Episode 216: The One Percent Solution
Lestrade: These two episodes are fortuitously grouped together, as they both showcase G. Lestrade. I talked a fair amount about Lestrade back at the beginning of the season, but there’s more to go into here. (I’ll cluster my comments together for ease.)
His tenacity (such as his stubbornness in tracking down John Bowden and Shawn Menck) is canonical. He’s called a “bulldog” in Hound of the Baskervilles, and “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” showcases both this quality and his foolishness (also showcased in this episode):
“When he arrives he will be met by the obtuse but resolute Lestrade, and I have no doubt that we shall have all our details filled in.”
Interestingly, it is also “The Cardboard Box” in which we first learned that Lestrade’s first name starts with “G.”
But Lestrade does have a strong sense of justice, as we see in both episodes. No matter his failings from Holmes’ perspective, he is always “the best of a bad lot,” and there is a reason why Holmes continues to work with the detective.
Seven-per-cent solution: The title “One Percent Solution” is a play on a famous quote from The Sign of the Four:
“It is cocaine,” he said, “a seven-per-cent solution. Would you care to try it?”
“Seven Percent Solution” is also the title of one of the most influential pastiches of modern times, written by Nicholas Meyer in 1974 and made into a movie in 1976.
Episode 217: Ears to You
Severed ears: Speaking of “The Cardboard Box,” the setup for this episode is very similar to that story — two human ears are mailed to someone, packed in salt. In the original story, the ears were not matched, however.
Alphonse Bertillon: The French biometrics researcher was not only extremely influential to Victorian criminology, but he was referenced twice in the original canon. The first time was in The Hound of the Baskervilles, in which Holmes is considered the “second highest expert in Europe” after Bertillon. In “The Naval Treaty,” Holmes “…expressed his enthusiastic admiration of the French savant”.
Off-Topic: 221b Con!
As a digression, I want to remind readers that I’ll be at 221b Con next weekend! I’m on five panels, and I’ll have copies of Watson is Not an Idiot for sale at the MX Publishing table. That’s a lot of hotlinks, but it’s just because I’m very excited. Last year was a wonderful show, and I’m looking forward to going again! If you go, say hello and mention that you’re a reader of the blog.