This episode of Elementary is slighted by several distractions to the storytelling and a watering down of Sherlock’s analytical procedures. As such this episode can probably be counted as one of the weakest of Elementary so far. It is saved by the return of Alfredo and the after-effects of last weeks shooting of Detective Bell.
The episode starts with a Mr. Paul Hauser preparing himself to commit suicide. It quickly becomes evident from the TV news that he conducted a Ponzi scheme with his investment company. As his future seems to be rather bleak he puts his Walther PPK in his mouth only to be shot in the leg by an unknown assailant. Hauser explains that he wants to commit suicide but the assailant wants to discus something beforehand. The next day Hauser is found murdered by his personal chef. Sherlock quickly deduces that the man was interrupted with his suicide, his first suspect is his personal chef Mrs. Butler, who appears rather nervous. Sherlock however does not notice the glances of recognition between Watson and Mrs. Butler.
While Sherlock and Joan try to find more suspects amongst the thousand or so people duped by Mr. Hauser’s Ponzi scheme detective Bell is making a slow recovery. Sherlock and Bell actively seem to avoid one another after the unpleasant encounter at the end of the previous episode. As a distraction Sherlock tries to break into one of Alfredo’s car, when he fails Aflredo suggest he is feeling guilty over what happened to Bell. Sherlock counters by saying he does not feel guilt but Alfredo suggests he has become a different man. Later on Alfredo introduces him to Randy, who is also a recovering addict. Alfredo suggests that Sherlock should become his sober sponsor, much to the annoyance of Sherlock.
Watson explains that she was Mrs. Butler’s sober companion before she met Sherlock. She demands from Sherlock that he not tell captain Gregson because Mrs. Butler is in a custody battle over her son, the revelation that she was an addict would damage her efforts. She does mention to Watson that she saw Hauser in the company of a Mr. Weiss. Weiss leads a non-profit organization trying to uncover stolen money kept by the Nazi’s. Weiss professes he knows nothing of Hauser’s Ponzi scheme or his murder. Sherlock and Watson are then confronted by another murder, that of the journalist who found out about the Ponzi scheme. Sherlock and Watson discover that a Mr. Maddox is their chief suspect after he is filmed by skateboarders in a park nearby.
In a bizarre twist Mrs. Butler states that she knows Mr. Maddox. Mr. Weiss states that he believes Mr. Maddox is an art dealer. Watson and Sherlock believe that this is a front for peddling drugs and laundering money. They proof their suspicions when Mr. Maddox is found dead in a dumpster behind his art gallery. Sherlock notes that a not-random amount of art is labeled as ‘sold’. From the names of the art buyers Sherlock deduces that Mr. Weiss has bought up pieces of art at a considerable premium under the names of his supposed clients to launder the proceeds of his organization. Mr. Hauser, despite his Ponzi scheme, thought this was unethical and informed the journalist about what happened. For that they were murdered by Weiss and Maddox.
In the aftermath Detective Bell is made an offer to join a police intelligence unit, it is not shown whether he accepts the offer. Sherlock admits to becoming a changed man and takes Randy in so he could become Randy’s new sponsor.
This episode is as was mentioned in the introduction one of the weakest in the series, but it didn’t have to be that way. The premise has the hallmarks of something that has been well thought out, but the execution was sloppy. The character of Mrs. Butler distracts with her emotional outbursts that added nothing to the story. She could in fact have been eliminated as a character altogether. The murderer’s connection with Mrs. Butler is also utterly unbelievable and contrived, it again adds nothing. In fact this particular villain could have been eliminated from the story without much difficulty. How often can you say that about procedural shows. The other villain, the mastermind behind the holocaust scam felt like an obvious candidate from the first scene in which he was shown. During the rest of the 43 minutes we merely see the characters going through their motions to finally arrive at the proof of his guilt. It felt far too underwhelming for an Elementary episode. The episode is in part saved by the side-story of the fallout from last weeks events.
However, the introduction of Randy and the return of Alfredo do feel a bit contrived. Alfredo has been absent for so long even though it seemed he would become a regular. Nonetheless, his character steals every scene he is in. He also manages to get Sherlock past the rut he has been in since the beginning of season 2. Watson meanwhile seems to have honed her detection skills considerable, thus altering her place on this show. Combined these changes will mean that the set up of Elementary will continue to change throughout season 2.
Score; 7 / 10. Internal Audit feels like a broken episode, though it has elements that could have made it great.
Elementary will take a three-week hiatus and will be back on January 2nd with the episode ‘The Diabolical Kind’. Be sure to return to SciFiEmpire.net for the review the day after.