Mathematical Problem Solving
Posted: by Tyler Olson
***The review below may contains some spoilers.***
There was no fancy trip, no super-famous guest stars, and improvised explosions this week, just plenty of emotional scenes and math.
Math is often seen as the annoying and confusing class that so many people don't want, and in TV it is frequently displayed with inconsistencies and errors, but on Elementary we got nothing but the real deal. Not only was it refreshing to see math handled in an intelligent and practical fashion, but the problem front and center, P versus NP, was a real world conundrum with real world implications. Yes, for those who aren't aware, P versus NP is completely true, including all the information provided in the episode... well, except that it hasn't been solved, that we know of. Frightening, no?
Sadly, the case surrounding it wasn't as brilliant as the problem... or it could be that I've just watching too much Elementary. About half-way through 'Solve for X' I already correctly solved the equation of who the murderer was and how the proof of innocence was created. How was I able to solve it before Sherlock? Simple, I concluded that the impossible must be true and that the unsolvable problem was solved before he did. I am surprised that he needed the hint from a mugger to figure it out. Maybe he was detracted by what Joan was going through, or just didn't have his crutch to lean on often enough.
Joan's problem wasn't as complex as the main case, but I thought the solution was far more clever. I always dislike people who try to take advantage of others, financial or otherwise, so Joan's friendly offer, with strings attached, was a great way to politely get the fool to leave her alone. The only thing that I would have liked to see was Joan getting past her guilt and moving on, not just making amends. Mistakes happen, and feeling guilty over such a mistake, even one as deadly as hers, is extremely unhealthy. Let's hope that her guilt is handled properly before it becomes a problem in the future.
This was also a great catalyst for Sherlock and Joan's friendship. Compared to the first season, their friendship has grown strong enough to finally consider them the best of friends, yet, something keeps hinting that it might be growing even further. This is the second episode in a row that felt this way, so I hope the writers will either maintain the friendship as is for a while, or just get the transition over with (in a respectful manner). If they keep teasing a future romance, they will only aggravate the shippers and the fans who don't want it to happen. Better to get the pain over with as quickly as possible.
While 'Solve for X' wasn't as fantastic as the season premiere, it was still a great episode. Perhaps we could get a sequel to this episode in the future; someone else solve the equation, or just have Moriarty break free and snag the code.