17 May 2013 @ 11:43 pm
the napoleon of crime  
In other TV finale news, let's talk about Elementary.

oh my godddddddd

I want to talk about the finale but at the same time I can't really find words, beyond "!!!!!!!!" For the past couple weeks I've tried to avoid Elementary news because I didn't want to be spoiled for anything, and I'm glad I did, because while I remember the Irene=Moriarty theory being floated quite early in the season, I'd mostly forgotten about it and definitely hadn't given it any weight recently.

I think what I liked most about the reveal was the way it played on my expectations as the audience, and the way they lined up their dominoes. When Sherlock told us last episode that Irene was American, I wondered why they'd cast Natalie Dormer; when we met Irene in flashbacks, I thought she was interesting but somehow not quite right, that like Dormer's American accent something felt just the slightest bit off. And of course, in retrospect, it all adds up -- Irene feels shallow because she's a fiction, and it's not (necessarily) Dormer's American accent that's off, it's Moriarty's. That the show subverted not one or two but three different tropes through Dormer -- first Irene in the fridge, and then Irene as the mere victim in a game between two men, and then Irene as Moriarty's pawn or minion -- just utterly delights me. I'm not sure the writers know precisely what they've done -- the way they started with a female character we assume to have no agency and gradually pulled back layers to reveal more and more and more -- or whether it's a happy coincidence. To be honest, I find it too good to be true. Either way, the result is excellent.

The other thing I appreciated about the episode and about Dormer's character in general was that she was Sherlock's better. She outsmarted or outmaneuvered him every step of the way, and played him like a damn drum. He calls Irene his "blindspot" affectionately in one of the flashbacks, and it holds true -- but what makes the pair of them such a good nemesis pairing is that he's her weak spot too, perhaps not a "blindspot" as such, but her twisted fondness for him that makes her keep him alive is the reason she can't be rid of him entirely. I saw some criticism of Irene/Moriarty's downfall being her feelings, but I wouldn't say that's quite the case -- it's their (convoluted, twisted) feelings for each other that leave them at a stalemate.

So of course it takes someone outside the situation, with that extra clarity, to come in and riddle it out. ENTER JOAN WATSON, CHAMPION OF FANDOM MARCH MADNESS, QUEEN OF THE UNIVERSE, MOTHER OF BEES

I mean, remember when Lucy Liu was cast and everyone was worried female Watson would be little more than a sidekick? And then s1 happened and the series has been arguably more about Joan's story than Sherlock's, and in the finale we have Watson solve, outsmart and take down Moriarty when Sherlock Holmes can't. How fucking baller is that, really? Joan Watson, dismissed earlier as a "mascot", cracks Moriarty. We've spent so much of this series following Joan's growth as a detective, first unofficially and then in greater measure, until it finally comes to a head as she takes down season one's franchise-iconic Big Bad.

And then she gets a bee named after her.

Awesome.
 
 
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Editrxeditrx on May 18th, 2013 04:19 am (UTC)
THIS.

And we were actually talking earlier today before watching the episode online and going over the idea of us doing beekeeping here at the new house .... And now I HAVE TO DO IT. Because: Watsonian bees. Yes.
Beck: Elementary - Joan Watsonbeck_liz on May 18th, 2013 11:35 am (UTC)
This episode, man. So completely amazing.

Joan Watson, dismissed earlier as a "mascot", cracks Moriarty.

And the thing I love about this is Sherlock full out tells Moriarty that, whereas at the beginning of the season he was taking credit for everything. Joan, you have taught him well. :-D
a lanky brunette with a wicked jaw: elementary || superior beingsintrikate88 on May 18th, 2013 03:14 pm (UTC)
*FLAILING WILDLY*

To be honest, I find it too good to be true. Either way, the result is excellent.

I don't even know with this show. I can't see how it so consistently fails to suck on very specific issues from episode to episode without it being conscious but on the other hand, television can't do that, right? Like there has to be some fail or we're all just hallucinating, right?

BEEEEEEEEEES.

That's all I can manage.
turtle_goose: E:  Joan & Sherlockturtle_goose on May 18th, 2013 07:23 pm (UTC)
Sheer. Absolute. Perfection.
verdant_fire: btvs: once in a generationverdant_fire on May 18th, 2013 09:08 pm (UTC)
That the show subverted not one or two but three different tropes through Dormer -- first Irene in the fridge, and then Irene as the mere victim in a game between two men, and then Irene as Moriarty's pawn or minion -- just utterly delights me.

