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[personal profile] opusculasedfera
Watched the new Sherlock ep, "Scandal in Belgravia." It was ...interesting.

I had an amusing moment of confusion when it opened in the swimming pool as apparently I'd managed to read enough fic during the hiatus that I had internalised it having been resolved. The actual resolution was less satisfying than a lot of the fic, but not bad, and kind of works better once it becomes more obvious that he didn't just get distracted, Moriarty had a plan for Sherlock.

I kept being distracted from the plot by all the thematic stuff they were trying to shove in there. Particularly the endless "attention, audience! Sherlock and John totally not a couple!" I have no objection to Sherlock being depicted as asexual, but this felt very "well, he might be ace, but if he was attracted to someone it would be this woman" and because of the emphasis on her being a sexy, sexy woman and John being implied to be straight and so on, it felt very much like they meant "because she IS a woman" rather than "because she is this particular woman."

They also kept trying to be all srs about the Coventry parallel and it felt a bit like they were trying to distract us from the relative triviality of the denouement. The thing about Coventry that makes it actually poignant was that they actually had to let people die in the bombing. All the shots of Mycroft sitting around having angst over his choice feel terribly pointless if he already knows that everyone on the plane is a corpse. I have no objection to it as a stratagem (from a plot-satisfaction point of view), but you only get to have the angst if it has not yet been revealed to the character in question that no one is actually going to die. I get that they were trying to imply that it was Sherlock who was the secret on the plane right up until the moment that he realises they're all corpses, but it made the whole thing feel a bit trivial that there was no real threat to human lives and no one involved seriously thought there was.

And, while we're on the subject of trivialities, that was a rubbish threat. Seriously, the worst thing that happened was that terrorists learned that the British and American governments had somehow accessed their communications. Surely the terrorists already knew that they were trying to do so and that this was a possibility? There was no sense that anyone might be revealed as a double-agent because of this new knowledge or that there would be some retaliation, just that these governments would have to reacquire this access. Which is inconvenient, sure, but again, the WWII parallels don't really add up. "Terrorists" is just too vague of an opponent to make me properly concerned that losing this data will cause huge problems in the long run. They simply didn't show any of that or even make any real mention of what the consequences could be. Sure, I can imagine some things, but you actually have to put them in your tv show, the fact that I can fanwank it to make more sense doesn't quite save it.

There were a lot of loose threads to the plot, and not just the obvious ones they're going to tie up later, like where Irene is and what Moriarty is planning. What about Althea working for Irene? Did John not say anything to Mycroft about it? Is Mycroft supposed to know already? If he was working with Irene, it was in the least useful way possible. If he didn't, what the hell? Also Moriarty's role in the plot was odd. Was he supposed to be the vague "terrorist group"? Or just their consultant? If it was the former then his messages and so on were weird because presumably he knew what plane it was already, if he was just saying that he was going to pass this on, then that makes the terrorist stuff even less threatening. Plus what about Molly and 'Jim'? Presumably she has to know at this point, but it really made Sherlock's behaviour with her even more assholish in a way that I'm not sure it was supposed to be.

I was kind of giving all the gender stuff the side-eye. Mrs. Hudson was pretty good, except that it still annoys me that tptb keep making her act like Sherlock and John's housekeeper when she isn't actually. I do want more of Sherlock and her being friends (he trusts her to hide his shit! they both appreciate a nice bit of payback!) and her and John being adorable gossips though, so I was pleased about that. I did appreciate that John's girlfriends do seem to be allowed to say "so, you invariably put Sherlock ahead of me and you're not very thoughtful, I am DONE with this shit" without being demonised. Molly made me sad, but I can't tell how much of that was just that I have such a visceral reaction to people being embarrassed and that was worse than is usual for her and Sherlock as it was so terribly long, drawn out and fucking obvious. I want Anthea and Irene to have an extended criminal sneaking-around behind the Holmeses backs' relationship, but I don't think I'm going to get it except maybe in fic, and even then probably not.

Irene was complicated. And complicated is theoretically good, but so much of it felt shallow. She was quite attractive, yes, but I could have done without much less nudity. It felt like they were just shoving it in there for no reason. Yes, she would be trying to pick her wardrobe so as to fuck with him, but there was no reason for nudity to work the way that it did. Frankly, if I can tell some basic things about her from her hair, make up and the fact of her nudity, then it only makes Sherlock seem less intelligent when he can't. It might have worked without the ????? if he'd instead gone for the obvious stuff, crossed it out for being wrong for XYZ reasons, but realised he didn't have anything solid to put in its place, but as it stood, it was bad. I would have been a lot happier with the whole exchange with John where she says that she's gay if everything else hadn't been setting her up as heterosexually interested in Sherlock. Sure, Sherlock's pupil-dilation as an indicator of attraction is completely flawed as an indicator of emotional connection, and it would be an interesting kind of mistake for him to make, but the show seemed to be on his side that it did count as an emotional barometer. And the flirting was pretty clearly intended to come off as romantically interested rather than sexy messing with his head. Plus all the times they actually mentioned her having relationships with women were all part of her sexy, sexy, viewer-titillating dominatrix job so they don't exactly imply serious thought on queer issues, especially when she was depicted as having even more heterosexual interactions, generally under the same explicitly meaningless circumstances. As well, it's back to things that aren't thought out except as little bits of a puzzle that aren't meant to connect to anything else. Why the fuck was her password her measurements? Let's be honest, I don't want her to be the kind of woman who gives a fuck and they just made her one, unless she changed it special for the purpose of messing with Sherlock in this way and she clearly didn't have that as a long term plan because she was planning her outfit right up until he showed up and only decided on nudity after when it was too late to change the code. Again, it was very much a "look how sexy!" sort of ep and those annoy me.

And the ending was pathetic. I was sitting there after all the "she's going to die without all that protection!" stuff going "the only way that this is not going to make me super mad is if she manages to escape" and I knew that they were going to involve Sherlock in that escape, but I was still pissed that it came to be in quite that way. Irene and Sherlock only work if they have that tension between them of intermittently using each other and being impressed by the other's intelligence, but instead what we get is him figuring out her password (an annoying puzzle in itself because all of his guesses were so fatuous and the answer goes right back to all the "no, she really does ~care about him~" stuff) and being smug and then saving her life. It only works if she tricks him into saving her life and then escapes from him again! This ending was just him going "so, I'm better than her in every way. Done." which is not cool at all!

It was quite interesting as an example of a fandom that got so big, but had such a long hiatus. I felt like I was spending the whole ep noticing the fanon that got Jossed or at least made less likely and the moments that fandom will latch onto with the same vigour that it did similar moments from the previous eps (that scene in the sheet is making it into a thousand vids, y/y?) Which is not a unique experience to this particular episode or series, but it was definitely heightened by the fact that Sherlock fandom is particularly (understandably) prone to this because there's so little of it and the hiatus was so very long. Plus because bits of it were so much better than the episode as a whole. The bit where John knows to set off the fire alarm so Sherlock can see what Irene goes for was quite cleverly done. Lots of the jokes were good. The bit in Buckingham palace was delightful (oh, I do like it when they giggle stupidly together). Sherlock checking people's pulses and pupil dilation to determine their attraction to him was also clever, if uncomfortable in its implications. So all these little things made me think about how people will use them in fanworks and make this a better thing than it actually was. It wasn't a terrible ep, but it was surprisingly shoddy for something that was a year and a half in the making and they can do better.


opusculasedfera: stack of books, with a mug of tea on top (Default)

September 2016


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