Besides the murder mystery, the "Elementary" episode "Dirty Laundry" focused on Watson's (Lucy Liu) imminent departure. We all know that Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson are destined to work together, so there's no worry about that. But it is interesting to see how their journey gets to this point. As of this episode, Watson is still intent on leaving.
Watson takes every opportunity to leave the task of tidying "the" apartment to Sherlock. When Sherlock asks whether she means "our" apartment, she reminds him that she'll be gone in 10 days. He then corrects her math; it's actually nine days, 12 hours, and 47 minutes, but who's counting? Obviously, Sherlock is counting, and those minutes are dwindling quickly.
Washing the laundry... with a person thrown in
A woman, Terri Purcell, is found in a high-end hotel's washing machine by a group of maids. She is the hotel's general manager. Det. Bell (Jon Michael Hill) is the first to suggest the husband; husbands are often the culprits in married women's deaths.
Sherlock deems the visit with the husband, Oliver (Mark Moses), a "waste of time." Watson suggests they talk to the obviously nosy neighbor across the street. The neighbor says she believes the wife was having an affair, and she had even taken a picture of the handsome man. Sherlock only cares about the man's "particularly fetching" license plate in the photo.
The license plate belongs to Geoffrey Silver (Jake Weber), but that turns out to be a dead end, as well. Silver seems to have an alibi, despite Sherlock feeling Silver is "oily."
Watson sees another addict in need of help
While at Terri's home, Watson sees that Terri's daughter, Carly (Melissa Farman), is in need of consoling. She drops a few clues about having been in rehab. She was addicted to pain medication after an injury, and with her mother's death, she feels lost. Watson tells Carly to call her anytime she needs help.
Sherlock and Watson learn that Terri had kicked a group of prostitutes out of the hotel. So Sherlock decides to take Watson "whore fishing." They simply watch women in the hotel until they find someone who looks like a prostitute. Sherlock quickly finds a prostitute who says that Terri never kicked them out of the hotel. Terri simply made it easier for them to keep a low profile.
Perhaps Terri's leniency toward prostitutes in her hotel was for the purpose of blackmailing their clients? It's not until Sherlock finds that family photos on Terri's laptop contain hidden videos that he learns the truth: Terri and Oliver are both Russian spies. The prostitutes were simply bait for attracting international power brokers.
Spy vs. spy
Sherlock and Watson speak with the husband again, but it turns out he's the good spy. He wanted what was best for his daughter, but Terri wanted Carly to give up everything to become a spy. She saw her daughter as nothing but an asset. Another talk with Carly confirms that Terri had recently told her the truth after Carly was accepted to college.
Carly thought her mother would be happy for her, but instead Terri wanted her to go to Georgetown so she could get a good government job and begin life as a spy. Carly turned to leave after learning the truth, then freaked out when her mother grabbed her by the arm. Carly pushed her mother hard. Terri lost her footing and fell back, hitting her head, and appeared to be dead.
The autopsy confirms that there was a fight. Terri did not die from being shoved by Carly. It turns out Terri's handler, Silver, was there and saw what happened. After Carly left, Terri woke up and fought with Silver. It was Silver who killed her, after all! With Carly feeling that she killed her mother, Silver thought he could take over as Carly's new handler. As a real U.S. citizen, Carly could prove to be a much better asset than Terri ever could be. Sherlock was right about Silver being slick and "oily."
Watson seeks browner pastures
Despite Watson's love for her secondary job of catching criminals and solving mysteries with Sherlock, she is still adamant about leaving. She even has a new client and plans to leave the following week. Sherlock softens his initial "offer" of allowing Watson to work with him on cases "in exchange for light housework." We'll have to wait to find out what it takes to get Watson to stick around.
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