Elementary: The Cost of Doing Business Review
Who’s the real Morland Holmes? One of the best episodes of Elementary gets down to business.
This Elementary review contains spoilers
Elementary Season 4 Episode 6
Things are getting heavy over on CBS’s hit detective drama Elementary. Of course, everyone expected as much with the arrival of Sherlock’s father Morland Holmes (played by Australian actor John Noble), but it’s likely they didn’t know just how deep the elder Holmes’ dark secrets were buried until now. Previous to season four, episode six, “The Cost of Doing Business”, Morland was simply a looming figurehead, brandishing his wealth and power, but never more than necessary. Now it seems Morland may have suddenly become the next great villain.
While Joan, Bell, and Captain Gregson focus their collective efforts on tracking a serial sniper who shot down nine people in the middle of the crowded Manhattan financial district, Morland pays a visit to Sherlock — fresh evidence in tow — and offers, surprisingly, to help. For obvious reasons, Sherlock is wary. There’s something rotten in Denmark, and it’s nagging at the detective… he just can’t put a finger on it yet.
Over the course of the next few days, Sherlock and Morland work side by side, uncovering the killer and, as they discover later, the wealthy individual who hired him. Throughout the investigation, Morland proves to be unusually helpful, even consoling a widow still grieving her dead husband — something Sherlock deftly remarks on later, as the father-son duo make their way back to the Brownstone. It’s an accusation over which Morland seems to be offended.
This build up wasn’t completely unforeseen. For months now, Sherlock has been warning Joan that his father is, for all intents and purposes, a dangerous man — and no one’s really taken a moment to consider what that means. Was Sherlock being melodramatic, remarking on Morland’s unbridled powers of persuasion? Or was he telling the truth?
“I’ve spent a lifetime observing Morland Holmes,” Sherlock tells Joan at one point, explaining that he’d known all along how the two of them were reinstated to the NYPD’s good graces (bribes and favors for New York’s top judges and authorities, as explained in season four, episode two, “Evidence of Things Not Seen”). Morland has secrets, Sherlock claims, but even he can’t hide them from his own observant son.
But what kinds of secrets? More bribery? Extortion? The ruination of a few dozen careers? According to Morland himself, who spills the tea late in this week’s episode, things are a lot darker than nearly everyone (including the audience) ever believed.
Morland Holmes has always been something of a mystery to viewers. He’s aloof, he seems not to care, and generally speaking, he prefers not to dabble or get his hands dirty with anything outrageous. With his chilling threat to an associate hoping to wring more cash from the elder Holmes however, Morland firmly establishes himself as this season’s Big Bad — and it’s likely going to be a massive hurdle for Sherlock going forward.
So how many more times will Sherlock need to lay out the truth before people start taking his comments to heart? Surely at least Joan understands — or thinks she understands — the lengths to which Morland will go to satisfy his ravenous demands. But this week’s episode cracked open a whole Pandora’s Box of insidiousness that gives evil a whole new meaning and will force everyone involved to reconsider their connections to Sherlock.
Actor John Noble does an outstanding job in this episode, bringing Morland’s terrifying chill to life, all while making the elder Holmes seem like a man who’s too good for murder (spoilers — he’s not). As for Sherlock’s tepid reaction to his father, actor Jonny Lee Miller has chosen to play the consulting detective — for lack of a more comprehensive term — perfectly. Previously, Sherlock’s disgust at his own flesh and blood came off as petulant and insecure. No longer. Now that everyone knows Morland’s giant secret, everything has become clear: Sherlock doesn’t just distrust his father — he’s terrified by him. Given what we now know, perhaps viewers should be too.