Elementary “Turn It Upside Down” Review (Season 4 Episode 22)

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In the episode I think it’s safe to say that most of us hardcore “Elementary” fans have been waiting for all season, things finally came to a head between Holmes and his father in a typically atypical fashion, in the aptly-titled “Turn It Upside Down,” which served as both an allusion to a primo selection of disco Holmes blasted at one point to take his mind off of the inherently depressing subject matter of the case at hand, as well as what the case itself was about to do to everyone concerned and their lives.

Fittingly, the episode was directed by one of the show’s own, none other than Watson herself, Lucy Liu, who brought it both in front of and behind the camera, accordingly. Also, in a nice bit of synergy that was shades of a similar gambit adopted earlier in the season when friendly rival “The Walking Dead” premiered and the show paid tribute to it via the episode title of the same name, this episode happened to coincide with the debut of another ratings sensation, “Game of Thrones.”

Likewise, the show wasn’t above both tweaking and acknowledging it… only with far more satisfying results, as we will see- not to mention an underlying connection we all have been waiting for, for some time. (Cough…Natalie Dormer…cough.)

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we? We picked up right where we left off last week, as Bell caught a case involving the death of one of Morland’s employees, Neil Kurtz, aka the mole that Watson had uncovered a few weeks back and blackmailed into doing some dirty work for her as well.

Seemingly a robbery gone wrong, it was clear to Watson that something else was going on here underneath the surface and that Kurtz might have actually been the real target, not the other unfortunates that got caught in the crossfire, or, as she dubbed it: “two murders and an assassination.”

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Of course, there was no getting around Watson telling Holmes what she’d been hiding for some time- that she’d been keeping tabs on Morland all this time behind his back. No fool he, Holmes naturally knew that Watson was up to something- he just didn’t know exactly what. When the news finally came out, he was not happy about it, but also not exactly surprised, either.

The real question was, of course, was Morland behind all this? Holmes wasted no time in going to him and confronting Morland about all of this, albeit in a distinctly English sort of way, by accusing him without coming right out and saying it. Morland is no fool, either, however, and curtly refuses to cooperate with Holmes by voluntarily giving up potentially sensitive information via Kurtz’ personal files and technology used in his role as Morland’s employee.

Instead, Morland says that, until it proves true that Kurtz was indeed the target, and not just caught in the crossfire himself, he won’t be cooperating at all, which, as you can imagine, doesn’t go over well with Holmes himself, who can barely contain his anger throughout this episode on the whole.

The next stop is to interview the sister of one of the other victims, who was also there and gives them a description of the shooter that doesn’t match anyone they are aware of at this point. She also points out one strange detail- that her sister had an allergic reaction to the killer that almost certainly had to be animal hair, specifically that of a mountain lion.

Holmes next pulls Captain Gregson aside to tell him about his father’s possible involvement in the case and how he suspects that Morland may have been involved- and would not put murder for hire past him in the slightest. Though dubious, Gregson warns Holmes to keep his head, but doesn’t take him off the case, knowing that to do so would be pointless, given the circumstances.

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Watson joined Holmes at the scene of Kurtz’s apartment as he introduced the German concept of “umwelt,” aka the “biological foundations that lie at the epicenter of the study of both communication and signification in the human and non-human animal.” Put another way, the unique perspective that we all have on the world, animals included, and the way they differ from one another, even within the same environment.

This semiotic theory would inform the entirety of this episode, as we discovered that everyone concerned had their own view of this case, including those on the outside looking in and vice versa. In this case, it led Holmes to see that Kurtz had eyes on him at nearly all times, in this particular instance, in that he was being watched in his own home via camera surveillance, which had subsequently been removed, but had left behind tell-tale signs that didn’t not go unnoticed by Holmes.

Accordingly, Holmes also checked his own place of residence for such signs, finding none that he could see, leading him to believe that he and Watson were safe, albeit for now. Holmes also apologizes to Watson for his heated outburst earlier in the episode, though she allows it was entirely justified, given the circumstances.

Watson investigates the mountain lion angle, which leads to a new suspect in the case, Arthur Tetch (Yul Vazquez, “The Lottery”). Actually, Tetch is flat-out the culprit, having had gunshot residue on his hands, blood on a hoodie found in his premises, and being a taxidermist that had, in fact, handled a mountain lion over the course of his line of work.

