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Elementary 1×19 “Snow Angels” Recap

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Nor’easter is coming

A woman is lying on the concrete outside of a building, in the middle of the pouring rain, and is pleading for help. The building’s security guard hears her, and helps her up, when suddenly she points a gun at him. She forces him to let her inside, saying she doesn’t want to hurt him, but when he goes for his gun she shoots him once in the chest.

Two of her associates come in, and they drag the security guard’s body out of sight, away from the door. But wait! The security guard is still alive. He shakily pulls out a gun and shoots in their direction…

Joan (Lucy Liu) returns home to find an emotional transgendered woman – Mrs. Hudson (Candis Cayne), a canon character from the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle book who’s usually portrayed as an elderly woman like in BBC’s Sherlock – standing in the living room. Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) explains that Mrs. Hudson is an acquaintance and former colleague of his that recently went through a messy break-up. Since she doesn’t have a place to stay for the Nor’easter, he offered to let her stay with them.

Joan tells Sherlock that, as roommates, the polite thing would have been to ask before inviting Mrs. Hudson into the house. Before they can get into a more in-depth discussion about Sherlock’s cleaning habits (or lack thereof), Sherlock gets a call from Capt. Gregon (Aidan Quinn) about a new case.

They go to the building, where the security guard is long dead. Sherlock and Joan deduce what happened, including the fact that the security guard didn’t die immediately. Sherlock explains that the dead security guard’s final act was shooting someone in the abdomen, which means that whoever got shot would require medical attention.

Turns out the thieves stole a bunch of expensive, high-tech phones that were set to launch the next day.

Sherlock concludes from a strand of synthetic hair that a woman was part of the group, and given the wig, shooting the security guard was not part of the thieves’ plan.

Sherlock asks whether his help on this case is truly necessarily. According to him, it’s a garden-variety robbery-homicide, so as soon as they find the phones, they’ll catch the thieves.

And then the power goes out.

Sherlock decides that since they’ll be working as if they were in the Stone Age, the case might be interesting, after all.

Back at the police station, Gregson explains they’re working on back-up generators but they can only use it for essential functions until the power comes back on. A lady from FEMA explains the situation to the police officers, while Sherlock and Joan sit together.

Sherlock is using his cell phone, while simultaneously charging it on the power outlet. Joan side-eyes this behavior, saying that Sherlock browsing Instagram on his phone doesn’t fall under the ‘essential functions’ category.

Sherlock gives her a bit of a look. Detective Bell (Jon Michael Hill) interrupts before he can say anything else, telling them that he tried to contact the company that made the phones to see if they could use GPS to track the stolen goods, and hopefully the thieves, down. Unfortunately, because of the storm and resulting power outage, they’re unable to do so.

Sherlock then reveals his reason for browsing Instagram – he’s using the app to see if anyone posted a picture of the exclusive phones. Since the product hasn’t yet been released, anyone pictured holding one had purchased it from the stolen batch.

Sure enough, a photo was posted to Instagram less than an hour before Sherlock started looking. He goes on to deduce the location where the phones are being sold to be the Amphitheater at Colombus Park, based off a shadow in the picture, and Sherlock and Joan go to investigate.

They soon find out that the homeless man selling the phones isn’t one of the robbers, however; he found a box of them in a dumpster after the actual thieves tossed the goods. This means that whatever the three of them were after, it definitely wasn’t the phones – they were using that to distract the police from what they were really there for.

Sherlock gives the man some money to get a room before the storm, along with some advice to increase his asking price for the phones because “residents of this neighborhood would pay a bit more.”

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Sherlock and Joan return to the building, where they find out that the thieves had taken the guard’s elevator card, used it to go up twelve flights of stairs to an architectural firm, and then put it back into the guard’s jacket to make it seem like they had never gone anywhere but to the room where the phones were located.

As the two of them are picking the lock to the firm’s front door, a man appears from behind the door. He tells them that he’s called the police, and besides, he doesn’t have anything for Joan and Sherlock to loot. Eventually, Sherlock convinces the guy that they are with the police and are conducting an investigation, and he lets them in.

What the thieves turned out to have actually stolen was a drawer full of blueprints. Dun dun dun….

Back at Joan and Sherlock’s place, Joan is trying (and failing) to light a fire when Mrs. Hudson offers her help. The two of them talk a bit about Davis, the man that Mrs. Hudson had been having an affair with, just as the guy shows up outside the house pleading for Mrs. Hudson to come back. Joan lets him in at Mrs. Hudson’s request, and then goes upstairs to talk to Sherlock as the two lovers hash it out.

Throughout the course of the night, Sherlock has discovered that the thieves stole blueprints to EROC, home to the largest cash vault in the world, and that they’re planning on hitting up the place during the blizzard.

