Elementary Review: 02 x 16 – The One Percent Solution

Sometimes I find myself at a dinner party talking about Sherlock Holmes related topics, because yeah, I’m a BSB, of course I’m talking about Holmes at dinner parties. Anyway, after all topics related to Benedict Cumberbatch and the BBC are exhausted, I try to kindly stir people towards CBS’s Elementary. I often find myself saying people should give the show a shot and not discredit it before seeing it. Sometimes I’ll even say, GASP, there are elements of Elementary I like better than Sherlock. Joan Watson is a delight. Canonical references are aplenty. There’s even an update on Sherlock’s drug use, which is handled with tact and dignity.

104412_0123bSee, just when I was getting comfortable, a crazy episode like One Percent Solution comes along and I find myself wondering if I’m even watching the same show week to week.

Gareth Lestrade is back this week, but this time as a private investigator. He’s found himself in the states working for a paranoid CEO doing “threat assessments” for the company. When some of his employees end up the victim’s of a bomb which exploded during a dinner amongst Wall Street bankers, regulators and DC types – Lestrade and Holmes are paired up again. Lestrade is eager to show off what he’s learned post-Holmes and Holmes is well, irritable. He feels Lestrade owes him some kind of recompense for taking the credit for the murder he solved in London back in episode 1. I’ve got two strongly contradicting opinions on the whole thing. First, I’m glad this story line has come full circle and characters from canon aren’t just being thrown in for fan service. Lestrade will hopefully be back again soon. But second, the man is written as a buffoon. Truly. It’s as if he should have been a court jester before meeting Holmes, not a police officer. It’s one thing to make most detectives look weak-minded in comparison to Holmes’s intellect. It’s another thing to just make them useless to the point of humorlessness.

It’s this buffoonery that largely creates the misdirections in the investigation. While Lestrade is taking “deep dives” with victims, Holmes is investigating a long-time uni-bomber who has never been brought to justice. The case looks like one of his jobs, but alas, he turns up dead in a garage from… bomb making. This would not have bothered me in the least if not for the resolution at the end of this tale. Yes, our bomber turns out to be someone who has never made a bomb in their life and miraculously has the ability to control their explosions. But more on that in a second.

In between, we find Lestrade is in fact not working as a private investigator, but rather is working out the private affairs of his CEO boss. It’s creepy and awkward, but it gives Holmes a chance to empathize with the guy. In a way, it’s the apology he had been hoping for, but with a hefty side of humiliation too. These affairs also lead to stressful consequences, including a piece of black mail which comes from one of the CEO’s former partners.

The core problem with The One Percent Solution is it’s nonsensical. In the last 5 minutes a bunch of new factors involving this black mailing scheme compound and because they’re so far removed from all the earlier parts of the story, it has to be excessively explained to make any sense. [SPOILER] Essentially, one of the DC regulators bombed her own table so she would NOT be seen as a potential suspect should the NYPD be alerted to the black mail efforts. However, it’s not just anyone that knows what Wall Street bank should be making some non-legitimate trades on her behalf. It seems excessively risky and silly and leaves far too many questions. Not the least of which being that this woman has no background in bomb making as far as we know and could have easily killed herself only to gain nothing, but alas. Logic.

I assure you I won’t stop singing Elementary’s praises at dinner parties, but I may caution against their solutions. At least those of the one percent variety.



Liz Giorgi is the Baker Street Babes’ Elementary Guru and runs the fantastic nerdy blog Being Geek Chic. You can find her former reviews of Elementary here on her site.

She’s a writer and filmmaker. She’s also a contributor for Apartment Therapy and The Mary Sue.

You can contact her at elizabeth@beinggeekchic.com and follow her on Twitter @lizgiorgi

3 Responses to “Elementary Review: 02 x 16 – The One Percent Solution”

  1. I enjoy your write-ups Liz, but since you stated, “I often find myself saying people should give the show a shot and not discredit it before seeing it”, I must say I’ve watched “Elementary” quite enough to not care whether or not I ever see it again. Nevertheless, I’m still glad you and others can enjoy it.

  2. Bella says:

    I too love Elementary. I feel it is in the spirit of the original short stories, in that they are, well, short and resolved by the end of each. There are some that also have quite thin plots and abysmal crammed-in-there endings; maybe that is why I find any shortcomings amusing?

  3. Ian Miller says:

    Nice review! I admit that the plots of Elementary are rarely things I’m much bothered about. I come for Holmes and Watson, and rarely do I leave unsatisfied. This episode particularly had some really lovely Watson-is-not-an-assistant moments, and it was a great delight to see Lestrade back. It was a treat to see a take on Lestrade that makes him less of a Holmes fanboy and more of the ferret-faced, ambitious, sometimes unscrupulous but in the end honorable inspector I love from the stories.

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