Elementary picks back up this week deep in debt. Check out our recap of “Hemlock” here!
Elementary is great at the song and dance routine of mixing in a strong B story to a sometimes distracting case of the week format. In the week following Kitty Winter’s departure, the B story came out of the gate strong, sprinting through Sherlock’s various coping mechanisms. However, both the case and the underlying story required little to no work on the audiences’ part. This resulted in the heavy lifting in the form of “too much evidence viewers cannot tangibly see” being left to the characters and a resolution that felt gifted rather than earned. Sherlock needed the work and perhaps we needed a break to readjust to life without Kitty.
Tonight’s Elementary season 3, episode 13, “Hemlock,” opens with Sherlock’s attempt to fill the void in the brownstone. “I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells,” says Dr. Seuss. The children’s author is not someone we think Sherlock would take seriously, yet his words apply to Sherlock’s behavior accurately. Sherlock finds that keeping his brain awake with sexual stimulants helps to solve cold cases from the 1940s, but the ladies’ input is less than nourishing. What else is there? For starters, bilingual chess matches, chats with his single stick dummy, and ultimately taking on the case of a cheating, turned missing husband.
The case this week is almost as tedious to work through as the phone records that come along with the evidence. Steven Matthew Horowitz, former lawyer, is paying off his secretary to forward his calls while he runs a side business as a debt merchant. Buying debt off of credit card companies, he employs people to run the phones and try to cash in as people pay off their creditors. Sherlock keeps his deduction skills up to par, licking envelops, examining mold, finding brain matter, to discover that Horowitz is no longer in business and it is time to call in Gregson and Bell.
The precinct visit turns into a waiting game as the phone records are processed from Horowitz’s debt outlet. With the case at a standstill, there is no reason for Joan to return to the study in Harlem when she could be home enjoying dinner with Andrew. Her suggestions for Sherlock to get a roommate were humorous as he cycled through everyone from Mrs. Hudson to “The Nose.” But at the end of the day, her company is what he enjoys and without the excuse of a case to get her there, he does not see the merit in asking her to “hang out.”
The list does arrive bright an early and with it comes Sherlock’s calls regardless of a courtesy hour. The names, dubbed “The Motherload,” is worth millions of dollars of debt, but the names on the list are not getting them any closer to a single suspect. Instead, Bell brings in a former worker for interrogation. Edwardo’s alibi checks out for the murder, but his newly installed 14 phone lines lead them to the list’s location.
Edwardo offers up one final clue about Horowitz’s final days with the company. After a visit to a client in CT, Horowitz returned and shut down the entire operation. The next step is the find the reason for his sudden change of heart.
Speaking of a change of heart, Watson and Sherlock attempt hash out Andrew’s return to the states. Watson’s subpar enthusiasm and lack of interest in fulfilling her end of the relationship duties, for example, meeting the parents, does not bode well for their future. Even Sherlock admits that Joan is not exactly displaying the hints of intoxication that one associates with true love.
But before Joan can meet Andrew’s father, she and Sherlock pay a man named Owen a visit in Connecticut. Suffering from emphysema, Owen is the final person Horowitz visited and the first person he agreed to forgive the debt of. If Horowitz decided to change his mind about operating a filthy business, all signs point to the principle investors as key suspects.
Sherlock rallies the NYPD troops, while Joan puts on her best introduction face and meets Andrew’s dad. A delight at dinner, she drops the act and retires to the brownstone after the meal to deliver a message to Sherlock. Punching him in the arm she admits that she hates it when he is right. The spark that Andrew gave her in light of Sherlock’s absence is gone. Sherlock does his best to guide to the obvious conclusion gently, admitting that Andrew does not deserve to be strung along.
He has all but solved the mystery while she wined and dined, looking into Owen’s community as a whole rather than a pinpoint. A leading investor of Horowitz’s is looking to develop the land for a ski resort. This information is confirmed by Everyone’s records that take the group to Jay Stern’s Investors in exchange for a Super Bowl ring. No matter, Sherlock places a call to his buddy Phil Simms and arranges the trade.
Wrapping up the final pieces of the puzzle, Jay Stern Investments is represented by Horowitz’s old law firm. Horowitz’s golfing buddy and partner, Coleman Brown, stood to lose millions of dollars if Owen was suddenly able to keep his home if his debt magically disappeared. Physical evidence follows after Joan noticed the glasses in his oil portrait were suddenly replaced and the glasses at the crime scene matched his old lenses.
Talk about no stone left unturned. Every detail in Elementary has significance. It becomes relatively easy to spot when you are three seasons deep, but always interesting to find out where and who it comes back to haunt.
Unfortunately, a seemingly harmless bump in a coffee shop is one detail that does help Andrew. Joan calls him to end their relationship, but a mixed up coffee order slipped a deadly poison into Joan’s cup that Andrew accidentally sipped. He collapses to the floor and, as the preview for next week reveals, the odds of surviving a lethal dose of Hemlock are not in his favor.
• Is there a Kickstarter campaign to fund Paintings by Clyde? I’d like to transfer some money from my paycheck immediately.
Watch Elementary season 3, episode 14, “The Female of the Species,” Thursday, February 12 at 10:00 p.m. ET on CBS.