Copping to it, Tetch willingly gives up details on his employer, a Mr. King, a shadowy figure he suspects went by an alias. King approached Tetch personally, offering him 50 grand and a gun with which to do the job. According to Tetch, it was not Morland, however, though Holmes suspects that Mr. King could be an employee of his. Nor was it Tetch’s first rodeo, as he had been hired to commit other murders prior to this one on Mr. King’s behalf.

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The real question is, as Gregson wonders to Holmes, how did Mr. King know to approach Tetch in the first place, given that he had never done this sort of thing previously? The answer might lie in another of Tetch’s victims, Dr. Naylor, a psychology professor who also did psych evaluations on the side. Watson takes a closer look at her files to see what she can find.

Meanwhile, Captain Gregson pays Morland a visit, letting him know that Tetch was hired to kill Kurtz specifically, as Holmes suspected. Though Gregson doesn’t outright accuse him, Morland gets the hint that he is a suspect of interest in the case and warns Gregson not to get carried away with any wild theories that his son might have about him, as he is decidedly biased against him. Gregson says he won’t, but that nothing better happen to Holmes and Watson or Morland will be the one in trouble.

The team talks to Dr. Naylor’s research assistant, Helena Weir (Cassie Beck), who tells them about a test that Naylor had been developing, DANTE, which gauges the level of depravity and atrocity in the people who take it. The idea was to make it a standardized test that addressed such things in criminals to make their subsequent sentencing fairer and more appropriate, according to Weir.

Morland, realizing that he is a prime suspect from his talk with Gregson earlier, and is likely to stay one if Holmes had anything to do with it, opts to hand over everything he has on Kurtz after all. Morland says he knew that Watson knew about Kurtz and hadn’t told him and had figured it out himself, independently of Watson. Wanting to prove it himself, he had actually wanted Kurtz alive and says he can show Morland evidence to that end, in the form of an email.

It seems that Kurtz was not at that restaurant at that particular time by accident, having been sent word via email to meet there on purpose with whoever had hired him to spy on Morland, in order to kill Kurtz specifically, for unknown reasons, though it seems likely it was because Kurtz told them he was out, as he had told Watson the same thing in a previous episode.

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Holmes has Anonymous look into the matter, who do indeed confirm Morland’s innocence. This leads Holmes to make a somewhat beleaguered and roundabout apology to Morland for accusing him, which Morland is also both amused and vaguely touched by. So, those of us who suspected that Morland being the culprit was either too easy and/or a bit much even by his seemingly dubious standards were right, as it turns out.

Holmes suspects it has something to do with the Columbia-based oil deal that Morland had lost the bid on and wants to know who he lost the deal to, which proves to be RNJ enterprises. Morland gives Holmes the relevant files on them, and mentions that he tried to blackmail someone in RNJ’s organization to find out what they were up to with Kurtz but the man in question opted to resign rather than talk about it, or else simply resigned to avoid his deviancy coming out publically.

Morland also tells Holmes his real reason for being at the Brownstone that time Watson caught him: he was looking for a specific item, a ring he believed to be stashed there, which he claims he wanted to give to a Countess as a show of gratitude- or so he says. Holmes is clearly dubious of this, however, suspecting there is more to the story that Morland is letting on.

Bell finds an unexpected connection between Tetch and Naylor- it seems he took the DANTE test, which would seem to indicate he lied about knowing her. Tetch denies this, claiming that he simply likes taking online quizzes for fun and didn’t know Naylor. This led to the first nod to “Game of Thrones” of the evening, as Tetch confessed that when he took the “Which GOT character are you?” quiz online, he always got “Joffrey,” which was an amusing in-joke for those who got it. (In a nutshell, Joffrey was just the worst.)

We next got the tie-in to the episode title, as Watson caught Holmes listening to the disco classic “Turn the Beat Around,” which features the titular line within the lyrics. His reason being, Holmes wanted to hear something upbeat while taking the DANTE test himself because, like Watson, he found the subject matter so depressing and wanted to counteract it with something more uplifting.

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Holmes realizes that not only did Tetch take the test, but so did a suicide bomber with ties to the oil deal that Morland was involved in. As such, Holmes suspects that someone used the DANTE test as a recruiting tool to find those with psychopathic tendencies, which would explain Gregson’s question as to how Mr. King found Tetch in the first place.

Realizing that not only is Morland innocent of all this, but RNJ as well, Holmes deduces that there must be a third party involved who was seeking to manipulate certain aspects of the oil deal in question, such as the stock market value and the like and has an idea who it might be.

Holmes also tells Watson about the ring Morland was looking for and it turns out that Holmes did indeed know where it was and had hidden it away somewhere he knew Morland would never find it. The main reason being, it belonged to Holmes’ mother and he didn’t want to give it up.

