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New Show Recap: Elementary 2×07, “Blood is Thicker”

Ohhhhh, what kind of twists do we have here? This week’s episode has so much good emotional depth, only interrupted by your standard, boring case that involves murder with money as the primary motive. So tired, but this episode was a perfect example of the standard structure of the show where the good stuff is mixed in with routine case talk.

Holmes: *Makes some witty observation about the case.

Watson: ¬†Yeah, that makes sense. So tell me what’s going on with your feelings, your brother, your recovery, our relationship.

This week’s case involves a girl who fell on top of a delivery truck from her high rise apartment building with a stab wound in her gut, but we will leave that until later. Now, let’s talk about the Holmes brothers sparring with wooden sticks; with eggs on their helmets to better determine a winner. As Sherlock points out, hitting each other with sticks is something all siblings should do. Mycroft wonders when Sherlock will have dinner with him at his new restaurant Diogenes (and I have shamefully missed the reference to canon). He’s heading back to London soon. This brings up the question of when Sherlock is returning to London? Mycroft knows how much Sherlock loves London and wonders why he’s stayed so long in NYC. Sherlock muses that he’s grown to appreciate New York City in its own way, but it’s more about the people there. The relationships and attachments he’s formed with Watson and Bell and Gregson. Oh my God! Is this actual, realistic character growth and development? Praise!

So the case involves a young woman named Hayley Tyler, a recent transplant from Texas who fell from her high rise apartment after being stabbed. The building is exclusive and the tenants pay a high price for privacy, including no doorman or CCTV. The apartment is filled with expensive shoes and clothes and bargain brands that are shoved to the back of the closet. The initial suspicion is that Hayley was a high class call girl or kept woman. The identity of the owner would seem to support the theory. The owner is an Ian Gale who is clearly modeled after Steve Jobs in that he practically invented computers and smart phones. The lackeys at his office are not being helpful in assisting the Detectives Watson, Holmes, and Bell. They even have an alibi for their boss, he was in Kuala Lumpur. They even have video! Too bad that Holmes uses the smartphone Gale invented to determine the man in the video is a decoy.

Back at the brownstone, Watson is woken in the morning by a phone call from Mycroft asking if anything happened to Sherlock. Apparently, he was stood up for their dinner date at the restaurant for a third time. He asks Watson to intercede on his behalf since the restaurant is up and running and he’ll be leaving in a few days. Watson finds Sherlock downstairs waiting to hear from his network of contacts in the city’s hotels for signs of Ian Gale. If he’s not in some distant locale, he must still be in New York. His hunch is proven correct when he gets a text from a contact, but not before Watson encourages him to spend some time with his brother who is just trying sooo hard.

Having procured Gale’s location from a hotel worker with a penchant for a rare cheese (it’s apparently very difficult to milk a moose), they proceed to the ENTIRE FLOOR that Gale has presumably booked. They’re met by security personnel who are set on kicking the pair out, but a call to one of the goons’ earpieces finds them ushered into a suite. There they find Gale hooked up to medical machines and on a hospital bed. He’s obviously very sick and he tells the detectives that he’s dying. He didn’t kill Hayley or have her killed because she wasn’t his mistress; she was his daughter.

Gale is dying. He had a heart transplant, but his body is rejecting the new organ and he doesn’t have much time left. His daughter came into his life late, the product of a one-night stand in Texas, long before he met his wife, Natalie, holding his hand beside him. She’s a match for his rare blood type and it was the only thing keeping him alive. Gale revealed herself as her father and brought her to New York for his treatment. He just feels so TERRIBLE and all.

Back at the station, the single set of prints that are not accounted for is of course not in the system. Sherlock is intent on heading to the morgue to examine Miss Tyler’s body until Watson reminds him of his dinner date with Mycroft. He’s reluctant to go, but given Watson’s medical background, she can handle examining the body herself. After a rant by Sherlock on the fetishization of eating out, she sends him on his way.

At the morgue, it’s determined that the stab wound was very precise, almost surgical; Hayley died instantly. It’s hypothesized that Hayley was killed by someone with medical training of some kind. In that moment, Detective Bell enters with Hayley’s mom, who has come to officially identify her daughter’s body. Now, I don’t get emotional about much, but these types of scenes always get to me, where a person has to face the death of their loved one directly. It must be so horrifying. Hayley’s mother reminisces about their last conversation, an argument and points the detectives in the direction of their first suspect: Natalie Gale. Mrs. Gale was a pediatric surgeon, she stood to lose about 20% of Gale’s estate to Hayley because of a change in his will and she wasn’t accounted for at the time of Hayley’s death. Plenty of motive, except that Natalie had encouraged her husband to change his will. Why would she have any motive to kill her? And with that, Gale orders all cooperation with the NYPD to be halted.

