Well, actually, in 'Lesser Evils' pretty much all the action takes place in a hospital, so there's the added obstacle of medical jargon and chemical names being thrown around to confuse us as we are led on the usual wild goose chase. What a... treat.
It all begins when Sherlock, conducting his experiments in the morgue, sees the corpse of a brain cancer patient who died from a heart attack and immediately realises that something's off, eventually deducing that someone deliberately induced it.
Prevented by the hospital from knowing anything about the dead man, including his name, Sherlock sets out to find the woman who left her lipstick on one of the two coffee cups found in the trash by the deceased's bed. With help from a horny barista, they find the busty blonde working at a boutique. She's a neighbour of the man, Trent Kelty, who she reveals only had a few months to live.
Having ruled her out as the killer, Sherlock seeks to identify a man claiming to be a doctor who visited Trent, and is known to have cut his food up into child sized pieces. Sherlock believes this to be typical of a killer who craves the dependence of the sick and dying before putting them out of their misery - an angel of death, as Watson summarises it.
Sherlock finds an ally in surgical chief Dr Baldwin, who agrees to take a stand against his colleagues and eventually wins Holmes access to medical records at the hospital. With Watson's insider knowledge of hospital issues - namely how somebody would go about stealing drugs like Epinephrine, the one that finished off Trent - Holmes notices a pattern between reported thefts and the deaths of nine patients from heart issues.
From this he draws up a list of 23 suspects with access to the drugs and the victims, which Dr Baldwin is at the peak of. Three of the nine patients that died were his and his mortality rates go up each year, yet he has answers for every accusation that show him in a compassionate light. He comes across as a legitimate angel, not one of death. Oh yeah, and he has an alibi for Trent's death.
This first blow to the investigation is followed by another, as his new top suspect is revealed to be a doctor sneaking around stealing morphine, not injecting patients. Sherlock begins to doubt whether there even is an angel of death, until the shamed doctor recalls to the police a suspicious meeting between another doctor and a terminal patient that he overheard after breaking into a hospital room to steal drugs. Sherlock and Watson recognise the unknown practitioner's bedside manner as being identical to that of Trent's doctor as described by his neighbour.
Holmes checks the hospital records again and discovers that one of the victim's consent forms was filled out by a nurse who spoke their native language, Ukranian. He and Watson realise that, as the angel of death enjoyed getting to know his prey, they too must have spoken Ukranian. None of the doctors do, so Sherlock thinks outside the box and interrogates the cleaner. Turns out he was a doctor in the Ukraine and medical notes on the nine who died are found in his apartment, confirming him as the angel of death.
While he coolly and without remorse admits to putting eight of the patients out of their misery, he gets angry when Sherlock accuses him of killing a patient named Samantha Cropsey who was recovering from bypass surgery, stating that she was dying of cancer.
Sherlock, believing the angel wouldn't violate his code, does a little thinking and confronts Dr Baldwin with the idea that he was always aware of the angel of death. He made a mistake by leaving a clamp in Samantha's body and, knowing that this could end his career, tampered with her records and reduced her pain medication in order to entice the angel in.
Another case closed then, but we couldn't help but feel that this wasn't exactly Sherlock's finest hour. For a hero who in this episode dismisses 'luck' as nonsense, he sure does get bloomin' lucky. For example, the morphine-sucking doctor chose to tell the police about the cleaner only after getting caught. He deliberately withheld that information during the interrogation and Sherlock didn't pick up on this.
Sure, in the real world everybody's allowed to make a mistake, but this is a TV show about a detective who can piece together whole murders from virtually nothing. He is not really meant to make mistakes, especially when they're that silly. Also, the joy of Elementary comes from Holmes being the only one who is able to see the puzzle before him. Having Dr Baldwin also reach the conclusion that an angel of death was loose takes a bit of shine off Sherlock.
He also gets quite a bit of help from Watson. The climax of her B-plot, in which she tinkers with hospital records to save a young patient behind the back of a doubting ex-colleague, is what points him in the direction of Dr Baldwin.
This, however, we didn't mind, because like Sherlock we too enjoyed seeing Watson in a world where she was the brilliant one. It was nice for her to take a more active role, her medical expertise meaning that for once she could be right there with Holmes, able to feed into and off of him, rather than spend her entire time just trying to keep up.
Ultimately though, this week's episode of Elementary didn't quite satisfy us as much as some of its earlier instalments. We'd say this is due to a combination of Sherlock's somewhat clumsy victory and the fact that for the third time in five episodes the throwaway character with 30 seconds of screentime at the beginning ended up implicated in the central murder, this writer's Elementary pet peeve. The janitor did it? Really?!
What are your thoughts on this week's Elementary? Leave your comments below!