I can’t say I ever would have predicted it, but Elementary doing a superhero-themed episode actually makes a lot of sense. After all, Sherlock Holmes is a superhero in a way; though it’s logic and observation that he uses to bring in the bad guys. So, naturally, when a caped crusader ends up shot dead outside of a bakery in Greenpoint, Sherlock is on the case with a fair amount of skepticism turned toward anyone who would try to be a flesh and blood superhero.
The dead superhero in question is the Midnight Ranger. He’s a hero from Superlative Comics, and someone had been infringing on their copyright, dressing up in the full costume, complete with body armor that was shot right through, and walking a beat where he busts drug dealers and small-time thieves. The problem is, there’s no I.D. on the body and nobody knows the true identity of the Midnight Ranger.
Further complicating matters is the fact that there were a number of reasons why someone want the Midnight Ranger dead. He had run-ins with criminals, was infringing on Superlative’s copyright, and a big movie deal was in the works at the time, possibly giving someone motive to “take care” of the infringing party.
Meanwhile, Joan is organizing a clothing drive to benefit a charity close to her heart — seriously, can Joan have one meaningful subplot this season, please! — when she gets a bit of a suspicious donation. It doesn’t come in the form of clothing, but rather in money, and lots of it. She hears that Morland Holmes has donated $250,000 to the cause. As usual, such a good deed doesn’t come without a favor in return. Morland is basically the mafia and it’s fine, totally fine.
It turns out that Morland was hired by a group of Chinese investors to negotiate a deal with the Columbian government in order to dig for oil in the jungle, because of course he was. After a year of negotiating, a competitor came in at the last minute and finalized a deal in a single weekend, prompting Morland to believe he has a mole within his staff. He wants Joan to look into the matter, but she’s not so sure about it. She takes the files he has but says she has to think about it before she really digs into the case.
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While Sherlock is reading through the whole run of Midnight Ranger comics hoping to find some sort of clue, one falls right into his lap — or rather, his roof. He gets a call from a man who says he knows the identity of the Midnight Ranger, and if Sherlock comes up to the roof, he’ll tell him right now. Thus, Sherlock comes across The Standard Bearer, another DIY hero of the city.
Inside the brownstone, and after showing his face out of necessity, The Standard Bearer tells Joan and Sherlock that the Midnight Ranger’s name is Mike Stratton. He suggests that if they’re looking for a lead, they should check his “war journals,” where he kept track of all of his heroic antics.
NEXT: Tweed isn’t bulletproof