Synopsis for 3×17: A car accident leads to a murder, which sends Sherlock and Watson into a crazy adventure involving the world of cryogenics.
Driving lost and confused, a young woman blew through a stop sign and t-boned a van. Unfortunately for her, there was something in the van that someone wanted to hide. As she looked into the back of the van to see what it was carrying, something horrified her. Moments later she was struck on the back of the head and left for dead. Just like that she became the victim of the week.
Before being called to assist, Watson prepared for a lunch with her mother. Sherlock found it peculiar, considering they have a relatively consistent lunch date and this one happened to fall outside of it. Watson thought nothing of it, until she arrived at the lunch and was informed by her mother that her recently married brother was possibly having an affair. Ever the good daughter and sister, Watson agreed to help intervene.
When Sherlock and Watson arrived on the scene of the earlier murder, they found the young woman had begun to be mummified. That led them to a special chemical, R22, and they began tracking it down.
They took to an ice skating rink (a place where R22 gas would be useful) to try and find someone who may have been carrying a van full of R22 canisters. Apparently, the canisters had been reported stolen by the owner of the ice skating rink. Yet a botched attempt at making a lock look picked led straight to the head of maintenance as the culprit. He’d stolen them and sold them on the black market for a nice mark-up, since the chemical was being phased out and in high demand.
With what little information he had on the buyer, he was able to lead Sherlock and Watson to an abandoned warehouse. Watson tried to insist they wait for backup but Sherlock, being his typical self, let himself into the building. What he found was horrifying as he stumbled on a meat locker full of preserved bodies.
Apparently the warehouse was attached to CryoNYC, a company that looked to cryogenically freeze people after they pass. The head of the company claimed that the meat locker was a temporary solution to an over-commitment problem. There were more people wanting to be cryogenically frozen than their facilities could handle. Nonetheless, he stated that the whole thing, though shady business, was on the up and up. He also claimed that the van carrying the R22 gas which was t-boned had been stolen and none of their people had anything to do with the girl’s death.
While investigating, it was revealed by Sherlock that one of the bodies that had been cryogenically frozen hadn’t died of natural causes. Rather, he’d been strangled. They turned to finding out who might be trying to hide a murder.
Watson decided to confront her brother about his supposed affair. He was insistent that he wasn’t having an affair and that their mom was mistaken. Perhaps she was just trying to get back at him for always being on their father’s side when he was having his affair. Maybe she was just confused. Either way, with conviction, he claimed that he’d done nothing wrong and his marriage was going well.
Sherlock investigated further into the cryogenically frozen gentleman. He’d apparently been a counselor by the name of Sullivan, and one of his patients had shown up moments after his death and was a witness. Naturally, it led them straight to the witness who told the same story he’d told the police two other times. While he’d been heading toward the office for his session, he ran into a man who was coming out. The man had a reddish beard, a scar over the top of his eye, and a hat that looked sort of like a cowboy hat. He had to have been the murderer. It was also revealed that the witness was dying of leukemia and he used it to lend toward his credibility.
Yet Sherlock quickly found holes in his story while listening to recordings of the witness’ other recounts of the crime. Each and every time he used the same exact language and descriptors in the same patterns. Flashing a fancy psychological study on this particular phenomenon, Sherlock insisted the man was lying.
Watson’s family issues served as a distraction from the case as she and Sherlock discussed the situation. All of Sherlock’s ideas of family aside, he posed the possibility that perhaps Watson’s mother was starting to forget things. She was getting older, after all, and there was a pattern of forgetfulness emerging that was outside of the norm. Naturally, Watson didn’t want to really consider it, but she couldn’t deny it would make sense.
A wrench got thrown into the case when the witness from earlier turned up dead in his apartment, strangled just like Sullivan. Though he may have murdered his counselor, there was no way he could have murdered himself. There was something else at play and they had a new twist in the case to examine.
After her discussion with Sherlock, Watson arranged another meeting with her mother. This time she tried to subtly test her memory, which blew up in her face. Her mother became very defensive very quickly and eventually walked away from the table. She had insisted nothing was wrong and refused to even consider getting tested.
After the autopsy, it became clear that the witness who had been murdered had, at one time, been a murderer himself. The key was in the shoes. Since there had been size eleven footprints left all over the original crime scene, he’d taken Sullivan’s size nine shoes. He squeezed into them whenever he visited with police so as to not become a suspect due to shoe size. Apparently Sullivan had been a bone marrow match but refused to donate.
So Ford, the witness, killed him out of anger. Then, when he realized Sullivan was being cryogenically frozen, Ford realized he could get the bone marrow still to try and save his own life. There was hope again. In order to get the bone marrow, however, he would have had to work with someone within the company. Since shortly after his murder there was a reported break-in at CryoNYC resulting in two injured techs, the light was turned on them.
It was revealed that the techs, though one of them claimed the same red-bearded man with the scar and the hat had been his attacker, had staged the break-in. They’d done it to try and shift away suspicion about their involvement in the whole thing, as they were the ones involved in killing the young woman who’d hit the van. They had hoped by killing Ford and staging their break-in, that the police would continue to search for the mystery man with the cowboy hat.
However, Watson quickly made the connection between the description of the man and a character from a terrible horror movie. Manos: The Hands of Fate got a shout-out that had me giggling madly because it is featured in one of my all time favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000 films. Nonetheless, thanks to her knowledge of pop culture, they called out the tech who claimed he’d seen the character and said that the ‘mug shot’ they’d shown was definitely the guy. It didn’t take much more to crack him as he agreed to tell the story. Case solved.
The episode ended with a partial conclusion of Watson’s family issues. While shopping for an apology gift for her mother, Sherlock met up with her and revealed that he’d arranged a meeting for the two. While he may not completely understand the importance of blood ties in family, he understands the concept all too well. He also told Watson that her family was now far more than those related to her by blood, and as such he wanted to help. He managed to convince her mother to seek out testing for her memory problems and reconciliation with Watson.
It was a heart-warming ending to an interesting episode.