Liss and Ana Talk About Elementary

image of Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Watson; Liu is standing and wearing a deep red dress; Miller is seated and wearing a suit and deep red socks
His socks match her dress. HIS SOCKS MATCH HER DRESS!

So, I mentioned that contributor Ana Mardoll and I can talk about Elementary pretty much nonstop. In both our homes, it's Friday night viewing—a delicious reward to celebrate the end of the week.

After each episode, we end up emailing and/or texting back and forth about the episode, so we decided to share our comments here, and invite you to join in our excited conversation.

[Spoilers are deducting the fuck outta shit herein.]

Liss: I am so in love with Elementary, I don't even know what to do with myself. Consent, boundaries, gaslighting, feminism?! WHO IS WRITING THIS SHOW? MY BRAIN IN SECRET?!

Ana: OMG THAT WAS SO GOOD!! THEY SAID GASLIGHTING! THEY SAID GASLIGHTING! #MostFeministCrimeDramaEver?? I clapped my hands. I cannot tell you how happy I was to see that. Between all this talk about boundaries and consent and now gaslighting, this is like OMG FEMINIST TERMS IN MY MEDIA HOORAY.


Ana: I literally squealed when Alfredo was in the opening scene. Yay, Alfredo! I didn't want to hope too hard, because I was so afraid they wouldn't bring him back, and yet here he was! How much do I love that he's mentoring Joan as well? SO MUCH. Also because I think it takes the ultra-focus off of Joan and Sherlock as a duo, and I think that's important. There's a lot of intensity there, and having friends/co-workers like Alfredo and the Captain and Dect. Bell is so awesome.

Liss: ALFREDO! I also love that Alfredo is still acting as Sherlock's sponsor, which is a way of highlighting that Joan isn't expected to be filling that role in Sherlock's life anymore, and that they haven't just written off his addiction like, "Oh he's fine now!"

Ana: How much do I love the line Sherlock walks between supporting Joan and still guiding her? He believed her instincts when she insisted the guy was the murderer. He didn't use the scene in the jail to mock her for being on the other side. He didn't browbeat her for choosing to apologize. He shook her out of her self-doubt, but he wasn't cruel. It's SO HARD to do abrasive characters who aren’t irredeemable assholes, and they have done such an admirable job. LOVE.

Liss: It is SO GREAT. And I love how he is capable of challenging her without condescending to her. THE BEST THE BEST THE BEST.

Ana: TEAMWORK! And! And! I loved how they had to work together to solve both cases. Really underlined the whole "better together" thing. She's not mini-Sherlock; they actually need each other in order to collaborate. I love it. He never would have solved the pusher murder without her.

Liss: I am also very pleased by how the show does not rely on some tired trope about how they complement each other because of their different genders. It's not that Joan sees something "only a woman" could see. They complement each other because they're different complex humans with a different set of lived experiences (some of which might come down to gender-related socialization, but womanhood is not her only axis of contribution to the team).

Ana: The intervention scene WRECKED MY SHIT. I hated that. I appreciated that the show was trying to make them out to be her friends and not MEAN BITCHEZ (yay, there was a guy there, too!), but I still would have been SO uncomfortable. Like, crying uncontrollably after because WTF. And it was SO IRONIC because on our TV, they juxtaposed that scene with an AARP commercial about famous people who didn't find their niche until they were in their 50s. TELL JULIA CHILD SHE CAN'T JOIN THE MARINES!! Anyway. I thought they resolved that well, and I was so proud of Joan for keeping her shit together and telling them, um, no, this is an intervention. I'VE STAGED SOME. BOOM! I was so proud of her. You go, Joan.

Liss: I hated that scene, too—not because I thought it was poorly done or unrealistic, but because I was totally identifying with Joan and TURTLING! It was like she was totally afraid of being judged, so she was keeping shtum, and then her worst fears came true. When she changed her occupation field on the social media site at the end of the episode, I was all OH NOES HERE COME THE BLUBS!

Ana: How happy am I that these crimes CONTINUE to seriously address domestic violence and men who hate women? I feel like the show is seriously focused on actually dealing with domestic violence statistics (HUGE) while still doing the weird/rare/interesting cases. Also: Not super-triggery like your dime-store crime drama that has to send out for MOAR SEXY CORPSES. There's none of that "let's lingeringly gaze at the beautiful dead white woman while we opine that she had so much to live for and it's such a tragedy." NONE OF THAT. Thank you for not sexualizing your women victims, Elementary!

Liss: YES YES YES. And no craptastic twists, either. If this had been a case on an episode of Law & Order: SVU, it would have totally turned out that the sister did it, so the show could sneer at us about what man-hating assholes we are for assuming it was the husband, when SURPRISE! it's actually the women who are the REAL disproportionate perpetrators of gendered abuse! BARF. And how fucking awesome was it when Joan was all, "But, hey, don't listen to me—I'm just a crazy woman." BOOM. You just got served a plate full of WATSON, son!

Ana: Joan solved the case! JOAN SOLVED THE CASE! I was so happy for her!! Like, literally, happy tears! Liu did a fantastic job of mixing vulnerability and triumph in that interrogation scene. And Sherlock was SO proud of her, gave her all the credit, let it be her moment to shine. And I continue to LOVE how awesome the Captain and Bell are—so supportive!! This is how a crime drama SHOULD be.

Liss: JOAN SOLVED THE CASE! Amazing. I loved it. The look she and Sherlock exchanged in the interrogation, when he gave her just a slight reassuring grin. AMAZING.

Ana: I blubbed when Sherlock gave her That Face. I love how they've really managed to shut up ALL THOSE PEOPLE who claim that men and women can't be friends. Because That. Was. Friendship.

Liss: Can we also talk about the moment when Sherlock was all, "Do you want to wallow or do you want to celebrate?" And she was all, "I want to solve this case!" And he was all, "OH!" And then immediately went back to the case. LOL. Jonny Lee Miller is a genius.

Ana: MOMENT! I was so proud of her. And him. Him for trying to reassure her in his blunt way, but still. And her for being honest about her doubts, but also redirecting the conversation before it got hostile. And him for accepting the redirect. They work together so beautifully!

Liss: This show is everything. The end.

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