TV Review – Elementary S04E10: Alma Matters

What an episode, it truly kept you interested every step of the way. This week’s Elementary does what Elementary does best, give an intriguing case while giving you an equally intriguing sideplot. Here we got more on last week’s reveal that someone had tried to kill Morland Holmes. We also got to see Sherlock once again back on top his game now that a new mystery is a foot.

The case was interesting to say the least, and also completely despicable. A great number of people suffer from horrible student loans in the United States so taking on a case like this? It was heartbreaking and yet relevant. There’s false promises and debt that leads to desperation. Which is what happened here, the students fell into debt and with no way out they got desperate. As we know someone who’s desperate is more likely to fall into a trap in order to get out of the situation they are stuck in. These were people who had a criminal background, which already lowers their hiring rate and add debt to that? They had no other option. It’s a true tragedy. And there’s been few times that we’ve cheered as much when Joan and Sherlock managed to get one on him and get the culprit arrested.

Elementary S04E10 - Alma Matters (2)Now on to the most intriguing part of the episode, Sherlock confronting Morland Holmes about his near miss with death. What comes of it is a very intriguing look into both Morland and Sherlock’s characters. And it makes the distinction between them clearer than ever. I have to give major props to both Jony Lee Miller and John Noble because they both played their parts beautifully and perfectly. Sherlock being Sherlock has further investigated the case and come to a very horrifying conclusion, he was Morland’s first suspect. And not only that both for a while there Morland truly believed it. Sherlock thinks that the reason Morland came to New York was to verify whether or not his son tried to kill him. There’s also the matter that when he tried to approach Agent Mueller the man treated him as an enemy rather than an ally.

Elementary S04E10 - Alma Matters (2)Morland doesn’t deny that he once thought that Sherlock was behind it, but claims to have later come to the conclusion that Sherlock hadn’t done it. That it was his guilt over this and hearing of Sherlock’s relapse that led him to New York. Maybe it’s Noble’s amazing acting but I do believe Morland when he states his reason for coming to New York, but I don’t think it makes it any better. Because the point stands that he thought for a while that Sherlock had wanted to kill him. We see phenomenal acting from Miller this episode as he deals with his father. There’s barely restrained anger, there’s sadness in the fact that his father thinks him capable of this and he’s hurt because maybe even the tiniest bit of him had started to believe he could fix things with his father. Only to be once again burned.


This entire issue bothers Sherlock on three particular instances:


  1. His and Joan’s Safety: He is worried that his father’s situation put him and Watson in unnecessary danger. They face danger every day but they are prepared for it, this wasn’t something they even knew about, so if anything had happened there would have been no way to prevent or prepare. He seems appalled that in his interactions with his father he might have put Joan in danger and that’s the last thing he wants. He will not sacrifice Joan or their relationship for his father’s sake. After all he never truly had a father so he knows how to be without one, but he can’t be without Joan.


  1. His Reputation: He is absolutely offended that Morland would spread lies about him to Muller. He’s worked long and hard to get where he is and takes a lot of care in making sure his reputation is solid. He calls what Morland did an affront to his reputation. Which is part of why he will be looking to solve the case. He doesn’t care what the situation is he just needs to clear his name in front of anyone who might be involved.


  1. His Character: The third and maybe even the biggest problem Sherlock had with the situation was what it made him realize. He realized his father knew what kind of man he was. Even if we have the worst relationship with our parents we can still hope that they know who we are. By now we know Sherlock Holmes pretty well and he has a very particular moral code. We’ve seen him toe the line but he doesn’t cross it, the closest he got was the Oscar situation. And we’ve known him at most 4 years, and yet his father has known his entire life. Sherlock sees that if by this point Morland doesn’t know him there’s nothing to build. It’s like the house that’s made of sand, the moment the rain comes it will fall down. If there’s no solid foundation then you can’t really build a relationship.

Elementary S04E10 - Alma MattersIronically, this entire situation makes something clears something up about the Holmes family. Or well as clear as it can be with as little as we know of Sherlock’s mother. Morland doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty, and from what I remember about Mycroft it was a bit of the same. Of course Mycroft wasn’t the extreme that Morland is but he definitely worked as a half way point between Morland and Sherlock. So I’d hazard to guess that Sherlock takes after the mysterious Holmes mother while Mycroft is a bit more similar to Morland.

It bares mentioning that we once again got a glimpse of Sherlock’s dark side. It’s so intriguing to see whenever we get a whiff of it. It’s one of the things that make us happy that Sherlock is on the right side of the law because imagine all he could do if he was on the other side. Even with his character and his morals as they are he will still protect those he cares about in any way he can. Miller’s phenomenal bone-chilling speech to Noble’s Morland closes with this line “here is how you can be certain I’m not the one that tried to kill you, you’re alive.” As chilling as it is we know it’s validity is solid. If Sherlock had been the one behind it all, Morland would not be alive right now.


Best Quote:

Sherlock Holmes: You and I have had our differences, to put it mildly. But I always thought that at the very least you knew the content of my character. If you don’t know without a question that I am not a killer then there really is no foundation for us to build on. This experiment of ours has reached its end, if for no other reason than to preserve my safety and Watson’s. And if you have any lingering doubts, here is how you can be certain I’m not the one that tried to kill you, you’re alive.



*I liked the fact that there was a two week jump within his episode and the last, it makes things more solid considering Sherlock thought things through instead of automatically confronting his father.

*While this was obviously a more Holmes-centric ep, Joan definitely deserves a shout-out considering she did all the hard work during this week’s case.

*The first sequence of the episode between Sherlock and Joan was great, especially the end of it.

*This is definitely not the end of Morland Holmes but I think it might be a little closer to the finale before we see him again.

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About the author

Maii Trueba

Maii is a 27 year old writer, who can get emotional and protective over certain characters and their stories, also pandas. And don't get her started on A Song of Ice and Fire because you'll never hear the end of it. She graduated in film and has a certificate in Art History so the nerdiness comes out from time to time.

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