Cell phone service and landlines are down, which means Joan and Sherlock have to brave the blizzard, and stop the robbers, on their own.

They eventually take shelter from the “bone freezing agony” of the weather with a woman in a snowplow, and use her radio to send a message to Gregson about what they have found out. Sherlock still wants to go to EROC since they have no way of knowing whether Gregson will get the message, or even be able to spare the manpower to go there and stop the robbery. He bribes snow plow lady to take them to Jersey and to EROC.

Segue to Detective Bell, who has been going around to different hospitals asking if anyone has come in with a gunshot wound. The nurse that Bell speaks to at the last hospital confirms that no one has come in for that reason, but at Bell’s suggestion the nurse starts looking to see if anyone has a similar type of injury. He finds a “young woman with a stab wound.” Jackpot!

Detective Bell goes to interrogate her. Noticing a strand of blonde hair on the woman’s jacket, he goes to test it under the heat of a light-bulb  Sure enough, it’s synthetic. Bell arrests the woman and takes her back to the precinct.

Meanwhile, Joan and Sherlock have finally arrived at EROC, but since they have no way of confirming that they work with the police, they aren’t allowed past the control room. The man showing them around confidently tells them that there’s no way for anyone to steal any of the money… and then stops short, staring at his computer as it shows there was an unscheduled sorting of bills earlier that morning.

The man tries to shrug it off as merely a harmless oddity, since none of the money is actually shown as missing, but Sherlock suspects otherwise. He asks for access to the room where they shred old bills, which is granted, and discovers that the bills that were shredded that day were fakes, and that the thieves have made off with thirty-three million dollars.

They’re no longer trying to prevent a robbery. Now, the detectives are on the hunt for people trying to disappear with their already-stolen millions.

Back at the police station, Bell and Gregson are continuing to question the woman from the hospital. She is part of a group of international thieves, one of whom is her husband, and she is refusing to talk. Sherlock calls in using the radio to let them know that the money has already been stolen, that it has been loaded onto the back of an ambulance, and that they’re most likely heading to the house of a man who would be helping them clean their stolen cash.

Sherlock, Joan, and Bell stake out the guy’s place, but it ends up being a false lead. Bell is understandably frustrated. Joan and Sherlock return to their house, where Mrs. Hudson has broken up with her boyfriend (and subsequently cleaned and organized the house, to Joan’s utter delight). She tells Joan that their relationship wasn’t a healthy or happy one, and that she wants to work on ones that are.

Through a series of deductions, Sherlock zeroes in on a potential suspect: the woman from FEMA, from the very beginning of the episode. His reasoning is that a high level but underpaid government official might have been tempted to add a little extra to her bank account.

They stage a fake riot in order to give the FEMA official a chance to help her accomplice, the woman Bell arrested at the hospital, escape. Sure enough, she takes the bait, and the case is solved.

Finally, at the end of the episode, Sherlock is setting up for another one of Joan’s lessons in crime-solving. Joan notices that the snow plow lady is parked outside, and Sherlock explains she’s there to give Mrs. Hudson a ride to her cousin’s house. As Mrs. Hudson leaves, she informs Sherlock that she’ll see him on Tuesday. Sherlock explains that he’s hired Mrs. Hudson to clean the apartment on a weekly basis – hinting back to his and Joan’s disagreement earlier about Sherlock’s untidiness. Joan is pleased, and gets ready for her lesson.

Comments

This week’s case was pretty interesting. I really liked the introduction of Mrs. Hudson, and I particularly like the way they re-imagined her for the show. We know she’ll be coming back to the apartment at least once a week to clean the place, so hopefully, we’ll be seeing a lot more of her. The snowplow lady was great, too.

Memorable Quotes

[Sherlock is on his phone.]
Joan: I don’t think that’s what they had in mind when they said ‘essential functions only.’
Sherlock: This is essential, I’m conducting a murder investigation.
Joan: You’re browsing Instagram.

Sherlock: Look, we need to come in. We mean you no harm. And if you intend to defend yourself with that knife, you’re holding it all wrong. My associate, Ms. Watson, she holds several black belts.

Joan: Hey, I think your phone is ringing.
Mrs. Hudson: That’s Davis. He won’t stop until the cell phone towers go down.
Joan: The guy who kicked you out?
Mrs. Hudson: He said he made a mistake. He said he wants me back. But… he just wants to stick me in some walk-up, give me a clothing allowance.
Joan: I think it’s fair to expect more than that from a relationship.

Joan: And do what? What if there are fifty commandos shooting up the place?
Sherlock: Well, I have my whistle. I don’t know what’s gonna happen next! That’s what makes this an adventure!

Rating: B

Elementary airs Thursdays on CBS at 10/9 central.