Elementary Season 4 Episode 20 Review: Art Imitates Art

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Wow, way to take the knife and twist! Joan's attempt to learn more about where she comes from (specifically, her father) earned her some pretty cruel responses from her bitter and resentful half-sister Lin.

On Elementary Season 4 Episode 20, Joan was actually reduced to tears by this rejection even as she had to help investigate a young woman's murder.

There weren't as many overtly-hilarious quips in this episode as in Elementary Season 4 Episode 19, which preceded it in the hour before, but there were a few good ones.

Like when Sherlock and company were interviewing the "artist" who made a (very good) living by essentially stealing other people's selfies:

We'd show you the crime scene photographs, but you'd probably just "recontextualize" them.


Of course, this episode wasn't actually about pretentious artists or the decline of Western Civilization demonstrated through the narcissism of excessive sharing of one's self online. The real story was a perversion of justice with a slice of "take that" to the audience.

I'm sure that some of you have heard of something called "the CSI effect." It's the exaggerated portrayal of forensic science (such as fingerprints and DNA evidence) on crime shows and the potential influence it has on public perception of the relative value of such evidence. 

The problem here in this episode was that the zealous lab supervisor was producing evidence to support an already-established conclusion, which is totally wrong and backwards. Who knows how many innocent people ended up behind bars due to her perverting the course of justice?

Justice isn't about cops being right. After all, cops may have all sorts of special training in the field of criminal investigation, but I think all of us will concede that they are neither perfect nor omniscient. Falsifying lab tests is exactly counterproductive to finding out the truth and putting the actual bad guys behind bars.

I'm with Sherlock 100% when he ripped into the lab supervisor:

You're not supposed to be an "asset," you're supposed to be a scientist, an impartial seeker of truth! But you're not! You're a charlatan! And you've sent at least one innocent man to prison, Louis Bowman!


By the very end, the resolution to the case itself almost felt like a footnote as both the prosecutor and her wife were arrested for murders they both committed.

The motive for the original murder was one of the oldest stories in the book: jealousy.

Meanwhile, Joan's new-found half-sister Lin stopped by to spew some totally unearned invective after Joan called her mother to learn about her father. Though they seemed to end things in an okay place, it was rather painful to watch as Lin told Joan that their father hated her and wished she were never born.

As a viewer, I'm actually glad that they didn't become instant-sisters and start braiding each other's hair and stuff. I can't say that I have any particular experience with mental illness, but I would imagine that the effect on family members can be devastating. It's hard enough dealing with physical illness.

I certainly hope I never express the sort of resentment towards anyone that Lin did with Joan.

A few final notes before I sign off:

  • Fans of Dexter will surely have recognized Lauren Velez as Zoe Mercado.
  • In addition to murder, that (ex-)prosecutor could also be charged with grand theft auto, vandalism, and, oh yes, obstruction of justice. To make it even better, the fact that the crime crossed state lines actually makes it federal jurisdiction, I believe.
  • Louis Bowman had the makings for one whopper of a lawsuit against the State of Connecticut.

So, what did you think of "Art Imitates Art"? Were you shocked at how Lin treated Joan? What do you think of selfies? Did you suspect that this would turn out to be a crime of passion (of a sort)? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you missed either this episode or the preceding Elementary Season 4 Episode 19, you can always watch Elementary online to catch up before Elementary Season 4 Episode 21 airs on Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 10/9c on CBS.

Art Imitates Art Review

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Elementary Season 4 Episode 20 Quotes

So this guy rips off other people's selfies, blows them up, and charges a hundred grand apiece? Surprised I"m not investigating *his* murder.

Detective Bell

We'd show you the crime scene photographs, but you'd probably just "recontextualize" them.