Elementary “Pick Your Poison” Review (Season 5 Episode 10)

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On the latest episode of “Elementary,” it was Watson’s turn to be accused of a crime she didn’t commit, while Holmes came to terms with what he did on Shinwell’s behalf- and whether it was the right thing to do in the first place- in “Pick Your Poison.”

The main case revolved around a victim who died of an overdose- from a prescription written by Watson. Needless to say, Bell had some questions for her, as did the DEA. For this reason, Holmes was initially left out of the loop, but it wasn’t long before Watson filled him in on what was going on so that he could help clear her name.

Naturally, it had been around a decade since Watson practiced medicine, but her only mistake was in keeping her license to practice medicine up to date, something Holmes suspected she did out of a sort of sense of pride. In this case, someone had used it to their advantage to go around writing prescriptions willy-nilly- and not just using her name, as Watson soon discovered.

Watson talked to the last pharmacist who filled a prescription in her name and narrowed down the when of her identity being stolen via an initial she rarely used anymore. The last time she used it was when she worked at Corona General hospital, so her next move was to look there for clues.

Holmes found three other doctors who likely had suffered the same fate, all of which he can connect to the use of burner phones. Bell follows up on this information by looking into the place where the phones were bought and finds a likely suspect, Franny Krieg, who Watson confirms was at the hospital when she was last.

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Holmes and Watson head to her more recent practice, only to find her dead, along with another woman, Marlo Moore. There are also a host of prescription pads missing, leading them to suspect an addict and/or dealer sought to eliminate the middle man- or woman, as it were- and take over the business of dealing prescription drugs for themselves.

Holmes and Watson go to talk to the family of Moore, including estranged husband Patrick (William Ragsdale, of the original “Fright Night”) and son Ethan (Jake Brinskele, “Foxcatcher”), who is disabled and was a patient of Krieg’s. Indeed, Ethan was supposed to be there at the time, but had canceled his appointment, which was partially why his mother was there.

Patrick says that his wife wasn’t the murdering type, and would never had done such a thing, but Holmes and Watson aren’t so sure about Patrick himself, who claims to have an alibi for the time of the murder. However, Ethan gives them a potential lead in a sketchy guy he saw once in the waiting room of Krieg’s practice one time, and gives them a description of said man.

Bell tracks down a man who claims he was mugged by someone and shot, seemingly with the same weapon used to kill the others. Holmes pegs the man as a liar, and tells him he thinks he was shot trying to carjack someone, not the other way around. In exchange for information, they offer to give him a free pass if he talks.

He says that he tried to steal a silver Lexus occupied by a man and a woman that was leaving a Ridgely furniture store, when the man in question pulled a gun on him and shot him. Holmes connects the dots and realizes that Marlo Moore was the heiress to the Ridgely fortune, which might be the actual motive for her death, not the whole prescription thing, like they thought.

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This also leads back to Patrick, the husband, who not only owned a silver Lexus, but had a registered gun just like the one used in the shootings. However, he claims he’s not even in the will, being her ex, so he has no motive, but his son is, so it could still be a possibility. Patrick eventually admits to the shooting of the would-be thief, and says that the girl was a woman he was having an affair with at the time behind his wife’s back, which is why he didn’t report it, but swears he didn’t shoot his ex-wife.

Patrick claims to have stashed the gun at the family home, but a search of the premises finds it missing. He says someone must have stolen it, and even worse, his alibi doesn’t seem to check out, making him look awfully guilty. They talk to Ethan again, who swears his dad wouldn’t do such a thing. Further investigation finally confirms Patrick’s alibi- good thing he ordered a pizza that night- and it’s back to the drawing board.

Watson finally figures out what might be going on, suspecting Ethan’s mother of Munchausen by Proxy, which is when someone intentionally drugs someone else to keep them helpless and dependent on them for everything. Watson suspects that Dr. Krieg found out and confronted Marlo about it, in spite of her own sketchy actions with the whole pill mill thing, and that was what got her killed.

A voice mail confirms that she was already looking for another doctor for Ethan to keep the ruse going. Watson thinks that Ethan found out about what his mother was up to, likely from Dr. Krieg herself, and someone- possibly the addict he mentioned- helped him to kill his mother, and that person was the one who stole the pads and also killed Dr. Krieg at the scene.

