Elementary “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” Review (Season 4 Episode 21)

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On the latest episode of “Elementary,” what seemed to be at first glance a shoot-out was revealed to be something else altogether while things finally came to a head with Morland and the mole Emil Kurtz (Robert Petkoff) in “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.” But would Kurtz’ exposure come back to bite Watson in the end?

We began with a check-in with Dr. Eugene Hawes, M.E. (Jordan Gelber), as Joan took in a set of his doing stand-up at a local comedy club to surprisingly positive results. Clearly in a much better place, Hawes thanked Watson for coming and told her that he was doing well and still in therapy and was even considering coming back soon.

Watson told him he was great and hoped he would be back soon, apologizing for Holmes’ absence- it was Fiona’s birthday- before taking her leave to meet with Kurtz on the sly at a bookstore. He passes along some information to her on Morland that seems to indicate potential bribes to certain officials involved with hitman Krasnov that she suspects have to do with his escape.

After that, we moved into the main case, as a cop chased down a purse snatcher, only for them to find a bigger crime at hand- two corpses left in a car and in the street, respectively. The driver was Jared Talt, a land developer, while the one in the street was Butch Gallavant. In no time, Detective Bell realized the crime scene was staged, while Holmes heard a camera flash malfunctioning in a nearby trash bin, which proved to have pictures on it of Jared’s corpse- or did it?

A closer look revealed that Jared was in a different position that he was found in, seeming to indicate that the body had been moved. But why? There are three obvious suspects: Jared’s business partner Davis Potter and their respective love interests- Butch’s girlfriend Roxanne and Jared’s wife, Ida, but all three seemingly have alibis.

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However, Holmes discovers two bloody shirts in Roxanne’s trash- except that they weren’t covered in blood, but food coloring. In addition, all of which were of the same type Jared was wearing when he was killed. Holmes realizes after a second look at the pictures on Butch’s camera that the ones in the photos were staged, which meant that someone must have come along and made it happen for real for both of them right after.

Suspecting that the two were attempting to dupe a hired hitman into thinking Jared was dead before the real deal came along and finished the job, Holmes assumes that someone must have hired said hitman before being found out by Jared, who attempted to fake his death to get off the hitman’s radar, but for obvious reasons, failed to pull it off.

A talk with Ida reveals that Jared was at odds with his business partner, which might explain why Jared hired a hitman to kill him, but his alibi for the night it happened checks out. However, Holmes is still dubious of the man, and steals his motorcycle from his garage to check it out and see if he can find anything out.

Watson meets with Kurtz again, this time arousing Holmes’ suspicions in the process by using an obviously dubious excuse to do so. Kurtz tells her he suspects that Morland is onto him- with good reason, as we later find out- and tells her he’s done dealing with her after this meeting. She’s upset, but at the same time, understands his position and the danger she put him in doing this, so lets him off the hook.

Holmes looks into the motorcycle and finds out that Brooks kept a travel log of all of his travails. Through this, Holmes is able to puzzle out that Brooks was at Lake Placid before Jared’s death. He and Watson go there and Holmes finds some old-growth ginseng on the grounds and suspect that it was worth a lot of money and that Brooks may have had Jared eliminated to reap the benefits all to himself.

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Holmes and Watson also discover that Brooks and Butch went to high school together and confront Brooks about all this. Brooks finally admits he hired Butch to take out Jared, but that when he went to meet him at a train stop to pay him for the task at hand, Butch never showed.

Holmes finds evidence via the security cameras at the location that Brooks is telling the truth and realize that Butch must have been planning to double-cross Brooks by faking the murder and using the photos as proof, but someone intervened, which is why he never made the meet with Brooks.

Watson notices some band fliers in the area Brooks was waiting and points out that Roxanne was wearing a t-shirt with a similar logo to the fliers and that the fliers were present at the crime scene as well. They pay a return visit to Roxanne, who admits to hanging the fliers, but claims to have nothing to do with the murders.

Watson comes back to the Brownstone to find Morland and a henchman rifling through the house, obviously looking for something, but they refuse to say what it is. Morland says that he technically pays for the place, so he can do as he pleases.

Watson later tells Holmes about this development and downplays her role in things, but it’s clear Holmes is getting more suspicious that she is involved somehow. I suspect that Morland was looking for the papers that Kurtz secured for her, but that he probably thinks that Holmes was behind it, not Joan, which could be bad news for him.

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Roxanne, in a fit of anger, sets fire to Butch’s old family house, ticked off that he “left” her and that he excluded her from his blackmail plans, which she had no idea about it. She suspected that he had planned to leave her after collecting the money and go to Tahiti, having found evidence to that end.

Watson finally realizes that it was Ida who did it, having discovered her husband’s plan and that he planned to leave her as well. The tip-off was a picture of her in which Watson noticed her ring. After disproving her alibi, a look at Ida’s ring shows evidence that she fired the gun via a scratch on it, which she must have gotten from firing it from Jared’s car, then she staged the rest later on.

Bell catches a multiple homicide at a diner afterwards, in which four people were killed. One big problem about the victims, however: one was none other than Kurtz. Uh-oh! Did Morland actually go to the lengths of killing innocent people to cover up his murdering Kurtz? It sure looks that way. Might he go after Holmes and/or Watson next? It certainly seems like a possibility.

So, truth be told, this case didn’t grab me as much as I would have liked. I liked the idea of a staged murder becoming a real one, but some of the evidence was a bit dubious and the way the case was solved was a bit arbitrary. It all felt a bit, well, staged. Thankfully, the same cannot be said about the subplot involving Watson and Morland’s ongoing game of cat-and-mouse, which is shaping up to be really interesting.

For one thing, does Morland suspect that Watson is involved, or does he think it’s actually Holmes? After all, he knows good and well that Holmes said he was going to be looking into the matter of Krasnov himself on his own terms. But then, he also made it known to Watson that he suspected there was a mole within his ranks. True, she supposedly disproved it- but then, Morland also figured it out himself, apparently, or he wouldn’t have had Kurtz killed, right?

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It wouldn’t be hard to believe that Morland thinks that both Holmes and Watson are involved with it all, which means that both of them could be in trouble. The real question is, how far is Morland willing to go to cover his tracks? Not to mention what is it he’s actually trying to cover up and is it worse than his simply going out of his way to kill the hitman who tried to kill him? Who hired the hitman in the first place?

Lots of questions to contend with, and lots of potential directions this could go in, all of them promising in the grand scheme of things. I hate that there’s only a few episodes left, but at least we’ve got some juicy stuff to look forward to in the near future, not the least of which is a showdown between Holmes and his father and likely Watson as well. Can’t wait!

What did you think of the episode overall? Did you connect with it more than I did? Did you figure out who did it? Would Morland really kill a bunch of innocents to take out one person like that? What is he really trying to hide? Sound off on this and more down below and see you next week!