Synopsis of 3×07: There’s a lot of murders and the only thing connecting them is the delightful aroma of nutmeg.
Gasp! This is going to be the first week Elementary doesn’t get five stars out of me for the season. It wasn’t a bad episode, but it didn’t quite hit me in the feels like the past few episodes have. However, it was still cleverly done and provided some minor character development. Though part of that character development made me a bit uncomfortable. We’ll explore that later.
The episode began with a young lawyer who wanted to hire Watson to find out what happened to her sister. Her sister had disappeared years previous and there had never been any more gains on the case. Watson, of course, accepted the case. There was only one clue at the crime scene, which had actually connected a number of disappearances: the smell of nutmeg. That’s right, this week’s entire case was based on a holiday spice.
Of course, Sherlock butted his head in because he was bored and offered to volunteer on the case. His volunteering quickly became obnoxious because he refused time and time again to do any of the grunt work. It tried Watson’s patience, but she managed to move forward in the case even with his lack of assistance at some points. They started the investigation by tracking down the FBI agent investigating multiple disappearances all connected by the smell of nutmeg. The agent believed that all of the people were killed by the same killer, but Sherlock wasn’t convinced.
In the face of the FBI agent refusing to give up his profile, Sherlock went behind his back and asked his coworkers for a little help. Apparently the agent was not well liked amongst his colleagues and in no time they had the profiles in hand.
Like I predicted in last week’s episode, we got a little dose of Ms. Hudson! It was a delight to see her again, even though her role was small. Sherlock asked her to keep an ear out on the police scanner for any word of a crime scene containing nutmeg. He still believed the crimes were somehow connected, but didn’t seem convinced that they were all the same killer. There had to be something else.
As the case progressed, Watson ran into an old friend from the medical world. He also happened to be someone she dated pretty seriously. The guy had even proposed, we found out later. He needed help with a stolen identity, since his medical ID had been taken and someone was using it. His presence and her taking his case brought up a whole weird relationship discussion which put me at ease.
This run-in spurred Sherlock on to talk to Watson about her relationship status. Andrew, her current guy, was still in Copenhagen working on his new business venture. It seemed, in his absence, Watson was longing. Sherlock picked up on it and counseled her in his off-putting way. He pointed out that she seemed to be trying to fit a certain relational mold and it wasn’t really working out. He made the observation that she seemed dissatisfied being at home like Andrew was away, trying to make a long distance relationship work.
I really don’t know how I felt about this underlying theme for this week’s episode. It culminated in Watson getting offended, only to be confronted by Sherlock toward the end about the whole ordeal. He pointed out he hadn’t meant his observations as an insult, but simply as counsel. Sherlock even went so far as to say, “You remain a far more interesting person than you give yourself credit for,” after a long statement regarding her ability to step outside of societal norms and embrace who she is.
Ultimately, I liked the idea behind the theme. Sherlock is very much someone who exists outside of normal social convention and appreciates associating with people of the same mind. He embraces people for who they are, regardless of quirks and lifestyles. It is refreshing to see someone who is relatively self-actualized portrayed as relatively functional on television. However, what made me uncomfortable was the fact this societal push back had to do with Watson’s sex life, and I worry they may start to make her escapades a dramatic focus.
It seemed a bit cheap and honestly overshadowed a lot of the episode. It was out of place.
Nonetheless, the plot still moved forward. Sherlock called in one of his irregulars, a cute little Englishman called “the nose.” Thanks to the irregular’s keen olfactory senses, they were able to determine that the nutmeg was part of some sort of concoction probably used to clean up the crime scene. There were a lot of other chemicals involved and the nutmeg was thrown over the top of them as a distraction, or a way to keep people from realizing the truth beneath the scent.
The scent, plus talking with a convicted murderer spending life in prison, led them to a crime scene cleaner. Originally, the guy had worked for the NYPD cleaning up crime scenes for the city. However, he eventually moved on to greener pastures and became a professional cleaner in the sense that he’d offered up his skills to a relatively unsavory crowd. Included in that crowd? The murderer Sherlock and Watson had talked with throughout the episode.
Yet when they arrived at the guy’s house they realized he wasn’t about to give himself up, even after they took him down to the station. Instead they side-stepped it and tried to track down the people he’d worked for. They found an Armenian gangster who had long ago retired and offered him immunity in exchange for giving up the cleaner. He took the deal, but when they showed up to arrest the cleaner they found him gone.
Really, with a bit of investigating, they came to realize he’d been cleaned himself.
Eventually, they connected the dots and realized that the apartment super was also the youngest son of the murderer helping them on the case. He’d been the cleaner’s apprentice, and when he learned that their whole operation might come undone, he made a move and killed the cleaner. In the end, with a bit of persuading, he came out and confessed in order to avoid a worse fate at the hands of everyone he had ever worked for.
It was Kitty’s discovery regarding the son that solved the whole case, and the episode ended with a touching moment between Sherlock and his protégé. He essentially told her he was proud, and she quietly accepted the praise. I just hope they leave her alone and nothing bad happens to her because I love Kitty and she needs to be protected at all costs.