Sure enough, they find the addict, who gives Ethan up, who has fled his house by this point after all the police attention as of late, and they bring him in from the hotel he’s currently staying in, where they also find the gun used in the crime, aka his father’s missing gun. Watson confronts him with what she knows, and says that now that he has stopped taking the drugs his mother was using to keep him sick, he should be okay.

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Unfortunately, though his killing of his mother was understandable under the circumstances, his having Dr. Kreig killed to boot was not. As such, there’s little she can do to help Ethan, given what he did. So, a sad ending to a sad story all around. But hey, Charley Brewster is innocent, so all’s well that ends well, lol.

Maybe Ragsdale can drum up attention for that “Herman’s Head” revival we didn’t know we were missing. Hey, if they can bring back “Full House” and “Boy Meets World”- to say nothing of ALF’s cameo on “Mr. Robot”– anything’s possible. Besides, us kids of the 90’s know where Disney stole that plot for “Inside Out”- reparations are due, I say!)

Meanwhile, as all this is going on, there was a side plot involving Holmes having second thoughts about helping Shinwell, after he discovered that Shinwell was still running with the gang in hopes of bring the SBKs down, even after his former CI was busted and killed himself. To that end, he had sought out a new one, in a Detective Guzman (Chris McKinney, “The Night Of”).

In a somewhat dubious move, Holmes went to Guzman himself and told him that he didn’t think Shinwell was quality informant material, pointing out that his last CI had pulled the wool over his eyes without him even knowing it, so what made him think he could bring down an entire gang? Watson didn’t particularly approve of this meddling on Holmes’ part and told him so.

In the end, Holmes opted to train Shinwell himself, with help from Watson of course, but you could tell he was still on the fence about the whole informant thing. Nonetheless, he and Shinwell continued to bond over a game of chess, with Holmes even giving up a case related to a chessboard Shinwell had restored as a thank you to him, unaware that it was evidence in a past crime.

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As aforementioned in previous reviews, there is indeed a Shinwell character in the Holmes canon, who also gets involved with Kitty- a character that is reportedly due to return before the end of the season- so perhaps this is the show doing another variation of old-school Holmes in a new vein, as the show has done in the past. I’m okay with that, as I may be one of the few that actually liked Kitty.

Whether or not Shinwell and Kitty would make a good couple remains to be seen, but lest we forget, Kitty is still wanted for what she did last time we saw her, so that itself may put a damper on any romantic endeavors. We’ll just have to wait and see on that one, but it’s not as if the show has to follow the stories to the letter, so it’s fine if they don’t. I imagine a lot will hinge on if the two actors in question have decent chemistry or not, really.

This marks the final episode of the year for real this time, with the show coming back in early January, on the 8th, last I checked. Until then, this was a decent enough episode on the whole. Granted, they sure cleared Watson of her accusations really quick, but it’s not as if anyone but the DEA thought she really did it, so maybe it’s just as well.

The case was just okay for me, perhaps because I saw a similar type case elsewhere recently, also involving Munchausen by Proxy, so the minute it was mentioned, I had a pretty good idea what had happened. Although, to be fair, if they hadn’t gone there, I likely would have suspected Ragsdale’s character, what with him being the most recognizable of the cast of suspects.

The Shinwell stuff was a little more rewarding for me, as it showed that Holmes was not without reservations this time for what he’d done as of late, which is more than you could say for what he did earlier in the season with the rapist guy- though I’m not sure I had much problem with that one, either.

But the fact that he had any remorse at all is a good thing, and shows that he might not be falling back into bad habits, after all- perhaps his renewed commitment to going to meetings is a good thing, even though he was loathe to admit it at first. It certainly couldn’t hurt matters, even if he is, as he previously stated, almost always the smartest person in any given room he’s in.

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Have a happy holidays all, and join me for more reviews next month. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your comments!

  • usedtobelucy

    I enjoyed this episode a lot, actually. I enjoyed some patches of the writing and acting hugely — and when that’s true, I’m generally carried along so happily that I don’t respond critically to much at all.

    In this episode, I absolutely adored the part before the opening credits. To me it was just a genius introduction in that it introduced both the episode’s stories, gave some great character moments, had actual plot in it, and was hilarious, too. They definitely had me at hello this week.

    I also enjoyed the arc of the whole episode with Sherlock and Shinwell. That it revolves around the chess table that Sherlock is using to crack a 78-year-old crime was just icing on the cake for me since I loved the development of their relationship. I also loved the reappearance of Luc — Sherlock’s designated mover, who only speaks French. Also hilarious.

