Sherlock is pulled in multiple directions tonight: investigation, which as we know he has an incredible talent for, and N.A. sponsorship, which, as we might have guessed, he struggles with. While Watson is making progress on one of Sherlock's cold cases, recovering addict Randy is being tempted toward relapse by an addict ex-girlfriend -- given Sherlock's drive to beat mysteries and his lack of social intelligence, he's far more enthusiastic about the mystery.
Watson's cold case unearths a stolen dinosaur fossil hidden in a rock, smuggled into the United States from Mongolia; the rock was found in the backyard of an unsolved murder victim named Doug, suggesting that either he or someone he was with had been involved in the black market. Holmes and Watson follow up with one of Doug's friends, an ice cream truck driver who operates year-round for no discernible reason. Sure enough, they discover him to be a smuggler -- he had been transporting the rock, and had dropped it at Doug's when the heat got too intense.
While NYPD questions the ice cream man, two phony customs officers check in and quietly steal the fossil back. The heist proves that Sherlock's dinosaur merchants are extremely well-connected, both within the government and outside its reach in the black market. Sherlock is pretty sure that he might be able to get a lead on such a person by questioning his friend C, a woman with whom he is acquainted via anonymous erotic correspondence, as it happens -- that particular character development will resonate with a certain Tumblr-going strata of the Elementary
audience, no doubt. C is in charge of a high end auction house, and is able to put Sherlock in touch with a shady buyer who calls himself the Magpie.
The Recent Past
While Holmes is chasing dinosaur thieves, Randy is struggling to repel a girl named Eve -- she had been present at the beginning of his addiction, and he was unable to seek help until she moved away. She now claims to be seeking help, and wants to move back in with Randy; Sherlock knows this is a bad idea, but he's clueless as to how much firmness or gentility on the matter will best facilitate Randy's continued sobriety. The matter resolves itself for better or for worse when Sherlock is overcome by his frustration and simply snaps at Randy about how dumb he's being.
Sherlock's true area of interest, the Magpie, proves to be another apparent dead end -- he did indeed have the fossil in his position, but he'd been murdered earlier and the fossil was destroyed. As the fossil had been worth millions of dollars, Holmes notes it to be very strange that the intruder had destroyed it rather than stolen it -- with a great deal of effort and the help of a geologist consultant, he theorizes that the rock may have been at the center of a deeply controversial academic debate. Because the fossil had been a complete skeleton with soil samples far higher in the ground than usual, it may have proven that some dinosaurs had survived the famous meteor strike that has conventionally been associated with their extinction.
With their search helpfully narrowed to local archaeological experts invested in and passionate about maintaining dinosaur orthodoxy, Holmes and Watson seem to be on the brink of solving the murder -- their crime scene DNA samples even match one of their suspects. Unfortunately, the professor they settle on has an ironclad alibi. With further investigation, Sherlock deduces that the murder was committed by the suspect's writing partner, a fraudulent archaeologist who was just as invested in protecting the academic status quo.
In spite of his victory over the case, Sherlock is still battered by his troubles with Randy. Sure enough, that situation remains complicated: in his distress, Randy had relapsed and used again with his girlfriend -- when it was over though, he remembered Sherlock's advice and cut her out of his life. Together, they go to a meeting.