The Elementary writing staff have once again taken the ripped-from-the-headlines tack that has worked so well for the Law and Order franchise by bringing the viewers a story about an employee at a top secret agency who leaked classified information to the public. Embedded in this episode are overarching questions about isolation and revealing one’s true self to the world.
Quick sidenote: speaking of the Elementary writers; they are currently engaged in a Twitter battle with the writing staff of Sleepy Hollow. It’s quite entertaining:
Anyway, as stated in the beginning, this week’s episode takes its cues from the real life stories of Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, who incidentally, has a biopic premiering soon. In this case, the stand-in for these real life people is one Ezra Kleinfelter, a worker at some top secret defense contractor who is also a part of a hacker group known as “Everyone.” (That was fun to keep up with on the show.) Kleinfelter posts highly sensitive documents on the Internet before going into hiding. This week’s case was far less intricate than last week’s (thank god because as a recapper, last week was tough to condense), but as with almost every episode of Elementary, the emotional subplot is more compelling than the actual case.
After the initial set-up, Watson is shown having coffee in a park with a friend as Holmes sends her pictures of dolls in various death poses as an exercise in rapid crime scene analysis. Watson’s friend seems unperturbed by the photos, but questions whether she’s getting any “real world” time. So as a helpful friend, she’s set Joan up with an account on an online dating site.
The case kicks off with a visit from a guy named Mr. Mueller who claims he represents a group that wants to keep Kleinfelter safe and is hiring Holmes and Watson, Inc. to find him and deliver him safely. Holmes calls bullshit and through a conveniently placed friend, finds out that Mr. Muller is actually Elliot Honeycutt and works for a company that is a known front for the CIA.
Digging into Kleinfelter’s background reveals he’s your stereotypical, white cis-male hacker type who fits right in on Reddit. Despite those obvious failings, Holmes doesn’t believe he deserves to die so he will do his best to find him before the government does. The pair contacts the journalist that Kleinfelter used to leak his information. Her most important criteria for being a trustworthy ally is the fact that she’s attractive. This guy is not winning any sympathy points so far.
A stakeout of the journalist’s office is great time for a Holmes/Watson heart-to-heart with Watson wondering if the pair of them have isolated themselves too much from the wider world. She also brings up the ghost of Irene Adler AKA Moriarty, the unspoken shadow in their lives. Holmes tells Watson that he didn’t believe in romantic love until he met Irene/Moriarty and she nearly changed his mind before destroying whatever hope he had built up for love. He now claims he is post-love and he finds it very freeing. He can now pursue a meaningful life without the burden of such connections.
Back to the case, Holmes ascertains that the building’s security guard is connected with Kleinfelter and swipes his phone, telling Watson that pickpocketing is all about trust and eye contact. The phone proves valuable, but it’s also a liability that Holmes must destroy using the microwave. The phone did yield a website for identity thieves, hackers and members of the group Everyone. In order to deduce where Kleinfelter might be hiding, Holmes settles in to argue with the hackers all night long. Watson takes the sane option and goes to bed.
There have been so many characters I’ve been missing lately and Clyde was definitely one of them (even though he’s just a turtle). He was placed in Watson’s bed as an alarm clock by Holmes, which I guess is an improvement on bursting into her room with clothes at dawn. Through his night of arguing, Holmes discovers that Kleinfelter is staying with a young woman named Vanessa. The euphoria of getting a jump on a bunch of secret agents is dampened when Vanessa is found dead in her apartment and Kleinfelter gone. The evidence points to our hacker hero killing the woman after she spurned his advances (Note to dudebros: this is why we women are wary of you.) There are, however, several items left behind that could provide clues as to where Kleinfelter went to next, including a map of New York City, a travel guide of Venezuela, a tin of stale crackers and a copy of The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (of course he likes Rand).
Back at the flat, Holmes is venting his frustration about the hackers he keeps arguing with while Watson sets up her online dating profile. Apparently, Holmes let something slip in his arguing, because the hackers begin taking out their wrath on the pair, linking Watson’s dating profile to an interest in naked train building and ordering a few dozen pizzas to the residence. The hackers also cut off their cell phones and power to the flat, which is highly inconvenient when you’re trying to catch a hacker and killer.
In all that chaos, another convenient acquaintance of Holmes helps them figure out Kleinfelter’s new location, which is an old, abandoned Cold War bunker. Before the detectives can get to the bunker, they are arrested by Secret Service agents, blustering about a website in their name that claims they want to kill the president. That little delay is quickly handled, but they miss Kleinfelter again.
In an effort to smooth relations over with Everyone, Holmes offers to pose naked for the group, but the move turns out to be unnecessary as he connects a username alluding to Nordic mythology to a billionaire with a penchant for Internet freedom causes. The man is flying into New York before heading to Venezuela, Kleinfelter’s suspected destination. Holmes and Watson, along with Gregson and Bell, apprehend Kleinfelter and his benefactor at the airport, but the whistleblower has one more trick up his sleeve. He knows the locations of more than a dozen field agents in deep cover and will release the names if he is arrested. The group has no other choice but to release him, but not before Watson grabs his arm, telling him he will pay for killing Vanessa. The grab was a ploy to snatch Kleinfelter’s watch in order to get a DNA sample to tie him to the murder. Given the lack of other distractions, Watson taught herself sleight of hand. The look of pride and the tentative pat on the back Holmes gives her is absolutely priceless.
The DNA is enough to connect Kleinfelter to the murder and he goes from hero to zero in the eyes of Everyone in almost no time. Additionally, even though Kleinfelter made good on his threat to release the names and locations of deep cover agents, an appeal to Honeycutt guaranteed all agents were able to get to safety. All power and normality is restored to the flat, though Watson has a mind to change things up a bit. She’s going out on a date with a man who showed up on the doorstep of the flat after her address was posted on her dating profile — he just wanted to make sure she was all right. First rule of Internet dating: if a guy shows up suddenly on your doorstep, don’t go out with him and call the cops. Well, she goes out on the date anyway in an effort to reconnect with the wider world.
The date goes as many first dates often do; it was nice enough, but no real sparks. She finds Holmes reading a letter when she gets home and comments that it would be a shame for him to continue to close himself off from meaningful relationships. Joan shouldn’t be the only one to know Sherlock. As she lies in bed and contemplates the beginnings of a blog about Holmes, the man is once again alone with his letter. Sherlock’s voice over of the letter, asking the same questions about connection that have been the overarching theme of the episode. As the letter continues, our detective’s voice begins to merge and change into another very familiar voice.
For a long while now I’ve suspected that connection with another person, real connection, simply isn’t possible. I’m curious if you disagree, although I suspect you feel as I do in this, as you do in so many other things. So tell me, is it possible to truly know another person? Is it even a worthwhile pursuit? Yours is the only opinion I’ll trust, the only point of view that holds even the faintest interest. I find my diversions, as I always do, but the days are long in this grey place. I dearly hope you’ll write soon.
The letter is signed, “Ever Yours, Jamie Moriarty.” Now we have a name for “The Woman” (and she really is in every sense) and another emotional arc for Sherlock Holmes. So the big question is, will our detective attempt any connections this season? I personally would love to see more expansion of relationships and the reintroduction of characters we met last season. There’s your connection! I mean, for fuck’s sake, where is Alfredo and, for all things good, where is Mrs. Hudson? These are the questions I’d like answers to.
Until next time my friends.