    By the by, I looked back at the Case of the Illustrious Client a bit ago, and I noticed that Shinwell’s not necessarily Kitty Winter’s old boyfriend or whatever. They know each other, but their relationship is unspecified and basically made almost nothing of in the story. So beyond Shinwell’s being an informant, there’s really not much else they can take from Doyle.

    I’m quite intrigued by Holmes’ seeing Shinwell as being essentially too innocent and non-guileful in certain ways to be a detective.And thinking that he’s in great danger. He certainly didn’t see that in either Watson or Kitty. Really wondering where that’s going to go. And I think it’s also a nice play on the whole detectives-breaking-laws-to-get-to-justice thing. The criminal is the innocent one and the detectives aren’t. Elementary, I love the way you play with concepts.

    Munchausen by proxy actually crossed my mind as soon as I heard the kid say that his mother often went to doctors’ appointments instead of him. So, actually, having that be the solution in the end made me feel kind of smart. Since I like mysteries that both puzzle me and make me feel smart, I was happy with that! ….

    I’m also really really glad that I don’t watch many different tv shows all at the same time — because I don’t get disappointed when they all go with the same zeitgeist. …. The unfortunate thing for them is that I doubt the shows actually copy one another. I think it’s way more likely that they just come up with similar ideas because something’s in the air. The world of ideas and creativity kind of work that way, it seems. And all these shows are written so fast and so far in advance that I’d be surprised if there’s much actual copycatting going on — after all, they all want to present us with something fresh and surprising. So I expect they try to. …..That’s tough on you, though, Mark, since you have to watch a ton of things — and when the repetition is there, it’s annoying.

    My other favorite thing in the episode was the kid asking Joanie to plea for him based on his reason for killing his mother. I really liked it that they twisted it that way — having the person they originally thought to be the big criminal be the innocent victim in a different sense. And I thought that what Watson said was very very much something that Holmes would say. And that interested me.

    Anyway — thanks for another good read in your recap and review! And see you in 2017!

    • Mark Trammell

      I have not read the stories in a while, so I will take your word for it, but someone on the message boards said that they were involved, so I ran with it. But like we both said, it’s not as if they’re afraid to mix things up, so anything could happen, really.

      I agree that it’s unlikely that shows intentionally rip each other off- most of the shows that end up using the same essential plot lines that are “ripped from the headlines” or just coincidence tend to almost certainly be shot at roughly the same time, so it seems unlikely. But it is unfortunate, especially for viewers who watch multiple shows like that. I try not to let it affect my judgment, though- it just affects whether I figure it out sooner or later.

      Agreed on everything else you said, especially the Watson thing. See you next year!

  • bigref

    Elementary is my favorite current TV show. It is cerebral, which I enjoy, logical, which has become a rare commodity in anything these days, includes a unique and endearing asexual relationship between the two stars. It almost never disappoints by going into frequently used plot devices. And it is generally apolitical. Many scripted shows have become didactic and tiresome regarding the oppressed du jour. Earlier this season, there were two medical drama/soaps both involving a transgender (man->woman) who both contracted prostate cancer, and, horribly insensitive as our whole society is, it took a while for the doctors to climb out of each others beds to correctly diagnose their suddenly shy patients. Now my wife has to watch most of her medical dramas without me. Elementary never requires me to sufficiently lower my IQ to enjoy it.

  • august2004

    The writers of Elementary do pack a lot of drama into their 40 minutes or so of programming every week. This week’s episode was no different since it involved child poisoning and matricide, even if it was justifiable. But the stories of Sherlock Holmes often blend scenes of “murder most foul” with humorous interludes. Sir Arthur did the same thing some 100 years ago…
    You may be right, U2BL, that Kitty and Shinwell did not have a meaningful relationship in The Illustrious Client. In that story, Kitty said her and Shinwell were “old mates” and shared the “same address.” I think that’s Victorian-speak for saying they were shacking up! But who knows for sure. And the writers of Elementary often use Doyle’s characters as just teasers anyway…
    As we said last week, Elementary already is a financial success for CBS so where it goes in the future is anyone’s guess. With extra cash in hand, maybe the producers can bring back some of the main actors portraying Morland, Mycroft and Moriarty. However the budgets and stories may have already been concluded for 2017. Everyone, have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!…

    • Mark Trammell

      You, too! Thanks, as always, for your comments!