Any episode of Elementary that begins with Sherlock punching the world’s worst dad in the face and ends with good ol’ fashioned sex is bound to be a good episode of Elementary. Seriously though, “Ready or Not” is a ton of fun, mixing a solid case of a missing person with meaningful personal story lines. Though, of course, Joan’s continuing investigation of Morland must wait until next time.
This week’s case begins when a terrible man named Mr. Springer shows up at Sherlock and Joan’s house hoping to use their services to track down a missing person. That person is named Vincent, and he’s a doctor who was prescribing pain medication to Mr. Springer’s son to deal with his chronic pain, a condition that Sherlock traces back to childhood abuse (hence the punch in the face). Vincent is missing now, and Mr. Springer wants him found because he wants some sort of vigilante justice. I don’t know, the guy is an idiot and we don’t even see him for the rest of the episode.
The first place Sherlock looks is Vincent’s personal life. He questions the man’s wife and she suggests that he’s not dead, but that he probably ran off with a redheaded woman her friends spotted him with only days before. At the same time, Sherlock and Joan learn that Vincent was a doomsday “Prepper” who spent a lot of his money on preparing for the apocalypse. Who gives a medical degree to such a person!?!?
For the most part, Vincent’s disappearance seems normal, or at least not deadly. When Joan questions Vincent’s colleague and practice partner, Dr. Wallace, she finds out who the redheaded woman is. Her name is Julie, and she’s a pharmaceutical rep that comes around the office from time to time.
When the detectives bring her in for questioning they get more than they bargained for. She has a ton of information about Vincent that wasn’t known before. Namely, he was selling pills to a handful of drug dealers on the side, to the tune of $200,000, when he found out that he was about to be audited. Julie bailed him out, lending him pills so that his numbers would look right. Now she thinks one of the dealers must have killed him because he promised he was going to get out of that shady game.
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With that information revealed, Sherlock starts to think that maybe Vincent is on the run. That theory is quickly dispelled though after the detectives realize that the dealers didn’t even know Vincent was missing. These are some sloppy drug dealers, in my opinion. Omar Little would mess them up.
Sherlock’s “on the run” theory is even further dispelled when Vincent’s body turns up and the autopsy reveals that he was probably killed with a multi-purpose tool, specifically one popular amongst Preppers. That sends the detectives down a Prepper rabbit hole (bunker hole?), and boy is it entertaining/weird.
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What the detectives find, with a little help from Vincent’s wife, is that Vincent spent $100,000 on something called “The Keep” shortly before his death. When they do their research they find out The Keep is essentially a doomsday bunker for the wealthy. You have to be an exclusive member to be given access, and Vincent was accepted as one of those members. So, was it a jilted, unaccepted Prepper who killed Vincent?
Perhaps, but the first suspect is The Keep’s owner, Ronnie Wright, an ex-military man selling post-apocalyptic security to the rich. Questioning Wright and getting him to give up information won’t be easy though, and that struggle leads to one of the episode’s best bits. Sherlock and Joan pose as wealthy Preppers — using the name of Morland Holmes to get in the door — and get Wright to show them the bunker.
Quickly, two things are revealed. First, The Keep is a sham. It’s all thin walls and empty boxes of provisions, meaning Wright was conning people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Secondly, Sherlock finds remnants of blood on the floor and establishes that this must have been where Vincent was killed.
Wright actually confirms that, but says he didn’t do the deed. He says the keys were stolen from his office and that when he went to check on the bunker he found Vincent’s body. In order to hide the fact that his precious security had been breached, he dumped the body. It sounds ridiculous, but he seems to be telling the truth.
Eventually, the detectives are lead to an undercover journalist who was working on an exposé about The Keep, and he sparks a theory in Sherlock’s head. Sherlock searches Vincent’s garage and finds that his bare-essentials doomsday kit doesn’t contain the multi-purpose tool, meaning that he was killed by his own tool, not by one brought along by another Prepper. So who was in the bunker with Vincent and who would have wanted him dead?
As it turns out, his colleague, Dr. Wallace, had plenty of reason to want him dead. Vincent had put his life’s work into jeopardy by selling pills on the side, and the failure of the Keep as a hiding place for Vincent meant that things would go south for the practice very soon. So, Wallace killed him in the bunker, hoping that when his body was found that either no one would report it or a Prepper would take the fall. Yeah, not so much, Dr. Wallace.
As fun as the case in “Ready Or Not” is, the return of Fiona is perhaps the episode’s highlight. Sherlock, who spends the episode exceedingly horny because he’s been taking it slows with Fiona, works through some issues with her, and it’s absolutely delightful. Fiona first breaks up with Sherlock because she says he’s acting different around her, that he’s being careful because she’s different. Later though, Sherlock opens up to her. He says that he’s being careful because he’s never had a serious relationship, that she is in fact more experienced in that department than he is. He is the different one.
In essence, he doesn’t want to screw things up because he thinks she’s worth the effort. It’s a revealing, touching moment, and it’s followed by the two of them, ahem, consummating their newfound connection. But seriously, it’s nice to see the show exploring this relationship dynamic. Here’s hoping Fiona is here to stay for a while.