‘Elementary’ episode recap – 'Flight Risk'

By Sari N. Kent,

We open with Watson waking up to Holmes’ blaring police scanner. She goes downstairs and finds Holmes, who apologizes for the noise. He tells her about the police’s scanner apps. Watson mentions how Holmes has been glued to the scanner and he replies that it’s “been a slow week for murder and mayhem.” “Well, maybe some lunatic will put his mom in a wood chipper and give you something to do,” Watson replies. Watson then tells Holmes that his father emailed her that he’s coming to town on business and wants to have dinner with them. Holmes laughs and tells Watson that his father has no intention of meeting them for dinner. Then, Holmes hears that about “10-66” reported over the scanner and races to get dressed. Watson asks about what they just heard and Holmes tells her that is police code for an “unusual incident. It can mean one of three things. Location of the incident – Far Rockaway Beach, indicates neither a train collision nor a building collapse, which leaves only one possibility: plane crash.

Shoot to Holmes and Watson on the scene and Watson telling Holmes that she didn’t know that he investigates accidents. Holmes wants to find Gregson, who he heard on the scanner. Gregson sees Holmes and asks him what he’s doing there. Holmes tells him that he heard about the incident on the scanner and thought Gregson could use his assistance. Gregson replies, “This isn’t a crime scene, it’s a crash site.” Holmes then tells Gregson that he’s an expert when it comes to “aviation and accidents” but Gregson insists that he has all of the experts that he needs and that he’s just there to lend a hand. The head of the investigation, Miss Molinari, then comes up to Gregson and asks him to take care of the bystanders that are getting too close to the scene. Holmes then takes the opportunity to ask Molinari why she thinks the plane went down. Gregson then introduces Holmes and Watson to Molinari. Molinari then tells Holmes that “we’ve got things covered” and Gregson tells Holmes to go home. But, Holmes goes to investigate the wreckage and victims. Holmes looks at the victims and then asks Gregson how many of them were attorneys. Gregson replies that they all were and before he can finish asking Holmes how he knew that, Holmes replies, “The toiletry kit is inscribed with the logo for VeraScript, that’s a court reporting company hired to transcribe depositions. Obviously given to the lawyers as a promotional gift.” Holmes then observes that one of the male victim’s leg was “nearly amputated by a piece of fuselage yet there’s virtually no evidence of blood loss on his pants. A laceration like that while his blood was still pumping would leave quite a mess, no?” he asks Watson, who replies, “To put it mildly.” Holmes then notes that the other male victim had “blunt force trauma to his head. Someone caved in his skull before the plane hit the ground. This man didn’t die in a plane crash…he was murdered.”

Shoot to Holmes explaining the victim’s injury to Gregson, Molinari and Watson as they all stand over the body. From this, Gregson guesses the murder weapon was a wrench. Holmes then asks Molinari if the plane’s voice recorder was recovered yet. She replied that it hadn’t. He then asks her if there any eyewitnesses to the crash. She replies that a jogger said the plane was “gaining altitude then the nose suddenly went up. It climbed for a while like that then shuddered, tipped to the right then went into a tailspin.” Molinari thinks it was either “wake turbulence or elevator control failure.” “Might want to add ‘wrench-wielding madman’ to that list,” replies Holmes, who then finds sand on some of the wreckage but unlike the sand on the beach. Watson then asks Holmes, “Are you okay because you seem a little off, even for you?” But, Holmes brushes her off and says that he just wants to help. Watson then says that whoever killed the man must have also died in the crash. “So, if there’s no killer on the loose, I don’t understand why we’re sticking around,” Watson asks Holmes, who replies that the killer hasn’t been identified yet and they owe it to their loved ones to find the true killer. Holmes then goes on to theorize if the crime was spur of the moment or premeditated and how strange it seems to pick such a place and time to commit such a violent act. But, Watson contends that Holmes just doesn’t want to have dinner with his father. Holmes then suggests to Gregson that they speak to the people who last saw the victims alive.

Shoot to Gregson, Holmes and Watson talking to a friend of the pilot, who owns the company. He tells them that he knew the victims a little bit since they flew with them a lot. He then tells them there's a security camera in the parking lot and that he can get them the footage. The guy then says the pilot isn’t the killer because he was a good guy.

Shoot to Watson tells Holmes that father wants to meet them for dinner at 6 and points out that he must have cared enough to put Holmes in rehab. Holmes says that his father doesn't care about him or Watson and he only did what he did out of familial obligation. He then says his father is a serial absentee.

