When the bodies of three gang members turn up, Sherlock and Joan search for the prime suspect: an old lady
It’s safe to say that Sherlock Holmes is still holding on to a lot of family issues. It’s why in “Who Is That Masked Man?” he’s found his way to Quebec, where Joan, posing as “Nicolette,” helps him sneak inside a woman’s house so that he can retrieve some files that might give him a clue about the attempted assassination of his father.
Sherlock and Joan are looking into Morland’s former lover, the woman who was killed during the assassination attempt as Sherlock believes she may have set Morland up and then been caught in the crossfire. The house in Quebec belongs to her daughter, and after Joan charms her way inside with a story about a broken-down car, Sherlock snags a few files, and the two head back to New York.
Back in New York, three Chinese gangsters, members of the Snake Eye Boys, are gunned down inside an arcade. According to Gregson, the obvious suspect is someone from new rival gang Ghost Mountain, but they’re so new that the NYPD has very little information on them. Sherlock isn’t so sure that Ghost Mountain is responsible for the murders, though. Judging by the evidence, which includes a half-chewed seltzer tablet and one of the victims’ phones having “91” dialed into it, he believes that the suspect must be an ally, a member of the Snake Eye Boys.
What follows is a very convoluted investigation. First, Sherlock and Joan go to see a Mr. Chi, a local shop owner who, according to the NYPD, people in his neighborhood pay for protection because he’s apparently the leader of Ghost Mountain. He denies everything, but Sherlock manages to snag his phone before they leave the shop.
When Sherlock and Joan check out Mr. Chi’s alibi — he insists that he was at St. Pete’s hospital during the time of the murders because Kevin Chang, the nephew of his lover, was mugged—they find some weird coincidences. His lover’s nephew was mugged near the arcade where the Snake Eye Boys were shot, and his injuries look suspiciously like blows from the blunt end of a shotgun, the weapon used in the arcade murders.
When Kevin Chang is questioned, he says that an old lady beat him up. Initially, the detective think that’s crazy, but then Sherlock finds the remnants of an old lady costume in a nearby trash bin. Analyzing the costume takes some heat off of Ghost Mountain and the Snake Eye Boys, as the DNA found on the inside of the mask match a Caucasian male. As the two leaders of the gangs say: There’s not a single Caucasian within the triad.
Sherlock eventually determines that the “old lady” this Caucasian man was impersonating was a woman named Bai May, whose husband was once a member of the Snake Eye Boys. She lives in an assisted-living facility called Willowbrook now, and when Joan tells her about the impersonator, Bai May seems to know who did it.
Well, she doesn’t know exactly, but a few days before the murders, a white man had come to her room and said he needed to take pictures for the purposes of creating Willowbrook identification cards. Not only did the man get Bai May’s picture, he also took her laundry. But with no cameras in the building, the detectives don’t have much to go on.
NEXT: Holding a grudge
Meanwhile, Sherlock is livid with his father. When Morland lambasts Sherlock for breaking into the house in Quebec and for suspecting his old lover as a partner in the crime, he also takes full responsibility for her death. That sets Sherlock off, and as he later reveals to Joan, it’s because he still blames his father for the death of his mother. Morland threw her out on the street, a prenuptial agreement having left her with nothing, forcing her to live in a tiny, rundown house that caught fire, killing her.
After examining the logbook from Willowbrook, Sherlock notices a connection in the handwriting of one guest. It’s loopy and signals a left-handed signee and boasts close similarities to the writing of the Good Samaritan who called in Kevin’s mugging. When they look into that man, Sven Eklund, they find that he’s a mortician, has access to the putty used to create the mask of Bai May, and often works with Willowbrook.
He sounds like the prime suspect, but there’s one problem: He’s nowhere to be found. The detectives go to the head of the Snake Eye Boys for help, showing him pictures of a few people Eklund had in his workshop, people he may have been making masks of. The leader recognizes a man named Terry Perez, who worked to fix the machines at the arcade where the gang members were murdered, but there doesn’t seem to be any connection to further crimes.
Eventually, Eklund is picked up by the TSA, and he gleefully admits to everything. He has a terminal disease (i.e. nothing to lose because he’ll be dead in a year) and was getting his revenge on the Snake Eye Boys for messing with his operation. It goes deeper than that, though: The head of Willowbrook is the one who sent those men to harass Sven because he noticed that one of the bodies he received from Willowbrook had died of an overdose, thus exposing a scam the head of the facility and the rogue Snake Eye Boys were running. Like I said above: convoluted.
Really, though, “Who Is That Masked Man?” is an episode meant to progress the story of Sherlock and Morland. After Sherlock once again asserts his anger toward Morland regarding his mother, Morland fights back. He shows Sherlock a file that reveals a few truths about his mother. Namely, that she was an addict, too, but that she had wished for Morland to keep that fact hidden from her children. When she couldn’t get clean, Morland kicked her out. He says he regrets the prenup, that he did it out of anger, and that he now has to live with the guilt.
It’s another bit of information that seems to paint Morland in a more sympathetic light. But as Sherlock points out, having visited Morland again to show him that his dead lover’s email were being read by a mercenary who’s now serving prison time in Russia, giving Sherlock that information about his mother doesn’t change the fact that she’s dead. It doesn’t make Sherlock any less of an addict. And it doesn’t make Morland any more of a father. Yeah, that baggage isn’t going away any time soon.