Synopsis of 05×04: Sherlock requests the help of an old boarding school classmate when the case takes an out-of-this-world turn. Captain Gregson, on the other hand, works to get Sherlock and Joan included in a unit commendation, regardless of Sherlock’s protest.
Elementary’s 100th episode started with a different kind of mystery this week. While Sherlock and Bell were discrediting a witness statement at the precinct, they noticed their Captain’s boss’ boss make himself at home in Gregson’s office. Bell claimed he would stay out of it and suggested Sherlock do the same, but the wheels were already turning in Sherlock’s head as he noticed the two men in the office pass across a stack of files.
The case of the week stemmed from the home of a couple who had rented out their apartment through Awaycay, an AirBNB lookalike, only to return home and find the place trashed. While the husband raged about who would pay, and how they would deal with the damage, he noticed a fire poker had gone through the wall. Mad, and curious, he began to yank on it only to find it was stuck. It turned out on the other end of the wall, in the next door apartment, was a gentleman who had been impaled with it.
At the Brownstone, Sherlock reviewed old cases which corresponded to the files he had watched the Captain review. He expressed his concerns to Joan, who did not seem particularly bothered, and the two got called to the scene of the impaling which distracted them from the conversation at hand.
At the scene of the crime Sherlock quickly deduced that the killer had not planned to use the fire poker as their first choice for premeditated murder, and found a gun that had an incorrectly seated magazine which caused it to fail. With the murder determined as murder, and not just a death in the heat of the moment, Sherlock got called away by the Captain while Watson and Bell went to talk to the dead man’s boss.
Russell, the poor fellow who had been impaled, had been his company’s golden goose. His boss expressed clear affection for the man, and explained that oftentimes Russell was given a long leash to go on “deep dives” into company data because he would always come back with gold. As such, Russell had been gone for the past few days and the boss did not know where he was. He mentioned that his wife would be devastated, and Watson noticed something strange about the picture of his wife on his desk.
Captain Gregson informed Sherlock that the meeting he had observed was a positive one. Metal day was quickly approaching, and because of the good work Gregson’s unit had been doing, they had been offered a Unit Citation. They would be recognized for their dedication, and he wanted everyone to be recognized – including Sherlock and Watson, even though they were civilians.
Meanwhile, Watson tracked down a lead to the wife and confronted her with the fact she and Russell had been having an affair. There had been an inconsistency in the picture of her that matched other pictures taken by Russell’s phone, so it was a quick conclusion to come to. She admitted that it was true, they had gone to Maui together and were seeing each other, but she was not a suspect. Instead, she gave Watson a tip about a cabin upstate Russell would use for his “deep dives.”
At the cabin, where Bell and Watson met up with Sherlock and discussed the mass amounts of poison ivy all around, the team discovered that Russell had not been looking at a company’s data. Instead, he had been studying asteroids, and as they combed through the data it appeared that Russell brought into question how asteroids were measured, putting the Earth at risk of being unaware of the real threats floating outside the atmosphere.
In order to get a better understanding of the situation, Sherlock reluctantly consulted a friend named Julius Kent, who Sherlock described as a “blowhard” he knew from boarding school. Kent was a television scientist, a bit of a celebrity in the right circles, and while Sherlock was annoyed, Watson was enchanted by him. Kent was helpful, despite Sherlock’s prickly demeanor, and explained that Russell’s paper threatened individuals set to profit from plans to destroy asteroids.
Apparently Russell proposed that measuring asteroids through heat sensors was flawed because it failed to take into consideration what the asteroids were made of. Since composition could effect how hot one asteroid got over another, heat alone would be a poor predictor of size. His paper had thrown the science world into a tizzy and all projects regarding asteroid destruction had been halted until the data was analyzed.
With that in mind, Watson and Bell went to check out a new lead from a waitress at a diner who reported seeing Russell on multiple occasions. Apparently he would have coffee, then go stand outside against a wall. When they investigated, they found a thumb drive cemented into the wall and realized it was a dead drop. Russell was out there to pick up information and leave some of his own.
Sherlock took a break from the case and went to see Gregson’s boss’ boss about metal day. He indicated that he wanted to have his name removed from it and provided a list of reasons that would give the department reason to do it. The gentleman seemed a little surprised, then told Sherlock he and his partner needed to get together and figure out what they wanted, because Watson had been in prior to Sherlock and insisted she wanted their names included.
Watson and Bell found information on the drive that led them to believe Russell worked with a partner, and the partner may have had motive to kill him. They went back to his boss, but it turned out to be a dead end. So instead, they approached one group that had their project wrecked by the paper. A representative, Mr. Huber, insisted every company had motive because all of the projects were based on the same understanding of identifying dangerous asteroids. They were no more likely than any other group.
Sherlock went back to the drawing board, dealing with a poison ivy rash on his wrist even though he claimed he did not touch it. Since all of their other leads ran dry, Sherlock decided to think a bit broader, and came to the conclusion that perhaps asteroid hunting was not the key industry, but asteroid mining.
He confronted Watson about the Unit Citation and she said she knew he would object, which is why she did not tell them. They argued, Sherlock claiming he did not want to get on a slippery slope of recognition which could lead to bitter, resentful members of the department and hurt their relationship with it. Watson walked away from him, clearly unswayed by his position.
Sherlock had a breakthrough on the case thanks to his rash, and Joan’s lack of one. They also picked up their conversation about metal day because they were informed both would be included, and Sherlock shared again with her why he does the work. He enjoys the status quo they established, and wanted to avoid anything that could threaten it. Watson pointed out that the award was not about Sherlock, or about any individual, but about being a part of a team and accepting recognition in that light.
They called Mr. Huber into a meeting to draw him out of his office so the NYPD could search it, and confronted him with the facts of the case. Apparently Mr. Huber had killed Russell after they wrote the paper together, in order to keep the ambiguity of it going, in order to help the asteroid mining companies get into a good position to jump at the opportunity to get funding to further their profits.
The connection they had? Oil on the laptop bag that had belong to Russell. At some point it was in Huber’s office, on his couch, and Sherlock sat on the couch and ended up with the oil on his wrist. They would use that to tie Huber to the murder of Russell Cole.
At the end, Gregson addressed his unit regarding the citation they received and heralded the work they did. He told them they were what kept him going, and his team was the reason he showed up to work every day. Sherlock arrived a little late, but took a spot near Watson and allowed himself to be recognized as part of the team.