Elementary ‘The Long Fuse’ Review
The eight episode of Elementary has as guest star Lisa Edelstein as a high-classed CEO of a PR firm. Sherlock must investigate why a bomber wished to attack the firm and as such discovers a number of person’s with ugly dispositions. Watson meanwhile tries to find a sponsor for Sherlock that would look after him when their companionship ends in a few weeks time. This latter plot gets a little bit muddled by the ‘perpetrator of the week’ story but ends with an interesting twist.
As for the plot of ‘The long Fuse’…
The episode starts when a bomb hidden in an air duct explodes in the office of a corporate web-designer. Sherlock and Inspector Gregson have no clue about the motive, but they do quickly discover that the bomb was set-off with the help of a mobile phone. When the person who used that phone is arrested they deduce he may have detonated the bomb accidentally as he was calling the number of a deli which is different by one digit. His innocence is further proven when Sherlock discovers that the newspaper used for stuffing are four years old and the suspect was in jail at that time. The newspaper stuffing does show an imprint of writing that was done on another piece of paper. A single word is readable – Novocaine – but Sherlock has no idea what it means. The previous tenant occupied the office 4 years back and so the investigation focuses on them as the suspected target for the bomber.
The previous tenant was a PR firm called Van Owen S. C. and is headed by Heather Van Owen (Lisa Edelstein). She states that in 2008 (4 years before the bomb went off) they got threatening letters from a militant organization called the ELM. From the letter’s unique phrases Sherlock finds out who wrote them. Their new suspect eventually confesses to sending the letters as well as bombing a lumber mill but denies bombing Van Owen S. C. To Gregson and Bell his denial for the last bombing is too convenient but Sherlock thinks the man may be innocent as well. Sherlock experiments with exploding tennis balls in order to deduce the chemicals used to bomb Van Owen S. C. He discovers that these are different from to those used by the suspect in his bombing spree.
Meanwhile, Watson is trying to arrange for a sponsor for Sherlock for when their sober-companionship ends in a few weeks time. Sherlock doesn’t seem to pay it much attention but Watson thinks it is because he can’t cope with her leaving. The first person she arranges to meet Sherlock is dismissed because he couldn’t answer a difficult questions about drugs the right way. Watson thinks Sherlock is setting impossible standards. However, at the addiction discussion meeting Sherlock finds an unlikely person to be his sponsor, Alfredo, an ex-convict who knows everything about stealing cars. Watson suggests that Sherlock is proposing Alfredo in the hopes she won’t approve of him and not leave.
Sherlock once again starts to investigate why Van Owen S. C. was the intended target and sets out to search through its personal files. While doing so he is flirted by Heather Van Owen. Sherlock bluntly states that an arrangement for sex can be made as he is attracted to her. Van Owen says they have many things in common such as addiction. For a few moments Sherlock is baffled about how she knows but then she refers to cross-word puzzles. A while later Sherlock discovers than one employee, Pradeep Singh, often had fights with senior management until his unsolved disappearance in 2008. Sherlock and Gregson consider him to be the new suspect. While Sherlock is visiting the home of his wife with Watson he sees that there is something odd with the wall in the living room. Through a ruse he manages to lure the wife and Watson to the garden and sets out knocking through the wall. While admitting what he did to Watson he reveals that he has found the mummified remains of Pradeep Singh in the wall.
The autopsy reveals a key on Singh’s person, Sherlock states it is from a safety deposit box. Opening the box they uncover a video tape. This tape shows a much younger Singh secretly videoing him having sex with a woman who appears to be a prostitute. A close up of her face reveals that it is Heather Van Owen. She is invited to the police station where Sherlock reveals the entire sequence of events that led up to the bombing of the Web-designer’s office. Heather Van Owen started out as a high-class prostitute to get herself through college and raise capital for her new company. Pradeep Singh started working for her and black-mailed her with the videotape. As such he managed to receive successive promotions but he was never really satisfied. Heather van Owen then tried to blow him up with a bomb and put the blame with the ELM but the bomb didn’t detonate. Instead she murdered him and plastered him in the wall of his living room while his wife was in India. Heather’s love for cross-word puzzles gave a hand writing match with a writing imprint left on the newspaper stuffed in the bomb. She is charged with the deaths from the bomb-blast.
The last scene of the episode shows Alfredo dropping by Sherlock’s place with an expensive new Ferrari. He says that he is consulted on by car dealers to check the latest security measures. As such he believes the two of them have something in common. Sherlock mentions Watson’s blatant attempt at showing they have something in common but seems to accept Alfredo’s suggestions that they should try the sponsoring.
So far the companionship relation has been a somewhat awkward way to connect Sherlock and Watson. It is not the traditional friendship that is described in the Sherlock Holmes stories. As such Watson’s imminent departure that is mentioned has the ability to change the setting of them being together. It also introduces a sense of tension as there is a date in a few weeks that marks the end of their present companionship and Watson is adamant she won’t break it.
This episode tries to introduce a new character to the show, that off Alfredo Llamosa (played by Ato Essandoh), as the supposed successor to Joan Watson. This show has been careful with introducing new characters and so anyone who joins the cast must in my opinion really add something. The appearance of the character Alfredo was too short to get any definitive impressions but he does seem to have potential. It is a shame that Lisa Edelstein was the perpetrator in this episode because a regular appearance might have balanced out the rather male cast.
Unfortunately for this episode I managed to guess rather quickly that Lisa Edelstein’s character was the murderer. This because after the two red-herrings there was too little running time left to introduce a new character. This is a flaw that several Elementary episodes have suffered from (most notably the one with the angel of death). The eventual motives for the bombing remained a mystery until the end, as it did with the other episodes, and as such the twist at the end is still satisfactory. Lisa Edelstein’s guest appearance also continued the running gag that was left from her West Wing time. Both this episode as well as an episode of House refers to her being a prostitute that who is trying to earn money to get through college. Elementary is seen by many to be a sort of successor to House and thus this reference was quite provocative.
Score; 8 / 10. A subplot that doesn’t interest much and a whodunit which reveals too early who actually did it.