Elementary “All My Exes Live in Essex” Review (Season 4 Episode 4)

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On a special Thanksgiving episode of “Elementary,” Holmes and Watson dealt with a twisty case involving a fertility doctor-turned-human skeleton, stem cell controversy, cancer victims- and misdiagnosed ones- plus, crooked doctors and an disgruntled cop on Watson’s end, in the amusingly-titled “All My Exes Live in Essex.”

Given that the show is taking a week off next week, I’m not sure why they chose to air a new episode on a holiday. I guess the thinking on CBS’ end, which also aired other new shows throughout the evening, was that they would be the only new game in town- besides that of the football variety, that is. I guess that counter-programming worked for them, because most of their shows held steady, and “Elementary” itself was actually up in the ratings, according to my sources. Go figure.

Regardless, I’m not even going to lie, I was borderline in a turkey coma by then, so you’ll forgive me if I’m a bit fuzzy on certain details. For the most part I have to watch my shows live, as I no longer have access to a built-in DVR like I used to. (I just have the old-fashioned variety now, as I downgraded my Direct TV to save some money, so no more recording other stuff while I watch something else- if I record it, it has to be on the same channel I’m watching, alas.)

Okay, I may still be in a little bit of a turkey fugue, because I’m rambling, so let’s move on…

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The main case involved a missing doctor from Watson’s old place of employment at a local hospital. A former work associate called her in, knowing about Watson’s new line of work, tasking her and Holmes with finding Abby (Mairin Lee, “The Good Wife”), a fertility doctor with a two-year old daughter she was devoted to. But was there more to Abby than met the eye? To say the least!

Upon inspecting her workplace, Holmes noted some gurney tracks, which he followed to lab used to prep organs for med students, where he and Watson discovered a full skeleton, which Holmes suspected might be Abby herself. It was indeed, only with one bone missing- one in the throat, intended to cover up the fact that she was strangled.

Given the overall lack of a struggle in the area she went missing, Holmes deducted that it was likely someone she knew, and that it had to be a surgeon, given the precise way her skeleton was taken from her body and the pristine nature of its condition. Given that her husband, Dr. Nate Campbell (Gabriel Olds, “Surrogates”), fit that bill, obviously a talk was in order, and he admitted that the two had their problems, but that it was mostly due to the fact that she had cancer and he was working overtime to try and save her.

Ironically, her cancer was such that she only had a year to live at best anyway, so whoever murdered her basically murdered a woman that was already dying, which is beyond sad. I suppose the best could be said is that her suffering wasn’t prolonged. But, if the killer did indeed know her, why would they kill her if they knew she didn’t have long to live as it was? What was their motive?

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A look at the security footage at the hospital showed a possible motive, as it appeared from her actions that Abby was having an affair with another doctor, Branford Fisher (Robert Ray Manning Jr., “Person of Interest”). Given that Fisher hadn’t been at work for some time since Abby’s death, a hunt ensued, leading to a decidedly unlikely hiding place: Dr. Campbell’s.

As it turned out, Fisher and Campbell were engaged in a so-called “thruple,” aka as a three-way relationship between a group of people. In other words, both were willingly and knowingly involved with Abby, each with full knowledge of the others, and living together, to boot. Because they feared of the repercussions from work if they knew, the threesome had kept things on the down low.

What’s more, it turned out that this wasn’t her first group relationship! It seems that Abby had no less than five other exes- was it possible that one of them had gotten jealous that she had moved on? A closer look revealed that one of them in particular, Denise Davis (Carolyn McCormick, “Law & Order”), had particular issues with Abby, having borrowed a substantial amount of money from her for a down payment on a house that she never paid back.

As a way of paying her back, Abby came to Denise for help in selling something, possibly stolen, but just what it was she was keeping to herself. Eventually, it’s discovered that it might have been viable embryos, which could then be harvested for stem cells. Holmes tracks down yet another doctor, Dr. Amrit (Sanjit De Silva, “The Company Men”), who says the two had an arrangement by which Abby could use his lab for assistance in the storage of the embryos and what have you, in exchange for some of the harvested stem cells.

