Home > TV and anime > Elementary: Season 2, Episode 19. The Many Mouths of Andrew Colville (2014)

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 19. The Many Mouths of Andrew Colville (2014)

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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 19. The Many Mouths of Andrew Colville (2014) starts off with one of these stagey set-ups in which Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) views the scene of the latest crime, and solves it on the spot. This time, the high mortician, stripped to the waist, climbs up on to the gurney (these drugs are really wicked, man) and then falls on to the body of the woman he’s preparing (he was standing over her with his shirt off so the nature of these preparations remains obscure to me). When his shoulder hits her head, her jaws close giving him a bite (vampires eat your hearts out, not bite your shoulder) and, just in case you were one of the many doubters, our hero retreats into the cold room where he persuades the thief to announce his presence (what, you didn’t know there was a thief?). I’m glad we got that out of the way quickly. Now to the episode proper. Many moons ago when Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) was still in hospital practice, Aaron Colville was brought into the hospital seriously injured with four stab wounds received while he was in prison awaiting trial. He had pleaded to committing some murders where he bit the victims. When he died, the case was closed. Now a similar crime has been committed and it raises the question whether the original suspicion surrounding the accused was justified.

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes pays the price demanded by Anonymous

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes pays the price demanded by Anonymous

So, for once, we have a flashback with Watson wearing a wig to make her look younger. The dying man whispers something to Dr Fleming (Bruce Altman) as he’s being prepared for surgery. The attending surgeon then fails to save him on the operating table. Because the patient is registered as an organ donor, this is good news for some on the waiting list. When Watson goes back to the hospital, she’s still concerned the surgeon failed to administer an epinephrin injection on a timely basis, preferring heart massage that failed. The surgeon then and now is indignant that his methods are apparently in question. So Sherlock turns down the chance to go treasure hunting with Mycroft in Australia to investigate the latest murders which have bite marks (see the linking coincidence with the opening scene). But to find the owners of the teeth administering the bites then and now is going to require the skills of hackers. This means contacting Anonymous again. They provide copies of x-rays and, in turn, this produces one of the nicest television moments of the week. You see, when Colville was in jail, the prison dentist took an impression of his teeth and issued inmates with standard issue dental plates based on that impression. There are eight men with false teeth giving the bite mark of a killer. But only four of them are on the loose, walking around New York. Of those four, one had shingles and the other a file which he had used to cut down the size of his teeth so they would fit in a box. The odds just keep getting better. When the third shows his denture is broken and so could not have reproduced the bite on the body, that brings it down to the man they can’t find at the address registered with the parole officer. Except he was out on the road with the zombies pretending to be the grateful dead, or something.

Back to the drawing board in search of suspects and, after some ducking and diving, we have a ninth suspect. . . Well, now we need a tenth. So does it all work? In one sense, it does. There’s a certain logic as to the motive. The problem lies in the means. It all relies on the prison dentist telling someone what he’d done. Now I don’t know about you, but if the original of the body was in the ground and you lacked the means of digging it up to take an impression of the teeth, you might not be able to get another dentist to reproduce the additional set of teeth. Unless, of course, the prison dentist had thoughtfully provided a detailed set of impressions. The rest of the episode is taken up with Watson trying to second-guess herself over the failure to save Colville’s life ten years earlier. Guilt does not have to be rational, but I’m not at all sure this self-indulgence is realistic. Having been a professional, I inevitably made mistakes both when I was training and later when I had the responsibility. We can all look back at things we could have done better. I’m not at all sure Watson would have such a problem with this particular case even though she recognises the temptation she felt not to resuscitate the man so his organs could go on to save lives. Since it wasn’t her hands on the patient’s heart, it wasn’t her call to make. More to the point, I don’t think she would go after Fleming with such enthusiasm. It makes her look somewhat out of control and vindictive. Is she hoping to find evidence of major malpractice with a previous colleague acting as a serial killer to collect organs? That’s not in character. Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) and Captain Tobias Gregson (Aidan Quinn) get to bobble along in the wake of our pair as they run through suspects faster than they can find them, making the Many Mouths of Andrew Colville a particularly pleasing title for an average episode.

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 14. Dead Clade Walking (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 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. April 5, 2014 at 1:31 am

    One of the problems that Elementary has, and we’ve chewed on this before, is that one major schtick of Doyle’s Holmes was the Solution Obvious Only To Him. He came, he saw, he deduced from smudges, scents, and threads that the killer wasn’t a killer and he was hiding in the fridge. I loved reading these bits in the stories, but they don’t translate well to a TV mystery series–yet they are Essential Holmes. So…start an episode with a throw-away scene that lets Holmes strut his stuff and nicely sets up the main mystery.

    As the the episode mystery, I rather liked it. Oddly, it felt more like a “real” mystery, with the team being continually frustrated by dead ends that put them back at square one looking for another lead. Its resolution was even realistic; in the end they had no way to proceed until the found another suspect/motive by “following the money.” This is more the way detective work happens in real life: focus on a suspect and work backwards.

    The Watson theme did ring a little false, although I understand the writer’s dilemma; they needed a reason for Watson to get the confession the surgeon overheard, thus tipping them back to considering that the convicted killer did, in fact, kill the first two victims.

    It was cool to see Watson picking up on Holmes-type clues (the rings from the dog dishes and the drugs)

    Actually, the “greatest moment” was one that happened off-stage: Holmes’ cross-dressing karaoke of the hits from Frozen. To quote George Takai, “Oh my!”

    • April 5, 2014 at 1:40 am

      As always, well nearly always, I’m in complete agreement. Holmes in a prom dress would have been worth seeing if only to get a measure of whether it was a real price to pay or he was enjoying his moment going viral.

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