This Elementary review contains spoilers.
Elementary: Season 4, Episode 23
Elementary‘s second to last episode of the season brought the set crashing down on Sherlock and Joan — and it set up perhaps what might be one of the most exciting season finales in a while.
“The Invisible Hand” takes off where “Turn It Upside Down” left things unfinished: Moriarty’s name had previously been invoked in a strange incantation of an episode, giving fans the sense that Sherlock’s past had once again caught up with him. By the end of this week’s episode, it wasn’t quite clear whether Moriarty would ever actually show her face again, but her fingerprints were all over everything. From the hitman that killed Emil Kurtz, Morland’s associate and Joan’s mole on the inside, to the orchestrator behind the curtain, Jamie Moriarty was everywhere and nowhere at once.
Episode 23 left no filler unwasted either: Last week’s Dante test played a major role in “The Invisible Hand” and backstory after backstory was drudged up in Moriarty’s name. For a season that’s had its roller coaster highs and lows, it seems the hair pulling finally paid off in the form of one coalescent penultimate episode.
From the start, viewers were dropped into a barrel of chaos. An explosion at Morland’s New York office/home/cave of doom leaves Joan, Sherlock, Marcus, and Gregson scratching their heads: The bomber, whose explosive of choice consisted of four large water jugs filled with an acetone mixture and a detonator, deliberately waits until Morland has left the building to set the charge and press the go-button, presumably to make some sort of threatening statement under his higher up’s orders.
From there, it’s largely a game of connect the dots (thankfully, Sherlock is a master of puzzles): The hitman is escaped Russian prisoner Kraznov from Season 4, Episode 14 (“Who Is That Masked Man?”), who previously shot and killed Morland’s love, Zabine. The motive: To stop Morland from investigating Zabine’s death and the workings behind their operation. The shark at the top of the food chain: Joshua Vikner, a professor who gives speeches to rich energy company honchos in his off-hours and who had a previous tryst with Jamie Moriarty and fathered her child. Vikner, it seems, has taken over the would-be family business in a sense, coordinating efforts under Moriarty’s framework while avoiding Sherlock and Joan out of orders from the top.
Eventually, the NYPD is able to track down Krasnov and arrest him, but before they’re able to pry more secrets out of him and link him to Vikner, one of the department’s own officers, Panabaker, hauls off and shoots Krasnov in the head before offing himself as well.
Motive is muddy at first, but it’s discovered later that Panabaker’s IP address had been matched with one of the participants in last week’s Dante test, which was used to siphon out psychopaths who could be lured to commit crimes-for-hire — in this case, to murder Krasnov before he could talk.
But Vikner and his crew aren’t done with Sherlock yet, despite Jamie Moriarty’s warning that Sherlock and Joan are not to be touched. That evening, as the consulting pair return to their brownstone, Sherlock notices a light on at the neighbor’s house — a neighbor who happens to be out of town. After slipping in through a different entrance out of precaution, Sherlock and Joan see that the same acetone/water jug explosive mechanism has been wired up inside their home as well. It’s identical to the device that was used to bomb Morland’s office. A cliffhanger ending might seem like a cheap ploy (looking at you, The Walking Dead), but in this case, it’s set to ramp things up for the big showdown, so it’s excusable.
“The Invisible Hand” succeeded in a unique way that not everyone expected it would, in that it introduced fans to a new co-villain. Tony Curran as Vikner is striking and careless and altogether foreign to Joan, Sherlock, and the viewers — and perhaps that’s the point. It’s a risky move, slipping a random Big Bad in at the end of such a confluent episode that’s meant to merge everything from Episode 1 up until now, but it worked: Whether Moriarty ever appears on Elementary again or not doesn’t matter (my money is on the latter, given that Natalie Dormer seems happily wrapped up in her Game of Thrones work). The importance of having Vikner and his network around means that Moriarty’s art — her criminal underground — and her business aren’t just alive, they’re thriving, despite the prison she currently calls home.
That’s the beauty of “The Invisible Hand” and, most likely, next week’s Season 4 finale: Moriarty has proven that she doesn’t need to be present to be present — and with that one big reveal, she’s effectively beat Sherlock at his own game. Whatever happens at the end of next week’s finale, expect Moriarty to be name-dropped a dozen more times before the show’s eventual close — which, after this week’s episode, most likely won’t happen for a very long time.