Season: Four — Episode: 17 Director: Seith Mann — Writer: Paul Cornell — Aired: March 20, 2016 — Viewers (millions): 5.28 Summary: When a vigilante dressed as a comic book hero is murdered, it's up to Holmes and Watson to find the man's true identity and locate his killer. Morland tries to charm Watson into doing him a favor.
I've had masked visitors before, but they came either to kill me or have sex with me. On one memorable occasion, both, but you are my first superhero.
At The Brownstone, as Watson leaves to run a charity clothing drive at the 11th Precinct, she finds the library filled with members of Everyone who donate the clothes they are wearing as payment for Sherlock getting them out of trouble with the NSA. At the precinct, as Detective Bell brings Watson some donated clothes, her friend Tammy gleefully tells her that Morland made a large donation to the charity which Watson is hesitant about. Outside a bakery, two workers wake the homeless sleeping on the sidewalk and discover a dead man wearing a superhero costume. At the Morgue, Bell notes that the unidentified man was a street vigilante and was wearing a Midnight Ranger costume with body armor. Hit by armor piercing bullets, Sherlock sees that the man's costume was professionally tailored and asks Bell to question tailors near the murder scene.
Having found that the creator of the Midnight Ranger, Superlative Comics, were not happy that the vigilante was dressed as their character and were trying to identify him, Sherlock and Watson head to their office. Watson knows all Superlative's characters since her brother was a fan and they meet editor Al Baxter and CEO Eddie Eichorn. Eichorn says that they foresaw that harm would come to the vigilante which they worried would damage a movie deal that is in the works. Indicating that the movie would see a reimagining of the Ranger into a darker, more violent character, they haven't been able to identify the vigilante but provide everything they've learned on him. Bell finds the tailor who made the vigilante's cape who tells Bell that crime went down in the neighborhood due to his efforts. Reluctantly, he provides the vigilante's name, which is the Ranger's real name.
He's an Olympic-level athlete with an obscenely high IQ.
At Morland's office, he asks Watson to investigate if there's a mole in his organization as he recently lost a project under suspicious circumstances. Watson feels obliged since Morland donated to a charity she cares about and, she notes that Morland doesn't want Sherlock involved. Returning to the Brownstone, Watson finds that Sherlock has acquired the entire run of all Midnight Ranger comics in order to see if there's any connection between how the vigilante died and the occurrences where the Ranger was killed. Watson relates Morland's request which she wants to ensure Sherlock is OK with before undertaking it. Sherlock receives a call from a man who says he knows the vigilant's identity and that he's on their roof. Proceeding onto the roof, a masked man announces himself as the "Standard Bearer." In the kitchen, the Bearer refuses to take off his mask until Sherlock quickly deduces where he works and lives.
I'm here to help.
The Bearer indicates that Sherlock is known to the hero community, that the vigilante is Mike Stratton and that he kept a journal of all his encounters at his home. At Stratton's, Sherlock tells Watson that he found the man who tried to kill Morland, Ruslan Krasnov, who he believes Morland helped escape from a Russian prison. While advising that for her safety, she should stay away from Morland, he finds a check Al Baxter wrote to Stratton. Confronting Baxter at Superlative, he admits he gave Stratton permission to operate as the Midnight Ranger as he's not only the editor, but the grandson of the Ranger's creator. Seeing that Stratton epitomized everything the Ranger stood for, he wrote the check so Stratton could buy body armor. Asking Sherlock to not tell Eichorn, he offers access to this email account to prove that he was supporter of Stratton.
He was brave and honorable and decent.
At the precinct, while reviewing Stratton's journal, Watson shows Bell that a piece of a tactical belt was found at Stratton's murder scene. Since Stratton's was intact, she believes that he tore it off his attacker. Captain Gregson calls them into his office and shows them a video of a new Midnight Ranger vigilante capturing a purse snatcher. Watson calls Sherlock as she knows who the new Ranger is and, thinks he might have killed Stratton. Sherlock confronts the Standard Bearer, Ben Garrett, at his work and telling him about the torn belt, Sherlock rips Ben's shirt to reveal a Midnight Ranger costume underneath. In "the box" at the precinct, Bell, Sherlock and Watson accuse Ben not liking the changes made to the Ranger by Superlative and that he killed Stratton as he didn't like what he was doing with the character. With no alibi, Ben passionately says that Stratton saved his life by showing him how to be a hero and that he was a friend.
I was trying to honor Mike.
While Bell seeks a warrant to search Ben's apartment for a tactical belt, Watson tells Sherlock that Stratton's journal mentions he had an altercation with a drug dealer, Renny Molina. She also tells him that she's going to see Morland and decline finding the mole. At a park, Sherlock is able to manipulate a defiant Molina into admitting that he punched Stratton and took his phone. While Molina provides an alibi, Sherlock breaks into Stratton's phone and leaves. At Morland's office, Watson asks if Morland broke Krasnov out of prison which he denies. Having reviewed all the materials Morland provided her, she says that there's no mole in his organization.
You were just outmaneuvered.
At the precinct, Bell introduces NYPD Sergeant Black to Sherlock. Showing Black that Stratton's phone was called from Black's desk phone, they ask if he knows Stratton. Black remembers that a man arrested for DWI used his desk phone to call Stratton for bail. Recalling that the arrestee was named Baxter, he also had a permit for a .45 pistol, which was the same calibre used to shoot Stratton. Heading to Superlative, Eichorn says Baxter isn't at work and is likely at home, hungover. Indicating that as the grandson of the Ranger's creator, he was forced to hire him, he also says that Baxter was extremely bitter that his family didn't benefit financially from his grandfather's creation. When Baxter wasn't invited to a dinner with movie executives, he stormed out. Realizing the meeting was the night that Stratton was killed and that the restaurant was close to Stratton's murder scene, Sherlock pulls the fire alarm to evacuate everyone.
God hates the Midnight Ranger.
He explains that Baxter's intended target was the restaurant and that Stratton died trying to stop him. After making Baxter wait an hour in "the box", Sherlock enters and tells him they've searched his home and found many weapons. Suspecting that Baxter told Stratton of his hatred for Superlative and that he intended to shoot-up the restaurant, Sherlock shows him the piece of the tactical belt Stratton tore off Baxter. Appealing to Baxter to honor Stratton's memory and heroism, Baxter breaks down and confesses to shooting him. At the Brownstone, as Sherlock prepares materials to help Garrett be a better vigilante, Watson lies that she's leaving for dinner with a friend. Instead, she surprises one of Morland's employees, Emil Kurtz, and shows him proof that he was leaking information to one of Morland's competitors. (♫ Daniel Spaleniak - Back Home ♫) She blackmails Kurtz into providing her information on Morland's activities.
They were meant for your tormentors at Superlative Comics.
Daniel Spaleniak - Back Home plays as Watson blackmails Emil Kurtz.
As Holmes describes to Watson the five ways the Midnight Ranger has died in the comics, his personal favorite is "pushed over a waterfall, locked in the embrace of his nemesis." This is the same manner in which Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes "died" in The Final Problem.
The company that delivers the Midnight Ranger comics to Holmes is "APD" (Axiom Parcel Delivery), the same delivery company whose truck was used to steal two pregnant zebras. ("The Female of the Species")
"I was bitten by a radioactive detective."
―Sherlock to Ben Garrett
"I ask you, is there anything more quintessentially American than being gunned down in a place that you're meant to feel safe? Sometimes I think it should be on U.S. currency."