[Content Note: Fat hatred; explosives. Season Two Episode One spoilers!]
The new season of Elementary premiered last Thursday, and, as was our habit last season, Ana Mardoll and I chatted about the show over the weekend, and here is our Monday recap!
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Ana: Lady, you know I am not hard to please, I mean I loved EVERY SINGLE EPISODE of Season 1, but I didn't care for this one much at all. What is wrong with me?
Liss: I didn't care for it, either. For a lot of reasons. But you are definitely not alone! Iain said the show went from his favorite show on television to a show he wouldn't even have watched if that was the only episode he'd seen. Yikes.
Ana: I was REALLY put off by the fat jokes, especially since this is a Thing they've struggled with. The crack about fat people on a plane and THEN the bit about his old colleague gaining weight and THEN the super-bullying "nickname" for his brother … it was all very upsetting to me.
Liss: Me too. I felt especially sore about it because I took all that time tweeting at the writers about it last season, sending them info on weight research and fat hatred, and noting that Sherlock would definitely be aware of this stuff, as the character has been written. So their prejudice was more important than being true to their own character. I also get the feeling that after people complained that their Sherlock was "too nice," they decided to double-down on the fat hatred, catering to the people who complained he's "too nice," rather than responding to people who complained about the fat hatred. Awesome.
Ana: And the whole "it wasn't exercise; it was a potentially FATAL DISEASE" was disconcerting because, okay at least it wasn't a PSA on EXERCISE!, but on the other hand, it felt like we were supposed to see it as a good side-effect. Like, that is a fucked up mentality: I nearly died, but on the plus-side I lost weight and am smoking hot now! Ack.
Liss: Right. Which is a thing that happens in real life to fat people who lose weight as a result of disease/disability. We lose weight and get complimented on how great we look. "Uh, thanks. But I have cancer." That shit is not a joke.
Ana: I did like the main plot of the plastic gun and the 3D printing and Sherlock caring for an addict and Joan got lots of good lines in and I smiled when she beat up that guy because I knew you were pulling for her to get more physical since Lucy Liu kicks ass, so I was really trying to like the episode and had almost decided that I did but THEN HIS BROTHER BOMBS A BUILDING WHAT THE FUCK.
Liss: FOR REAL. Did not enjoy.
Ana: How is that cute or funny when we have this HUGE culture of violence and bystanders getting hurt?!? There's a goddamn "man kills people with weapon" event in the news every day now and we're saying that bombing a building is a cute way to reconnect with your estranged sibling?!? And it really undermined the established tone, I thought; is this the same Sherlock who thought it was Serious Business to fire a gun in the house (which, you know, IT IS), but felt that they absolutely had to because Detective Bell was being framed?? But now bombs are fun and artsy!
Liss: I agree totally. And, apart from that, what a horrendously shitty thing to do to someone. "I blew up all your shit to get your attention." Whut. Nope.
Ana: More generally, I was super disappointed that Season 1 introduced us to all these incredible women and people of color and trans* people, and yet our season premier is … a bunch of white guys. Yay. Oh, but it's okay because it's a bunch of white guys from the BOOKS. Well, certainly, I was thinking that this show needed more Arthur Conan Doyle white guys in it!! (That's what made it popular in Season 1, right?!) I was really hoping we'd see the snow plow driver again, or Ms. Hudson, or Alfredo, or Detective Bell, or hey MAYBE A WHOLE OTHER MINORITY CHARACTER. You know, like they did almost every episode last season?
Liss: Uh huh. And again, that felt to me like they're catering to critics who complained the show deviated from precious canon too much. Which, yeah, was the reason I LOVED THE SHOW. So.
Ana: Also-also, all that bit with Sherlock talking about Joan having sex with Mycroft … ack. I always felt he did that in Season 1 to ruffle her feathers because they weren't friends yet and he resented her presence as a companion. So bringing that back wasn't something I was super-thrilled about. I was pleased that he was so very wrong, but it still bothered me. And the whole "well, you can't have sex with ME" thing … I mean, yes, that's true but please stop TALKING about it. Ack. Ack. Ack. I wouldn't be comfortable in that conversation, and I'm not sure that Joan has been established as someone who is, either.
Liss: Another thing where I feel like the writers DON'T GET WHY PEOPLE LOVE THE SHOW. Everyone I know who loved the show the first season was very in favor of there NOT being any kind of romantic/sexual tension between the two of them, and the way to honor that isn't to have Sherlock KEEP TALKING ABOUT HOW THEY'RE NOT DOING IT in a super creepy way. Just leave it the fuck out of the show. Jesus Jones.
Ana: Also-also-also, you know how Season 1 was really big on domestic violence and humanizing the women victims? You didn't get that at ALL in this episode. The focus was on Sherlock and Lestrade and Mycroft. I wasn't even sure until halfway into the episode if the Dead Wife was married to the living guy or the buried guy. She felt like a total non-entity, like a puzzle piece for men to solve.
Liss: Same here! I was super confused about whose wife (property) she was. And then, even when they showed a picture of the crime scene, we didn't even see her face. Which was pretty much the opposite of humanizing female victims of violence. I also felt a departure from the first season in that Joan was given no opportunity to contribute to the case by empathizing with the victim in the way that became her specialty. Boo.
Ana: So … basically, I has a disappoint. Oh, wait: I did totally like Joan's Batman sleep shirt. CUTE!
Liss: Ha ha me too! And whoooooooooops deviating so thoroughly from your own beloved formula that now the only thing we've got to talk about that we like is Joan's t-shirt. Get it together, Elementary. And P.S. That's two fat strikes. One more, and I'M out.