Saturday, June 15, 2019

Elementary, Season Seven, Episode Four: The patterns hold as the farewell tour continues.

What? A coffin?

Damn, Elementary just spoilers itself . . . oh, wait, it's a dream! Get ready for spoiler talk, it's about to get crazy here.

Sherlock is standing over Gregson's coffin at his gravesight, and the lovable Captain Dwyer is killed by a clown with an axe before Sherlock awakes in the steampunk-looking isolation tank that he apparently sleeps in. (Did I miss something along the six seasons? Probably.)

But in reality, Gregson is awaking from his coma, Sherlock is happy, Gregson is happy, happy music is playing, and Elementary has its happiest moment ever, before the woman who is playing the happy music in her panel van has a fatal crash in front of three girls having an evening out. Someone bolts from the panel van, and we have our mystery for the week laid out pre-credits. The van blows up.

This week's mystery rolls off last week's quite nicely -- and it's directed by Jonny Lee Miller -- Elementary's final season is just having all sorts of fun and tying itself back to past tales.

Captain Gregson has police files in his hospital bed and is helping with his own shooting with an oxygen tube under his nose.

Former gang member Halcon, who appeared in episodes in 2016 and 2017, is back, sans face tattoos and coaching kids soccer now, a subject Sherlock has definite ideas on player configurations for. Nice to see the show letting a recurring character go out on a happy note. And, speaking of happy notes, Captain Dwyer is still alive! And letting Sherlock and Joan know feds are filling the precinct conference room . . . which is very handy, because Sherlock wants to accuse them of setting up a fake terrorist incident to boost their budget! Shades of The Long Kiss Goodnight!

But Sherlock is only doing it to test their reactions, and Captain Dwyer gives them a good "What the hell were you thinking?" for it, and Sherlock says he hasn't ruled out the attorney general. These days, maybe not a bad thought on his part. But Sherlock's play eliminates the FBI task force down to a single agent to talk to, and she has some important info about hacked traffic lights.

I knew it! "Everyone" is coming back, because Sherlock is doing something ridiculous at their orders. They want him to fill his isolation tank, and Joan's toilet tank, with red jello. Never liked Everyone, the cheap copy of Anonymous, that seems to enjoy humiliating this Sherlock in ways that would make a Professor Moriarty feel like an also-ran. He just can't seem to deal with them other than bowing to their wishes.

Genital moles and a flame war help Anonymous lead Sherlock to the hacker involved, who helps Sherlock and the NSA check traffic lights for hacking . . . at this point, hacking traffic lights has become such a TV/movie trope that this part of the plot seems almost nostalgic. They must teach traffic lights in Hacker 101 if you're in a TV/movie universe.

With an ad for a series called Evil touted as coming in the fall, it looks like CBS is filling their Sherlock void with the dark side. Hmm.

Perhaps the biggest difference between ACD Canon Sherlock and CBS Elementary Sherlock is that in the Canon, Holmes usually seemed in control of everything, and holding his cards close until his lays it all out at the end. Jonny Lee Miller's character pinballs from one weirdness to another, one possible plot to another, with the other main characters doing as much investigating as he does, and contributing to that final explanation. Marcus Bell gets his bit in with a truckload of elevators and a construction company before passing the ball back to Sherlock for a twist.

Then the show hands off to Joan Watson to interview a shooter's wife as the season's ongoing mystery comes back into focus and Joan looks into the shooter's video game chat -- another Elementary habit, pulling in what the kids are up to these days for its viewers. They should get Everyone to follow up the video game chat connection (and maybe they will), but the show tosses back to Sherlock.

Marcus is calling Sherlock "Mr. Holmes" a lot during their interview with the true villain, whom we only meet during the show's finale. Mr. Holmes being the name of the Sherlock-in-retirement feature film, it's almost like a nod to the fact that it's the show's final season.

Joan Watson wheels Captain Gregson around the hospital while they discuss the ongoing plot, but the bad guys are having their own discussion about it in prison -- and are pointing their bosses at Joan. The show actually shows the bosses' phone number as 347-555-0189, but it's in the list of numbers reserved for fictional phone numbers, so don't bother trying to call them yourself.

And next week, Sherlock and Joan investigate a hog's murder, according to the teaser, and we're out!

Elementary continues to fire on all cylinders for what seems like its best season ever, and actually held my interest all episode, something it used to have a hard time doing, even with all the shiny objects it liked to throw out. Jonny Lee Miller has some talents as a director, as that is always the one magic element that makes or breaks any TV show of movie episode once the parts and pieces are all assembled, and this episode certainly played the hand it was dealt very well.

Nine episodes left.

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