Elementary “Ready or Not” Review (Season 4 Episode 18)

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On the latest episode of “Elementary,” Holmes and Watson investigated the case of a missing doomsday prepper while Holmes’ ongoing relationship with Fiona (Betty Gilpin, “Nurse Jackie”) hit a potential speed bump, in “Ready or Not.”

It all began with a visit from Lloyd Springer (Daniel Oreskes, “Law & Order”), a man who had dealt with Holmes and Watson before, with the latter having put not one but two of his partners in jail for other crimes. Though hardly their biggest fan, he nonetheless had sought them out for their assistance, knowing that they were the best in town at what they do.

The problem was that Springer’s son was among the primary suspects in the disappearance of his doctor, Vincent Bader (Wayne Maugins, also of “Law & Order”). The reason being his addiction to pain medication, the result of chronic back pain; and the fact he was going through withdrawal for it, leading cops to suspect that he might have robbed Bader for meds and things went wrong, so he killed him.

Holmes took care of part of the problem right away, by accusing Springer himself of beating his son and causing the pain in the first place, promptly punching him in the face! But that didn’t stop him from taking the case, either, though he probably won’t get much of a paycheck for this one, all things considered.

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Holmes and Watson’s first stop was to talk to Vince’s wife (Miriam Shor, “The Good Wife”), who agrees that Springer’s son was innocent, but suspects something else: that her husband ran off with a sexy redhead he was seen with by one of her friends.

She also informs them that it was unlikely a kid could have snuck up on him like that, anyway, as he was a highly-trained so-called “doomsday prepper,” aka one of those people who are convinced the world is going to hell in a hand-basket and are preparing accordingly. She shows them the wealth of stuff he has, which includes all manner of tools and weaponry.

They next talk to a fellow doctor, Wallace (Seth Gilliam, “The Walking Dead”), who tells them that Vince loved his wife and would never cheat on her. He says that the woman in question is actually a pharm rep that was trying to secure their business, Julie Monahan (Auden Thornton, “True Story”), so Holmes has the Captain bring her into the station.

Julie comes with her lawyer (Kate Miller, “One Life to Live”) in tow, and admits that she knew Vince was selling prescription drugs on the side to a local drug dealer, with whom he had gotten in too deep. When he discovered he was about to be audited, he made Julie a deal- if she covered the missing drugs for the benefit of the auditor, then she’d have a customer for life.

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She did and he passed the audit accordingly, then returned her drugs, but then went missing shortly thereafter. Julie thinks it has something to do with the dealer, Emmet Wahl, who Vince told her he was trying to get out from under, and told her he was going to do just that right before he went missing.

However, Holmes discovers that Wahl has been calling Vince incessantly, and clearly doesn’t know where he is, either. Bell calls shortly thereafter to say that Vince has been found, but he’s dead. He was killed with a multi-use axe with crowbar and hammer built in, leading Holmes to think it was a fellow doomsday prepper, as the tool is common amongst them.

The wife is brought in again, but didn’t really know any of his fellow preppers, but gives them access to his computer to try and find out what happened to him. The team also put her mind at ease and tells the wife that Vince wasn’t cheating on her.

They also discover he was involved with something called “The Keep,” which turns out to be a luxury underground lair for doomsday preppers who want to continue to live the high life even when things go south above ground. It’s sort of a bunker for the 1%, as it were, down to having a highly-exclusive waiting list, not all of who applied was accepted.

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Vince, however, was, so Holmes suspects that maybe someone he was friends with in the prepper community wasn’t, and killed him out of jealousy, so they go and have a talk with the man in charge of “The Keep,” Ronnie Wright (Frederick Weller, “In Plain Sight”), posing as interested parties.

After taking their phones and putting them into a vehicle with blocked windows, so as to keep the location of the bunker secret, Wright shows them around the place, which is indeed a swanky affair, with a kitchen, complete with an on-site chef; game room, gym, wine and, of course, gun cellar, which Holmes wryly notes one wouldn’t want to have in the same place, after all.

Wright says it was a former nuclear bunker and has its own generator and air filtration system, so that even if the air above is compromised, the air below wouldn’t be. Only those with a key will be let in, but in case of emergency, someone with an additional key will always be some thirty minutes away to let them in.

It’s the air filtration system that gives Wright away, as Holmes notes it doesn’t work properly and the bunker wouldn’t be safe from nuclear fallout at all. There’s also signs of a struggle and a crack on the floor which appears to have blood on it. Holmes calls Captain Gregson on a spare phone he brought, much to Wright’s chagrin, accusing him of murdering Vince.

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Wright eventually admits that he did indeed hide Wright’s body, but didn’t actually kill him. He says that someone broke in his office and stole the keys to the bunker and that was how they got in. He also has a medical condition that would keep him from being able to swing an axe-type weapon, which is indeed confirmed.

Holmes deduces that maybe someone was roped into the bunker thing on Vince’s recommendation and killed him because they also figured out it was faulty. Wright gives up his client list, and Watson narrows it down to Clyde Staller (Max Von Essen, “The Good Wife”), who had left some threatening messages on the “Keep” message board under the name “Ardent Army,” which is something he was affiliated with in real life.

