Minor Elementary rantage – CONTAINS SEASON 2 SPOILERS.

Posted: January 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

So, I’m in the library and instead of novel research the best thing to do is CLEARLY to ramble about Elementary, which I’ve been watching obsessively for the last ten days. I’m 20 episodes into series 2, and in general, I am really impressed – the characterisation is thorough and subtle, the relationship between Sherlock and Watson sensitive and carefully calibrated and Watson starts out as a determined character in her own right and becomes an increasingly independent detective agent as the series (plural) go on. Series 2 has its flaws – I don’t buy the Mycroft/Watson thing at all, there’s no chemistry, and do not get me started on relocating New Scotland Yard to the South Bank or Baker St to Redchurch St five doors down from Top Office Machines – but still a good series.

In particular: I loved the Irene Adler/Moriarty thing also. Yay for kickass female characters! Yay for villainesses! Yay for an excellent play on how they both appear in the original stories! Yay for psychologically realistic complication! Yeah, okay, the ‘her only weakness is her love for Sherlock’ thing was a bit annoying, but hell, we’ve been there before in infinitely more problematic ways. And I like that Sherlock positioned himself as a tool, the linchpin between the conflicting emotional awareness of two women with agency, Watson and Moriarty. Huzzah, we all cry.

And then. And then. Season 2 ep 10, I think it was. Tremors. Moriarty shows up again, in custody – forces her way into a kidnapping investigation – only to go critical, escape, find and ‘relocate’ the missing girl and allow herself to be taken back into custody, BY SHERLOCK, bemoaning that she couldn’t have killed her guard as it would have been repugnant to him. Why? Because apparently the kidnapped girl is her daughter. I mean what. This woman is a criminal mastermind with networks that span the globe and yet she can manage neither contraception nor abortion? A woman HAS to be maternal at the core? Domesticity and family is always woman’s weakness? Moriarty can murder hundreds of people without a thought, and run criminal syndicates than threaten many more, but still she has to be limited by maternity. Fuck that.

It’s a real shame, because Elementary’s gender rep is usually good – as a wise friend pointed out to me earlier, the second series even dealt with the ‘every female cop is crooked’ problem of the first series. Watson is kickass, and there are a variety of women represented, including a trans woman played by a trans actress, Candis Cayne (some ace discussion here). It makes me SAD that Moriarty has to go all inconsistent.

edited to add: currently watching the season 2 finale story arc, and massively unimpressed. Joan gets kidnapped so she has NO agency? Sure the authors wanted Sherlock and Mycroft to have to team up, but this is NOT the way. And then the whole Mycroft/Joan thing – really, they are actors, could they not at least PRETEND to be attracted to one another? I am MORE SAD NOW.


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