Elementary S2 Ep17 – Ears To You

Joan and Sherlock visit a recovery meeting to ask questions.

In this episode Sherlock steps out of the spotlight, and it’s pretty freaking great.


Sherlock diffuses a live bomb in the brownstone living room.A peaceful afternoon of bomb-diffusing in the brownstone is shattered by Lestrade and one of Sherlock’s roosters battling over the TV remote. Joan helps Lestrade grab the remote from Romulus, then asks if he’s made any progress in finding work and moving out of their home. Lestrade states that he’s had plenty of offers, but isn’t quite sure which one to take yet, and recommends Joan look through his offers to see if she can find one she likes better than working with Sherlock.

Meanwhile, Gordon Cushing arrives at home to find a strange package waiting for him. He opens it to find a pair of severed human ears inside. Gregson and Joan explain to Sherlock that four years ago, Cushing was accused of, but never officially deemed guilty for, the disappearance and possible murder of his wife Sarah.

Along with the ears, the package contains a ransom note, asking for $2 million dollars in exchange for Sarah’s return. During his interrogation, Cushing confesses that he doesn’t want to find Sarah because he loves her. He just wants to prove that he’s innocent of her murder and for people’s judgement of him to stop.

Sherlock examines the two ears and the DNA test confirms that they are indeed Sarah Cushing’s, while Joan goes back to the brownstone to let Lestrade, who had been locked out, back inside. She is startled to see he has been in a fight, and he explains that he was mugged on his way home. Joan is at first concerned about the cut on Lestrade’s head, but then notices he smells of whiskey, and berates him for drinking when he is living with a recovering addict.

Lestrade blurts out that he drinks and hasn’t yet moved out of the brownstone because he’s afraid he’s lost his edge. Joan points out that he was a detective long before he met Sherlock. Lestrade fires back, saying she only thinks that way because she is the one who is working with Sherlock now and he’s the one who makes her ‘special’, the same way he made Lestrade ‘special’ when they worked together back at the Scotland Yard. He tells her to ‘enjoy it’ while she can, implying that it won’t last long.

Lestrade and Joan stand on the stoop of the brownstone.The next day, Joan gives Lestrade the case files of two other muggings in their area which appear to be similar to his case, telling him his self-pity is not amusing and that he’s severely underestimating himself. After all, Sherlock chose to work with him, not any other detective in London. Joan encourages him to find his mugger and solve the case. “At the least, you get your money back,” she says. “And at the most, you realize you’re not just someone else’s tag-along.”

Under police surveillance, Cushing is going through with the ransom exchange in a busy subway tunnel, but the plan goes sideways when Cushing follows the man against Gregson’s orders, and kills him in ‘self-defense’ before the police arrive. Sherlock is able to determine that the ransom collector was a recovering addict, and lived in a New York suburb. They visit one of the meetings in the suburb and are surprised to see Sarah Cushing herself, alive and with both ears intact.

After the meeting, Sarah tells Joan and Sherlock that she simply packed her bags and ran away four years ago, to deal with her alcoholism and start a new life. She is now sober and married to a doctor, but never reached out to the police or to her ex-husband out of fear that he might track her down and hurt her. When they show her a picture of the man who collected her ransom, she tells them he is a fellow recovering addict, Jim Browner, and he had figured out who she was and was blackmailing her. She also explains how the severed ears match her DNA, given that she still has both of hers.

The DNA sample the police had compared the ears to had come from a hairbrush they believed to be Sarah’s, but she tells Joan and Sherlock that the hairbrush more likely belongs to whomever her ex-husband was cheating on her with before she ran away. Cushing admits to sleeping with a call girl and that the hairbrush might be hers, but that lead fizzles out when Bell finds that the woman died three years ago. Sherlock recalls hearing on the news that Sarah Cushing’s new husband is not just any doctor, but a plastic surgeon, and connects the dots. 

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