lokifan: by unlockable (Korra/Asami)
[personal profile] lokifan
You can tell by how late I am posting this how much I’m interested-yet-not-in-the-fandom. And yet: so many opinions! There'll be another post about "who you really are? it doesn't matter" and stories.

First off: I really enjoyed most of it. I totally get why those who enjoy Sherlock for the, er, Sherlock Holmes elements - solving mysteries - would be disappointed by the relative lack of it. But I share with Mark Gatiss a serious taste for Gothic horror, and that was in evidence not just in the opening sequence but really throughout: an old house, family secrets, a mad, posh family degenerating. I like the shlocky horror too. So I was basically down for that.

It also meant I wasn’t really bothered by Sherlock having forgotten his sister. The mind is sort of amazing when it wants to repress, but more importantly family secrets and voluntary amnesia, and repressing the existence of unpleasantly realities until they force their way into the light? It’s really bloody Gothic and the episode laid its cards on the table right away with that mad opening sequence. So while I really do sympathise with people being infuriated by unrealistic or implausible moments, the psychology hung together for me and I’m all about taking the story on its own terms, within the genre it’s chosen for itself. Sherlock may have a lot of justifiably irritated fans who came for a murder-mystery story as the series has often been, but I didn’t find the shift too difficult.


I also enjoyed a lot of the character stuff. I’ve seen a lot of fannish complaints about Mycroft’s line, “I won’t have blood on my hands.” They’ve said it’s not true. Right, it’s clearly ludicrous, but I see zero evidence we’re meant to believe it! That line was repulsive to me but totally, totally in character. He’s ordered a bunch of drones, and he locked his sister and others in a black site with no supervision or procedure to get out, and he throws up when he sees a man shot. That is perfect for a civil servant with no respect for civil rights. This is what happens in the real world. Very clever, very posh white men in beautiful suits give the order and people die, and those well-intentioned men don’t sleep any the worse for it.

And that’s something that the Sherlock creators know very well. The Doctor is not half the autocrat Mycroft is, but he has his moments. He’s a member of an alien aristocracy - hi, Time Lords - and he’s so much a member of the officer class in how he treats the others. The Doctor vs Danny Pink, a black soldier who recognises the Doctor for what he is immediately, is certainly not the same as Mycroft and John - but there are absolutely similarities. And nobody sets up Officer vs Soldier actually believing an officer’s hands are clean.

I think that’s also subtext to Mycroft’s recognition that this is his fault. He wouldn’t think of it this way, thinking only of bringing Moriarty to Eurus and perhaps the information he gave Moriarty about Sherlock, but - Eurus attacks them with the drones Mycroft ordered, and she forces him to face what results from a shooting death, and she locks them in the room Mycroft falsely imprisoned her in. That’s chickens coming home to roost right there.

My twin frustration with Sherlock’s way of writing genius and admiration for how it visualises thought were both in evidence. It’s annoying to me that there was never any explanation given for Eurus’ madness. Of course there couldn’t be one really beyond “bad genetics” (or possibly “driven mad by gender constraints” - she was a Gothic double, a madwoman in an attic wearing white, after all). But the kneejerk “very clever = nutter” thing seemed in evidence, and the idea that you can be “too clever” to be affected by your bodily instincts is just utterly ludicrous. The body and the mind are one and I’d hope a scientifically-minded woman would have got past bloody Plato.

And yet! I really loved the visual of Sherlock working out the code: numbers flashing and shifting too fast to be followed. That we get a sense of his mind working, but he’s alone and in a panic so there’s no showing off by explaining his thought process.

What I did like about the madness is that it gave me an “aha!” moment. Because Mycroft’s line about Sherlock having modelled himself on Eurus made no fucking sense to me at all - and I still think that was more about Mycroft treating Eurus similarly to how he treated Sherlock. (Younger sibling to protect and manage and occasionally coerce or manipulate. I mean, Mycroft alone specifically chose to give her a violin.) But I do like the idea that Eurus was the high-functioning sociopath :)

Moriarty: I liked the reveal - here is Moriarty, but from years ago. Mostly because it meant I could enjoy him without being like NO PLEASE GO AWAY BE DEAD. I’m a bit torn over “I Want To Break Free” - funny, but following Stayin’ Alive and the Master’s Scissor Sisters bit a few series of Who ago it’s becoming a cliche.

I kind of wish he hadn’t been involved, but I like that it increases Mycroft’s culpability on a couple of levels and that his role as the consulting criminal is so consistent: his ways of fucking up Sherlock’s life are so rarely directly from him. And the meeting of minds scene was intense.

However. In a series masterminded partly by a gay man, shown in twenty-fucking-seventeen, did we need to lean QUITE SO HARD on the SEXUALLY PREDATORY QUEER VILLAINS button???? REALLY?!

*breathes out*

I mean. Argh. Moriarty comes in again with probably his most-explicit-yet signals of gay and also horrible and exploitative. Eurus really has no recognisable sexuality and if she was a real woman I wouldn’t describe her as queer - I wouldn’t describe her as anything. But she isn’t real, she’s a character. And a rapist who’s uninterested in the gender of their victim is not new and different. It’s a hedonistic sexually predatory bisexual trope that’s gross and needs to die. Really even more so because Mycroft this season was strongly implied to be at the very least interested in women, and this is not a series that has acknowledged the existence of bisexuality at any point. So all our queer characters are villains (Moriarty, Irene, Eurus - Kate is really too minor to count and Irene’s collaborator besides) and the best we get is “amoral but sympathetic, especially when she falls for a man despite explicitly self-defining as gay”, the other two being utterly batshit murderers & torturers. This is a perfect example of intent not being magic, because I’m certain none of the creators wanted this to happen. But it’s what has happened and we need to talk about what’s actually on screen.

The final problem indeed. :(((
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August 2017

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