Knowing that Morland might use the valuable ring as a bribe, likely connected to his avenging the death of his lover in the attempt on his life, Holmes hid it so that Morland couldn’t use if for nefarious purposes, wanting at least something to remember his mother by. He also finally comes clean to Watson about the fact that his mother was an addict just like him, and that his father had kept this from him until recently.

The team has Weir brought in to the station and confront her about the DANTE test, with Holmes wanting to know her results. Weir says she never took the test, as she was part of Naylor’s team and it would have been biased and wonders why they brought her there for that. In actuality, it was to get her out of the place she worked so that the cops could go through her computer, where they were able to prove that she was the one actively looking for psychos.

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Weir had found six of them in all, but said that she had been approached to do so by an outside source who claimed to be from the CIA that she later suspected was using it for less-than-on-the-level reasons. Unfortunately, by the time she realized it, she was in too deep and was too scared to stop, lest the person go after her. Holmes points out that she was also paid for each psycho she uncovered, which didn’t exactly hurt matters.

The man in question says his name is Babbage, the very mention of which sends Holmes bolting from the room, clearly taken aback by this revelation. The reason being, both Babbage and King share a connection with Cambridge, as he tells Watson, and that all the events of the last few weeks form an undeniable pattern that point to one person in particular: Moriarty!

Yep, all of us who have been waiting to hear that name again, in hopes of Holmes’ greatest foe being thrown back into the mix finally got our wish granted in the form of a concrete connection. This, of course, was also the other big “GOT” connection, as both that show and this one have star Natalie Dormer in common.

I think the minute anyone in the know heard that “GOT” joke our radars went up- or at least mine did- but after a lot of subtle but seemingly meaningless nods to Moriarty over the course of several seasons, I think we all wondered if the character would ever actually be involved in the show again for real, or if Dormer’s involvement would be limited to a lot of off-screen references, given her “GOT” demands.

With this episode, her return to the show just got a lot more inevitable, and one can only hope that it means she will be involved for real this time around. Not sure if that signals bad things to come for her character on “GOT” but maybe they found a way to work around it. Of course, this revelation doesn’t necessarily mean that Dormer need be on the show this season- they could just be setting it up for next season instead. I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but color me super-excited.

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Even before that revelation this was a first-rate episode, between the heated exchanges between Holmes and Watson, as well as Gregson and Morland, and then Holmes finally realizing that when it comes to his father, he has a bad tendency to suspect the worst.

Granted, it isn’t entirely unjustified, but suspecting one’s father of dirty dealings with bribes and the like and suspecting him of outright murder are two very different things, and though I wouldn’t put it past Morland to go out of his way to kill the person who was responsible for the death of his lover, killing innocents to make that happen is maybe a bridge too far in the grand scheme of things. In other words, he’s bad in some regards, but he’s not THAT bad. I think.

Only time will tell how this plays out, but things just got incredibly interesting for these last few episodes. It might have taken us some time to get there, but “Elementary” seems poised to deliver the goods in a big way at the end of what has been a solid but occasionally erratic season. I think a lot of it has to do with frustration on the part of the viewers that the show tends to take its sweet time doling out certain things, but I also think that’s part of what makes this the show it is. You might have to be patient, but eventually it pays off.

The question is, will it be enough to sustain the show in the future? The fact that it has already been renewed is a great sign, but in order to survive, a lot is going to depend on things like the time slot and what the new lead-in will be and that sort of thing. If the show is able to figure out a way to up the ante- and getting Dormer back on board would certainly help matters- then the possibility of even more seasons might not be as dubious a prospect as it has been in the past.

In the meantime, this was a great episode, and Liu should certainly view it as a major positive that the show-runners were willing to give her such a crucial episode to direct. It was undeniably a pivotal episode, featuring a lot of what makes the show great, and if the premiere of the aforementioned “GOT” might have eroded some of the potential viewers, it certainly wasn’t because the show wasn’t putting forth effort. It might not have the cache of a show like “GOT” but when the chips are down, “Elementary” can rise to the occasion when called upon, to its everlasting credit.


What did you think of the episode? Are you excited about the prospect of Moriarty’s involvement again? Will Dormer crop up before the end of the season? Does it indicate that her days on “GOT” might be numbered or will they simply work around it? Do you think that Morland is involved or is he genuinely not as bad as Holmes- or we- seem to think? Any predictions for the final few episodes? Sound off down below and see you next week!