Meanwhile at Diogenes, Mycroft and Sherlock have just finished dinner when the elder Holmes pulls out a set of keys. It’s the keys to 221B. Mycroft has found another place and the flat was always Sherlock’s home to begin with. Sherlock appreciates the gesture, as much as he really can, but tells Mycroft his home is in New York now. Maybe not permanently, but that’s still undecided. That’s when Mycroft drops the bombshell for the night. Their father is becoming increasingly perturbed about his wayward son. Mycroft points out that, yes, their father isn’t cuddly, but he has helped Sherlock immensely. Sherlock immediately fires back that their father helped him because he was embarrassed and needed to keep up appearances. Whatever the reason, he’s unhappy and Mycroft is worried that Sherlock will be cut off and kicked out of the brownstone. He does have Watson to think of now and he can’t just tell their father to sod off with another person depending on him.

The next morning, Watson is discouraged about the dead end. The good news is that there is a match for the prints found in the apartment; Hayley’s on-again, off-again boyfriend Ray McKibben, who looks like a real winner judging from his arrest record. Given Hayley’s newfound wealth, it’s pretty likely the guy wanted to be on-again with Hayley. There’s a possibility he’s still in the city.

Holmes and Watson have an apartment conversation while on a case (as per usual)
Photo courtesy of CBS Broadcasting

The pair return to Hayley’s apartment to suss out clues to McKibben’s whereabouts, but don’t come up with much. Now is the time where the emotional discussions happen like I referenced above, with Watson asking about the dinner with his brother and Sherlock choosing to share the revelations about his father and his possible plans. This was a huge moment in Sherlock’s emotional story arc and in the progress of the partnership with Watson. He could have kept the possible upheaval to himself, but instead chose to share. The specter of Sherlock’s mysterious father is looming large (I wonder if we are ever going to meet him or if he will remain a shadowy puppet master, manipulating from a distance). Sherlock enjoys his work with the NYPD and does not want to take on more paying clients, but he may have no choice. The alternative is to follow his father’s wishes and return to London with hopefully Watson in tow. Slipping back into her role of sober companion for a bit, Watson asks what Sherlock wants to do. Sherlock loves London, truly, but his return a few months ago made him appreciate what he had in New York; a support system, colleagues and satisfying work. He doesn’t want to give that up until he is ready. Watson’s response: Screw him. The look of emotion and naked relief on Sherlock’s face is just beautiful and I might have made a noise at that moment that sounded something like, “awwwww.”

Now that emotional stuff has been discussed, back to the case. Sherlock accesses the DVR recordings for clues because it’s akin to looking into someone’s soul. There are recordings of ¬†a show on horse racing and given that Hayley uses products that are exclusively cruelty-free, it’s unlikely she watched the show.They figure McKibben might be at a scheduled race given that he is most likely a betting man. Their hunch is right and he’s brought in for questioning. The guy seems more torn up by the fact that he can’t collect his winnings than by the fact his girlfriend was murdered. He was with Hayley the day she died. She had been running a high fever and had other flu-like symptoms for the past two weeks when he went down to the drugstore to get medicine. When he returned, he saw the blood and fled, not bothering to call the police. Video at the convenience store shows that although he was a shitty boyfriend and all-around terrible human being, he wasn’t a murderer.

Watson thinks the fact that Hayley had the flu and was still allowed to donate blood is suspicious. Protocol states that she should have been barred from giving blood. The lab tech at the hospital confirms she donated right before she died though the tech didn’t notice she was sick. That’s when the next bombshell drops, Ian Gale is dead.

After those turn of events, the case wraps up quickly. Watson figures out that Natalie Gale had effectively poisoned her husband by injecting Hayley with blood from a biopsy sample under the guise of giving Hayley a supplement to help with the frequent blood donations. The antibodies Hayley’s blood produced affected the anti-rejection drugs Ian was taking and, well, the rest is history. This is the part where procedural dramas drag: the exposition scene at the end that just halts the momentum. However, I’m glad that Watson was able to use her medical knowledge to solve the case, which was once again about money and prenuptial agreements.

I knew Mycroft was shady but it still makes me sad
Photo Courtesy of CBS Broadcasting

Finally, Mycroft shows up at the brownstone, having changed his flight back to London in order to appeal to Sherlock one last time. Sherlock hands him a letter addressed to their father, which was personally difficult for Sherlock to write, given that he hates for his father to have any insight into his life. Though he knows how capricious his father can be, Sherlock needs the safeguards he’s built in New York to continue with his recovery and he will deal with the consequences as they come. Mycroft leaves with the letter and it seems like that is that with the brothers shaking hands and having a heartfelt goodbye. Well, heartfelt at least for them, in any case.

Mycroft: You’re so different now Sherlock.

Sherlock: You are essentially the same.

But we find Mycroft drinking a glass of wine in his empty restaurant. He takes out the letter and tears it up before throwing it in the trash. He makes a phone call and we only hear his side of the conversation. He tells his mysterious partner that his gambit didn’t work and Sherlock is staying in New York. The gamble shouldn’t get back to Sherlock or their father, but they are going to have to come at the problem a different way.

Ahhhhh. So is Mycroft the Big Bad this season? I knew that the concerned brother schtick was too good to be true. Who is he working with? Is he working with Moriarty?!? Oh man. I can’t wait to see how this develops.

 

 

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Stephens

Florida girl, would-be world traveler and semi-permanent expat. Her main strategy of life is to throw out the nets and hope something useful comes back, but many times it's just an old shoe. She also really, really hates winter and people who are consistently late.

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