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However, his lab had been subsequently trashed, with all of Abby’s research destroyed in the process. Holmes manages to track down the place where Abby threw out certain items as medical waste and finds some labeled blood samples, which also have dates and her writing on them, thus establishing a time line as to when she was in the lab and at what time.

Holmes and Watson also talk to a member of a cancer support group Abby was in and discover that she had approached some of them about a supposed “miracle cure” for cancer. Was this what she had really been working on in Dr. Amrit’s secret lab?

Regardless, one of the group’s members, Kirk Abramovitch (John Ellison Conlee, “Boardwalk Empire”) heavily resented Abby, because his wife, Sadie (Heidi Armbruster, “Younger”) was one of said people Abby approached, and they had sunk untold amounts of money into such dubious cures. Convinced she was a con artist, he was more than a little wary of her. However, her cancer was actually in remission, so it would seem that whatever Abby had done had worked.

Watson takes a closer look at Sadie, and realizes that her cancer is in remission because she actually never had it in the first place, so there’s nothing to recover from. Watson realizes that it’s not Abby who was running a con, but her husband- or rather, one of them, as it were- in this case, Dr. Campbell.

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It turns out that Campbell had done the same thing to several other patients, misdiagnosing them on purpose, so that he could miraculously “cure” them later- for a price. Abby had found out, freaked out, and threatened to expose him, so Campbell killed her. A co-worker verifies it, so that was that for Dr. Campbell and his scam- and his freedom.

Needless to say, this was one case in which Watson’s medical knowledge came in handy, so it was nice to see her solve one, strictly based on knowledge which she exclusively possessed that Holmes did not. Watson is definitely on a roll as of late.

You can also add in another win via a boxing match with Detective Gina Cortes (Monique Gabriela Curnen, “The Following”), who had been dogging her the entire episode, talking to her various friends, trying to dig up dirt on Watson somehow. The reason turned out to be a combination of professional jealousy and resentment because Captain Gregson had kept his job that her girlfriend Vescey was in line for and who Watson extensively researched at the time his job was in jeopardy.

Upset that a mere “consultant” had made a difference where a detective had not, Cortes had taken it upon herself to try and seek out dirt on Watson in hopes of smearing her good name. Upon failing in that, Holmes worried that she might go so far as to falsify something, and suggested that Watson try and make peace in a way by challenging her to a sparring match. From the looks of it- and what I would have given to see the actual match! – Cortes certainly put up a good fight, though Watson ultimately emerged victorious, albeit not without a black eye, among other bruises.

I don’t know about you guys, but I was convinced that Cortes had been hired by Morland to find some dirt on Watson to combat her own declaration of blackmail, essentially, against him for what she discovered in the premiere as to how Morland had managed to get Holmes and Watson their jobs back at the precinct. But it turned out that she was merely a disgruntled friend of someone who would have gotten Gregson’s job otherwise, which she blamed Watson for. (Or at least, that was how I understood it- please feel free to correct me, if I’m wrong on that one.)

Regardless, it was a decent enough case, and I am glad that the show rose in the ratings somewhat, even if it may or may not make a difference, come renewal time. After all, it’s one thing to rise in the ratings on a holiday- but can they maintain them? The fact that they are taking a week off next week is actually even more of a dubious move, given that it screws up the potential for the show to build on what was established with this particular move. Oh well.

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I’ll never understand what goes on in a network executive’s mind, so I’m not going to start now. I’ve known that since ABC’s colossal mishandling of the much-beloved cult series “Twin Peaks” back in the day, so I’m not going to sweat it now because that sort of thing is never going to make sense to me. Honestly, how these people manage to keep their jobs is a mystery to me, given how messed up their actions often are.

Still, a bump in the ratings is a bump in the ratings, and as an “Elementary” fan, I’ll take it. Anything that helps the show stick around a little bit longer is okay by me. Maybe it will be the difference between the show getting cancelled and getting renewed for the rest of the season, you never know. Here’s hoping.

What did you think of the latest “Elementary”? Did you watch the night of, or did you DVR it? Were you also surprised to learn that the show wouldn’t be back for two more weeks? Did the move also seem counter-intuitive to you? Could the show do anything to increase the ratings further, in your mind? Anything you’d like to see in the weeks to come? What did you think about the latest case? Sound off on this and more down below, and see you in a few weeks!