Elementary “Henny Penny The Sky is Falling” Review (Season 5 Episode 4)

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On the latest episode of “Elementary,” while Captain Gregson’s superior came to him with some mysterious news, the rest of the team investigated the murder of jack-of-all-trades who found himself on the wrong end of a fire poker, in “Henny Penny The Sky is Falling.”

The victim this time around was Russell Cole, a Quantitative Analyst that worked for Mitch Barry (Richard Thomas, “The Americans”) on all sorts of things, when he wasn’t freelancing on his own. Holmes deduces that it probably had something to do with a missing laptop that was stolen from the scene of the crime.

Barry speaks highly of Cole, calling him a “mad genius” and saying he basically let him do whatever he wanted. Apparently, that also included Barry’s wife, though Barry was unaware of it. She points the team in the direction of Cole’s secret hideaway on Bear Mountain, where he went to work on his latest projects in private.

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There, they discovered evidence he was working on something astronomy-related, something to do with asteroids and when they might potentially hit the Earth, causing a modern-day apocalypse, the likes of which the Earth hadn’t seen since the dinosaurs died out. Cole thought that the scientists at NASA were going about measuring the size of potential asteroid threats wrong, and had written a paper to that end on the subject.

As this wasn’t Holmes’ field of expertise, he sought out the help of an old frenemy, Julius Kent, a Neil deGrasse Tyson-type, complete with a ridiculous space-themed vest that Holmes didn’t hesitate to make fun of. Kent determines that anyone whose livelihood depended on identifying asteroids in a way that went against what Cole claimed was the “wrong” way would have ample reason to want to kill him.

Bell and Watson investigate a lead at a restaurant Cole frequented while he was working and a waitress says that Cole often worked out in the back, which was unusual, as the only thing back there was a wall, and he would have had to stand to do so. Suspecting he was up to something else back there, they take a closer look and find a thumb drive stashed in the wall in question.

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On it, there’s the paper in question that Cole wrote, along with evidence he had a partner, which would make sense as astronomy wasn’t exactly his given forte. It seems that said partner, who was unidentified, was actually helping him fill the paper with inconsistencies that were designed to keep astronomers busy for a good long while so as to put off an expensive project involving a Piazza telescope, which was worth billions.

Holmes thinks that the subterfuge would have netted the two millions themselves, but that the partner got greedy and decided to cut Cole out of the deal, which was why he had killed him, or else Cole had asked for more money for the job than his partner was willing to pay. Their first obvious suspect is Barry, but he denies it, saying that not only does he have an alibi, but that Cole made him millions, and he would have given him anything he wanted if it meant his making him more.

Barry points them in the direction of a Congresswoman Salazar (Linda Powell, “Chicago Fire”), saying that she might be able to help narrow down the list of potential suspects better. She says that all asteroid-related projects were on hold indefinitely, while Cole’s paper was being researched and potentially debunked, and would be for the foreseeable future, which actually broadens the amount of potential suspects.

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Holmes fares better on his own, narrowing things down to the CEOs of four different companies that would have stood to gain the most from Cole’s paper being out there, as it would have slowed down the process, allowing them to make money from it, not lose money. However, he hits a wall on determining which one.

Then a stroke of weird luck helps crack the case, when Holmes exhibits poison ivy-like symptoms out of nowhere. Watson thinks he got it from around Cole’s Bear Mountain property, but Holmes begs to differ, saying he would have known better to avoid such things being an expert in the field of identifying poisonous plants and the like. He instead thinks it’s because he was in contact with Cole’s killer and didn’t realize it at the time.

As it turns out, it was Salazar’s right-hand man, Len (Daniel Cosgrove, “Days of Our Lives”), who had used the missing laptop at her office, which is where Holmes picked up the telltale rash. It seems that the laptop had a residue on it that mimicked the properties of poison ivy, which was what caused Holmes’ rash. Holmes and Watson confront the man while the police do a search of his place and office, and it’s inferred that they’re right about his being Cole’s partner- and murderer.

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Meanwhile, while all this was going on, Gregson was being vetted, along with the rest of his squad, by his superior, Deputy Chief Prosky (Gordon Clapp, “NYPD Blue”). Holmes feared it might be something to do with him and Watson, but it turned out it was actually the polar opposite and Prosky was looking into giving Gregson and his team an award on the upcoming Medal Day.

Gregson being the man he was, he wanted everyone to be included, and given a certificate to show how important they were to his team’s success, including Holmes and Watson, which was a bit of a sticking point with Prosky, as their reputation preceded them, in a bad way. To that end, Holmes tried to provide material that will allow him to bow out of the process and disqualify him.

Interestingly, Watson did the exact opposite, offering up evidence to help back up Gregson and their inclusion. Holmes later confronts Watson about it, admitting that he tried to sabotage the thing because he hates the idea of their being given too much credit for what they do. Watson says too bad, as the ceremony was moving forward as planned, with their inclusion intact, like it or not.

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Holmes tells Watson he’s better at what he does because of Watson and continues to do it because of her, which was a nice moment. Watson says that what they do is bigger than the both of them, which is precisely why they should keep doing it- for the greater good. To that end, they both opt to attend the ceremony, where Gregson tells them all publicly for the first time that he wanted all of them to share in the award, as he couldn’t have done it without them and congratulates them on a job well done, to much applause, including that of Holmes and Watson.

It was nice to see everyone at Gregson’s precinct acknowledged for the work they do, and interesting to see Holmes’ reaction to that sort of accolade, which is obviously, given his actions to thwart it, precisely the type of thing he seeks to avoid. Be that as it may, I think, in the end, he was honored and flattered by it, and certainly proud of Gregson’s being awarded for it, at the very least.

It was also heart-breaking to see Holmes admit how contingent his success was on Watson’s companionship and support. As he said, she made him a better detective- and a better person as well, I might add. While this could be seen as a bit of a co-dependent situation, ultimately, it was a positive one, as it had helped him not only stay sober, for the most part, but made him even better at what he does. This is probably the closest we’ll get to a declaration of love from Holmes to Watson, so it was nice to see.

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As for the case, it was okay. I got a kick out of some of the one liners, especially in regards to the NDT- type’s vest, and it was amusing to think of Holmes butting heads with someone that was as much of an expert as he was in his field in their own back in college, which was where the two first met. It was enough to make one wonder what a “Wonder Years”-type show with Holmes and Kent would be like. I suspect a lot of fun, lol.

All in all, a decent episode, but the second episode remains my favorite case of the season thus far. But the business with the Medal Day ceremony and the heart-to-hearts with Watson made this a must-see for fans of the show, that’s for sure, more than compensating for any shortcomings of the main case. So, a worthy episode, overall.

What did you think of the latest episode of “Elementary”? Did you enjoy the case more than I did? What did you make of Julius Kent? Did you figure out who the murderer was ahead of time? What did you think of the Medal Day ceremony? How about Holmes’ reaction to it? Or his talks with Watson throughout about it and her importance to him? Sound off down below, and I’ll see you next week!