Elementary "Possibility Two" Review: If I Had a Billion Dollars...

By Lily Sparks

Feb 22, 2013

Elementary S01E17: "Possibility Two"

They’re passing around popsicles in hell today because I absolutely loved last night's Elementary, no complaints. It gets my full seal of approval, full stop, and when is the last time that happened? Wait a minute—are my cloven hooves turning into hands?! Has the curse been broken? Have I learned to love again?

I don’t know about that, but I do know that the way Watson and Sherlock interact now is so cozy and adorable I just want to watch them stream into my house 24 hours a day like Big Brother. Everything from Sherlock letting Watson awkwardly take the lead in crime scenes to their night session putting together molecule dinosaurs was fantastic. I love the larger sense we get that her medical expertise compliments his big bag of esoteric knowledge.

I also loved the smaller mystery within the weekly mystery, the weird dry cleaners with the amazing thug with sunglasses and the angry woman and her crazy soap operas that were caught on-screen.

Like I’ve said in the past, there’s someone on Elementary's writing staff with an off-kilter sense of humor and when it leaks out in little scenes the rest of the show becomes so much more insouciant and daring, like a man in a flawless black suit with neon pink socks.

If you were to put a gun to my head (why, why are you doing this to me?) and demand that I nitpick something... I did sort of figure out who the killer was immediately, when Holmes pointed out the giant painting of him and called out the office as a tower of ego.

However the idea that he suffered from the same CAA he was dosing New York’s wealthiest with was a pleasing surprise. (CAA, I looked up, is an actual thing so thanks for the pathology lesson, TV! You continue to be the spackle in the yawning holes of my liberal arts education.) And, credit where credit is due, for once they really seemed to make an honest attempt to dot the landscape with possibilities. Was the murder the work of the hardened sociopath Natasha was studying, or the hardened sociopath she was engaged to?

It stretches belief that a woman who dedicated her entire life to classifying sociopaths wouldn’t recognize all the traits in the man she loved, but then maybe there’s an element of subconscious attraction there, like the way people who study sharks ultimately end up in love with a shark. It’s really sad when it happens. Ask Sea World lab techs about the number of times they’ve found a torn-off hand clutching a bunch of flowers stuck in the aquarium drain. Embarrassing.

But let me go back to stuff I loved, because there’s a lot to call out: the seven-screen Skype session that Sherlock immediately cut off when an aged chemical biology professor started talking, his meddlesome and simultaneous texts to Gregson and Belle during their interrogation of a suspect, his screamed Benjamin Franklin quote. I also loved the weird little ancillary characters this week. The billionaire with CAA was surprisingly well played for a bit player and his stolid driver in the full getup was sort of a delightful tip of the hat to Sherlock’s Victoriana heritage.

And the present of a single bee!!! Sort of hilarious. What a menacing gift to get if you don’t breed them. I might wrap up a box with a tape player going of a single “bzzzzz” for Christmas.

The one ongoing mental block I have with Elementary is... I still long to see a smaller locked-room mystery on this show presented in a way where we, as viewers, could plausibly arrive at a solution on our own. And I’ve yet to see the show really do that and I wish it would.

The thing is, such things are actually very hard to write, especially for TV versus prose, where you can embed clues in detailed description without necessarily drawing attention to them. It’s sort of like I’m going into a really excellent pizza restaurant and asking for turtle soup. But since they’ve dialed in the character dynamics so perfectly—I love Watson and Sherlock’s relationship so much—I’m dying to see them solve a closed-door mystery in a way where I could deduce in my hollering-over-a-wine-glass fashion alongside them.


1. Did you love Watson and Sherlock this episode?

2. What kind of mystery do you want to see next?

3. What gift would you ask for from a billionaire?

  • Comments (50)
Add a Comment
In reply to :
  • GirishKrishna1 Jun 19, 2013

    I agree. This was the first episode that I enjoyed completely and didn't have any complaints about.

  • maxpowar9 Apr 18, 2013

    I don't care what people say, I think this series is better than BBC's Sherlock. Elementary is deeper on a character level, and it's written better. Moffat's sexist and subtly anti-American portrayal of Irene Adler was extremely annoying for me, and sort of broke that series for me.

