Elementary “Murder Ex Machina” Review (Season 4 Episode 9)

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On the latest episode of “Elementary,” a Russian oligarch was assassinated outside a strip club in a drive-by, with the shooter and his driver eliminated shortly thereafter when their car went out of control and went off a bridge, in “Murder Ex Machina.” But why was the victim killed and who hired the hitmen?

This one was incredibly convoluted, which is strange, considering I called who it was within minutes of the suspect being introduced, and it wasn’t a case of a “celebrity guest star who obviously did it” or “character actor I know from playing criminals who probably did it,” either. It was actually a pretty logical deduction: Holmes said that someone hacked into the hitmen’s car’s computer and took control of it, driving them to their doom.

They then met with the person involved with the software in question, an autistic cat lover, who, contrary to the line about her potential as a killer- “She likes cats, so sure”- was pretty obviously not the killer. However, her squirrely boss- who clearly had access to the same software- was, and that was indeed who it turned out to be, so not much in the way of surprises for this viewer, sad to say.

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Factor in the fact that I’d seen the whole “car hacked by genius who causes the death of the driver/passenger” thing on a previous show- I want to say on “CSI: Cyber”- and this marks the continuation of an unfortunate pattern in the show as of late. Don’t get me wrong. I get that many shows go into production around the same time, and have the idea to do a particular “ripped from the headlines” kind of story at roughly the same approximate time as well, which all but ensures some similarities amongst the whole crime procedural community.

But still, it’s been happening every other week at this point. (The previous one being the episode about the girl who posed as a kidnap victim come back after a long period of time had passed and who duped the real missing person’s parents into thinking she was their real daughter, which someone told me also happened in “Law & Order: SVU” fairly recently, which is where I must have seen it.) While I don’t doubt it was likely a coincidence, it is disconcerting, and admittedly has been somewhat hampering my enjoyment of the show.

There is absolutely a bright side, in that I love the characters, and we’ve been getting some solid development in their stories on the fringes of the cases-of-the-week which has been very gratifying. Even better, after a strange bypassing of Morland for several weeks, in light of the bombshell dropped a few episodes back about his killing off the last person who tried to extort money from him, he was back in full deceptive mode this week, clearly up to something nefarious, though what I have no idea of as of yet.

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Whatever it is, he’s roping in Watson to help him, and it seems to involve his stockpiling his own blood. Might he be planning to fake his death? In the final scene, Watson says that a woman was killed that Morland might have been dating while they were together, and that she suspects that he might have been the real target, regardless of their romantic status. She suspects that Morland might have had surgery to fix his injuries and that he was possibly hiding out in New York to evade who was after him.

Hard to say if that’s true, but the fact that the last person who tried to blackmail him alluded to his taking advantage of Holmes and lying about why he was really in town seems to indicate Morland is using Sherlock for something. Might it be to “solve” Morland’s impending “murder”?

Possibly, but it seems dubious that Morland would have shared that information about his blood if that was his plan, as he had to have known Watson would talk to Holmes about it, and if he were planning his own faux murder, he’d want Holmes to be kept in the dark about it, so as to make it more convincing.

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I can’t recall if he told Watson not to mention the blood thing to Holmes, but even if he did, he should have known that, once he did it, even if she hadn’t, she would have told Holmes after Morland’s “death.” For that reason, I think he’s up to something else, entirely, but I’m sure what as of yet.

The good news is, we won’t have to wait long to get some development in this particular area this time around, as the preview for next week clearly showed it was going to be focused on the whole Morland drama, which is indeed good news for those of us who prefer the character-driven plotlines over the case-of-the-week stuff.

Also worth a mention is that there’s a glimpse of the man who tried to blackmail Morland making a return appearance as well. Might he be breaking his vow not to talk to Holmes, lest Morland take him out? If so, don’t count on him lasting very long after. The question is: how much beans will he spill to Sherlock before Morland shuts him up permanently? I guess we’ll have to wait and see next week. Can’t wait for that!

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So, yeah, as I kind of inferred, I’m not going to get into all the ins-and-outs of the case this week. There was an awful lot of complicated stuff going on, but it was mostly much ado about nothing, as it were. I liked the scenes with Holmes and Fiona, especially the bit with the “cat café.” If that’s a thing, that is more than a little sad. (My mother also informed me that her brother had put his much-beloved dog up in a “luxury pet hotel” while he was out of town for his son’s wedding, which is not much better.)

I was somewhat disappointed with the strip club stuff, on the other hand, as I thought it might be good for more laughs than it actually turned out to be. I did, however, enjoy the bit about how Sherlock admired the girls there and the way they sized up their customers and all of that. That was keenly observed, and I’ve no doubt is 100% true IRL. Well, at least among the smarter of the exotic dancers out there, that is. The “showdown” between Holmes and the Russian spy was interesting, as well. I felt like I was watching “The Americans” for a hot minute there. (At some points, I kind of wished I was, quite frankly.)

The rest of the case-related stuff was sort of meh at best. The Asian agent thing went nowhere, and the only thing I got a kick out of in terms of Mason was the joke Holmes made about his reward being his getting to “stroke Watson’s hair while she was sleeping.” Lol. Disappointed that Clyde is going to be hibernating for the foreseeable future, though. We need more Clyde! Maybe he’ll change his mind and escape the fridge and go on a rampage. Probably not, but we fans can dream.

I did sort of enjoy the denouement of the case at hand, when Fiona, aka “Mittens,” helped Holmes to hack into the culprit’s car and given him a taste of his own medicine, while Holmes stealthily coaxed him into confessing as she both recorded it and broadcast it to the FBI and police. Whoops! Can you say busted? I’ll bet he can.

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That was really about it for me, though, enjoyment-wise. I mean, I’ve certainly seen worse cases on these shows, and like I said, I’m sure it was a coincidence that they happened to do a similar plotline to another crime procedural, least of all so soon after doing it previously in the season, but it is unfortunate. Especially with potential renewal on the line and an impending move to Sundays on the horizon. Let’s face it, the show needs all the wins it can get at this point, and familiarity breeds contempt, as they say. Hopefully, next week’s Morland-centric tale will be worth the wait.

Until then, I remain your faithful reviewer, and I will see you next week, for the latest episode of “Elementary.” As ever, sound off down below, and feel free to disagree with anything I’ve said above. I promise not to be offended, though constructive criticism is appreciated. (On one of the message boards I was reading about the show, someone said, after someone else gave an episode of the show a negative review, and I kid you not: “You are dumb and your opinion is stupid.” That was it! Not very constructive, am I right? You can do better, people!)

Until next week, then…I bid you a fond adieu.