Elementary “Who is That Masked Man?” Review (Season 4 Episode 14)

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On the latest episode of “Elementary,” while Holmes and Watson continued to try and get to the bottom of who tried to kill Morland (John Noble), they also investigated a bizarre triple homicide of some Triad gangsters in a Chinese-run gaming arcade, in the wryly-titled “Who Is That Masked Man?”

This was another of those episodes where the main culprit was pretty obvious, but the case in general was so bonkers that it was still entertaining in spite of it. Factor in some juicy details about the Morland case and Holmes’ mother in particular and it was ultimately a worthwhile episode, when all was said and done.

The main crime revolved around the killing of three Chinese gangsters- an appropriate number, given that they were members of the notorious Triad. At first, it was assumed that it was a turf war, given that a new subset of the Triad was in town, Ghost Mountain, and the victims were all of the long-established Snake-Eyed Boys, led by Mang (the legendary James Hong, of “Blade Runner” and “Big Trouble in Little China” fame).

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Heading up the opposition was Xi (Tzi Ma, “24”), who claims to have an alibi for the events in question. After looking into it, Bell suspects that the alibi in question may nonetheless be connected, as it involved Xi’s nephew, Kevin, being assaulted within spitting distance of the arcade in question. Further, the weapon used seems to be a shotgun, which was also what was used in the arcade killings.

Holmes surmises that the person who assaulted Kevin must have ran out of ammo in the arcade, and was subsequently forced to use the shotgun as a bludgeon in the heat of the moment. He talks to the Good Samaritan that called for help for Kevin, who says that the man was out of it, claiming that it was a little old lady who attacked him.

The thing is, an old woman was spotted near the scene of the crime, so that can’t be a coincidence. Holmes investigates around the scene and discovers a wig, mask and the disposed shotgun, seeming to point to the killer donning the disguise of an old woman to carry out the crime in question- hence the title of the episode.

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Gregson brings in both Mang and Xi and tells them that they now believe that it wasn’t a member of either of their gangs that committed the crime at hand, but rather a white man, as evidenced by some of the forensic evidence. However, neither of them can think of who it could be and why he would do such a thing, or so they claim.

The person the killer was imitating is identified, so Watson goes and talks to her. It proves to be the notorious “Grandmother,” aka Bai May-Lung (Elizabeth Sung, “Memoirs of a Geisha”), whose late husband was in the Snake-Eyed Boys. She admits that a white man visited her, not only taking pictures of her, but inexplicably taking some of her clothes to boot. Her eyesight is a bit off, so her description is vague, but it’s a start, as the man was obviously the killer.

Upon meeting up with Holmes in the lobby, Watson notices a bunch of fliers advertising for a charity organization, noting that she’d heard of them being false fronts for the Triad trying to fleece the elderly into giving them money.

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They also talk to the man in charge of Willow Brook, the elderly care facility Bai lives in, Michael Haus (Kevin Kilner, “Happyish”), who just so happens to be, by his own admission, the only white man that works there. He allows them to make a copy of the Visitor’s Log, but says they’ll need a warrant for anything else.

One of the signatures in the log is similar to that of the aforementioned witness that helped out Kevin, Sven Eklund (Eddie Korbich, “Quiz Show”), who turns out to be a mortician, which would give him access to the type of putty used to apply the mask on the killer’s face. Gregson gets a warrant to search his home, where his bewildered family says he has mysteriously vanished, having no idea why.

However, they find evidence of his mask-making and shotgun shells of the same type used in the murders, so it’s clear they have their man, but why did he do it? The man’s wife has no idea, but mentions that he has a terminal disease and has a year to live, tops. They also find evidence of others he has either imitated already or plans to in the immediate future.

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Bai confirms that it could be the man who visited her, but Mang has no idea who he is. However, he does recognize one of the people that Eklund has imitated already, as Terry Perez, a man who fixes the machines at the arcade the murders were committed in. Turns out that Eklund posed as him in a previous attempt to gain access into the arcade after hours on another occasion, but was turned away- hence the necessity for a second disguise to get in.

Eklund is busted trying to leave the country at JFK airport, and readily confesses to the crime, but with one decidedly weird exception: he won’t say why he did it or why he didn’t run sooner when he could have easily gotten away. He also has a wound that looks to be from a knife, which just so happens to have been one of the victims’ weapon of choice, as in a switchblade.

A look into it proves that Eklund was assaulted by someone, but refused to press charges. But why? Just so he could get revenge by killing him? Something isn’t adding up, until Holmes has a realization- when he returned to get confirmation from Bai about Eklund’s identity as the man who visited her, he noticed that the charity posters that Watson commented on were gone.

