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‘Elementary’ Episode 21 Recap: “A Landmark Story”

elementary landmark story

Vinnie Jones returns as Sebastian Moran and Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham guest stars!

Episode 21 follows up on the events that took place in “M.”, one of the best episodes (if not the best) of the season. It’s a fairly procedural episode, but the overarching plot comes into play once again. In episode 12, after capturing Sebastian Moran (Vinnie Jones), Sherlock learned of the existence of Moriarty (the actual “M”; Sherlock had mistaken Vinnie Jones’ character for Moriarty at first), the mysterious person responsible for Irene Adler’s death.

In this episode, after getting him to revoke his vote, a stranger known as The Actuary (F. Murray Abraham) kills a philanthropist by hacking into and short circuiting his pacemaker.

When Moran, handcuffed and sitting in prison, finds out about this, he contacts Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller). Back in episode 12, Moran was angry that Moriarty set up Moran to take the fall and so Moran wanted to team up with Sherlock in order to take down Moriarty.

At their shared living space, Joan (Lucy Liu) finds Sherlock downstairs with a dislocated shoulder and struggling with the straitjacket that he put himself in. Joan fixes the shoulder just as Sherlock gets a call from Capt. Gregon (Aidan Quinn). Gregon explains that Moran recently got out of solitary confinement and he wants to confess to more crimes, but the catch is that he’ll only speak to Sherlock.

Moran tells Sherlock about the philanthropist, whose death has been ruled as an accident. Moran says that the philanthropist was on his hit list, and that his death was no accident – he was murdered, and Moriarty was the one to set it up. Before getting taken back to his cell, Moran kills the prison guard who had been in the room because Moran claims Moriarty has eyes everywhere.

Sherlock lies to Gregson about what Moran told him. Joan figures out that Sherlock was lying, and takes him aside to talk about it. Sherlock tells Joan everything Moran said.

They go to the morgue and Joan is forced to perform an illegal autopsy on the body. They figure out that the philanthropist was, in fact, murdered by someone who hacked into his pacemaker.

Later, Sherlock tells her about Philip Van Der Hoff (Byron Jennings), the man who was killed. He was a member of NYC’s Landmark Protection Council, an organization that determines the landmark status of historical buildings around the city. The council was reviewing the landmark status of the Taggart Speakeasy Museum, but the owner of the site applied to have the landmark status of the building removed so they could re-develop the area for more profitable purposes.

Robert Baumann (Laurence Lau) is the guy trying to get the landmark status overturned, and Sherlock thinks he must be the man responsible for Van Der Hoff’s murder.

Before Sherlock and Joan get a chance to meet with Baumann, The Actuary drops an air conditioner on Baumann’s head, crushing his skull.

Sherlock and Joan go to the scene. Sherlock gives Joan a pointed look, but Joan thinks it had to have been a stroke of bad luck – not murder.

At the apartment, Joan scolds Sherlock for dropping an air conditioner from the roof.

Next, Sherlock deduces that Hillary Taggart (Helen Coxe) is probably next on the list of people to be killed, since she’s the only one on the council who is very adamant about keeping the museum a historical landmark. In order to protect her, Sherlock says they need to think like a killer and find out what a killer would do in order to kill Taggart and make it look like an accident.

They go to the park, where Taggart does her weekly jogs. There, Sherlock finds an Africanized beehive that’s been carefully cultivated. He figures out that the killer is planning to use the bees on Taggart, who is deathly allergic to bee stings. Since the beehive is low on sugar water, Sherlock figures out that the killer will be returning soon in order to feed the bees.

That night, as they wait for the killer to arrive, Sherlock promises that he won’t try to torture and murder this guy, like he almost did with Moran. This time is different because Sherlock has Joan; he enjoys mentoring her and feels that he’s made a meaningful connection to her. Joan is touched by Sherlock’s words.

Finally, the killer arrives, and Sherlock goes to confront him. He uses a taser on him, and then brings him back to the apartment, where he straps the straitjacket on him. When The Actuary wakes up, Sherlock and Joan are sitting in chairs above him. They tell him to give up Moriarty and they will make accommodation for him when he goes to prison, otherwise they’ll simply call the police.

They go to a meeting point, and chase after the suspected Moriarty. Sherlock captures him on his camera through a passing train, and finds out that the man he photographed is John Douglas (Roger Aaron Brown). The next morning, Sherlock goes to meet with him by himself, simply leaving Joan a note.

John Douglas and Sherlock get to talking, when suddenly a sniper shoots Douglas, killing him. Gregson and the police show up, and question Sherlock. A worried Joan appears as well. She notices that Sherlock took her medicine bag, but he filled it with legos.

Sherlock goes back to Moran and questions him about the coded messages being sent to John Douglas’ phone. Moran reads the messages with a serious look on his face, but tells Sherlock that he doesn’t know what they mean. When Sherlock presses further, knowing Moran is lying, Moran tells Sherlock to leave it.

Later, Sherlock figures out the code, with some unknowing help from Joan. The message says, “Moran, you never told me you had a sister. She dies or you do. Your choice. M.”

Moran attempts suicide by repeatedly slamming his head against the mirror. Sherlock calls Gregson to tell him that Moran is going to try to kill himself, but it’s too late. Moran is in the hospital and it doesn’t look like he’s going to make it.

At the end of the episode, Sherlock finally gets a call from the elusive Moriarty.


I like what this episode set up between Sherlock and Moriarty, it was nice to see Vinnie Jones again (his last scene was very chilling), and I especially loved all of Sherlock and Joan’s “moments” together. Excited for next week!

Rating: A-

Memorable Quotes

Sherlock: That’s lovely. You’re really quite skilled, Watson.
Joan: No! I am dissecting a body in the middle of the night. We are not having a moment.

Sherlock: The thing that’s different about me, empirically-speaking, is you.
Joan: That is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.
Sherlock: As I said, it’s an empirical observation.

Elementary airs Thursdays on CBS at 10/9 central.

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