‘Elementary’ episode recap: 'The Red Team'

By Sari N. Kent,

We open on Holmes’ wall of news clippings about Moriarty, which Watson calls Holmes’ “wall of crazy.” He tells Watson that Irene being murdered by a criminal no one has ever seen or heard of sounded crazy to him until he found a pattern. He’s slept two days straight and is now hungry. He also tells Watson that he’s excited to go a meeting that lets him indulge in his hobby…conspiracy theorists. He tells her that loves them of them like one would love a "barmy uncle." Holmes then claims to have "started" the "CIA created crack cocaine" theory.

Shoot to Watson going to see her therapist, who points out that Watson's contract with Holmes expired a week ago and if he finds out, it could destroy their trust and cause him to relapse. Also, even if she doesn't "need" the money she is not obligated to spend her savings on saving him, points out her therapist. But, Watson says she's just going to stay long enough to re-establish Sherlock's relationship with Captain Gregson, who suspended him after the Moran business, since it’s what keeps Holmes “stabilized.”

Shoot to one of the conspiracy theorists turning up dead, hanged, with his pants down.

Shoot to Det. Bell arriving at the scene and calling the cause of death “auto-erotic asphyxiation.” But, Holmes thinks he was hanged by a larger person and lays out his theory: larger belt than the man, broken finger, which would interfere with the "auto" part. Bell tries to oust Holmes but Holmes won't let him, bullying his way back into a consultancy by grabbing evidence so the police will come to him.

Shoot to Holmes finding a bug in the man’s home. Someone was bugging the conspiracy nut and Holmes thinks it was government issue. There was also spyware on his laptop. Holmes says most of the man’s ideas were insane but in one case he might have been on to something: "The Red Team," relating to war games run by the government. The results are usually published but in 2009 they were classified and no one knows why. That year's game was designed to simulate a response to the activation of a sleeper cell in NYC. The goal of the Red Team (the "bad guys") was maximum destruction with minimum resources. The dead theorist believed the government found a flaw in our homeland security and that they killed a member of the “Red Team.” Holmes figures if he can find other members of the “Red Team” he can test his theory that the theorist was on to something.

Shoot to Watson going to plead on Holmes' behalf to Gregson, who is unsympathetic. Gregson calls him broken and that is unrelated to his old addiction.

Shoot to Holmes tracking down another “Red Team” member, a man now in long term care who can't remember anything but was once a brilliant man. His mind has oddly deteriorated in a matter of weeks, with no family history of Alzheimer's. Holmes thinks he's been poisoned to mimic Alzheimer's saying murder is just one way to stop someone from talking. They want to test him.

Shoot to Bell calling. He reports that they’ve arrested someone, another conspiracy theorist who turned himself in.

Shoot to Holmes going to talk to the theorist, who is clearly nutty. Gregson is mad that Holmes is there and doesn't want to listen to his theory, blows him off and tells him if he talks his way again, he'll arrest him for trespassing. Holmes, of course, wants to keep investigating.

Shoot to the bug being traced. They are by waiting for the source to show up and take his bugs back from the dead theorist's house. As they stakeout, Watson tells Holmes that he should apologize to Gregson. He says Gregson would know he was faking. He points out, again, how he's smarter than everyone and it makes no sense to suspend him since his help is for the greater good.

Shoot to them following the bugger back to a highly secure building. Holmes gets them in by waving the bugs from the dead theorist's house in front of one of the cameras. The man who greets them claims they do market research. Holmes explains, honestly, who they are to "Bill." He tries to be explicit about the “Red Team” and Bill feigns his ignorance. He also asks if someone wanted to take those people out from 2009 why wouldn't they kill them all at once? Holmes was testing him by saying the names and he got clues about which ones were actually on the team.

Shoot to Bell calling and saying that the man in long-term care was in fact was poisoned.

Shoot to Holmes bringing in another “Red Team” member named Walter McClenahan, who seems a little shaky. He brings him into a room with other members. He explains about the other members of the team who are dead and incapacitated and says he thinks they are in danger. They seem nervous. He asks if they know who might be after them. They argue that if any of them talk it will be treason. They all leave but the female member of the team throws a piece of paper in the trash. Sherlock retrieves it, she has written a code name "Yossarian."

Shoot to Holmes doing some digging and he surmises that maybe "Bill" is Yossarian, an Army Intelligence liaison during the war games.

Shoot to Holmes’ doorbell ringing and some Feds are asking about "Bill," who was shot and killed earlier that evening. They take Holmes away for interrogation. He then lays out his theory about Yossarian. They want to take him away for more questioning but Holmes points out he has an alibi provided by the surveillance cameras in his house, the footage of which Watson brings to them. He wanted them to interrogate him so he could counter-interrogate them. He figures now it's not Army Intelligence killing the “Red Team” members. Holmes then calls the police to take the other members into protective custody.

Shoot to the police arriving at one place where the door is rigged with a booby trap gun. But, it’s just filled with rock salt. Gregson and Bell then investigate the home which is filled with weapons.

Shoot to Holmes going to see one of the “Red Team” members, an older man, resistant to leave his home where he is caring for his wife, who has ALS. They report that Walter is now a suspect in the “Red Team” murders. The man says that he was friendly with Walter and isn't surprised that Walter might be a suspect. He adds that the plan they came up with in dealing with what happened in '09 was disturbing and it changed them all. Walter then says that he was convinced someone was going to sell their secret. He joked he might do it and if he killed the “Red Team” members, the price for their secret would go up.

Shoot to McClenahan turning up dead. Shot in the head in an alley.

Shoot to Holmes’ being worried that another “Red Team” member might be the murderer and... it's revealed that the killer is the older man they were just talking to. He takes out their NYPD minder at a motel and goes to shoot yet another member of the “Red Team” but the cops stop him. He runs back into his room and holds a cop hostage. Holmes wants to talk to him and promises he'll get Gregson's man out safely.

Shoot to Holmes talking his way in. He goes to the minibar first to get a drink before he starts talking to the man. He figures the man is not interested in profit he just wants to off the other members to keep their secret safe so NYC is safe. He wonders why he waited until two years after the war games to start killing people. The man says it was two years ago his wife was diagnosed with ALS and he realized when he was approached by someone who claimed to be able to help his wife that each team member must have a price or weakness. The man then congratulates Holmes on figuring out his plan and then tells Holmes that he plans to shoot him to gain leverage. Holmes then says he worked out the plan and he told a colleague and wrote it down. The man says if Holmes is telling the truth, that's "checkmate." He asks him what the plan is and levels the gun at him.

Shoot to viewers seeing Holmes and the man walking out of the room. Gregson asks Holmes how he did it. He tells Gregson that he told the man that he knew the “Red Team's” plan. He guessed saying that with a gun to his head was motivating.

Shoot to Holmes telling Gregson that they need to talk. Gregson says to meet him at a bar. Holmes meets him and says he regrets that circumstances endangered their relationship. Gregson asks Holmes who the hell he is and that he doesn't let anyone in his life that isn't always concerned about him. Holmes replies that he's worth it because he’s special but Gregson says that he’ll never forget that he knows Holmes was going to murder someone on his watch and that he will never really trust him again. Holmes then tells Gregson says he doesn't need to trust him, just benefit from his intellect. Gregson agrees but says he does have to get something out of his system and then he slugs Holmes in the stomach.

Shoot to Holmes’ brownstone. Holmes tells Watson he's been reinstated. He's gloomy about it and doesn’t tell her what happened between him and Gregson.

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