Shoot to Detective Bell calling Watson and Holmes into Gregson's office. He tells them that the three attorneys were headed to Martha's Vineyard to work on a class action case against a company called Carmanto Foods, whose sugar substitute might cause cancer and there was a potential 100 million dollar payday for the victims. It turns out Hank Girard, the murder victim was butting heads with his boss and fellow passenger Walter Devlin about how to proceed with the case. Devlin wanted to settle but Girard wanted to go to court and they had loud arguments. Then, the Molinari calls and says that they've found the black box. Holmes translates the pilot talk but also hears the passengers fighting, including Ellie Wilson. There was a tussle and the woman yells, the pilot and plane go into distress and then the transmission ends. Molinari thinks Holmes was right but he realizes he was wrong. After hearing only Devlin yelling in the "fight" he proposes a new theory, that Girard was killed elsewhere earlier in the day and stuck in the cargo hold. Devlin thought Girard missed the fight and called to yell at him which is why we didn't hear Girard's voice. The plane hit the kind of turbulence that Molinari thought it did originally and crashed. Girard's body was uncovered in the crash. The wrench was nowhere to be found even though almost everything else was recovered, thus the murder scene and the crash site have to be two different places. They then examine Girard's damaged phone and hear the voicemail that Devlin left. They realize they have a murderer to find after all since everyone who died in the crash was innocent.

Shoot back to the precinct where Holmes is trying to work it all out. Watson theorizes that Holmes is frightened of flying but he brushes her off. She then asks how he got from London to New York, but he doesn't answer. Then, Bell comes in and says the charter company owner has the parking lot footage for them. It shows Girard alive, arguing with some fat guy. Then, they ask the owner and another employee to leave so they could analyze the scene.

Shoot back to Holmes' brownstone. He determines that the man Girard argued with worked at Carmanto Foods and that any employee would have had motive. Unfortunately, Carmanto Foods has a lot of fat male employees. But, Holmes does note an identifying, ancient pager. Watson then says that she's getting ready to meet the Holmes’ father for dinner. Holmes scoffs and reiterates his contention that he won't show and that, "He's Lucy with the football, you're Charlie Brown." Before she leaves, Watson points out that the man isn’t wearing a pager, it's an insulin pump, “You’re fat guy is a diabetic,” Watson tells Holmes.

Shoot to Bell and Holmes going to see the guy, who claims that he doesn't know Girard but they connect the dots for him. He then shuts his office door and admits he was helping Girard as a whistleblower. He adds that Girard was angry because he refused to testify after Carmanto offered what he thought was a reasonable settlement. Holmes then watches the man try to open his pill bottle. Then, Bell and Holmes leave. Holmes then points out to Bell that the man is no longer a suspect since his diabetes clearly makes it difficult for him to grip things-- like opening a pill bottle-- so there's no way he could've swung the wrench that killed Girard.

Shoot to Watson meets Holmes' father. He seems nice and tells Watson that he knows that Holmes isn't coming. He admits to “having laid as many bricks in the wall between them as Holmes has.” He asks Watson about Holmes. Watson reports that Holmes is doing well with his sobriety but isn’t so good on going to support groups. Holmes’ father then says that he's always been stubborn since childhood. Watson then replies that she's happy to be meeting with him and wants to know much more about Holmes. Holmes’ father then replies that he wants to ask her one question first: “How's the sex?” He then says that he figured that part of the deal was sex giving how high her rates are. Watson then realizes that this isn’t Holmes’ father. The man then admits that Holmes hired him to mess with her since he knew his dad wouldn't show.

Shoot back to the hangar. Holmes drags Bell along to talk to Molinari about a new theory he has about the strange sand he found. He says that he realized that someone put sand in the gas tank, which would've stalled the plane. “Someone wanted it to crash,” Holmes says. He then adds that whoever sabotaged the flight also probably killed Girard and was probably counting on the plane to crash in the water on the way to Martha's Vineyard and wash away the evidence of the sand. But, it crashed prematurely on the beach, revealed the sand and that Girard was already dead.

Shoot to Watson returning from her fake dinner. She tells Holmes that she isn't speaking to him. He then replies that it was a good prank and she should have appreciated the fact that he knew his father wasn't coming. He then informs her about the sabotage, says he's got a suspect, would like to go and confront him and wants her to come but she just heads off to bed. He tells her that she should've trusted him when he said his dad wouldn't show. She replies she doesn't trust him because despite knowing him for weeks he's shared virtually nothing so they're still practically strangers and if he wants to pound on a criminal's door he should call the police.

Shoot to Holmes dragging Bell to the house of the other charter company employee, who showed them the parking lot footage and mentioned the camera that shot the other angle was broken. He's also a pilot. Holmes tells him that he knows that he and the dead pilot had a big fight. The man replies that the pilot was mad at him for poaching one of his clients, who was a big tipper but Holmes isn't buying this and thinks maybe the saboteur was mad at the charter airline itself and dug into some of the logs to follow up. Holmes then reveals that he discovered that every time this guy flew back from Miami he recorded a weight of exactly 66 pounds over the weight of the passengers. “Only Miami and why 66 pounds? That’s exactly 30 kilos, which is good for cocaine smuggling,” Holmes fires back. Holmes then theorizes the dead pilot threatened the man, that Girard caught him in the act of sabotage so he killed him and threw him in the cargo hold since he knew the plane was going to crash anyway. The guy thinks it's an impressive theory. Then, the guy says he was nowhere near the hangar that morning because he was with his boss whose car had stalled.

Shoot to Watson awakening to Holmes in her room. He tells her that she was right that he’s drawn to weird plane things because he sees so much and deduces so much when he gets onto a plane. He then asks if she's still mad at him. He explains that he was attempting to demonstrate his trust. She wonders how since he was sharing something he already knew.

Shoot Holmes, Bell and Gregson talking to the owner of the charter company. He says the other guy called him and confessed about the drugs and how the dead pilot threatened to go to the police. He then says that he asked him to confirm his alibi that they were together but the owner says he wasn't with him. Then, Bell goes after the guy. They find the wrench in his garage, which seems odd. Holmes determines that the wrench was in the water recently. He thinks someone disposed of it and reclaimed it and planted it here after killing the guy. They find his money from his smuggling operation though and determine it must've been the charter company owner-- who could've benefitted from the smuggling operation as well and telling them that the other guy confessed.

Shoot back to the precinct. The guy sticks to the story but Holmes thinks he's clammy and nervous because he's the murderer. Watson thinks the guy is actually dying of some medical condition because he looks so unwell. Watson then notices a scar on Holmes’ wrist, which that coincides with a story that the actor told her about Sherlock's childhood. She then tells Holmes that she has an errand to run and excuses herself. Then, Gregson and Bell come out and say they can't get the guy to confess. Holmes then looks at Bell filling up the guy's water glass. Holmes then says to bring the man a whole pitcher, noticing the smell of plane glue has transferred from the guy to Bell is so strong.

Shoot to Watson seeking out Alistair, the actor who played Holmes’ father. She tells him that she knows he's not just some actor Holmes hired and he knows Holmes more than he’s letting on because Holmes wouldn't have shared the story of his childhood scar with just a hired actor. Alistair confesses that he really is an actor but he also works at a bookstore where Watson tracked him down. He says Holmes wrote him a fan letter from a radio show he was doing when Holmes was 10 years old. He says that they became a kind of friends, meaning Holmes would arrive with outlandish requests for help. She says it doesn't sound like much of a friendship. He tells her to revise her definition because if she expects Holmes to relate to her like others do, he will migrate out of her life and she will be the poorer for it. Alistair then tells Watson that Holmes told him about her and Alistair said he was glad Watson has him. Alistair then confesses that knew Holmes when he was using but he thought he would grow out of it. He adds that Holmes showed up at his house 9 months earlier high out of his mind. Then, Alistair flushed his drugs and looked after Holmes for a day. Holmes then kept repeating a name but insisted the next day it meant nothing. Watson says she wants to help Holmes and needs Alistair's help to do it. She thanks him for his time and apologizes for bothering him. He tells her the name Holmes kept repeating but we don't hear it.

Shoot to Holmes going in to see the charter company owner in the interrogation room. Holmes theorizes that he's drinking so much water due to blood loss. He figures that during the fight with the other guy he was injured and used model plane glue to seal the wound, an old military trick that would've kept him from going to the hospital and having the injury on record. The guy balks and Holmes offers to let him go after he takes off his shirt and pants. The guy admits that he cut his side open on a sharp piece of metal and but that it’s coincidental. Gregson then moves in and tries to intimidate the guy but continues to deny everything. Then, they point out the wrench issue and how he framed the other guy. Then, they realize that he probably threw the guy's body in the same water he threw the wrench in. They tell him to tell everything he knows to get life in prison instead of the death penalty.

Shoot to Watson coming home to a tidying Holmes. She says she has a question to ask him about his past. She says she knows about Irene and says she wants Holmes to tell her about Irene. He turns and stares at her, unhappy and surprised.

image: CBS

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