Elsbeth – Episode 3 “Reality Shock” Recap & Review

Reality Shock

Episode three of Elsbeth starts with three women filming a reality show known as Lavish Ladies when one of them pulls out a blender to sell on the show, which makes the producer, Skip Mason, pull her aside for a talk. Wendy apologises to Skip for trying to market her product and says she has been stressed about what happened to Katricia. Skip does not want to discuss the issue with her during the shoot, so Wendy asks to meet later at her house. Skip runs into another Lavish Lady, Stacy, and they arrange to meet later that night for drinks at nine. 

Later that night, Skip enters Wendy’s apartment and finds her drinking in the bathtub. She uses the information that she knows could send Skip to prison to blackmail him for the cover-up, and Skip asks her to give him some time to talk to his superiors. After a while, he heads back to the bathroom with a blender and two glasses to make a margarita, telling Wendy they need to celebrate, but he kills her by pushing the electric blender into her bath water. Skip then meets up with Stacy for drinks. The detective in charge of the case is Detective Donnelly, and she believes that Wend knocks the blender into the bathtub when she gets drunk.

Elsbeth realises that Kaya knows the woman because she enjoys the show Lavish Women. She vouches for her with Donnelly and accompanies them to the set to break the news to the cast. When Elsbeth meets Skip, his behaviour immediately catches her attention, and she becomes suspicious of him, especially when she notices him having a manicure to remove sparkles from his fingers. Skip gives Donnelly, Elsbeth, and Kaya permission to speak to the cast. 

The following day at the office, Elsbeth asks Kaya to give her a crash course on Lavish Women over dinner since she does not want to start watching the show from season 1. Suddenly, Wagner calls Elsbeth into his office and reprimands her for getting involved in everything in the police department since she was only supposed to observe high-profile cases.

He asks her to focus on Wendy’s suicide case, and when Elsbeth tries to explain how she thinks it might not be, Wagner fails to listen. Elsbeth asks for a better office, and Wagner wants to take her to the fifth floor when the police department is on the second floor, so she chooses to make do with the storage closet. 

Wagner calls Lieutenant Noonan to help Elsbeth, and he comes in, mentioning a person called Wally who is causing problems, but when Elsbeth shows interest, he orders her to forget that she ever heard that name. Wagner asks Noonan to help Elsbeth move things from the window in the closet, and she pries about the Wally person, but he does not share any information. 

During their Lavish Ladies marathon, Elsbeth learns from Kaya that Tracy and Wendy are rivals in the show, so they visit Tracy the next day. However, contrary to popular belief, Tracy and Wendy were best friends off camera, and they would call each other at night to brainstorm the type of fights they would fake having the following day.

When asked if Skip knew about it, Tracy says that Skip thinks of himself as the mastermind and does not pay the women enough. Tracy mentions Skip pulling Wendy aside for a mic off after she tried to push her blenders during the show. 

Elsbeth revisits Skip at his office after talking to Tracy and notices that he keeps insisting on his alibi, which makes her even more suspicious. Skip insists that Wendy was addicted to alcohol and mentions that she kept her worst scene off the show. Elsbeth notes that Skip decides what the audience sees and can make people look any way he wants with enough footage. After Elsbeth leaves, Skip hastily calls someone and says they need to assemble footage for the police. 

After she gets back to the office, Elsbeth asks Kaya about the cameos that Wendy did, which refers to paid messages that celebrities record for people. After searching the internet for Wendy’s last video, they discovered she posted one 23 minutes before her death. Elsbeth shows it to Wagner and wonders where Wendy put the wineglass she holds. Also, why is Skip Mason eager to prove his alibi with Tracy?

Wagner still fails to listen to Elsbeth’s theory but has to when Donnelly comes with the autopsy results showing that Wendy was not drunk. Moreover, after dusting the tray for prints, they found none, which shows that someone wiped it clean. Wagner sends them back to Wendy’s house to investigate anything they might have missed.

Elsbeth finds the wine and margarita glasses with glitter on them at the house. While Elsbeth tries to make her case about Skip, Noonan arrives with news that Valencia, Wendy’s paid intern, assaulted her former employer. The video clip that Skip sent the police shows that Wendy and Valencia argued a lot, and she at one time threatened to kill Wendy.

Moreover, Skip’s alibi is tight as Tracy’s voice is heard in the background, exclaiming about showing up on time. Still, Elsbeth is certain that Valencia is not their guy, and she stands up for her intuitions and tells Wagner that the police did not follow every lead. Elsbeth asks if there are more messages on the phone, leading them to Katricia.

While Skip insists that Katricia is unstable and disgruntled, upon meeting her, Kaya and Elsbeth notice that she is sober and can hold her liquor. Katricia proves this by taking eight shots of tequila before the questioning and says that Skip hates that she cannot get drunk or lose her temper on the show, so he and Wendy drugged her, leading to the meltdown.

When Kaya and Elsbeth head back to talk to Skip, she does not give them an ear since he is confident that his alibi is airtight. Meanwhile, Wagner thinks that Skip looks creepy when he sees a clip of him talking about Wendy’s death and asks Donnelly to try and break his alibi since it is the only thing that is ruling him out as a suspect.

Elsbeth puts the pieces together when watching season seven of Lavish Women and shares her findings with Wagner and the team at the office. After Skip knocks the blender into the water, the lights go out, and the generator kicks in. Skip takes out his two phones, leaves a message for Wendy, and plays a clip from season seven with Tracy, saying she cannot believe she arrived on time. Her theory makes sense since there are no sounds of cars or noise in the recording, only the background humming of the generator. Regardless, Wagner thinks it is not enough because after watching the show recently, he discovered that women tend to repeat themselves. 

Elsbeth and the NYPD team show up at Wendy’s memorial, where Skip has planned everything meticulously but did not count on Katricia showing up. She has a file in hand that she says has evidence of who killed Wendy and tried to kill her. Skip panics, pulls Katricia aside for a mic off, and tries to convince her not to say anything, and in exchange, he will let her back to the show.

As the woman discusses how good Katricia looks, Tracy mentions that she will start doing palates again, which reminds her of the night she met with Skip. She sent a message to her gym instructor. Elsbeth asks for the message, sent twenty-four minutes past nine, proving that Skip never met Tracy at 9, breaking his alibi. The final nail in the coffin is the recording of what he discusses with Katricia off the mic, which the police were recording with the help of the show’s sound guy. The police take Skip away.

The Episode Review

The episode is okay, but the show needs more creativity and is becoming monotonous. Each narrative so far flows the same, starting with a detective who is way off in his assumptions and convinced that their theory is true. They look down on Elsbeth, but she sticks to her guts and finds the killer after they stage some showdown, which leads to the final scene and the arrest.

However, the same becomes the series’s charm since it is easy to watch, straightforward, and without agonising mysteries and suspense.

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