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'Elementary' recap: Gone body gone

Season 3 | Episode 7 | “The Adventure of the Nutmeg Concoction” | Aired Dec 11, 2014

Joan has to juggle a long-distance relationship while tracking down a body-disposal expert on this week’s Elementary.

I might be reading more into this than the writers intended, but it’s interesting that the case of the week starts as a missing persons investigation at the same time that Joan is working through the strain of her now bi-continental relationship: Andrew from 6D is in Denmark launching a new business, leaving an uncharacteristically distracted Watson at home, constantly checking her messages and spurning the advances of a would-be suitor.

Andrew has not vanished, like Jessica Holder or the other alleged victims of “Pumpkin” the nutmeg killer. His absence, however, hangs over the episode like a Godot-esque specter. While Joan claims she’s simply adjusting, the final shot of Watson putting the last touches on Andrew’s welcome-home dinner suggest there are cracks under the surface that a simple “Hello” won’t fix.

Holmes has a theory. Watson is a “love terrorist,” he says, a baboon with inflamed genitals whose investigative mind and cunning intellect make her ill-suited to the mundanities of typical, monogamous life.

“You remain a far more interesting person than you give yourself credit for,” he says.

Which brings us to this week’s case, a hunt that is not so much for a killer as it is for the person who erases a killer’s actions from the world. A woman hires Joan to look into the disappearance of her sister five years earlier. The case has run dry save for the lingering insistence of a much-disliked FBI agent who believes it was the work of the elusive “Pumpkin,” who leaves the subtle traces of nutmeg in his wake.

Hogwash, Holmes says, and yet the olfactory detail is curious. When a new nutmeg-scented crime scene appears, Holmes believes he’s discovered the solution: The missing women were not abducted by the same man. Instead, a common crime-scene cleaner was used by the killers to dispose of the bodies of their victims, and the nutmeg was deployed to mask a more sinister chemical concoction used to obliterate all evidence of the deceased.

Armed with this new theory, Holmes and Watson are led to Conrad Woodbine, a former (legitimate) crime-scene cleaner who is suspiciously well off for a Soho-based artist. After they confront him, Kitty breaks into a locked cabinet and discovers several sealed jars of nutmeg-scented liquid.

Holmes is convinced, but the proof melted away with the corpses. So the detectives reach out to Woodbine’s former employers, essentially offering a Get Out of Jail Free card to the first person who can provide enough evidence to compel Woodbine to spill the beans about his nefarious work. Trading one murder for several, as it were.

But it’s too late. When the NYPD raid Woodbine’s studio, they find that he has gotten a taste of his own medicine. Luckily, Kitty spots Woodbine’s superintendent in a trial photo of an incarcerated mob boss. The superintendent is the mobster’s son/Woodbine’s assistant, and the threat of throwing junior to the wolves compels dad to encourage his kid to cooperate with the NYPD in outing Woodbine’s employers.

It’s an interesting case, in that it is “solved” but Holmes and Watson don’t actually get their man. They’re able to bring closure to Jessica Holder’s family, and the family of other victims. But her killer is dead, the man who hired her killer is already incarcerated and, by episode’s end, only a criminal assistant tangentially involved with the original case is taken into custody.

We don’t see Andrew arrive for dinner, but the look on Joan’s face as she waits is less than promising. There’s no doubt that they’ll have a lovely evening and likely engage in “horizontal refreshment,” as Holmes would say. And we’ll certainly see them together again since we have yet to have a Big Andrew Episode.

Perhaps, like this week’s case, the issue of Andrew’s absence will be “solved” when he returns, but the deeper resolution Joan hopes for will remain elusive. There was no Pumpkin killer, and maybe Joan’s frustration is more than just the loneliness of separation.

Stray Thoughts

  • Miss Hudson lives! The writers have included just enough references to Holmes’ housekeeper this season to remind us that she is a character on the show. I enjoy her presence and hope this isn’t the last we see of her in season 3.
  • I literally laughed out loud when the FBI agent said, “We’re not hunting squirrels here. Pumpkin is big game.” Worst. Serial killer name. Ever.
  • Sherlock at one point suggests that Joan write letters to Andrew, saying it is a more personal form of communication that could help them maintain their long-distance relationship. Clearly a nod to his own relationship with Moriarty, yes? We have yet to hear anything on that front this season, but she’s out there and their correspondence has ostensibly continued. This is all my way of saying please, Elementary, find a way to bring Natalie Dormer back.
  • First: “The Nose” may be my new favorite irregular. Second: I love that he has to carry coffee beans with him on the streets of Manhattan. I lived in New York during the summer and fall of 2011 and I can attest that the city can be, as described, an assault on the senses.
  • “Watson, I would never imply that a woman cannot melt corpses.” —Sherlock Holmes, ever the feminist

Elementary airs Thursdays at 10/9C on CBS.

TV Families | EW.com

TV Families -- We compare various television clans through the years to see how they stack up, from ''The Brady Bunch'' to ''The Flintstones''

By Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 at 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons