Elementary “Folie a Deux” Review (Season 5 Episode 1)

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On the season premiere of the fifth season of “Elementary,” the team searched for the long-dormant Bensonhurst Bomber, who resurfaced in a new part of town, seemingly with a new MO, in “Folie a Deux.” But was it the same person- or had the original bomber taught his methods to an all-new partner-in-crime to carry on in his absence?

We started off with a literal bang, as a would-be Good Samaritan tried to give back a wayward soccer ball to a group of kids playing in the park. But when a kid told him it wasn’t their ball at all, he was in for a rude awakening when he looked down and noticed something off about the stitching of the ball- right before it exploded in his hands, killing him instantly.

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After wrapping up their current case, which involved a gay man who killed his lover and was about to kill himself- at least before Holmes tried to talk him down off the ledge, that was, and failing that, Watson zapped him with a taser to cause him to fall off of it in the right direction and to safety- they joined the scene of the crime to investigate.

As is often the case with situations as these, the person in question showed up to see the aftermath of his handiwork, before a watchful Sherlock spotted him and gave chase. Alas, poor Holmes ended up losing him and getting hit by a car in the process. Fortunately, the perp involved touched a nearby cab while evading Sherlock, so Holmes made sure to detain the driver until a print could be lifted, as he saw to his minor injuries.

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The print traced back to a Nathan Resor (Matthew Del Negro, “Scandal”), who had a previous record that had landed him in jail. Not so coincidentally, the bombings conveniently stopped when he was in prison. I can’t imagine why! Though Nathan denied it to the hilt, Holmes suspected differently- but he couldn’t prove it, so they were forced to let the man go.

However, Watson knew someone who was in prison at the same time as Nathan that might could help, so she paid him a visit at a local boxing gym, where he’d worked since his release. The man’s name was Shinwell Johnson (Nelsan Ellis, Lafayette on “True Blood”), and once upon a time, Watson saved his life after he was shot five times, back when she was a doctor.

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Johnson didn’t really know Nathan, but knew of him and knew someone who might know him, so he promised to give the man a call and get back to her. Meanwhile, Holmes went through Nathan’s trash, much to his chagrin, but the only remotely suspicious thing he found was a empty bottle of bleach, which was a component in making the bomb.

Holmes also confronted Nathan about a fire on one of his properties that he cleaned up on, insurance-wise, leading Holmes to believe Nathan might had started the fire himself on purpose to get said money. Naturally, Nathan denies it, so Holmes’ next step was to talk to Nathan’s ex-wife Elizabeth (Bianca Amato, “Powers”), who claimed that the reason they broke up wasn’t prison, but that Nathan was working so much they never had time to repair the damage done by the prison sentence on their relationship.

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According to Elizabeth, it involved a massive land development deal with a big conglomerate but she didn’t know much beyond that, save that it had come between them enough to lead to a divorce, despite Nate’s claims that he was going to make out like a bandit if she just hung in there. Obviously, she didn’t.

Shinwell pays a visit to the brownstone, to find only Holmes there at the moment, who invites him in to share war stories. (“I was shot five times, too,” said Holmes,”albeit on separate occasions.”) Watson finally arrives to put poor Shinwell out of his misery and he tells her to look into Nate’s cellmate, Cray (Lee Tergesen, “The Strain”).

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They do, and Cray is brought in and questioned. Naturally, he also denies any wrongdoing on Nate’s part and says that he’s great guy who gave him a job when he got out of prison. Then there’s another bombing, but this time, Nate couldn’t have done it, as he was being tailed by the police at the time, but Holmes remains unconvinced, saying that the only thing that proves is that Nate must have a partner.

Suspecting Cray, Holmes and Watson break into his house and find all the ingredients necessary to make a bomb of the kind that went off recently. Somehow managing to parlay this illegal search into an arrest, Cray is brought in again, this time to try and get him to confess to either being the bomber himself, or in cahoots with him. Or as Holmes put it: one taught the other, but who was the teacher, and who was the student?

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The police make Cray a deal for “special considerations,” including the opportunity to say goodbye to his family, but he refuses. He then says that if he does have a partner, he couldn’t wait to see what he did in his absence, implying that there are bombs all over Flushing, the terrifying twosome’s current haunt of choice. Holmes suspects he’s bluffing, but they need more evidence to the contrary.

Holmes looks into the construction deal Nate had in place, realizing that all the current bombings were happening in that area. Realizing that Nate was trying to scare people off so that he would have an easier time securing the deal from a rival company after the current one bailed, Holmes talks to the company that signed the deal with Nate, which had just gone through.

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Sure enough, said company bails on the deal, leaving Cray without a pay-off, which he had intended to give to his family, in lieu of getting caught. Now without a reason to stay silent, and nothing to gain from it, really, Cray flips on his partner, and that’s all she wrote for Nate and Cray.

In addition, Watson admits that she misses the feeling she got out of helping people when she was both a doctor and a sober coach. Though Holmes points out that she helps people still all the time by doing what they do, she says it’s not quite the same. She also points out that she thinks Holmes no longer really needed a sober coach, either, thus denying her that sense of helping as well.

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Holmes, sensing her issues, and understanding and appreciating her honesty with him, encourages Joan to help Shinwell out, in terms of helping him secure a better job and take his life to the next level. She does, but when she arrives, we see that Shinwell is packing heat, and though he puts it away when Watson arrives, it certainly looked like he might be falling back into bad habits, but we’ll have to wait until the next episode to be sure, as it could just be a simple matter of protection from old criminal acquaintances.

After several complicated seasons, the show seems to have streamlined things considerably this season, perhaps responding to some peoples’ frustrations with how complex things had gotten in recent years. Though I didn’t mind it, I can see where they might want to rein it in a bit this season to make things easier to follow, if indeed that is what this is.

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If not, perhaps they are biding their time until after the debate next week, which might have been a factor, as the show won’t be back until a few weeks from now. If so, then expect the show to begin laying the groundwork for an underlying ongoing narrative in the next episode. It’s possible the thing with Shinwell might even be it, though I think that’s more of a short-term thing. We’ll see, though, you never know.

In the meantime, though this episode was nothing spectacular, it wasn’t bad, either, and had it’s moments. The opening bits were fun, and some of the interplay between Holmes and Watson was pretty enjoyable as well. I liked that Holmes remembered that Watson wore the same outfit twice, which she never does, which I noticed as well. As a big fan of Ellis’ work on “True Blood,” it will also be interesting to see how he handles a more conventional role this time around. So far, so good.

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What did you think of the latest episode of “Elementary”? Was it good for you, or was it a bit on the meh side? What do you think of Shinwell thus far? Do you hope he sticks around, or is he trouble waiting to happen? Do you think he will figure heavily into the plot this season? Sound off on this and more down below, and see you in a few weeks!