Elementary Season 7 Episode 7 Recap and Review: From Russia with Drugs
A spoiler-filled recap and review of From Russia with Drugs, episode 7 of the seventh and final season of Elementary, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu
(Spoilers ahead for Elementary S7E7, and episodes prior to it)
For two weeks now, in my Elementary Season 7 recaps, I've been giving shout-outs to Captain Dwyer, who took charge of the 11th Precinct in Captain Gregson's absence. I even went so far as to say I'd love to see a spin-off featuring him. So when I read the description of this week's episode — From Russia with Drugs — on Amazon Prime, my reactions were as follows: 'Captain Gregson resumes leadership of the precinct' — aw, does this mean no more Captain Dwyer? — 'suspects his replacement is responsible for suspicious departure of one of his best detectives' — oh no, please let this not be what I think this means. As luck would have it, it was exactly that, and what's worse, it seems to have been designed for no reason other than to whitewash dear Captain Gregson (if you are wondering why I sound so annoyed with him, please refer to my recap of episode 4). Dwyer was clearly being kept around, and in our view, for some reason, but this is not what I imagined the reason to be. Let me try and unpack this episode from the start.
Elementary Season 7 Episode 7 begins with Dwyer giving a speech to the assembled cops as they welcome Captain Gregson back to active duty. The speech sounds pretty standard, until he says something that made me pause — a "no fantasising, ladies" right in the middle of describing how he got the news about Gregson's shooting? The line came out of nowhere and my sinking feeling returned. Not only was it unexpected, it also seemed tacked on. Even if Dwyer was the kind of person the line implies he is, would he really say that right in the middle of that speech? But the telegraphing is clear — the writers want us to understand that he's the sort of person who would make women uncomfortable with uncalled for sexual remarks, and also, from the general laughter that follows, that this is a boy's club (something they needlessly spelled out later in the show, but we'll get to that). This scene is immediately followed by one where Detective Bree Novacek (whom we've incidentally never met before, but the captain calls 'one of his best') comes by to tell Captain Gregson that she is quitting. She gives no reason aside from having another job she wants to take up, but it's not hard to connect the dots here. The captain, of course, also thinks the same and decides to dig around for answers. This is our thread one for the week, which isn't exactly a mystery.
The actual mystery in this episode of Elementary comes in thread two, which is about the mysterious death of a man who robs drug dealers ("He was an Omar," as M.E. Eugene Hawes helpfully points out to an oblivious Sherlock, referring to The Wire character). On first look, the man, Dineen, appears to have died of an overdose of a drug called fentanyl. Marcus tells Sherlock and Joan that he was rolling around on the cash from his latest heist a la Scrooge McDuck (I got quite the chuckle when Sherlock goes "Who or what is Scrooge McDuck?" and Joan explains by saying, "Picture your father, but as a duck." — It was also nice to have this touch reminiscent of the original Holmes and his tendency to not be aware of things that did not matter to his work). Sherlock immediately pooh-poohs Marcus' idea that contact high from rolling on cash laced with the drug could have led to Dineen's death. But regardless of the method of delivery, Marcus is concerned about the potency of the drug used and wants to find whoever is making it and shut them down. Another mystery is that some blood was found on the barrel of his nine-millimetre gun.
Sherlock eventually figures out that Dineen was murdered. It proves to be an interesting investigation overall, although the criminal is not too difficult to work out since they are pretty much the only person we are introduced to in connection to the case. But even though the 'who' is obvious, the 'how' holds our interest and there is some actual deduction shown, which is always fun. We also get a mention of Mensa and some Russian conspiracy thrown in for good measure (topical given the current situation in the US). It's always nice to see Sherlock and Joan work together on a case, and to have Joan be the one to crack it finally. So this week's mystery gets a solid B+ from me.
Speaking of Joan, Captain Gregson talks to her about the possibility that Dwyer may have been responsible for Bree's resignation. He begins by asking her if she's noticed anything odd about him or if he's made her feel uncomfortable in any way (Joan answers in the negative to both), and then proceeds to give her (read: us) exposition about Dwyer's history of "not watching what he says or does around female cops" and how he was put on dismissal probation (meaning he will be dismissed upon repeat offence) for pressuring a civilian aide to go out with him. Joan reiterates that she hasn't seen him do anything inappropriate but adds that doesn't mean he didn't — a helpful addition for those of us in the audience who may be thinking the same, no doubt. Gregson then brings in his cop wife and cop daughter as examples of women who have faced such harassment before and how he wants to rid the police force of men like Dwyer. His mention of his daughter was particularly irksome, since what he did for her sake still rankles, and also because it is clear that this entire subplot is just a way to get us to root for Gregson again (while also being a nod to the #MeToo movement).
I appreciate that the writers want to take on the subject of the harassment working women face, but I would have liked for it to not be a man who saves the day again. Especially not this one. But, oh well. Bree eventually obliquely admits that Dwyer is the reason she is quitting, and gives it back to Gregson when he suggests filing an official complaint against him. This is where she rails against the boy's club that the department is. Of course, also clarifying that he's not part of it and making sure to add that he's the "best boss" she's had. But the rest of her speech rings true. That she eventually does file her complaint is also believable. However, at the cost of sounding like a broken record, I only wish it wasn't all in service of whitewashing Captain Gregson. Hopefully, with this episode, his restoration is out of the way, and we can get back to the main story arc for this season.
I refer to our new friend, Odin Reichenbach, of course. He only gets one passing, oblique mention this episode, when Marcus asks if Sherlock and Joan have made any progress with the Meers case. Sherlock brazenly lies to him, but nothing more comes of it. There are only five episodes to go before the grand finale of Elementary, so things on that front should speed up quite a bit in the next episode or two.
(Elementary Season 7 is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video, and will soon premiere on television on AXN)