Liss and Ana Talk About Elementary

[Content Note: Spoilers for the most recent episode of Elementary. Coercion; anti-Semitism.]

image of actor Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes, making a confused face
Confused face. You and me both, Sherlock.

Ana: Lady. *slumps over in her chair* I just finished watching The One With The Old Client. I don't even know what to say. I feel like I'm watching these in a boredom stupor broken up by short little shrieks of rage before I slump over again.

Liss: Welp, I think the most telling thing I can say about this episode is that Iain and I watched it last weekend, and I totally forgot that we even watched it until you mentioned it, lol. I mean, last season, each episode would hang with me for days, and this season has been, at its best, forgettable.

Ana: I guess let's talk about Alfredo. I was so excited to have him back! But then it was all bluh because he's ambushing Sherlock with a new project. I HATED THAT. Like, it is not okay to not talk to Sherlock about that first. It's not fair to Randy, either! I would have been SO UNCOMFORTABLE if I had been Randy, and really questioning both Alfredo's competence at all this and feeling like maybe sponsorship isn't such a good thing if it means boundary-crossing like this. NONE OF THAT would have made me want Sherlock as a sponsor, for his sake as much as for mine.

Liss: Ditto. I felt profound sympathy for Randy, who was put in such an awkward position. Although I did love the moment he was given when he said to Sherlock that he respects what he has to offer because he's stayed sober. That was really cool, and the actor knocked that scene out of the park.

Ana: Uh huh. It's just too bad it was buried beneath the whole "you need to give something back to the program"… I'm just not on board with that. Kept thinking of your posts about how individual women don't owe feminism nothing. And the whole "I think you're ready [nevermind what you think]" and after only a year or whatever?? I just feel like this was super-pushy and inappropriate and reminded me of Alfredo pressuring him to accept that sobriety pin so that he can be an example to others… And all this "it's not about you," I just… no. No, I'm not okay with this, and this feels like something that could push someone (probably not Sherlock because it's a show and they need him functioning, but SOMEONE) into a relapse from the pressure. I wish we could have Alfredo in episodes where he ISN'T pressuring Sherlock to do things he doesn't want to do.

Liss: Right. Me, too. Like, I just want them to have a healthy relationship, like it totally looked like they were going to have in Season One. I don't want Alfredo pushing Sherlock, and I sure as hell don't want Sherlock being hostile to Alfredo's boundaries, like breaking into his place to fuck around with a car in the middle of the night and scaring the shit out of Alfredo.

Ana: Also: Joan wasn't consulted about this AT ALL, even though I presume he's going to be in their shared living space at odd hours, like Sherlock is at Alfredo's. But Joan would have been okay with it, I'm sure, because that's her role in the show lately: helping to pressure Sherlock into things Mycroft and Alfredo and whatever random man who walks by wants. SHE IS A HELPER GNOME. *slumps back into seat*

Liss: Remember how we used to say that the thing we loved about the show was that it wasn't totally centered around the Delicate Genius and everyone else in the cast didn't exist in service to his whims and needs? Whoooooooooops!

Ana: Whoops! I'm also sorta not okay with the suggestion that if Sherlock can't help his friend Detective Bell, he should sublimate that over into a Replacement Goldfish. Like, really?

Liss: Yeah. On the one hand, I get the whole idea about how you can't control other people's reactions and needs, and if you have energy to give, there are always people to whom it can be given in service. But, on the other hand, that's not really the same thing as holding Sherlock unreasonably responsible for some dude shooting Bell, not meaningfully exploring with him his accountability for Bell's reaction when Sherlock finally showed up, and coercing Sherlock into putting his energy in this one really specific place to which he's resistant.

Ana: Also, I guess Bell is going to be recruited into the NSA to play World of Warcraft all day. That seems nice for him, not so much for the New Yorkers maybe. Also, it's obviously working out really great for him to cut off his hand-training to spite Sherlock's face or whatever. *sigh* *settles into seat again*

Liss: I hope Detective Bell finds this post in his new surveillance detail and forwards it to the writers of the show.

Ana: I had ambivalent feels about Joan's client. I was relieved that she wasn't the killer this time (UGH), and I liked Joan putting her foot down to Sherlock, but again we have a Bad Woman hindering the investigation which, I just, uuuuunnnnnnnggggggghhhhh. (Were there any women in this episode who weren't Joan, Joan's Obstructive Client, and Complicit Art Gallery Girl Who Doesn't Know Anything About Art? I'm guessing no.)

Liss: I was relieved that the Lady with the Secret wasn't the killer this time, too, but my relief was short-lived when it turned out that the killer was instead a Jewish man who was exploiting Holocaust survivors for money. Unless I'm forgetting someone, this was the first visibly Jewish character in this series set in NYC, and he's basically a shitty stereotype of a greedy Jewish person who harms Jewish people (because it's definitely Jewish people who are most likely to harm Jewish people)? Gross.

Ana: I feel like I'm going to forget this episode by the time I finish writing this email, it just felt so insubstantial and yet still frustrated-making. I don't know how many more episodes are in Season Two, but I am pretty sure we won't be buying-and-watching Season Three next year. I has a disappoint.

Liss: I expect more, Elementary! And you know why? Because you made me feel like I could!

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