Home > TV and anime > Elementary: Season 2, Episode 14. Dead Clade Walking (2014)

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 14. Dead Clade Walking (2014)

Elementary poster

This review discusses the plot so, if you have not already watched this episode, you may wish to delay reading this.

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 14. Dead Clade Walking (2014) starts us off with Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) considering the possibility of a trepanning by electric drill to release his evil humours. If it were not for these annoying messages from Randy (Stephen Tyrone Williams), the new addict for whom he’s accepted some responsibility, he would no doubt get right down to it just behind the right ear. But he’s decided to take his duty seriously. On his way out, he meets Gay, who is, and Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) tells him she’s continuing to work through his cold cases file. She has a clue on an old murder, but duty calls Holmes away when Randy messages. So then we’re into the “do as I say, not what I do” part of the advice from one addict to another. When the implied question of Sherlock’s relationship with Moriarty is raised, this forces Sherlock to admit his own performance leaves much to be desired. Randy continues his campaign of distraction. Holmes, of course, has a solution to Randy’s problem. Since the return of Randy’s girlfriend is the threat to him staying clean, all Holmes has to do is engineer her arrest and return to Chicago. Except when it comes to the crunch, he can’t be that coldblooded. Even he can see it would be too destructive to Randy to unilaterally whisk his girlfriend away. But since Randy won’t stop pestering him, Holmes is uncertain what to do.

The result is interesting on two levels. First, Holmes has enough self-knowledge to know he can’t make Randy do anything he doesn’t want to do. The action to solve the problem has to come from Randy. He therefore bluntly tells Randy what to do and leaves it to him. Second, when Randy walks out of their meeting and then cuts off communication, Holmes has sufficient investment in the man to worry about him. Indeed, we can say Holmes fails to sparkle in this investigation. He’s merely efficient. When Randy eventually comes to the brownstone and confesses he fell off the wagon, there’s no condemnation. Only acceptance of what was inevitable and then, without comment, Holmes takes Randy off to a meeting. This is a well-managed intervention in Randy’s case and, with the girlfriend told to leave, Randy can now start a new count of the days clean. It’s good to see Holmes willing and able to take the role of sponsor seriously. Even though his empathy may be at vestigial levels, he’s still able to get the right results by mining his own experiences as an addict for the best strategy.

Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) offering DIY trepanning

Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) offering DIY trepanning

As to the cold case, Watson and Gay find the rock in the yard where the three-year-old murder occurred and, after it’s x-rayed, the dinosaur rears its ugly head (not trepanned). The continuing point for us to consider is the effect of addiction. Holmes took money from the victim’s parents but obviously failed to give the case his best efforts. At times, he was a high-functioning addict and the heroin enhanced his investigative skills. He finds it emotionally distressing to confront the times when he failed and he’s less than engaged in the case now. With Randy continuing his campaign of distraction, Watson is allowed time undisturbed to develop an elegant theory of who might have given the dinosaur to the victim and what this smuggler might be doing now. This is sufficiently impressive to get Captain Tobias Gregson (Aidan Quinn) out of his chair and into surveillance mode. However, the man they arrest seems genuinely not to have been aware of the value of the rock and, more importantly, not to have had a motive to kill the best man at his wedding. While the interrogation proceeds (including Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) for a token line of dialog), a fake ICE man appears and calmly acquires the dinosaur. This is impressive because anticipating the real ICE agent’s arrival implies inside information. Sherlock has his own sources including the erotically minded C who has heard whispers about The Magpie (presumably with some, but not all, his clothes on). Yet when this man is lured into communicating with Watson, he’s found dead when the duo arrive at his home.

As murder cases go, this has an elegant simplicity about it. Once we know the motive is suppressing evidence as to when the dinosaur died, there are only a limited number of experts whose reputation would be damaged if their theory of a mass extinction event was disproved. That the revelation is delayed by further bone purchases on the black market and the unlikely transfer of DNA material is padding. Yes, for once, the scriptwriters obviously thought the murder strand was sufficiently thin to need an extra few minutes adding. Again I’m forced to disagree with this scripting decision. There was more than enough scope in the Randy situation to give it proper time to develop. It would have been far more interesting to make Randy into a more substantial character and to allow Watson a better chance not to advise Holmes on what to do. So Elementary: Dead Clade Walking was one of the better episodes but not as good as it could have been.

For the reviews of other episodes, see:
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 1. Pilot (2012)

Elementary: Season 1, Episode 2. While You Were Sleeping (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 3. Child Predator (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 4. The Rat Race (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 5. Lesser Evils (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 6. Flight Risk (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 7. One Way to Get Off (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 8. The Long Fuse (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 9. You Do It To Yourself (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 10. The Leviathan (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 11. Dirty Laundry (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 12. M (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 13. The Red Team (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 14. The Deductionist (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 15. A Giant Gun, Filled With Drugs (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 16. Details (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 17. Possibility Two. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 18. Déjà Vu All Over Again. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 19. Snow Angel. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 20. Dead Man’s Switch. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 21. A Landmark Story. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 22. Risk Management. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episodes 23 & 24. The Woman and Heroine (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 1. Step Nine (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 2. Solve For X (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 3. We Are Everyone (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 4. Poison Pen (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 5. Ancient History (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 6. An Unnatural Arrangement (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 7. The Marchioness (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 8. Blood Is Thicker (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 9. On the Line (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 10. Tremors (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 11. Internal Audit (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 12. The Diabolical Kind (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 13. All in the Family (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 15. Corps de Ballet (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 16. One Percent Solution (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 17. Ears to You (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 18. The Hound of the Cancer Cells (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 19. The Many Mouths of Andrew Colville (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 20. No Lack of Void (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 21. The Man With the Twisted Lip (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 22. Paint It Black (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 23. Art in the Blood (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 24. The Great Experiment (2014).

  1. February 1, 2014 at 3:09 am

    I did enjoy the episode. One note; while you called the extra bones “padding,” I thought it was necessary to establish which archeologist knew the smuggler (since they didn’t have a DNA match)–but then I watched it last night at the end of a long day.

    • February 1, 2014 at 3:41 am

      If the police can go dumpster-diving to acquire the DNA of the refusenik expert, it should be easy to link the wheelchair expert with his book collaborator who has as much to lose. The bones are not necessary to expand the pool of suspects.

      Hope the new book is going well.

      • February 1, 2014 at 3:55 am

        It progresses, and that’s about all I can say for it right now. Plot-wise, I find myself in a target-rich environment right now.

      • February 1, 2014 at 4:00 am

        I always take it as a bad sign if an author has no idea what to do next. It suggests the plot doesn’t have the legs to carry the readers through to the end. With choices, you can develop often welcome complexity.

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