I was sitting there, watching this episode, taking notes, and found myself barely filling up a whole page. Usually I manage two, at least. There just really wasn't a whole lot to this episode.
It may have something to do with the fact that I pegged Craig/Nolan as the killer in his first scene, but I could not find Elementary Season 4 Episode 8's A-plot all that compelling.
For one thing, everyone seemed to overlook two pretty obvious clues:
- Ella's killer had to know of her connection with the Tri-Borough Killer.
- The only person who knew of (or at least admitted to knowing) Ella's pregnancy was her brother; given the timing of her murder, it certainly seemed possible that her death was linked to her pregnancy.
Of course, the latter clue relies a bit on meta-knowledge, that they wouldn't bring up the pregnancy (repeatedly!) if it wasn't somehow important to the plot, especially in a crime show. It was fairly noteworthy that her brother was apparently the only person aware of her pregnancy.
There was also the little detail that Craig/Nolan was played by Noah Bean, possibly best known for his recurring role as Ryan Fletcher on Nikita. That said, David Alan Basche played the realtor, Warren Clift, so that detail wasn't definitive, but it was noteworthy.
I will say this for the A-plot: it was more than a little creepy listening to Ella's murder over and over again.
Lack of witnesses won't be a problem -- they're us.Sherlock
And it felt genuinely sad and tragically twisted when Craig/Nolan explained why he killed his sister. Unfortunately, I didn't really feel the emotional heft that probably should have been behind that scene because we never felt the true impact of their father's crimes.
Yes, Warren Clift's mother was one of the victims, but we never got to see much of the anguish that he must have felt in order to go as far as he did. In fact, most of the players in this little drama felt oddly wooden for what they apparently experienced.
Far more compelling, in my opinion, was the B-plot with Marcus Bell studying to take the sergeant's exam, which makes for some truly hilarious moments, not least of which being the very opening of the episode when Sherlock came home. It was the look on Jonny Lee Miller's face that sold it.
Marcus was here, I took a shower, so obviously we're secret lovers.Joan
And Joan was just so annoyed with him that she didn't bother to correct him with the much more innocuous truth! Served him right.
I was quite pleased that Sherlock and Joan were more than eager to help Bell study for the exam, even though the promotion would mean a transfer to another precinct. It's not like our two intrepid consulting detectives are bound to Gregson's precinct, after all, and Bell has every right to move up in the world.
Of course, it didn't take Sherlock too long to figure out Bell's more... pecuniary motivations for the move. I loved how Sherlock and Joan brilliantly helped him out with the money problem, though at some level I wanted to smack him for being too proud to take a loan from a friend.
Dude, this is your mom we're talking about! Don't let your pride make you stupid!
...okay, fine. I know, real people can be like that.
Anyway, I do feel compelled to mention this particular Elementary quote, just because it's simply so funny (both in and out of context):
I was mistaken. You don't know what my partner looks like naked.Sherlock
The way they helped him help himself was pretty clever, I have to admit, and even managed to work around both his pride and the rules about accepting rewards for capturing bad guys! Nice work.
So, what did you think of "A Burden of Blood"? Did you predict who the killer was? Did you find his story tragic or empty? Were you surprised how Sherlock and Joan helped Detective Bell with his problem? Take to the comments section below and let us know!
If you missed this episode or simply want to watch it all over again, be sure to watch Elementary online! Elementary Season 4 Episode 9, "Murder Ex Machine," is scheduled to air on Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 10/9c on CBS.
Just in case you haven't heard, Elementary will be moving to Sundays! It makes its debut in its new day (same time slot, 10 p.m.) on March 20, 2016.