Monday, March 3, 2014

'Elementary' - Season Two, Episode 16 (40) - "One Percent Solution" - a review

Finally! An episode that requires no searching to find good things to say about it. It has been a while.

Sherlock and Watson are called in to investigate a bombing at a restaurant where several players in high finance are either killed or wounded.
While at the crime scene Sherlock discovers one of the banks has sent it's own investigator, who turns out to be Holmes' old friend Lestrade.

For me, this was a top notch episode that should set the standard for what the others should strive for.
Although it was not without it's seemly required double entendre's, it was kept pretty middle, almost to the point where it was working.

I liked Sean Pertwee as Lestrade the first time he came around and I think he did an even better job this time.
The relationship picks up once again where it left off when Holmes was last in London, that being Lestrade taking the credit for Holmes' solutions and now using Holmes' methods as a form of publicity for himself and his discussion forum circuit. This assumption of credit also lands Lestrade a high paying job with one of the banks that lost employees in the bombing.

What was really fun about this episode was that Pertwee's character ran through all the characteristics of the relationship between Holmes and Lestrade that is to be found in the Canon. From jealousy and contempt, all the way to respect and admiration.
In the beginning of the episode we see Lestrade as someone who thinks of himself on equal footing as the great detective, at least in his own mind. We also see a Holmes that does not feel he is required to dispell this notion.
We see Sherlock responding by encouraging Lestrade to follow his own leads using his own methods, knowing this will keep Lestrade out of the way.
We then see Lestrade finding he is not quite up to the task and reluctantly coming to Holmes for help, but still not quite convinced he hasn't got it right yet.
And finally we see a Lestrade who realizes he is out of his league and is better served by relaying on Holmes.

I also think Miller's Holmes played well against these changes in Lestrade as the episode went along, and I think was one of the strongest Canonical references yet.
Miller's Holmes was much more, dare I say, professional and restrained, and much more in style of the character we have come to know as Sherlock Holmes. Most of the displays of the fetishes and quirkiness that has made the show sometimes almost unbearable were well underplayed in this episode.
I liked the fact that Miller's Holmes found Lestrade a distraction while actually working on the case, I thought that a very good Canonical nod. Canonically Holmes has a need for Lestrade, but not when the case is needing to be solved.
And in the end we also learn Pertwee's Lestrade has a professional line he will not cross (letting murderers go) giving Lestrade back a little of the character that makes him a good 'sidekick' for canonical Holmes.
He was a somewhat methodical police officer who found his career shattered, only to, thanks to Holmes, land squarely in a good situation that like a mediocre actor getting the fame he craves, only to find he is not ready for it. Coming back down to earth, we see Lestrade finally excepting who he really is.

Lestrade's assistant was a good treat, and gave Joan someone to play off of, and also firmly told us that Joan does not consider herself an 'assistant'.

In this tour-de-force between Holmes, Lestrade and Watson it gave the other regulars in the show little to do, but. . . that was okay.

This episode also found Holmes doing most of the grunt work and Watson helping in a more Watson like way.

Canonical nods I found.

- "When you've eliminated the impossible . ."
- The relationship between Holmes and Lestrade
- Holmes encouraging Lestrade to follow his own leads, however erroneous.
- Lestrade thinking Holmes is on the wrong path.
- in the end, Lestrade telling others Holmes is a great detective
- knowledge of chemicals
- knowledge of related literature
-Lestrade's drinking habits

My simple mind did not get the meaning of the title to this episode till almost done writing this review.
That only goes to prove I am firmly planted in the 99%.

On my now famous rating scale, I give this episode  . . .

I thoroughly enjoyed this episode.


  1. After the last episode, "Corpse de Ballet", which was the nadir of season two so far, this one was a breath of fresh air. While Pertwee's Lestrade would probably be grating if he were a weekly presence, he is quite a good foil for Miller's Sherlock. This episode even played well in Peoria, or so I read. Usually on "Elementary", the B-story plays off the A-story. I thought the fighting cocks were a little too on the nose as a comment on Holmes and Lestrade's relationship (battling bantams who learn to get along), which had the added benefit for the writers of letting them indulge in their less-than-Conan-Doyle-quality double entendres.

    1. This was one of the few very good episodes so far this year.
      I had not made the connection between the cocks and battling Holmes and Lestrade. Good comment.