However, this turns out to be a dead end as well, as Staller is actually the fake name of Jeff Danks, a reporter who was writing a tell-all debunking the bunker. But something he says sparks Holmes’ imagination, so they head back to Vince’s place and look into a kit he had on the premises, which Holmes knows contains the very tool Vince was killed with. Sure enough, the tool in question is missing, meaning he was killed with his own equipment.

Holmes says he now knows why Vince was killed and why he was at the bunker. The team brings Dr. Wallace back in for questioning, who at first admits nothing. Holmes says that he suspects that Wallace and Vince went to the bunker to steal the meds they had there to replace the ones that Vince had sold, so that it wouldn’t bring down their practice.

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Unfortunately for Vince, the place didn’t have any real meds on site, being a fraud and all, and Wallace flipped out, killing Vince in the ensuing argument, in hopes of cutting his losses and saving his medical practice and laying the blame on Wright or the drug dealer. Wallace says that he has an alibi for the time of Vince’s death, so it couldn’t have been him.

But Holmes says that his family confirmed he went home early because of an “illness,” leaving him a two and a half hour window in which to meet Vince at the bunker and kill him and go back home in time to get away with it. As confirmation, Holmes has a picture taken near the site of the bunker, which was the last known picture of Vince- and it was him meeting with Wallace. Busted!

In addition to the main case, we also had some ongoing drama with Holmes and Fiona. It seems that Holmes was a bit on edge because he and Fiona hadn’t had sex yet and it was the longest amount of time he had gone without it ever before, which was why he was a bit on edge lately. This was also what was leading him to lash out at Springer and to threaten next-door neighbor Trent, who was apparently enjoying his own sex life quite a bit, to the point where Holmes could hear it, even with the sound-proofing measures they’d taken on their end. (Go Trent! Who knew he had it in him?)

To make matters worse, Fiona keeps wanting to meet with him and Holmes suspects the worst. This proves to be true, as when they finally meet, Fiona breaks it off with Holmes, saying that he’s being almost too considerate with her, like she’s a problem to be solved and she doesn’t like it, so they’re done. Holmes doesn’t say anything for the time being, as he is a little taken aback by this unexpected reasoning.

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At the end of the episode, Holmes meets with Fiona again and tells her she misjudged him entirely. In fact, he has only been in one previous committed relationship before her, which is actually less than she has, and his hesitance with her was because of how wrong that romance went, not because of her, per se. Obviously, this is a thinly-veiled allusion to Irene, for those keeping score at home.

Holmes says that he’s putting in the extra effort with her because of how much he likes her, and that essentially, it’s not her, it’s him that has the problem. He’s not treating her with kid gloves because of her issues, it’s because he’s the one who’s having issues because of his own past. But he thinks she’s worth the extra effort and that she has misjudged his actions. Fiona is impressed and in her own somewhat impassive way, says that all is forgiven and that they can have sex now. Problem solved!

I enjoyed this episode more or less, though I can’t say I was necessarily fooled by the culprit. I figured it was either Wallace or the wife, and the wife was disproven as a suspect pretty early on, so I felt sure it was Wallace. After all, he was played by a fairly well-known character actor from “The Walking Dead,” so it seemed fitting that the murder victim, a doomsday prepper, would be brought down by a survivor of the zombie apocalypse!

Still, nice casting, for those who got the joke. It might also have been a slight dig at the show’s new competition, which airs on the same night. On that note, as some of you already know, CBS unexpectedly announced some of its renewals early and “Elementary” was indeed among them. Apparently, the show is doing well enough in its new time slot to stay there, at least for now.

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“CSI: Cyber,” which previously occupied said slot, was tellingly NOT among the announced renewals, however, which might be bad news for fans of that show, though it seemed to fare decently in its new Wednesday night test slot, so you never know. On the plus side, if it does end, it ended in such a way that I think fans will be reasonably satisfied with it, even if it does mean the death knell of the long-running “CSI” franchise in the process. Oh well- can’t win ‘em all.

That said, though, “Elementary” is definitely the better of the two shows, so I’m okay with it. Besides, even if “CSI” does return, it would be without star Ted Danson, and he was easily the best thing on it, acting-wise, as the ensemble was a bit on the shaky side otherwise. (Yes, even Patricia Arquette, who is usually pretty reliable, but was oddly wooden on the show, in spite of being hot off on her recent Oscar win.)

Anyway, it’s nice to know that “Elementary” won’t have to rush to wrap things up in a satisfying manner in a matter of a few episodes, which would have sucked. According to imdb, there are only three episodes left, so it seems unlikely that they would have had time to do anything of the sort.

In fact, I’d assume the episodes in question are probably already done, anyway, so the best we could have hoped for was probably a “CSI” finale type send-off, with a two-hour movie like that show, if it had come to that. I’d like to think that CBS wouldn’t have done fans like that, but “Elementary” wouldn’t be the first show to leave fans hanging. Thankfully, that is not the case, so Holmes and Watson live to solve another slew of cases. Yay!

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So, are you happy that “Elementary” got renewed? Of course you are. What did you think of the episode? Were you fooled by the main case? What did you think of the developments with Holmes and Fiona? Do you think all the allusions to Irene lately mean anything? Are you excited for the two-hour episode in a few weeks? (It might actually be two episodes, back-to-back, as the ad was unclear about that and so is imdb.) Sound off on this and more down below and see you March 10th!