Liss and Ana Talk About Elementary

[Content Note: Slut-shaming; hostility to consent. Spoilers for the most recent episode of Elementary.]

 photo 103869_0096b.jpg
"I am a haughty, sexuality-policing, finger-wagging scold! Apparently!"


Ana: This episode was SO BAD. It was so bad, I literally no-joke expected a writer to pop up at the end and shout 'APRIL FOOLS'! I expected the whole thing to be a PSA on why you shouldn't prank your children because that horrible helpless feeling you're feeling right now is how they feel. It was SO BAD.

Liss: Is this the same series we were watching in Season One?! Because what. the. fuck. Iain actually asked me if there were new writers this season, because "this is the opposite of the show we watched last season." He's like, "Even the actors don't seem to be on board with this garbage." Which: Yeah.

Ana: I seriously enjoyed the opening scene with Sherlock talking about feeling out of time—sure, it was a corny reference to canon, but at the same time I think there was a lot there that people with information processing issues might identify with. I liked it, and I loved how vulnerable he was. And then his brother is there, invading his vulnerable space. PRIMAL SCREAM OF PURE HATRED. How is this okay?

Liss: I was literally yelling: JOAN WOULD NOT BE OKAY WITH THIS. It's like we've now totally abandoned the idea that she first entered his life as a sober companion who was very fierce about boundaries. There's NO WAY IN HELL that Joan would have greeted Mycroft compromising the safe space of the anonymous meeting with a shrug.

Ana: I seriously feel like—and I'm going to pause in my recap for a minute to rant about meta—that Season One was about establishing boundaries, even when those boundaries are between you and "good" people. So Sherlock and Watson had to establish boundaries even though she was there to help him. (I'm here especially thinking of how she decided not to read Irene's letters.) And Joan had to establish boundaries with her friends and family, even though they were genuinely concerned about her. But Season Two has chucked ALL THAT OUT THE WINDOW on the grounds that Sherlock MUST let Mycroft in his life because (a) he's family, (b) he's a rich white man, and (c) he's a character we're determined to shoe-horn in because CANON, apparently.

So I am NOT okay with Mycroft invading Sherlock's one vulnerable healing space in order to FORCE his brother to bond with him. (And another thing I'll get to later: No one seems to remember or care that addiction is a lifelong struggle for many people. There's never any concern that stripping a safe space from Sherlock might trigger a relapse or harm him in ways deeper than Mycroft can imagine. Which makes all this boundary-crossing double-extra-angrish for me.) And I am NOT okay with Joan being all "OH, MYCROFT IS HERE ♥" (as oppose to, "Um, it's good that you want to support your brother, but you need to support in ways that HE is comfortable with and not just in ways that YOU want to impose on him.") merely because he's family and for some bizarre and entirely-out-of-character reason, she has decided that Sherlock WILL have a relationship with his brother BECAUSE FAMILY.

Liss: And Joan's inexplicable indifference to Mycroft's invasion can, we now know, only be explained by one thing (within the show universe; as opposed to being explained by WRITING FAIL): Because she is self-censoring because of HER BIG GIRL-CRUSH on Mycroft. Seethe.

Ana: I actually, no joke, wrote "dickmatized" in my notes at that point during the opening. So I'll skip over the ex-fiancee thing for a minute to say HOLY SHIT THEY WANT TO RETCON IN SEX BETWEEN WATSON AND MYCROFT?!? NO. NO. NO. That didn't happen. I refuse to believe it because it is so STUPID. One, Joan was suffering massive jet lag on that trip and was in no mood to hop into bed with someone. Two, Joan has always been extremely uncomfortable with Sherlock's "casual sex and naked visitors" house policy; she just hasn't been established as wanting to have sex with complete strangers. (Which doesn't make it impossible for her to do so, but characters are generally expected to be more consistent than real life people. That's a fiction rule.) Three, the MAIN THING she knew about Mycroft was that Sherlock had slept with his fiancée and that Sherlock (who is usually right) firmly believed that Mycroft wanted to "even the score" with Joan; feeling like someone may be using you to get to their brother is not something I think Joan would find sexy, especially when you ostensibly care about that brother as a friend and colleague. Four, Joan HAD TO KNOW Sherlock would find out, and EVEN IF she were okay with risking their still-fledgling partnership over a fling with his brother, AT THE VERY LEAST, she had to know he would spend eternity saying "I told you Mycroft wanted in your pants" eighty-billion times. Joan thrives on thwarting Sherlock's expectations!! This. Is. Not. In. Character.

