Elementary Season 7 Episode 12 Recap and Review: Reichenbach Falls
A spoiler-filled recap and review of Reichenbach Falls, episode 12 of the seventh and final season of Elementary, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu
(Spoilers ahead for Elementary S7E12, and episodes prior to it)
What an excellent episode! After the slight slip in quality last week, Elementary is back big time with this week's episode, Reichenbach Falls, the penultimate one for the show. And I, for one, am truly going to miss this wonderful adaptation when it ends next week. Elementary Season 7 Episode 12 has everything I love about this show — a tight, riveting story; wonderful performances by all the main actors (it is so good to see Lucy Liu back in form after her so-so appearances this season and Jonny Lee Miller is just stunning in every scene); and most of all, compassion for its characters.
Elementary S7E11 ended with a shocker — the death of Morland Holmes — and the very last scene has a shell-shocked Sherlock learning of his father's death. Elementary S7E12 begins right from that point and the compassion of the show is evident from the get go, in the first words we hear, those of Joan asking Sherlock if he is okay. Jonny Lee Miller knocks it out of the park in this scene (and the entire episode) as the son trying to come to terms with the death of an estranged father, and one whose death he feels responsible for.
Marcus, who brought the news of Morland's death, soon tells them that the safe house where Sherlock was keeping Annie Spellman (the woman who agreed to testify against Odin) had been burnt down to the ground, with neither Annie nor Morland's guards who were protecting her left alive. Sherlock realises that Odin is getting more and more brazen in his moves and is now using hired assassins instead of spending time turning misguided people over to his cause. Joan agrees and they believe this could be key to bringing Odin down.
However, Sherlock wants to first go to the scene where his father was found. Once there, he quickly realises the car his father's body has been left is in has been filled with explosives meant for him and Joan. He only barely gets the CSU people out of there before the car explodes, showing that they were indeed being watched. Though the crime scene is destroyed, Sherlock retrieves the fragment of a watch that gives him a lead. He figures out that someone has taken his father's expensive antique watch and replaced it with a cheaper one. This someone will likely try to sell Morland's watch, they reason, and Marcus goes on the trail.
They find their man, Jacob Webb, a former army operative who has been acting as a mercenary lately. But they're a little too late and find him and two others of their four-member team killed and their bodies burned in a brick oven. This gives us a scene with our favourite ME Eugene (the Odker-phone-in-formaldehyde was a hoot), who also goes the extra mile for the case for Sherlock's sake. This episode really drives home how much everyone in his world cares about Sherlock.
Eugene digs up news articles about the three dead ex-soldiers working for a private military company called Agrianos. Leaving Joan and Marcus to follow that lead, Sherlock goes off on his own to take care of some 'family business', which basically involves confronting NSA agent McNally at the latter's daughter's school and warning him that consorting with Odin any longer will prove to be his downfall. Sherlock calls Odin a problem that is about to be taken care of — one of several references throughout the episode to ACD's The Final Problem story, the one that features the Reichenbach Falls, and is the inspiration for this episode as well as several other Holmes adaptations in the past.
McNally goes running to Odin (or rather Odin comes running to him when called). The NSA agent warns Odin that the police are looking into him seriously and the NSA is concerned. Odin feels confident about his chances given NSA controls the data the NYPD will see. And he goes further and demands access to all the data NSA has, even the non-Odker ones, so he can expand his operation and take care of 'every threat'.
Marcus and Joan, meanwhile, track down an oil tycoon named Frederick Wentz, who hired the three dead mean and others from Agrianos to help his business in Nigeria. He is initially hesitant to help them but comes around when Marcus points out that he only has a short while to live (due to advanced pancreatic cancer), and gives them a list of names of people who worked for Agrianos. Sherlock and Joan then narrow it down to one possible suspect for the fourth man in the team, and go to see Wentz to get confirmation of his appearance. But it turns out that Wentz himsel is the man. And given he's about to die soon, he refuses to cooperate. The only issue I have with this episode is how this sick old man could have executed three mercenaries in their prime, but I'm willing to let it slide given everything else it gets right.
With Wentz not willing to help them, it looks like a dead end has been reached. Sherlock is furious and feels he ought to have taken care of Odin sooner. He then tells Joan in private that he knows what needs to be done next but isn't sure if he's up to it. "We have to plan a murder of our own," he says. We, the viewers, are not let in on this plan. But we do get to see Sherlock ambushing Odin alone on a bridge, after luring him there using a text sent through McNally's phone (which he gained access to when paying him that visit at the school). Sherlock pulls out a gun and seems determined to shoot Odin.
Meanwhile, Joan goes to Marcus and asks for his help. She only says, "I tried to stop him, he's about to make a horrible mistake." From what follows, it appears that Joan has told Marcus and the captain that Sherlock means to confront Odin personally, without mentioning anything about his 'murder' plan. They arrive on the scene, just in time to hear shots fired just out of sight and someone falling into the water. Odin steps out claiming that he "didn't mean to" and is arrested.
The NYPD are unable to find Sherlock's body in the river, and we know he isn't dead, of course. It's the throwback to The Final Problem's end, where Sherlock fakes his own death. It seems likely that the 'murder' he referred to before was his own fake murder in order to frame Odin, if only temporarily, while they can get a proper case against him. But it remains unclear if Joan is in on this plan entirely. At the end of the episode, she seems genuinely distraught, when she tells Marcus she's not hopeful of them finding Sherlock alive given how much of his blood was found on the bridge. Is she just pretending? Or is Sherlock acting on his own again, having left her out of the loop? He promised her he never would do that again, in Elementary S7E9, if you remember. So I'm inclined to think she is in on the complete plan.
The captain, who definitely believes his friend has been killed, confronts Odin and tells him he will be charged with first degree murder, and even if that doesn't stick, the case will help bring out other parts of the story that Odin won't want coming out. Everything about his scheme to find and execute potential 'threats'. I've made it clear here before that I'm no fan of the captain, but this scene really worked for me all the same.
Marcus seems a bit suspicious given Odin steadfastly sticks to his story about Sherlock having lured him over and threatened him first. He asks Joan whether Sherlock could have possibly had revenge on his mind, but a seemingly exasperated Joan just walks away
The episode ends with an Italian woman showing someone an apartment in Florence. I was fully expecting for the pan to show us Moriarty, but it's only Sherlock. Prime Video does not have subtitles for this episode as of this writing, so I could not catch what he says in response to whatever the woman asks him. If anyone can enlighten me on this point, I'd be much obliged.
I'm still holding out hope for a Moriarty comeback next week. Either way, I'm really excited to find out how it all ends. And I'm hopeful that it will be good because the same writers are working on the last two episodes of this season as the last, and last season's finale would have been a perfect way to end the show as well. I'm also hopeful because the last episode is called Their Last Bow, not His Last Bow as in the case of ACD's collection. And that is precisely why I love this adaptation so much — this isn't just about Sherlock Holmes, it's about Joan Watson too.
(Elementary Season 7 is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video)