written by: Bob Goodman
Air date: July 11, 2019

The main focus of the episode is the return of Cassie Lenue, a highly intelligent con artist who appeared on the show back in season four and absolutely stole the hour with her remarkable talent. Sherlock himself called her one of the best liars he's ever met and it's still quite impossible to tell whether she is telling the truth or not. She shows up at the Brownstone to ask Holmes and Watson for help in finding a person responsible for a murder of her foster mother, Heather Foley. As always, she's very convincing when it comes to sharing her story but Sherlock is prepared to question absolutely every word she says. Considering the fact that Cassie's relationship with Heather was never official and there's not a single person who could confirm it it's highly possible that the entire thing is yet another lie and Cassie has an ulterior motive for her every action. As the story goes on both the viewers and Holmes are struggling to see the truth hidden between the lies told by Lenue. The case itself is interesting, but more on that later. The best part of this episode are easily the interactions between Sherlock and Cassie. There's many similarities between them, even if they're standing on the opposite side of the law. Cassie is a fascinating character, truly, Joan even point out that she might be heading towards Moriarty territory, if she continues on her path. A fact that clearly hits Sherlock more than he lets on.

Ultimately, Holmes theorizes that while Cassie did lie about her relationship with Heather there was something true in her words. Above all she appears to be looking for a connection, a kindred spirit perhaps. She found a murder victim that would fit her story perfectly and showed up at the Brownstone to explore her possible connection with Sherlock. Despite everything she's done, all the lies, possible criminal actions, Holmes does seem to care about her, maybe even like her in his own way. She picks up on that and uses her talent to build on their interactions. I really loved the part of the episode where he confronts her about her true intentions and offers to find a way out. He shares his own experience, the decision to "invent a role" for himself to contribute to the world. Obviously his road wouldn't necessarily be something for her to follow, but he's not just giving up on her, instead he offers to actually be there and help her find her path. He has doubts of course, her choice to visit and blackmail their suspect in the investigation makes Sherlock believe he might have been wrong about her. For once I think she actually proves him wrong and there's something memorable about that fact alone. Their final meeting in the episode, him checking up on her and her reactions to his visit, felt genuine. His offer for her, to truly start over, with a new name and an alternative path, if it works, it might just be one of his greatest successes.

As for the case itself, Heather Foley was killed because she was a police informant and was close to helping the cops stop an organized crime ring dealing in stolen baby formula. I have to say, I would never think that baby formula could actually be used in such a way, so the reveal about this crime ring was pretty shocking to me. Everything about it sounded familiar, like any other drug organization, everything but the product itself. The scale of shoplifting showed in this case was also quite something. Seems that there truly are no limits to how far people are willing to go in the name of the financial gain. Thanks to Cassie's involvement in the case, however, this one is certainly one of my favorites in a while. A great opportunity well explored by the writers and the creators of the show.

Episode: "On the Scent"
Directed by: Christine Moore
Written by: Jeffrey Paul King
Air date: July 18, 2019

It's been a few episodes since we've seen Odin Reichenbach, so it should be no surprise to see his influence making an impact on our main characters in this hour. Joan Watson is definitely not a kind of person who would dismiss an enemy like him and leave the investigation to the NSA without trying to contribute to the case. When she starts questioning Sherlock's behavior and catches him in a lie, it becomes clear how tired he is of hiding things from his partner and he reveals the truth about what happened without any hesitation. I'm glad to see Joan now fully aware of the problem, but I also really liked how Holmes admitted that he never meant to shield Watson from the truth. He was trying to spare her, knowing what a burden this constant lying has been for him. "It's... corrosive" he says and Jonny Lee Miller is great in this brief scene when he displays Sherlock's internal struggle, anger and tiredness, all so clear even with restricted expressions on his face, so typical of Holmes. Later in the hour he shares with Watson the small progress he's made with the investigation, his attempt to contact SIS using old analog channels and proves that she can still trust him, just how much he trusts her. These two can be unstoppable together, unfortunately what they don't know is that Odin was informed about recent actions taken by Joan in the case and it sure seems like he's planning to respond.

Regarding the case of the week, an artist named Caroline Gibbs is murdered at her own house and the police suspects that it might be a work of a serial killer known as The Ghost of Brooklyn. What's interesting about him is the fact that there doesn't appear to be a pattern to his actions and everyone believed him to be retired or dead after ten years of no activity. After the conversation with a relative of one of The Ghost's victims there starts a doubt regarding the original conclusions of the investigation from 15 years ago. My theory was that someone out there might be intentionally leaving his DNA behind to keep killers from jail (probably for profit), but it turned out that the whole thing was nothing more than an accident at work. There is no Ghost of Brooklyn, there never was. Instead a man working at Northeast Med Tech, the company responsible for making the DNA kits used by the police department, obliviously contaminated swabs due to his condition (hyperhidrosis). The investigation takes a turn when it's revealed that the victim was selling drugs and also took into her care a dog that used to be a part of K9 unit. "Weed-sniffing dog being fostered by someone who sells the stuff." In the end Caroline's murder was all about taking her dog and using him to steal a shipment of marijuana from one of the cartels. The man behind it is a brother of the cartel's lawyer. Certainly not the best plan or the criminal, but an enjoyable hour overall.

1. Sherlock: "That's one thing I like about people in your profession: punctuality. I've never met a spy who is late."
Olga: "Old habits die hard."

2. Sherlock: "Who is this Scrooge McDuck?"
Joan: "Picture your father but as a duck."

3. Sherlock: "Perhaps if your mouth is busy, you won't lie as much."

4. Cassie: "Maybe connecting with one person, even for a short time, was that important. But I guess that's something you wouldn't understand."

5. Joan: "Since when do I need to be shielded from the truth?"
Sherlock: "I didn't do it to shield you, I did it to spare you."
Joan: "From what?"
Sherlock: "From having to lie to everyone else. Odin is the reason the captain was shot and we can't tell him. Or Marcus or anyone else, for that matter. Knowing a secret of that magnitude, kno-knowing the truth about an attack that almost killed a friend and keeping silent, it's... corrosive."

What did you think about "From Russia with Drugs" & "Miss Understood" & "On the Scent"? Any favorite scenes or quotes? Feel free to let us know in the comments. As always, thanks for reading!

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