Elementary: Dead Man’s Switch.

Previously on Elementary: Snow Angels.

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Based on The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton, this episode presents us with the show’s most despicable criminal to date.

Holmes’ disgust with Milverton, the “king of blackmailers,” in the short story published in 1904 is transported into the present day by creating a vile man who blackmails the families of rape victims into paying large sums of money to prevent him from publishing videos of the crimes on the Internet. Leading from Milverton’s murder to a scummy DWI lawyer to an even scummier accomplice, the case is a study in repulsive human behaviour, and a firm stand with victims of sexual abuse. Sherlock doesn’t care about solving the murder, the first thing on his list is to protect the young women who stand to suffer most. It is also a study in those who commit dreadful crimes out of conviction and/or indifference; and those who are driven to it out of desperation. The line between sympathy and revulsion is blurred at the end, with Karen’s father being not only the desperate protector of his daughter, but also a desperate accomplice trying to recover the money.

The story also takes another crack at Holmes’ continuing sobriety — his one-year anniversary is coming up, but he refuses to celebrate on the day for which it is set. And why?

Because one day into his stay at rehab, he relapsed. His determination to “repair himself” didn’t hold up, and to Sherlock, that’s equivalent to the end of the world. His mind is his weapon, his life, his failsafe. And then, his mind failed him, couldn’t govern the urges of his body, his addiction. Sherlock is lucky to have both Joan and Alfredo, who keep him thinking straight. They tell Sherlock when he’s bullshitting, and he has grown enough, and has grown to love them enough, to admit it and to, eventually, tell them the truth.

The woods are lovely,
Dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

— Stopping by Woods on A Snowy Evening | Robert  Frost

Next: A Landmark Story.

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