Elementary Season 7 Episode 9 Recap and Review: On The Scent
A spoiler-filled recap and review of On The Scent, episode 9 of the seventh and final season of Elementary, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu
(Spoilers ahead for Elementary S7E9, and episodes prior to it)
After a disappointing episode last week, the final season of Elementary is back on solid ground. On The Scent, Elementary Season 7 Episode 9, is a satisfying in more ways than one. The week's mystery is nicely rounded and interesting, and it is also the focus of the whole episode — unlike the recent trend on the show to split things up into the weekly mystery and another ancillary one, usually to do with the season long arc. The latter is dealt with, but in a very organic way. And the nagging issue of Sherlock hiding the truth about Odin and the NSA from Joan is handled really well. I'd complained about this on my recap of Episode 6 and was worried it would backfire on Sherlock as such things have in the past. So it is a relief to see it both acknowledged and taken care of, so to speak, in a most sensible manner.
Elementary S7E9 actually opens with the season-long Odin Reichenbach arc. Joan is working on a new case, a murder in Phoenix, Arizona. Sherlock is curious why she's chosen to take on something outside of New York, their chosen hunting ground. Turns out she thinks the murder is Odin's work — part of his identify people who might be potential threats and use a 'hero' to take them out scheme. Joan wants to pursue the case and track down the murderer to put a spoke in Odin's operation. But Sherlock tells her to back off and reminds her of their mutual decision to leave things to the NSA. Of course, the real reason is that Odin — via NSA Agent McNally — threatened harm to Joan and all their close associates. Joan gets suspicious, more so when she finds out a couple of days later that Sherlock has not sent on the details of her Phoenix case to McNally as promised. Sherlock dodges her questions about it with excuses and is saved from further questioning thanks to urgent summons to the 11th precinct.
These summons relate to the case of the week. A woman is murdered and the police think it's the work of a serial killer named the Ghost of Brooklyn — someone without a discernible pattern to their murders. The woman is a sculptor and initial suspicion falls on a rival artist, who then points them to a neighbour, and so on. The case follows the classic Holmesian pattern of eliminating the impossible, and narrowing down on whatever remains, no matter how improbable. As mentioned before, it is a good one and though, as usual, the perpetrator is someone we've met before, it's not as plainly obvious as some of the other cases have been. At the same time, this case is also not overly complicated and hard to follow like the last episode, despite the large number of players involved and turns it takes.
In the middle of investigating this case, Joan questions Sherlock about meeting McNally to hand over her case details and Holmes is forced to lie outright. Joan, not being a classic bumbling Watson, immediately realises he is lying and calls him out on it. Sherlock admits to hiding from her, for weeks, the fact that McNally is one of Odin's cohorts. This scene and the one after it where Joan and Sherlock work through what it means for their relationship to have Sherlock try to "shield [her] from the truth" are exactly the kind of writing I like seeing on this show. Sherlock essentially admits to being at fault and makes an effort to gain back Joan's trust. He tells her he has been attempting to contact the SIS (the UK's Intelligence agency, also known as MI6) via analog back channels, given Odin's online omnipresence, and hands her the encrypted phone from which he expects to be contacted. I cheered when he replies to her "Why give it to me?" with "Because I trust you and I want to show that I am worthy of your trust in return." He also assures her that he won't lie to her again about Odin. So our duo is back on the same page and ready to take on the big threat.
And that threat isn't far off as we find out from the last scene. Odin and one of his lieutenants (Antonia, according to the closed captioning, though we haven't seen her before) are discussing their "threat list" and deciding who they need to deal with and how. When they are done, Antonia mentions that Joan has been digging into the Phoenix case. She is about to propose some way she can take care of the situation (by putting out a hit on Joan, maybe?) but Odin sighs and says, "No, I'll handle this one myself." Now to see what form this "handling" takes as we head into the final stretch of Elementary. I, for one, am quite excited to see where it is headed.
Just one question though, what happened to Cassie? Did Sherlock help her choose a new last name? Is she his daughter like she claims? Will she return? The answer to the last question ought to be yes, otherwise what was the point of that last episode, but I hope we get more on the rest as well.
(Elementary Season 7 is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video, and will soon premiere on Indian television on AXN)