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They bring Haus into the morgue, supposedly to ID the body of one of his former tenants, which he does. However, Holmes notes that he died of an overdose of muscle relaxants, which easily could have been slipped into his food. It seems that, right in the middle of embalming the man, Eklund stopped doing so to call Haus.

Holmes suspects it was because Eklund knew Haus had murdered the man and had figured out what was going on at Willow Brook, which was just as Watson suspected- the charity advertised were trying to bilk the elderly tenants for cash. Those who refused were killed, with Haus serving as a conduit between the Triad members who were in charge of the scam- aka the men who were killed in the arcade- and the residents of Willow Brook.

Haus asks for immunity, claiming that he can prove that someone else was involved- Mang himself. However, Mang actually knows nothing about it- the guys in question were doing it behind his back. But Haus swears up and down that Mang visited him and wanted him to continue doing it, depositing the money into a specific account. It seems that it was actually Eklund, disguised as Mang, which is why the faux Mang didn’t actually speak to him.

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The reason being, Eklund wanted to provide for his family in his absence, as he didn’t have long to live- and thus, nothing to lose. This was, of course, why he wouldn’t admit to why he had been doing all of this in the first place- he was trying to worm his way into it for his family’s sake and a full confession would have screwed that up.

Meanwhile, as all this was going on, Holmes was continuing his investigation into Morland’s assassination. It began with a visit to Quebec, where Watson posed as a motorist whose car had died, along with her phone and who needed assistance, to the daughter of Sabine, the woman killed in the attempt on Morland’s life. Leaving a side door open for Holmes to sneak in, he stole some things to look into, notably various letters, including some to Morland.

Holmes’ working theory is that Sabine was in on it, as no one else knew that they would be where they were when they were. Morland is livid when he finds out what Holmes has done and demands he return Sabine’s things to her daughter, which he eventually does. While doing so, Holmes confronts Morland about his mother’s death, which he has always blamed Morland for.

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Morland gives Holmes a file and some information he never knew- it seems that his mother, May, was also an addict, and that was a big reason why she and his father went their separate ways. Morland had a pre-nup that ensured if they were divorced that he would get custody of the kids, which he did after May slipped and refused to go to rehab again, as she had done previously at Morland’s insistence, who knew well of her addiction but married her anyway.

Shortly thereafter, May was thrown out and went to live in a flat, which subsequently burned down, likely due to some drug-related mishap on her part. Morland had blamed himself ever since for being too hasty with divorcing her, feeling that he had only made things worse, and all but driven her to use again, indirectly leading to her death. He gives Holmes some files on his mother as proof, as well as Sabine’s email address, so that Holmes can investigate her further as well.

Holmes does so and returns to Morland’s office with the results. He now believes that Sabine was innocent and truly cared for Morland, but had made the mistake of mentioning where she and Morland were headed that night in an email. This would have been fine, but as it turns out, someone else had been monitoring her emails, a mercenary named Krasnov.

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However, Krasnov had to have been hired by someone else to commit the murder, and Holmes doesn’t know how to find that out, as Krasnov was caught by Russian authorities since then and is in a prison there serving a life sentence, making talking to him likely impossible- for him, at least. Holmes suggests that perhaps Morland will be able to use his influence to do so and pick up where he left off. Morland says he will do just that.

Holmes also tells Morland that, while the files on his mother didn’t really help him beyond setting a precedent for his own addictions, he did now understand why it affected Morland the way it did. Holmes says he can relate to making bad decisions after losing someone you loved, having done the same kind of thing himself. He does warn Morland that he doesn’t think whoever is after him will be giving up anytime soon, so he should watch himself.

This was a solid enough episode, and even if the ultimate culprit was obvious, it was still pretty entertaining overall, thanks to that nutty premise about a guy donning masks and posing as other people, “Mission Impossible”-style. Plus, more importantly, we got some vital information on why Holmes was the way he was, as well as why Morland was the way he was.

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It definitely informed both of their characters considerably, both making Morland a little more sympathetic and bringing the two a hair closer in the process. They may not be completely out of the woods yet, but maybe there’s hope for these two to repair their relationship after all, which didn’t look like it was ever going to be the case until now.

Granted, they’ve still got a long way to go, but at least Holmes knows why Morland behaved as he did in the past, while at the same time getting a valuable glimpse as to why Holmes is the way he is in the process. It might not fix things, but it certainly doesn’t hurt them in the grand scheme of things.

What did you think of the latest episode of “Elementary”? Did you enjoy the main case, or was it all a bit too far-fetched for your liking? How about the scenes with Holmes and his father? Do you think there’s hope for their future together? Any ideas on who might have wanted to kill Morland? Do you think Morland will find a way to visit- or possibly even kill- Krasnov? Sound off down below, and see you next week!