Now that season two’s moving forward, Elementary has eased back into its crime-of-the-week formula. “Solve For X” doesn’t leave that big of an impression, but it does put a possible bookend to Joan’s painful medical past.

The Players:

  • Director: Sanaa Hamri
  • Writers: Jason Tracey
  • Cast: Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Jon Michael Hill, Aidan Quinn, Lynn Collins, Jeremy Jordan

Episode Title: “Solve For X”

Sherlock (Miller) and Watson (Liu) are thrown into the world of mathematics when a string of murders connect to a seemingly unsolvable equation. At the same time, Joan faces her past as a former patient’s son pops back into the picture.

The Good:

  • Joan’s Backstory: We all know Joan was formerly a surgeon but dropped out of the medical field when she let a patient die on the table. Shortly after, she was taken to court and eventually quit her job because the guilt was too much to bear. When her former patient’s son reappears, it brings back a slew of painful memories that she has to face. Instead of letting it linger for another season, the writers decided to end to it here. Joan was posed with the challenge of using some of her pay to help this young man open a bar. She’s thrown into emotional turmoil as Sherlock becomes the obvious voice of reason. It’s only due to his concern for her as a friend. At this point Joan has almost completely put the past behind her. Is there a possibility she could go back to being a surgeon? Perhaps, but we won’t be seeing that anytime soon.
  • Season 2 Sherlock: Again,this gradual transition of Sherlock’s personality is fun to see unfold. Last week, he was reaching out to Mycroft just slightly, and here we see him turning into the worried friend trying to save Joan from making a huge mistake. Good for you Sherlock.
  • Math Murders: When you think about it, the basic premise is appealing in itself. It’s always interesting when you see intriguing murder situations like these on Elementary. It shows that no matter the circumstances, there’s always the possibility you could push someone to the edge of murder.

The So-So:

  • Crime Solved: Some of these outcomes are easy to predict. Around the halfway mark you’re able to put the pieces together. It ends up making the episode boring to watch because you’re just sitting around waiting for them to prove your theory right.
  • Direction: There’s only so much you can do with shooting a television show, or at least that’s what they want you to think. “Solve For X” had a couple of cool shots, including a nice crane-down in the autopsy room, but there wasn’t much else.

The Bad:

  • The Prime Suspect: We weren’t fans of the actress playing the prime suspect in this episode. It may have been a combination of her movie star like looks and acting, but we couldn’t buy her character. Her character was played as a suspicious person from the start, and more than likely was the killer (spoiler: she totally is). She was a little bland for our tastes.


“Solve For X” is a step forward in Watson’s story as it dives deeper into the progressing worlds of these detectives. Maybe the crime-of-the-week will be more entertaining the next time around?

Rating: 7/10

Elementary airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on CBS.

What did you think of last night’s episode?