Friday, November 21, 2014

Elementary Season 3 Episode 4 "Bella" – Recap and Review


Sherlock Holmes Joan Watson consulting detectives in CBS Elementary Season 3 Episode 4 Bella

Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) is hired by one Edwin Borstein (Michael Chernus). Edwin owns a software company specializing in Artificial Intelligence. Someone has stolen a copy of Bella, an AI program.

Sherlock is so intrigured by Bella's thoughts about love, he takes the case without any pay. He is more interested in beating Bella, rather than catching the culprit. He leaves that part to Joan Watson (Lucy Liu).

Joan and Kitty Winter (Ophelia Lovibond) strike a working relationship. They notice a similar case involving theft of a human genome. They narrow down the list of suspects to a single individual, based on a match in fingerprints.

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Sherlock and Joan conduct investigation at Edwin's office. We learn that only Edwin and Melinda Yee (Condola Rashad) had access to Bella.

Sherlock has already identified the aforementioned suspect as Mr Raffles, the legendary criminal. He also discovers that Mr Raffles has recently started working for Robert Burnett (Bill Winkler), Edwin's competitor in AI field. 

Sherlock deduces that Burnett used Mr Raffles' skills to illegally obtain a copy of Bella. He threatens Burnett into destroying the stolen copy, failing which Sherlock will reveal his misdoings to the authorities.
 
Michael Chernus Jonny Lee Miller Sherlock Holmes Elementary Season 3 Episode 4 Bella

Before Sherlock can inform his client about the latest developments, Edwin is found dead. Melinda thinks that her employer has died from an epileptic attack.

Sherlock believes that his client has been murdered. Sherlock has a theory: Members of Existential Threat Research Association (ETRA) killed Edwin to gain more credibility for their message about the threat posed by AI to human survival.

Since Edwin was a fan of Death metal music, Sherlock listens to a CD (formerly in his client's possession) real loud in the NYPD office. He notices some anomalies in the track.

Sherlock's conjecture about ETRA is proven correct when another suspect, Michael Webb (Jonathan Judge-Russo) identifies Halley Feiffer (Ellen Rabin) as the person who entered his house under the disguise of a professional cleaning company worker.

Detective Marcus Bell Joan Watson Elementary Season 3 Episode 4 Bella

Halley adores her mentor Isaac Pike (Michael Cristofer) and makes a quick confession. Sherlock deduces that she is covering up for Isaac.

He devises a less than ideal way to make Isaac confess to his crimes - by using his drug-addicted brother Joshua as a trump card. But Isaac has already done some research on Sherlock's addiction problems in the past. Isaac knows that Sherlock would not send a fellow addict to prison and calls Sherlock's bluff.

This is probably the best episode of this season. I liked the final chat between Sherlock and Isaac. There were some genuinely funny moments involving Mason (Robert Capron), the irregular hired by Sherlock for his AI skills to take down Bella.

Sherlock Holmes Joan Watson investigating a corpse in CBS Elementary Season 3 Episode 4 Bella

This is the first time that Sherlock gets to do most of the detective work. Unlike the previous episodes, Joan enters the scene only at the sixth minute.

Speaking of hogging the limelight, it is Clyde (supposedly the breakout star of the show) whose face looms large at a very close range in the first scene. Sherlock is watching him eat lettuce, while delegating tasks to an understandably vexed Kitty. 

The secondary plot involved Joan Watson's boyfriend Andrew Paek (Raza Jaffrey) helping out Sherlock, after the latter explicitly seeks his help. Initially, Joan is not happy with this interaction, but Sherlock convinces her of his benign intentions.

Ophelia Lovibond Kitty Winter Sherlock Holmes apprentice in CBS Elementary Season 3 Episode 4 Bella

In the end, Andrew is off to Copenhagen on a new business venture with Magnus, one of Sherlock's friends. Joan accompanies him on his flight trip, giving her interest in exploring Copenhagen as a motivating reason for her action.

Ophelia's Kitty Winter is relegated to the background this time.

But the episode did have a jarring moment: In an earlier scene featuring Edwin explaining his case to Sherlock, Jonny Lee Miller delivered a line off screen as the camera cut him off. Hopefully, such glaring lapses will not recur.

Condola Rashad Elementary Season 3 Episode 4 Bella


On a side note, there was mention of Turing Test: this test measures a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to or indistinguishable from that of a human.

This somehow reminded of the soon-to-be-released picture The Imitation Game starring the other Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) as Alan Turing.
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10 comments:

  1. I liked your catch about Sherlock doing most of the detective work in this episode.

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    1. Thanks John. It was a refreshing change for sure.

      B2B.

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  2. So far as the subplot, I can't help but wonder why Joan really planned to accompany Andrew to Copenhagen.

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    1. Agree with you Kathleen. I too am not sure about this plot development. That scene with Joan and Andrew led me to believe that Joan will be out of action for the next few episodes, thus allowing the show to provide a closure for Kitty Winter. Then Joan will return and things will be back to square one as was in the previous seasons.

      But the preview for the next episode showed Joan in action. Perhaps, the Copenhagen trip is already over. Hope the writers have thought this through...

      B2B.

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    2. Good points. Also, I'm thinking Andrew might not be headed for Copenhagen and Joan is suspicious.

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    3. I think you hit the spot there. That would explain Joan's presence in the next episode.

      B2B.

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  3. If you watch the show on a regular basis you will recognize the Joan scenes in the promo are old - they are from prior episodes.

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    1. I do watch the show regularly, but do not have a photographic memory.

      Even otherwise, I do not see the reason for putting scenes from a previous episode in the preview for next episode.

      B2B.

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  4. The end to this episode left me in a 10 minute shock, the way sherlock stared at bella in the last few seconds made me wonder...
    Thats when i realized that we just got the answer to the question "is bella a real piece of Artificial Intelligence or not? "
    You need to understand that every time bella did not understand something she would say "I don’t understand the question. Can I have more information?"
    And at the end where sherlock asks her a question of morality, she was supposed to answer like any machine would, heartless and ruthless, send the brother and the murderer to jail, but instead she is stumped, and did not know the right answer to this question, just like sherlock. Bella answered the only way she knew how when stumped "I don’t understand the question. Can I have more information?".
    Genius.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, this episode had some good moments. I enjoyed Isaac's chat with Sherlock in which he explained how Sherlock is more human than he perceives himself to be.

      Hope the show will have more episodes like this.

      B2B.

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