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I've been catching a bit of The Mentalist as background TV, and I have to say I had forgotten quite how punchable Patrick Jane is. Clever guy, I like his (pre-Moffat)Doctor Who-ish avoidance of violence, and the amateur-helping-the-police setup isn't more or less implausible than all similar others, but, oh, god, he's a pretentious asshole, even when it makes things more difficult for the people he works with. Part of me wants to headcanon it as a self-destructive reaction to his guilt about his dead family ("suicide by enraged colleague suspect random bystander"), but of course his being a pretentious asshole contributed to their deaths (without going too far into victim blaming, mind you).

He's not as bad as John Luther in that sense; he's sort of broken, and I do feel for the guy. And while Patrick is a walking stressor, Luther oscillates between "breaks the law in violent ways to help innocents" to "breaks the law in violent ways to help himself." But Patrick's grating and insulting in counterproductive ways, and although he gets away with it because he's helpful and, well, the protagonist, I don't have a lot of sympathy for people who are impolite just because they can.

Most of them well-off white male geniuses, unsurprisingly. (Luther is a not well-off black male genius who regularly abuses whatever modicum of power he has legitimately earned through his being good at his job, which makes things more complex, Elba's great acting aside)

Insert here the obvious comment about the World's Greatest Well-off White Male Genius Who's Unnecessarily Irritating To People He Works With, Bruce Wayne, whose overall plan vis a vis the JLA seems to be they think of themselves as good people, so the more they personally want to kill me because they find me obnoxious, the less likely they are to attack me even when technically they would have the right to, or maybe just the newbies don't kill me because they think I'm tough enough to mouth off to the Clark, Diana, and J'onn with impunity, and Clark, Diana, and J'onn don't kill me because they are genuinely good and extremely patient people whose personal lines I've spent a lot of time profiling to make sure I never cross.
Alice Morgan: scariest Robin ever. But let's not forget that there's nothing more dangerous to a Robin than their love for Batman.

As an aside, I think Alice highlights for me the uniqueness of the Irene Adler/Moriarty character in Elementary. She had a tiny failure of perception when it came down to Joan and her own feelings for Sherlock, and paid dearly for that, but how much do I love that her plan was mostly about making a billion dollars, and Sherlock was mostly a tool? We desperately need more female characters like her — like Joan! — whose activities are self-directed, and not necessarily relational (e.g., out of revenge, love, etc).

In that sense, I think what I've seen so far of Alice (I just watched S2E01, and of course she wants to see Arecibo, I do wonder if she ever thought about SETI as a metaphor for her own existential situation) sells her short. We've seen her do the family thing, and being fascinated by what she must see as Luther's baby steps towards the self-awareness she knows he's capable of (Alice Morgan: a more persuasive Joker)(also: Alice Morgan wants a friend, so run), but what else has she been up to? What else is she doing? She's this world's Moriarty; it doesn't seem as if she wants money or power, and I can definitely believe that intellectual stimulation is her stock in trade, which is why she does astrophysics and plays with/around Luther, but I don't buy for a second that somebody with her obvious skills, experience, and energy has only done what we've seen her do.
Six comments on what I've seen so far.


  • It's a good series.

  • It needs to cut down on the torture porn.

  • I very much like how Luther gets to be terrifyingly good at what he does without pseudo-superpowers. He's a nearly Holmes-level detective without needing the magic dust of genius: he's just/"just" exceedingly knowledgeable, experienced, observant, and dedicated.

  • That said, Luther's lack of... I don't know, fear? regarding his own violence and unlawfulness is, on itself, dangerous. Frankly, I think the series needs bloody and insane criminals partly to make the acceptability of his methods less ambiguous than it'd otherwise be.

  • Oh, Zoe. Oh, Mark. It's heartbreaking, how much I like them.

  • Alice Morgan: Consulting Psychopath. I hope we get to know more of her as a person; it feels at times as if she's undergoing more personal change than anybody else in the series, but we only see her when she's being the World's Most Terrifying Godmother.

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