“All My Exes Live in Wessex” is the first episode of the season that doesn’t have some sort of plot about Sherlock’s father, Morland Holmes. It’s also the first that doesn’t in any way reckon with Sherlock’s potentially criminal actions from last season. It’s actually a welcome shift in tone, as sometimes Elementary is at its best when it strictly embraces its unique procedural elements.
The episode begins with Sherlock and Watson handcuffed to chairs in their brownstone. They’re not captives though. Instead, Sherlock has taken offense to a new brand of handcuffs that market themselves as “unpickable,” so he’s set up a test to see if he and Watson can break out of them.
When Watson’s phone goes off with a horrendous, annoying ringtone, it’s enough motivation for Sherlock to get out of the handcuffs at take a look. Joan gets out seconds later and they see the message is from Joan’s old friends at the hospital.
At the hospital, a lab tech in the fertility clinic named Abby Campbell has gone missing. She was working late the night before, but her husband reported that she never came home, and her car is still in the hospital’s parking lot.
When examining her lab, Sherlock notices sticky tracks on the floor that suggest a gurney was recently used in the area. They follow the tracks down to the basement that serves as a prep center for cadavers to be used by medical students. Watson thinks a body could have been disposed there, but Sherlock confirms it, matching a chipped tooth in a picture of Abby to the chipped tooth of a skeleton in the room.
Based on the fact that the reconstructed skeleton is missing a bone from her neck, Sherlock determines that Abby must have been strangled, and considering that her lab space faces the door, there’s a good chance she wasn’t jumped by the attacker, but rather knew him or her. That’s when Sherlock mentions that Abby’s husband is an oncologist and clearly a suspect.
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When they question the husband, he insists he didn’t kill her and that, in fact, he was trying to do the opposite. See, Abby actually had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and had maybe a year to live. He was trying to cure her cancer, so why would he kill her? What would his motive be?
With the husband cleared for now, Sherlock decides to go over the hospital’s security footage to look for anything abnormal. He does this while listening to Rebecca Black in order to infuriate Watson. He also likes the Baha Men, for the record, because “Who Let The Dogs Out?” appeals to his love of mysteries.
What Sherlock discovers in the security footage is that Abby was having an affair before she died. She’s seen meeting with Dr. Fisher, someone who, curiously, has no real address and would have no reason to cross paths with Abby. Could he be the killer they’re looking for?
NEXT: Stem cells and black eyes