Elementary recap: Down Where the Dead Delight
When a body blows up in the NYPD morgue, Sherlock must find the connection between two different crime scenes
Credit to Elementary where it’s due this week: the beginning of the episode, where a man and woman are putting a body in the NYPD morgue, made me jump. In my defense, I was watching the episode with headphones on and on my laptop. But seriously, this week’s episode, “Down Where the Dead Delight,” begins with an, ahem, explosive cold open.
Omar Valez, a homeless man, was stabbed and killed and then dumped in a park. A woman working for the police brings the body into the morgue, and after some casual (and successful) flirting with the coroner, she rolls the body into one of the slots in the wall, only to have it explode, killing her in the process.
When Sherlock and the rest of the team investigate the scene, the question becomes: Who would have wanted to blow up the morgue and why? That question sets the coroner off. He says that he had five Honduran bodies stored in the morgue that were there because of hits executed by the Red Shadow cartel, making them the prime suspects.
When Sherlock and Marcus go to investigate the park area where Omar’s body was found, Sherlock finds something unexpected. On the other side of a creek is a piece of police tape and the marks of police-issued footwear. It looks like there was another crime scene, just a few days old, only a few feet from where Omar’s body was found. That seems like more than a coincidence.
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Meanwhile, Cortes, the cop who was kind of stalking Joan a few weeks ago, is back again. This time she insists she actually needs Joan’s help. She’s looking for a man named Hector Mendoza, and aside from going to a psychic, Joan is her last option for finding him. She agrees to look at his file, but Sherlock warns her to be cautious, that Cortes might not have the best intentions.
With the Red Shadow as the prime suspect, the NYPD questions their lawyer. He insists that they had nothing to do with the explosion, though. He points out that the commercial plastic used for the explosive is highly regulated, and, you know, cartels aren’t too fond of traceable evidence and such. When the NYPD try to scare him by saying they’ll publicly investigate an old car bombing that will embarrass the lawyer, he stands strong, saying that maybe one of the bodies in the morgue was actually Red Shadow. Who knows, right?
The questioning is ultimately a useless endeavor, but Sherlock finds something elsewhere. The other crime scene near where Omar’s body was dumped turns up the corpse of a woman with the number 3 on her arm who was strangled and then dumped into the creek. The reason they didn’t hear about the murder was because the creek is actually a boundary line between Nassau County and Queens. On top of that, the only reason their morgue received the body was because Nassau County’s small facility was full. And if that isn’t strange enough, the body is also a Jane Doe; no one has any idea who she is.
NEXT: Vigilante justice
Joan, who finally gets something to do this week, figures out why Jane Doe has the number 3 on her arm. That number and the bruises on her thighs remind Joan of a case she had previously, where the woman was part of a local roller derby team. Sure enough, the Jane Doe was known as Janet of the Apes to her roller derby buddies. When they go to question the other players, they don’t find much out. Janet had only joined the team a few weeks back. However, she did try to sell one of them Oxy, so perhaps she had a bad run-in with a potential buyer?
While searching Janet’s apartment they only find a small amount of drugs, hardly enough for anyone to run a big operation. Searching through her emails, though, reveals that she was close with a man named Toby and that another man named Dylan, who was perhaps her boyfriend, might have had motive to kill her.
Toby says he’s innocent but does say that Dylan was Janet’s on-and-off boyfriend and that he’s prone to violence. Apparently Dylan didn’t want her around drugs anymore, and when she refused to stop dealing, he put her in the hospital with a number of injuries. Dylan debunks that theory as soon as he’s questioned, though, showing that he and Janet were still together and that while he did hurt her, it was in self-defense — she came after him first.
Either way, Sherlock has a revelation when Dylan shows him some photos of him and Janet from a few days before her murder. In the background of the picture, he notices that there’s no cable jack in her kitchen; when they searched her apartment earlier, he was sure there was a cable jack in that post. That leads Sherlock online, where he determines that the suddenly appearing jack was probably a hidden camera.
Before they head back to Janet’s apartment, Joan confronts Cortes. Hector Mendoza was assaulted the night before, and a witness said the suspect was a woman with long dark hair. Joan, with a little egging on by Sherlock, assumes Cortes was trying to frame her for the assault. Cortes denies that and says that while she really didn’t know where Mendoza was when she approached Joan, she eventually found him and gave him what he deserved. She gave him the beating because he put a young girl in the hospital with severe brain damage after pistol-whipping her. You know, vigilante justice and all that.
It seems that Cortes wants Joan and Sherlock to help her hunt down bad people so that she can “give them what they deserve.” It’s a strange twist that I guess is supposed to make Joan question the morality of the police force and some of Sherlock’s tactics, but it mostly ends up feeling contrived.
Back at Janet’s apartment, the detectives discover the hidden camera, and the footage on it shows that it was Toby who installed the camera. They use that footage to obtain a search warrant and go to look through Toby’s stuff. The evidence seems damning: Not only would he have access to the commercial plastic through his dad’s construction business, but the detectives also find a box of pictures and journals that contain grisly fantasies of Janet’s murder.
NEXT: Like father like son
Still, Toby insists he didn’t kill her. Sure, he was obsessed with her, but he would never hurt her. His journals and the creepy photos were just his way of working through his issues. Plus, he has an alibi for both her murder and the murder of Omar, so he couldn’t possibly have killed them both and covered up the evidence by building a bomb.
That leads Sherlock back to the evidence, where he discovers two distinct thumbprints on Toby’s journal that contained the imagined murders. That’s when everything comes together for Sherlock. He believes that Neil, Toby’s father, found the journal and confronted his son about it. He got him help, but it wasn’t working. Thus, worried that his son would become a murderer, he killed Janet first, “saving” his son from going to prison for something Neil assumed his son would do in the future.
Sherlock and the NYPD manage to trick Neil into a confession by saying they have evidence against Toby and forcing Neil to fess up in order to, again, “save” his son. When Neil says that he didn’t mean to kill Janet, that it was self-defense after she attacked him, Sherlock throws it back in his face. Was killing Omar in self defense, too, then? And what about Nicole, who died from the bomb blast in the morgue?
With Neil pinned for the murders, all that’s left is for Joan to once again confront Cortes. She warns her that if she ever tries to recruit Joan again or get her involved in one of her vigilante schemes, she’ll find proof of the crimes Cortes has committed and bring them to the police. It’s not the most exciting subplot, but at least the show is finally giving Joan something to do independent of Sherlock.