THAT IS MAGNIFICENT. It's official; I guess I have to watch this show now. I was already tempted by the prospect of seeing what they/Natalie Dormer did with Irene, but that is too delicious for me not to give in. I loooove the BBC Sherlock, but it really screwed up with its version of Irene. I want someone to do her justice, and it seems that Elementary finally did. :D
Kali: dw :: donna :: in my wedding dress_thirty2flavors on May 18th, 2013 10:52 pm (UTC)
I should maybe warn you I guess that I have seen some criticism arguing that by combining Irene and Moriarty, Elementary failed to create a "real" Irene. I am not very wedded to the mythology of Sherlock Holmes, I just enjoy Elementary as a show in particular, so the issue of whether or not Irene as a persona/alias/construction therefore undermines the Irene from the original canon isn't one I can really speak to. I really enjoyed it, but I have no investment in seeing "real" (ACD) Irene Adler.

I did think the character -- I kept calling her "Dormer" or "Dormer's character" in this post because I couldn't decide whether Irene or Moriarty was more accurate, and it's doubtful either is her actual name -- was a very interesting one, and a well-portrayed and complex one, and certainly a refreshing female character in the same vein as Joan Watson.
verdant_fire: dw: in memoriamverdant_fire on May 19th, 2013 05:59 am (UTC)
Eh, fair enough. I guess I can see that as an argument, but it won't keep me from watching it. I have no particular investment in ACD canon; it just bothers me that the original Irene from 1891 had arguably more independence and agency than the Irenes from 2011 and 2012, respectively. Besides, I am further intrigued by the idea of a female Moriarty.
ibishtar: Stuffibishtar on May 19th, 2013 11:20 pm (UTC)
ENTER JOAN WATSON, CHAMPION OF FANDOM MARCH MADNESS, QUEEN OF THE UNIVERSE, MOTHER OF BEES
You've just given me the best laugh. The best. You always brighten my day :D
Good point on Irene's three trope subversions. I was talking about how Irene Adler being defeated because of her feelings for Sherlock is a cliché at this point, but it's saved from being sexist since a) it's explicit that their feelings for each other is the downfall of both of them, not just her, b) she exhibits a lot of autonomy, agency and brilliance in the script independent of any man, which is all I wanted, and she's his NEMESIS to boot! and c) the win is thanks to Joan Watson. I wish you would watch and learn, BBC Sherlock.
Circe: Watson & Holmesredcirce on June 10th, 2013 02:04 am (UTC)
I pretty much enjoyed everything about this finale, to the point I really don't have much to say about it because, well, everything.

I do have a friend that didn't like the finale, but then again she doesn't particularly like Elementary in general (but still watches it?).

That the show subverted not one or two but three different tropes through Dormer
They did an ace job at this. I liked that it was not only within their show, but a commentary on other Irenes as well.

her twisted fondness for him that makes her keep him alive is the reason she can't be rid of him entirely
I know that some people were annoyed because the whole Moriarty connection is not a thing from the original story, but this felt more like a riff on the newer version of Irene we've seen in the RDJ movies and BBC rather than the original.

And I actually really liked how, unlike the other two versions (as far as I know, I haven't seen either of them) it really seems like her feelings are less of the romantic nature and more that she views him as an interesting (if inferior) specimen that it would be a shame to destroy. It felt more like, I dunno the trope that nemesis hate each other but also don't want to be without each other and less of the "the way to defeat a woman is through her feeeeeeelings"

I mean, remember when Lucy Liu was cast and everyone was worried female Watson would be little more than a sidekick?
I am going to be honest in that I originally started to watch this show out of sheer spite, so it was such a pleasant surprise to be, well, pleasantly surprised about everything in the show. Especially Watson.
Rosa | ¯\(ºдಠ)/¯: current (1)rosaxx50 on June 19th, 2013 02:33 am (UTC)
Everything you said, basically. I loved the finale so much. I saw somewhere that it was like Elementary!Irene was specifically designed to subvert every recent portrayal, and if so, it's certainly achieved. Same as you, Moriarty's... attachment... being her downfall didn't bother me, at least in part because it was reciprocated in Sherlock -- Irene's death destroyed him and cemented his addiction.

All I would like to see is more of the supporting characters and maybe better cases, but those aren't even complaints of mine, because I still enjoy them.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )