Elementary Season 2 Review “The One-Percent Solution”

The One Percent Solution

On the latest episode of “Elementary,” Holmes learned that if all else fails, there’s always “The One Percent Solution.” In a magnificently well-written episode, the show proved that it is possible to have one’s cake and eat it, too, by way of a deft merging of high and low brow humor that worked like a charm. I mean, I can’t think of the last time I saw something like this that so determinedly combined the smart and the juvenile in a way that made you think while at the same time appealed to the lowest common denominator of humor, while gleefully allowing that it was doing so pretty much the entire time. Monty Python, maybe?

Don’t get me wrong, it maybe wasn’t that clever, but then again, what is? It still doesn’t change the fact that this episode had me giggling like a school boy, all the while I was marveling at the impressive intricacy of the plotline, which revolved around a bombing at the restaurant of a local fancy hotel. The show also brought back Holmes’ pseudo-foe Lestrade (Sean Pertwee), who was in town working as a security advisor to a CEO, among other things, as it turned out. The dynamic between the two was, as ever, wonderfully prickly and amusing, bringing out the best in the show in the process. Is it any wonder that the episode was written by the show’s creator, Robert Doherty?

I must say, I do love it when the show brings on the more canonical figures in the Sherlock Holmes universe, and Lestrade is one of the best, or, at the very least, the most fun. It was just plain amusing seeing Lestrade strut around like, well, a proud cock, with his Watson knock-off Girl Friday-type, Miss Truepenny (!) in tow. (That last name reminded me of another canonical figure in British literature, namely this one.)

Meanwhile, there was the ridiculous subplot of Holmes trying to rehabilitate two roosters that had been used as cock-fighters in a local betting ring. Could he turn two fighters into two peacefully coexisting fowls and stop the cock-on-cock violence once and for all? As it turned out, the answer was yes, but let’s face it, it was really just an excuse to repeatedly use the word “cock” a whole lot.

As silly as it was, I couldn’t stop myself from laughing, particularly at this exchange, which occurred after Holmes left one of the roosters outside Watson’s door, in order to rudely awaken her and alert her to a break in the case at hand, as well as serve as a cheap shot for an obvious, but still hilarious joke. After she falsely identified the rooster as Romulus, Holmes corrected her and pointed out that it was, in fact, Remus she was holding, which led to this:

Watson: “I don’t care which cock I’m holding, I just want to know how it got there.”
Holmes: “I don’t know if you’ve settled on an epitaph yet, but it does occur to me that that would look fantastic on a tombstone.”

LOL. Nailed it. The episode was, perhaps needless to say, filled with such double entendres, but apparently I have the funny bone of a twelve-year-old because I laughed every time. (Second favorite: Holmes, addressing Watson in a deadpan manner, as ever: “You seem upset. Do you have an aversion to cocks?”) Honestly, though, even beyond the obvious, if still hilarious, lowest common denominator humor, there was still some clever writing going on here.

I also liked Holmes’ reaction to being told he would be consulting with a “security czar”: “I refuse on principle to work with anyone who would willingly refer to themselves as a ‘czar’.” Enter Lestrade, but of course. I also liked Holmes’ reaction to watching a “DOUG chat,” an obvious dig at “TED talks,” which elicited the following reaction: “It’s revolting, isn’t it? A roomful of people so accustomed to their own flatulence that they don’t notice the stench anymore.” I’ll see your host of cheap-but-funny cock jokes with a side order of a fart joke, thank you very much. ROTFL.

That was also a clever touch when Doherty slipped in that Doyle reference via Lestrade’s business card slogan: “When you’ve eliminated the impossible…” Not to mention the revelation that Lestrade used a helicopter to travel a matter of blocks, or that Holmes was the one who caused Pluto to be declassified as a planet! Great stuff all around, and I just love the interplay between Lestrade and Holmes. It’s enough to make you almost wish that Lestrade was a regular on the show, although I suspect he probably works best in small doses.

The main plot itself was also gratifyingly intricate, and I honestly didn’t see the big twist coming, even though it made perfect sense in retrospect. The whole Aurelius thing was a nice red herring as well, and I liked that he killed himself by accident, preparing a bomb. I’ve seen plenty of mad bomber plotlines on any number of crime procedural shows, and I don’t recall that ever happening unintentionally. I’ve seen bombers who knew they were going to die going in, but never one that never got that far because they ended up killing themselves in the process of making the bomb itself! Which you have to think must happen from time to time, right?

All in all, a fantastic episode. I’ll allow that the humor was silly, but come on, if you can’t laugh at the occasional sophomoric joke, you need to get over yourself. Besides, these were particularly well-crafted, and in the service of a solid mystery to boot. What more can you ask for than that?

What did you think of “Elementary” this week? Did you find the mystery solution gratifying? Did you enjoy seeing Lestrade again? Did you get a kick out of the interplay between Watson and her would-be doppelganger Miss Truepenny? Did it do your heart some good to see two cocks come together in perfect harmony? (Sorry- couldn’t resist.) Sound off on this and more below, and see you next week!