    (Adler is supposed to be AMERICAN... don't you think people would get upset if Holmes wasn't portrayed as English? Instead, Moffat made American feds into mafia-style goons, Adler into an Englishwoman, and of course he completely neutered her intellectual prowess by ultimately making her a damsel in distress that just exploits people sexually, and giving all credit for her moments of outwitting Sherlock to Moriarty's advice.



  • mungox Mar 08, 2013

    apparently I missed the only good episode of this series.

  • svr Feb 27, 2013

    Great review Lily! Love your liberal arts comment, I spit out my coffee when I read that! HAHAHA!
    1. Yes, I love them in every episode. :)
    2. Not sure, but I would love to see Sherlock having to interact with a group of children, sort of like those Verizon commercials where the little kids explain why more is better.
    3. Friendship and respect, but I would ask that of anyone :)

  • svr Mar 02, 2013

    Oops! Those commercials are for AT&T.; My mistake. Also I would love to see Sherlock upstaged by a cute little kid who's smarter than him. :)

  • LeslieLM Feb 27, 2013

    1. I loved their interaction. And I look forward to hearing other crime solving tips. You never know when you'll need one.

    2. Like others, I'd like to see more mysteries-without-murder.

    3. From a billionaire, I'd like to a sizable donation for the education of the poor in the third world (especially women). If s/he can bring on the messiah, so much the better.

  • meathead704 Feb 24, 2013

    A co-worker of mine is a big fan of the original British series "Elementary" is based on. When he found out "Sherlock" was being remade for American television he was furious. He asked me how good could it possibly be. If he saw "Possibility Two" he would have his answer. As Lilly pointed out this is a truly great episode. Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu are just plain terrific. Liu shined in this episode. I loved seeing her solve the mystery of the dry cleaner. "Elementary" just keep getting better every episode. I hope that trend continues for a long time.

  • ionee24 Feb 24, 2013

    I think the difference is that "Sherlock" is a plot driven remake that focusses on the cases, while "Elementary" is a character-driven remake that focusses on the relationship between a unique Watson and the same old Holmes. Neither show is exactly Arthur Conan Doyle material, but they thrive in their own respective areas.

  • spriggan1985 Feb 24, 2013

    i liked that what dry-cleaning lady said wasn't translated, i liked to know how many peaple did understand her :P
    what do you think whant language was that??

  • chrispopiel Feb 24, 2013


  • chrispopiel Feb 24, 2013

    And better that you didn't understand. Believe me.

  • spriggan1985 Feb 26, 2013

    did understand it and it was hilarious, although few mistakes has been made

  • safibwana Feb 23, 2013

    1. No, I found their interactions awkward and forced.
    2. A kids' mystery, like you'd read in an Encyclopedia Brown book.
    3. His daughter's hand in marriage.

  • rxym Feb 23, 2013

    This show is finally living up to it's potential as Sherlock and Watson find their footing in the reassignment of their roles from druggie/sponsor to Jedi/Padawan. I would like to see some focus on psychological mysteries ala Poirot, I would love a gift of a New York brownstone apartment. That thing rocks.

  • SarahHagen2 Feb 23, 2013

    Their dynamic is changing, assigning Watson duties (crime solving and dry cleaning) kind of puts the shoe on the other foot since we're used to Watson bossing Sherlock to go to support meetings. I didn't miss any addiction speak, so that was good, but when they opened the door together for the chauffeur's bee gift, I couldn't decide in that moment if they were lovers or brother and sister. Hm, either way they're getting more comfortable with each other.
    I like the idea of a single room murder mystery in the style of Agatha Christie, also a good Halloween spoof would be in costume! Maybe a modern twist could be a health risk/exposure to Sars or something so they would be sequestered. Also, I'm hoping for more Moriarty drama before this season is out.
    I dunno, what would the billionaire want in return? Wow, that sounds so indecent proposal... erm, kill all the lobbyists in Washington? Make Congress pay for any budget overages out of their paychecks? Plz, thx!

  • See More Comments (21)