Elementary recap: Hounded
After a man is chased by a glowing, wolf-like animal, Sherlock and Joan turn to the Baskervilles
It makes sense that if the past few episodes of Elementary have ended on notes of drama, “Hounded” decides to begin with a more somber tone. Well, to be fair, there’s nothing really somber about a 54-year-old male being stabbed through the ear, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Instead, the episode begins with Sherlock visiting the M.E., Eugene, to inform him that he’s contaminated evidence in a murder case, getting his own DNA on evidence. That means that Eugene will have to testify at the trial and that there’s a chance the killer could get off, or at least incur a lesser sentence. It’s a bit of a strange opening, but it sets the tone for the interactions the two will have later.
Then the episode cuts to a man running through the woods, at night, as fast as he can. He’s being chased by… something. It’s growling; its vision is strange. It’s clearly some sort of animal, but what? Then, the man narrowly escapes, jumping off an embankment and down to the road below. As he looks back at what was chasing him though, he’s hit by a truck. His wallet lies in the middle of the road, his I.D. boasting a familiar name in the Sherlock Holmes canon: Charles Baskerville.
When Sherlock and Joan inform Henry Baskerville of his brother’s accidental death, he’s suspicious. He says that Charles knew those trails inside and out, and that Charles also had a lot of enemies. The Baskervilles have immense wealth, and Charles is first in line to inherit it all, and he was using that money to back a number of tech start-ups. Henry asks the detectives to look into the matter further, thinking that there’s no way his brother’s death was an accident.
At the crime scene, Sherlock determines that Charles was indeed being chased, and he posits it’s by a man with a low, wide stance. He also notices that there was a third person at the scene, that they must have witnessed the chase and then fled in the other direction. He finds a bag with a liquor store receipt in it and sends Joan to the store to figure out who the witness might have been.
That brings Joan to a homeless Iraq vet asking for money on a street corner. He describes exactly what he saw, even if Joan can hardly believe it. He says an animal, “like a giant wolf,” was chasing the man, and that the animal was glowing. Joan chalks it all up to the vet having been drinking, but as Sherlock later points out, it does at least confirm that Charles was being chased.
Meanwhile, Sherlock is playing his monthly round of chess with Eugene, but he has a more pointed reason for visiting with the man. He says that Eugene’s work has been slipping as of late and he’s concerned about him. He knows that he’s been taking anti-anxiety meds ever since the bombing in the office, and he’s worried that Eugene is self-medicating. Eugene insists he’s fine though and promptly ends the conversation.
Sifting through Charles’ unread messages online reveals that he was the recipient of a lot of death threats, mostly due to his involvement with Baskerville Genetics, a lab that does controversial work with GMOs. When Sherlock and Joan visit the lab, they certainly find something interesting: Cornwall, a huge hound who glows in the dark. The only question that remains for the detectives is one the Baha Men posed in 2000: Who let the dog out?
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Cornwall turns out to be a dead end though. He’s a big teddy bear… or dog… and his whereabouts are constantly monitored. Thus, that leads the detectives to question the person who’d been sending numerous death threats to Charles, a man named Mr. Silden, whose anti-GMO beliefs have him sending threats to Charles and posting on message boards constantly.
There’s no way Silden is the man they’re looking for though, as he has an alibi for the night of the murder. He does, however, have documents that show how GMOs were being used to create War Dogs — bigger, faster, smarter, deadly dogs — for the U.S. military. Could someone within the government have wanted Charles dead?
If only things were that simple. The man behind the research for the War Dogs laughs off all accusations. He says that the program was cut, that they never even managed to create a War Dog; every attempt failed. He does point the detectives in a new direction though, saying that Charles’ funding of tech start-ups was actually a little shady. He’d fund the company and get shares and board seats in exchange, then he’d liquidate the company and buy up many of the assets himself, including a number of patents. Obviously that would anger a lot of inventors, so that’s where the detectives turn next.
That brings a list of 30 possible suspects, but it narrows quickly because when Sherlock and Joan are on a call with Henry, he spots a glowing something outside of his house. It breaks into the house and starts chasing Henry, all while Sherlock is on the line, obviously identifying the sounds and coming up with an escape plan. Sherlock tells him to go outside and put the pool between the two of them. He seems to have an idea of what they’re dealing with.
When they arrive at Henry’s mansion they find the “animal” in the pool. It’s a robotic dog of sorts, but clearly very powerful. It managed to break through the house’s windows and doors and only fell into the pool because of its targeting system, which was set on Henry Baskerville.
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Examining the patents leads the detectives to Stapleton Innovations, the company that built the robot and affectionately named it GUS. In fact, they made 10 in total, but they assume it’s GUS 5 they’re looking for, as it went missing while being delivered to an army research lab. Still, they can’t rule out that this was perhaps an inside job because of one relevant fact: Roger Stapleton is the cousin of the Baskervilles, making him next in line to inherit their immense wealth should both Charles and Henry die.
Roger has his own alibi though, saying that he was hunting, like he does every year at the same time. That alibi is quickly dismantled though, as an employee states that Stapleton in fact just tells his wife that’s what he’s doing while he’s actually in town hiring prostitutes for a sex binge. He seems like a real stand-up guy.
Still, it doesn’t seem like Stapleton is the killer. Sherlock believes it must be someone set to be an heir though, so he constructs an elaborate scheme to weed out the culprit. The NYPD creates the illusion that Roger and Henry are dead, meaning that whoever’s next in line should come out of the woodwork.
Sure enough, an employee at Stapleton Innovations comes out to claim her inheritance, proving that she’s the niece of Roger Stapleton. She even has forged documents and everything! All that work and she doesn’t get a cent though. Instead, she’s confronted by Roger and the detectives and her whole plan crumbles.
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After delivering its take on The Hound of the Baskervilles, “Hounded” once again sees Elementary end on a more dramatic note. Sherlock shares a very personal story with Eugene about his own self-medication, and it seems to knock some sense into the M.E. He’s agreed to take some time off for recovery. He says he might be back, but that he might choose to run his own morgue, a quieter, less stressful job. Either way, he thanks Sherlock for his help. Sometimes it’s nice to see Sherlock saving lives rather than investigating how one was lost.