Angel of Death: Elementary ‘Lesser Evils’ Review
In this week’s episode of Elementary, ‘Lesser Evils,’ Holmes and Watson investigate an ‘angel of death’ lurking in a hospital. Someone is killing terminally ill patients and making the deaths look like heart attacks. Holmes discovers this after noticing something odd about a corpse in the morgue. In case you’re wondering how he gained access to snoop around the morgue in the first place, his friend from a beekeeping chat room hooked him up. Quirky. We also learn a little bit about Watson’s past, and why she is reluctant to spend time with certain old friends.
This show seems to have developed a habit of using rather established actors in supposedly trivial roles. Considering the nature of the show, seeing a familiar face play the role of a janitor is the kind of thing that raises suspicion. That was the case in this week’s episode when David Costabile appeared, inconspicuously pushing his cleaning cart through the hospital. At first he is essentially ignored, but if you watch Suits or Breaking Bad, you know something is up.
Not immediately as suspicious as we are, Holmes thinks nothing of the janitor, quizzing one of the surgeons instead. When the surgeon, Dr. Baldwin (played by guest star David Harbour), provides an adequate alibi, Watson comes up with an alternate idea. Since epinephrine was used on the victims, they look up instances of that substance being stolen in the hospital. Sure enough, the dates that the thefts occurred match up with days that the victims died. This information provides twenty-three suspects for Holmes and Detective Bell to question.
The questioning does not turn up any strong leads, and soon Holmes is frustrated with the lack of progress. Things have to move at a breakneck speed to satisfy and challenge that man. Fortunately, Watson makes another helpful observation when she notices that one of the victims only spoke Ukrainian. Since they are pretty certain the murderer thrived on talking to his victims before killing them, this means the killer can speak the language.
This, finally, leads them to that shifty janitor. Costabile plays the part perfectly, initially feigning innocence. After Holmes and Captain Gregson display the solid evidence against him, he gives up. In a venomous and chilling rant, he claims he was freeing the victims from the prisons they were living in. He insists that he was being merciful to them, since they were all going to die anyway.
Something about this unsettles Holmes – something other than the blatantly unsettling aspect of that confession, that is. One of the victims was not terminal. She was slowly recovering, yet her killer was certain she was going to die. Holmes puts it together that Dr. Baldwin knew about the hospital’s ‘angel of death’, and used it to his advantage. Dr. Baldwin made a career-ending mistake in a surgery and used this scheme to cover it up. By fabricating information that she was going to die, he indirectly had the ‘angel’ kill the patient.
While all of this is happening, Watson is busy struggling with memories from her past. She runs into an old friend, Dr. Dwyer, who wonders why Watson did not return to medicine after her suspension was lifted. Watson dismisses the question by saying that she moved on, but there is clearly some sensitivity there.
When Watson meets one of Dr. Dwyer’s patients, she notices a symptom that could indicate a very serious condition. She voices her concern to her friend, who condescendingly refuses to perform all the necessary tests required to confirm Watson’s suspicions. In a move that seems rather ‘Holmes-like’, Watson anonymously orders the tests in the patient’s charts. As it turns out, Watson’s fears were correct. The discovery likely saved the patient’s life. Naturally, Holmes seems pretty tickled with Watson’s devious methods.
After eavesdropping on Watson and her friend, Holmes comments that he enjoyed seeing her in her previous element. In an encouraging gesture, he notes that she may want to give it another try someday. This seems unlikely to happen anytime soon, though, since afterwards Watson deletes her hospital pictures from her online album.
Not that Holmes is strictly positive in his interactions with Watson. That would just be boring after the playful banter we’ve grown accustomed to with those two. Holmes is overly observant of his companion’s behavior, and a tad critical. When she asks if he has had any luck with something, he responds with a rant about the idiocy of believing in luck. Asking if he would like sushi results in a lecture about the ways raw fish can kill you. She retaliates occasionally, like when she publicly excuses his blunt statements with the explanation that he has “a form of Tourette’s”.
While not as exciting (or quite as intriguing) as those preceding it, this episode offers some insight into Watson’s relationship with her past. It does have a bit of a filler-type feeling to it, but it also builds on the fact that Holmes and Watson are quickly becoming a solid team. Hopefully we will get to delve more deeply into Holmes’s history soon, too.
Catch Elementary Thursdays on CBS.