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'Elementary' fan recap: You've got a friend in me

Season 3 | Episode 21 | “Under My Skin” | Aired Apr 23, 2015

Sherlock and Alfredo redefine their relationship, and the detectives bust a crime-smuggling operation using unwitting couriers as mules, on this week’s Elementary.

As nice as it is to have Joan back in the Brownstone, the reunification of Holmes and Watson has led to some lackluster B-plots in recent weeks. There are only so many ways to murder someone, after all, and IMHO, the best episodes of Elementary consist of the case-of-the-week sitting second fiddle to the interpersonal evolution of our key characters. In that sense, “Under My Skin” is a welcome return to form.

We haven’t seen Sherlock’s sponsor, Alfredo, since episode nine back in January. But this week, he’s happily celebrating five years of sobriety and looking ahead to another five years. It’s curious, though, because among the attendees at Alfredo’s celebratory group meeting is a man who has taken a few pre-AA drinks from the flask in his pocket.

Sherlock suspects the man, Lloyd, is either tailing him or there to prey on one of the recovering addicts. After Sherlock identifies him as a private investigator, the man confesses to being hired to follow Alfredo by Castle, a security company that recently had a very public and humiliating falling-out with Alfredo. Lately, it has been experiencing a number of embarrassing break-ins on vehicles equipped with the Castle system. Holmes tries to talk to Alfredo about it, but Alfredo gets upset, tells Sherlock that they are not friends and warns him to stay out of his business. But Alfredo is still Sherlock’s sponsor, so when he gets a text from Sherlock asking for help, Alfredo rushes out to find him.

Meanwhile, a woman en route to the hospital has been abducted. Surveillance footage shows a man shooting the paramedics attending to her and stealing an ambulance with her inside. When Sherlock investigates the scene, he finds a spent shell casing that shows signs of being “hand loaded,” or recycled for multiple use.

That detail points the detectives toward Wallace Turk, who confesses to the killings at the drop of a hat and says the abducted woman is dead as well. The police recover the ambulance, with the woman’s mutilated body still inside.

It turns out that the victim had recently returned from a trip to Brazil, where she thought she had received bypass surgery, but in fact had her internal organs removed to make room for a package of medical-grade heroin. The smuggling operation looks amateurish, but the detectives assume the guilty parties will try to sell to a more established operation. Watson and Det. Bell propose a win-win deal to a cartel leader: He alerts them if anyone tries to sell the drugs, and in turn, they keep the package out of his competitors’ hands.

Problem is, the cartel leader winds up dead in the street, ambushed outside his girlfriend’s apartment. Before long, his dentist (Fisher Stevens) waltzes into the police station a few fingers shy of a full fist, saying he was tortured by a rival syndicate to give up the location of the girlfriend’s apartment. What’s more, Dr. Ward tells the police where the bodies of two more drug mules are located.

The bodies are recovered, but Joan notices that the stitching used to fill the bodies with stones so they’ll sink is typically used in oral surgery. They confront Dr. Ward again, who confesses to orchestrating the plan to smuggle drugs in unsuspecting mules in order to secure a more comfortable situation in prison.

But we can’t forget about Alfredo. The morning after getting Sherlock’s “Help me” text, he’s approached by police officers who say that someone filled an empty parking garage with high-end, Castle-equipped cars the night before. They ask where Alredo was, and he says he went looking for a friend; the four buses he took—as well as the coffee shop he waited at—will be able to confirm his alibi.

Alfredo shows up at the Brownstone, somewhat miffed that Sherlock interfered. But Sherlock responds that Castle has been humiliated, Alfredo has been cleared of wrongdoing, and what’s more, he fires Alfredo as his sponsor so that they can be friends outside of the program.

“I’ve grown quite fond of you over the last couple of years,” Sherlock says.

So have we, Sherlock. So have we.

Stray Thoughts

  • It’s a common trope in crime procedurals to make the most famous guest star the big bad of the episode. Elementary is often guilty of this, and as soon as Fisher Stevens (of The Grand Budapest Hotel, Short Circuit, Damages, Lost, etc.) arrived, it was clear his goose was cooked.
  • CLYDE SIGHTING! This episode featured Holmes and Watson’s pet turtle for the first time since the “Bella” episode, which aired back in November. I hate to be demanding, but come on, Elementary writers—I need more turtle.
  • This week’s weird but real-life historical reference is the Voynich Manuscript. Google it if you feel like getting sucked down a Wikipedia rabbit hole.

Elementary airs Thursdays at 10/9C on CBS.

TV Families | EW.com
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

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