'Elementary' Season 1, Episode 1: 'Pilot' Recap

'Elementary'  Season 1, Episode 1: 'Pilot' Recap In “Elementary,” American’s answer to the BBC hit “Sherlock,” we’re met with essentially the same show—less clever, but with Lucy Liu. I don’t know how that officially balances out, but… Lucy Liu. Score.

We start out the episode with a few classic, slow-action shots of glass breaking. A man is strangling a woman, but she escapes, and races up the stairs. She leaps onto the bed, sobbing and fumbling at her nightstand, but her attacker is on her, and the scene fades out.

Lucy Liu, aka Joan Watson, is running around early-morning New York City when she gets a call that someone she is responsible for has escaped from rehab. She heads to his apartment to check on the matter, and encounters shirtless Johnny Lee Miller—Sherlock Holmes, watching a handful of televisions in kind of a daze.

Watson introduces herself as a companion that has been hired by Holmes’ father to help make the transition from drug rehab to the real world as easy as possible.

“Do you believe in love at first sight?” he asks her, spouting a few more charming lines and stepping close with an intense gaze. Flustered, Watson doesn’t have to respond—a moment later, a character on one of the televisions behind her is repeating exactly the same lines.

“Please don’t get comfortable, you won’t be here long,” Holmes tells her. He knows the drill—use, and his father will kick him out onto the street.

Watson asks about the woman she saw leaving as she came in, and Holmes explains that he finds sex repellant, but it’s necessary to keep his brain functioning at its best.

Complaining of boredom, he drags her to the subway and they head off. He explains that he was a consultant for Scotland Yard—a consultant, which meant he answered to himself. But he “bottomed out” in London, a fact he won’t explain, and he has decided, now that he is out of rehab, that he will continue his work here, in New York.

Watson, who he calls a “glorified helper monkey,” he decides to introduce as his “personal valet” when they reach their destination—a crime scene. Captain Tobias Gregson, played by Aiden Quinn, welcomes him in.

He shows him the apartment; the kicked-in door, the broken glasses. The wife of the house, Amy, is missing. Holmes observes pictures on the wall, and compares them to pictures on Amy’s phone. He determines that she has had major plastic surgery in the last 2 years.

Holmes also determines that the door was kicked in after the murder—Amy knew her attacker, as there were two water glasses. He also recognizes a change in the symmetry of the room, and asks the husband what has been taken. An old ring box, it turns out, has been stolen from a table.

After some more snooping, Holmes discovers that there is a hidden safe room. Inside, Amy is dead in a pool of her own blood.

At the police station, Amy’s husband, Dr. Mantlo, insists he had no idea that the safe room was even there—Amy had been in charge of the construction of the house when they bought it and she hadn’t mentioned installing it.

Everyone is suspicious, but Holmes, who says, “I don’t guess, I observe,” decides that the man did not kill his wife. His small feet and hands are not in-keeping with the clues. He asks for a list of tall men that the doctor and his wife know. He also alarms Watson by deducing that she was a surgeon, and she experienced a loss of someone close and therefore quit to change her life.

Watson and Holmes go to see a man fitting the description, who Amy once claimed made a pass at her. He denies any wrongdoing, but a pair of size 11 shoes certainly fit the murderer’s profile.

At Holmes’ place, Watson is setting double alarms for the next morning. She notices honey dripping through the ceiling, and goes to the roof, to find Holmes with a bunch of bee hives (that he is writing a book on). He points out that she must hate her job if it takes two alarm clocks to get her up for it. He tells her that she is not necessary, he is done with drugs—maybe she could take her allotted 6 weeks and just go on holiday.

The next morning, Watson oversleeps, since Holmes has helpfully unplugged both clocks. She finds a text from him to meet her at the police station, which she does, swabbing his cheeks to see if he has been using. He has not, but he has found that the killer may have struck before. Since taking the box indicates a serial killer collecting victim trophies, he looked, and found that a woman with a similar build and red hair like Amy’s was attacked not long ago, but survived.

They go and speak to her, but she tells them that the man wore a ski mask, and she has no information on him. Holmes accused her of lying and protecting the man, and Watson comes to her defense. Angry, Holmes storms out.

A few minutes later, Watson meets him on the sidewalk with the information on the man, Peter Saluda, who was a friend of the woman’s brother, and is now a florist in Chelsea. Holmes tells her that he knew she would defend the woman, and that the woman would consequentially open up to her.

Holmes calls Gregson, but unfortunately, Gregson already knew about Saluda. In fact, he’s at his house right now—standing over his dead, gun-clutching body. They found the ring box, as well.

Watson and Holmes visit the scene, noting the destroyed laundry room and overturned washing machine, and pill bottles in the bathroom. Watson accuses Holmes of being annoyed that he didn’t get the glory, but he says, “I don’t do what I do for credit.”

The case still bothers him, and he digs up old Facebook pictures of Amy before her plastic surgery. She was still a beautiful woman, and she had a mole, which she turned to the camera and therefore was proud of, removed. Why the changes? He also notes that Saluda, who had a record of extreme cell phone usage, had stopped using it three days ago. There were also checks made out to a therapist.

Watson wants to let it go and enjoy the opera tickets Holmes’ father has given them. When Watson questions Holmes, and says he was wrong about her, he also notes that he knows that Watson killed a patient on the table, and that he had made up a lie to spare her feelings—a fact deduced by a parking ticket from a cemetery where her rich family clearly is not buried. Her feelings are not spared.

“I noticed that you don’t have any mirrors around here,” she murmurs.

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“It means I think you know a lost cause when you see one.” She resigns as his companion.

When going through more of Saluda’s belongings with Gregson at a bar, Holmes realizes that Saluda recorded his therapy sessions on his phone. A wrestling commercial triggers something—Saluda was experiencing rage.

Holmes rushes to the opera, annoying everyone as he talks loudly to Watson. He asks her about Xanex pills—they are white. He calls the station, asking Detective Abreu what color the pills that were recovered are—they are pink. Watson is not placated, so Holmes tells her he didn’t know that the woman would tell him the name of her attacker—he just lost his temper.

Holmes and Watson confront the doctor as he is heading into the hospital. Holmes accuses him of being Saluda’s last therapist. He wanted his wife dead. He pressured her into changing her appearance, and replaced Saluda’s tranquilizers with steroids. Saluda he had delivering flowers to his wife every week, so the two became familiar, and Saluda became obsessed. Saluda recorded the sessions with the doctor on his phone, which is why it is missing.

The doctor coyly confesses, knowing that there is nothing Holmes can do without proof. Holmes takes Watson’s keys and rams his car into Mantlo’s.

He is put in jail, where Watson comes to see him. She deduces that the reason he left London and bottomed out was for a woman. Holmes apologizes for the way he has been treating her. He wants Watson to help with the investigation.

Back at his place, Watson knocks over some more clues piled on the desk. She is struck by a piece of paper, and a photograph of the crime scene on the wall.

She meets up with Holmes when he is released, showing her what she has found—medical files on Saluda stating that he had a serious rice allergy, and meanwhile a crime scene photo showing the kitchen with a large bag of rice in the cupboard.

Dr. Mantlo is brought back in and confronted but swears he did not have Saluda as a patient. Holmes explains that Saluda had accidentally put his phone through the washer—hence the rage with which he knocked over his machine. And what do you do with a wet phone? Put it in… yes, all together now… rice!

The recorded sessions with Dr. Mantlo are now available for all to hear, and the case is solved.

As celebration, Watson is enjoying a baseball game at home with Holmes, having decided to stay on. He unfortunately predicts it for her, ruining it, and the two go out together to get food, begrudgingly pals for the evening.