Liss: Yes yes yes. And, returning again to the issue of boundaries, it seems that, based on the fact that Sherlock was clearly agitated about the idea of Joan and Mycroft sleeping together, she would recognize that sleeping with him could be a breach of boundaries with Sherlock. At minimum, I would have expected her to have a "you don't get to have feelings about with whom I'm intimate, even when it's your brother" conversation with him before doing it and then letting Sherlock just get ambushed by information she knew would upset him.

Ana: Right. And: "If I had a sister, you'd sleep with her." Ewwwwwwwww. This is EITHER a reference to them being in Unresolved Sexual Tension (UST) and channeling a release through sibling sex, which: no. OR it is a reference to Sherlock sexing up Joan's best friend, in which case this is like retcon-revenge sex, in which case: no. OR it is a reference to Sherlock not respecting Joan's boundaries (in that he'd sex up her sister to bother her emotionally) and thus she's pulling the same shit with him, in which case: no. OR it is a reference to how shitty the writing on this show has gotten, in which case: LOLSOB.

Liss: Yeah. That line really irked the fuck out of me. And, for real, talk about boundaries: That is a deeply unhealthy professional environment, when two colleagues are bickering about sleeping with each other's siblings. Yuck. There's non-traditional work arrangements, and then there's emotionally toxic ones. And I think we're officially in the latter category.

Ana: And then there was the fiancée. Where do I start? How about with the fact that her entire presence in the show was so that Sherlock could be a misogynist and call her a whore all episode long? FUN. (Where's Zelly-twin when we need her??) How about the fact that EVERYTHING ABOUT HER was calculated to give off rich-slutty-snob-bitch misogyny tropes, as though Sherlock and Mycroft are somehow LESS rich (their Dad owns HOW MANY houses in New York and Mycroft owns HOW MANY restaurants and Sherlock doesn't even ACCEPT MONEY for his job because he's rich-pants??), or LESS sexually active (*ahem*), or LESS snobby ("I spoke to that guy once. He called me a 'bell end'?"), or LESS assholey in every respect. We're not supposed to hate Sherlock for sleeping with Joan's BFF while spying on her for fuck's sake, but a woman who would have sex with her stable-hand is clearly beyond the pale, despite the fact that she's still in an established relationship with him while Sherlock is bouncing around New York so fast that he can't even remember if he wore a condom or not (details, details…). Also, she's a little too proud of marrying into the peerage, which is NOTHING LIKE two full seasons of Sherlock sniffing down his nose at people and calling them names. Remember: Men can insult others to their faces, and it's not unpardonably rude. But women who take pride in themselves are bitches who must be humiliated and ruined. The Feminism of Elementary-Season-Two.

Liss: Sherlock's entire disposition toward her, and Joan, was intolerable to watch. Seriously, if I wanted to watch some insufferable British asshole slut-shame women, I'd be watching Piers Morgan. And, of course, it is exponentially gross that Sherlock has anything to say to anyone about their sex lives when he is himself prolific in the sex department and justifiably resistant to anyone else having An Opinion about that.

Ana: And how about the AWESOMENESS of Mycroft—WHO BLOWS UP BUILDINGS, HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO REPEAT THAT—playing Mr. Superior after it came out that she was ripping off extremely wealthy people? (Quoth the Husband: "What do you think the profit markup on his fancy restaurants is? More or less than the profit markup on substandard-brother sperm?" LOL.) And lest we forget, these extremely wealthy people are folks Mycroft was HAPPY to have fleeced when it was to SAVE HIS LIFE because he was too proud to ask his brother for bone marrow. Priorities! And HOW PERFECT WAS IT, in a show about boundaries, that Sherlock and Mycroft will now oversee all her finances? Obviously so perfect, and DEFINITELY in character, given that Sherlock steals painting masterpieces and once dated a woman who made a hobby of stealing painting masterpieces and all the many, many times he's looked the other way over theft crimes because of sticking it to The Man. Oh, and of course he nearly tortured someone to death one time. But that's nothing compared to BLONDE SLUTS, eh? They must be destroyed, obvs.

Liss: Oh, Elementary. I don't even know what else to say.

Ana: Worthy of note: Joan has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in that giant bedroom of hers. That creeped me out. She lives there now, her apartment is gone, and her stuff is in storage. She seems to have no personal possessions in the brownstone except that bed, her clothes, a toothbrush, and her laptop. A metaphor for how she no longer has friends and family and outside interests now, perhaps? SPOT ON, SET DESIGNERS.

Liss: TOTALLY. I noticed that, too. It also communicates—either intentionally or unintentionally; who knows with this show anymore?—that she is not Sherlock's equal. She is a guest in his house. She is a guest in his life. And the longer that goes on, the more the shine fades off the formerly poignant scenes about Sherlock including her, professionally and personally. I shed no tears over an ostensible intimacy extended by a man who appears to want to retain a level of control that denies his partner's full humanity. Boo.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus