Jan 15, 2012 21:43

Who's up for a Sunday night episode review/rant? Sherlock 2x1 is some low-hanging-goddamn fruit, but fuck it, I'm cranky.

Things I liked:
  • OH GOD HELP ME, Moriarty. I love a villain that can make me LOL with his shameless OTT-ness. He's STAYIN' ALIVE. Forever, I hope.
  • I want to wrap myself in a cocoon made of Benedict Cumberbatch's voice and never come out.
  • Mrs. Hudson!
  • "I've seen worse. But then, I mostly do post-mortems." hee! Molly Donovan might be the only one I actually like. GIRLFRIEND, YOU DESERVE BETTER.

I really did enjoy it when I watched S1, but that was before I subjected myself to Eleven, who I like even less after forcing myself through this episode. This, basically, but I am about to be a lot less succinct and amusing. And in any event, I think it's a huge writing failure that watching this show can tell me exactly why I don't like another of this writer's characters, in another universe, of an entirely different species. There’s nothing that seems to be driving either man; he understands exactly enough about other people to be as big a jerk as possible. In spite of this - no, really, because of this - everyone swoons at his feet, even people who aren’t even into dudes. He’s just that awesome. He figures everything out in less than a heartbeat, and when mind isn’t enough, he’s a master of matter, pistol-whipping (SERIOUSLY?!) bad guys left, right, and center. Were I a person who used such language, I would have to point out that Sherlock and Eleven are the biggest Mary Sues I have ever seen, with the names of classic characters slapped on top.

And he's a petty jerk to boot. I can't tell if I'm supposed to see that Sherlock is terribly nasty and interpret that as a means of building him up as a fictional construct, or of the show thinks the cruelty is fun on its own and is using Sherlock's omg!quirkiness! as an excuse to indulge in it. Even going with the first (probably overly charitable) option, it's still sloppy writing that I really can't tell; it's still poor editing that there's so much of it in there to drag down the story. I had thought he was kind of a tool but still a lot of fun in S1, and I at least had some coherent picture of what that meant for him. Now he's just a jackass. I kind of enjoyed the cracktastic moment when he goes to the palace wrapped up in a sheet making that petulant face, but even then, it only fit into the rest of the show in terms of LOL, THAT SHERLOCK, HE'S SO KOOKY. Um, 'kay?
I'm writing this without having read other reviews, though the temptation to find someone else who has competently ripped this to shreds for me is well nigh overwhelming, so I'm sure this has been said better elsewhere, but -  straightening out gay women is nauseating. I'm not saying non-monosexuality doesn't exist, I'm saying Irene explicitly says she is gay and then spends OH MY GOD THE REST OF HER LIFE drooling over Sherlock. That scene where she comes on to him made my skin crawl, it was so horrible and forced.

Everything about Irene Adler is completely informed. We buy that she's a genius supervillain type because she shares a name with an iconic character, but really, she doesn't do much more than come up with a decent password. She tells us she's gay, but all of her emotional development is about being into Sherlock. We hear she's dominant, but her whole story arc is about submitting to Sherlock, Moriarty, and various Shady Players until she actually ends up on her knees beneath a sword.


I know this isn't made for American audiences, and so I can't quite speak to whatever the standards and practices concerns were with this, but I was so terribly uncomfortable with the way she was a heavily-sexualized character, whose dom(me)-ness came up several times whenever she was on-screen or discussed ("I SAID 2% MILK!" *whaps*) even as we're explicitly reassured that no, she doesn't really HAVE SEX with her clients. What the fuck? They just get naked and get off, THERE'S NO SEX INVOLVED? I'd like to take this moment to clarify that I'm totally not head-desking right now, I'm just slamming my face into the furniture. It's not that Moffat's completely gaze-rooted, commodified view of female sexuality makes me want to stab myself in the face?! EXCEPT NO WAIT IT IS EXACTLY THAT. It's all the external performance of a super-mainstream cliche of sex work as a way of creating this feminine persona, but without the actual getting laid at any point. I really wanted not to drag my issues with Doctor Who into this, but TOO LATE, I was harshly reminded of Amy’s “kiss-o-gram” thing that bothered me so much. It wouldn't necessarily bother me that Irene's sexuality is a crucial part of her character and something she enjoys using in her criminal power plays. But even as it's such a big part of how everyone else views her, it never seems to be self-expression on her own terms.

Irene's characterization exists in extremes; her arc in the episode is about razing all of that to the ground and making her completely nonthreatening. That's not complexity, it's strictly all-or-nothing, and it sits really badly with me that she has to be so incredibly vivid just to get our attention as the qualities she's used to define herself are completely destroyed. Maybe I'm not being fair, I admit I was looking forward to this character and was quite disappointed, but I don't think there's much room to interpret this otherwise.

That's not to pretend I didn't have hateful-prick-bingo generally. It's a little strange that everyone in London is white? We don't just get on about diversity because it's the right thing to do - even if, you know, it is - it's also that barring some potential rare circumstances which I can't even think of off the top of my head, it is simply not credible world-building without people of color. And "No disrespect, but clearly you were born in the eighties." Because being, at oldest, 32 years old is SO OFFENSIVE IT CANNOT BE MENTIONED. And JOHN IS SO NOT GAY!!!! NO HOMO, Y'ALL!!!! Also "LOL FATTIES R STOOPIT," twice in the first fifteen minutes. Grow the fuck up, douchebags. This is so bad. Why am I still watching this? I feel like I don't want to have been SO WRONG about having liked S1. It's like I just spilled my tenth Coors everywhere trying to prove MMM NOT THAT DRUNK,K?!?

Somewhere buried under that seething pit of toxic excrement, there was a plot involving arrogant Americans and scary brown people and bombs! Also DEATH BY BOOMERANG at some point, which is totally relevant because it gives Sherlock a chance to put Irene in her PLACE by sheer force of condescension! But mostly it's just about how it is hard out there for a massive asshat.

Thus leaving us with the dramatic cliffhanger: will I watch episode 2 just to hate?! YOU KNOW IT.

sex work, wtf, the worst, feminism, sherlock, episode review, rant, sexuality, femininity

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