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08 May 2014 @ 11:13 pm
Elementary: Art in the Blood  
I realize I'm writing a very reactive post as the episode JUST aired and I haven't really had much chance to muse on it. But I'm away this weekend so I feel like I need to get this out of my system before then.


Again, I didn't care much for the plot of this episode. I was more interested in how they'd deal with the fallout of Joan's kidnapping and the revelation that Mycroft is MI6. It saddens me that I really loved the first half of the episode only to be rather disappointed toward the latter half.

First off, I really loved the reunion moment between Sherlock and Joan. I'm not sure how it was that JLM managed to look like he wanted to hug Joan and yet not hug her at the same time because Sherlock does not do hugs and yet he so wished to express his relief that Joan was okay. I liked that he later tried in his usual awkward Sherlock way to offer comfort and support (and he did it pretty well) by offering to talk to Joan about being deceived by a lover. I liked Joan's very clear reasoning of why she could never be with someone like Mycroft. I liked that she told him this with absolutely no room for argument. I liked that despite that Joan still wanted to move out for her own sake and Sherlock faced that news with equal parts denial and hurt. That was all great. And then things took a turn.

Okay, I'm very well aware that a lot of my dislike for the last half of the episode has to do with not liking this Mycroft/Joan pairing. I just don't like it. At all. I don't think the actors have chemistry and I really cannot shake the image of Mycroft being more sleazy and creepy than charming and dashing. So about 60% of my hate for the last half was just having to witness Mycroft and Joan post-sex. There is not enough bleach in the world. But setting aside just my personal aesthetics, I'm not all that pleased about what they've done with Mycroft's character.

I was happy for about a week that it seemed like Mycroft would indeed be the smarter brother. But it's clear he's not the smarter one or perhaps even on par with Sherlock in terms of the observation department. It felt like the writers just made Mycroft Sherlock's blind spot as Sherlock hated him so much growing up that he just couldn't see clearly when it came to his older brother. Thus Sherlock is just dumber when it comes to Mycroft rather than the latter being smarter. Mycroft didn't deceive Sherlock out of his own deviousness but Sherlock merely failed to deduce correctly. That to me was rather disappointing as I've always been happy that the BBC show kept to the idea that there is a Holmes even more genius than Sherlock. Also, Mycroft's "revelation" that he had a talent for storing information after working for MI6 for a bit felt ludicrous because did he never go to school where he'd figure that out?

The additional reveal that Mycroft actually left MI6 only to return in order to save Sherlock from long time imprisonment felt a little lazy on part of the writers. Joan had so many excellent reasons not to be involved with Mycroft that the only thing that would make it okay was the realization that actually, Mycroft committed himself to this life of secrecy to protect Sherlock, a task Joan also shares. This is what bonds them. I don't know. Am I the only one that felt like this "solution" was contrived? It felt less like a natural reveal of Mycroft's better character and more like a method by which to shoehorn in a plausible reason why Joan would take him back, thus setting the stage for there to be a rift between Joan and Sherlock. Or am I just completely biased because I cannot be on board the Joan/Mycroft ship? I don't even find it that plausible because no matter what the reason behind Mycroft's dedication to deception, he still DOES IT. Isn't that the part Joan's uncomfortable with?

I'm very much willing to take back this review if it turns out the finale next week delivers something awesome. But for now, I'm disappointed in the show's characterization for the first time ever. They still have a much better track record than any other show out there but I can't help but be a bit sad that this particular story arc didn't work for me. The only thing I liked about the last half was Sherlock's line about confessing to studying Mycroft's fingerprints obsessively when they were kids. That's so Sherlock.
 
 
 
X-parrotxparrot on May 9th, 2014 10:53 am (UTC)
Very short reaction to your reaction as I'm supposed to be in bed - oh god yes the Mycroft/Joan pairing is so icky. Mycroft is both weirdly creepy and not remotely in Joan's league and I don't feel any chemistry between them except ickiness. And having their relationship be based entirely around Sherlock can't be good for either of them. I was okay with it when the show seemed to be using it entirely for Joan-Sherlock drama (and off-screen) but as an actual ship, nooooo thank you.

I'm with you in really liking Sherlock's eye-hugging Joan, I rather crave an actual hug but no, it's not really in his character except under more extreme circumstances...
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on May 12th, 2014 06:24 pm (UTC)
And having their relationship be based entirely around Sherlock can't be good for either of them.

Exactly. This cannot be the thing that handwaves the fact that Joan is uncomfortable that she cannot trust Mycroft's words. She still can't. She might know WHY he does it but he still DOES IT.
aelfgyfu_mead: Joan Watsonaelfgyfu_mead on May 13th, 2014 12:01 am (UTC)
Am I the only one that felt like this "solution" was contrived? It felt less like a natural reveal of Mycroft's better character and more like a method by which to shoehorn in a plausible reason why Joan would take him back
OMG YES! I was horrified! I can totally see Joan saying, "Oh, good: you're not really quite the horrible person that I thought you were." I cannot see her going, "That's so sympathetic and hot," which is apparently what she did, because then she touched his face, and the next thing we knew, they'd just had sex. Just EWWW.

I could even handle Mycroft being hauled back into MI6, although I think it's lazy writing. Except that it seems to be motivated by the writers' apparent need to continue a relationship that never made sense to me in the first place, so then I don't want to accept it. I saw perhaps a moment of charm in Mycroft when he accepted what Joan told him outside the brownstone and didn't try to make her feel bad for him or anything, and it was about the first moment of charm I'd ever felt from him. I didn't feel that in his apartment with his tale of rescuing his brother from prison and the need to keep that from Sherlock. That's a huge difference between Joan and Mycroft, and one I expected her to point out: Joan may do things for Sherlock's good, but she's not keeping big secrets from him; she'll tell him what she's doing or what she thinks he should do. Mycroft is just Big Brother in more ways than one, and that should be the opposite of appealing.

And what Mycroft revealed only underscored the reasons Joan gave for never wanting to see him again! He had yet again kept a big secret from her in the guise of telling her the truth and again showed that he cannot be trusted! How does she know this version is true, and not the version where he needs to save the restaurant, or some other version to be trotted out in the future when it serves his purpose? UGH! ICK!

And that's really upsetting me, because I was liking that episode a lot until the scene in the apartment. Sherlock's attempt to offer comfort—and his relief that it wasn't needed, at least not in the form of talking about it. Sherlock being upset that he had missed this about his brother. (Sherlock having made a study of his brother's fingerprints when they were kids.) Joan wanting to work rather than stay in the house (or talk about it). Joan telling Sherlock that she's moving out and not putting up with his nonsense. (He seriously needs counseling, but he wouldn't listen even if she told him that.)

Joan can do better!
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on May 13th, 2014 12:08 am (UTC)
I cannot see her going, "That's so sympathetic and hot," which is apparently what she did, because then she touched his face, and the next thing we knew, they'd just had sex. Just EWWW.

I've watched this episode a couple more times since this review and I still reeled in horror whenever this scene came up. I HATE IT. It repulses me every time that Joan and Mycroft hooked up AGAIN.

It felt even worse than the half-baked earlier explanation of them just having a one night stand because now Joan is seemingly okay sleeping with someone who has proven now TWICE to be a master liar. No. No!! This episode was doing so well until that point.

Joan may do things for Sherlock's good, but she's not keeping big secrets from him; she'll tell him what she's doing or what she thinks he should do. Mycroft is just Big Brother in more ways than one, and that should be the opposite of appealing.

YES. Joan basically is trying to encourage Sherlock to get better at self care by telling him what she's thinks he should do in very plain language. For all his "helping," Mycroft's deception is just telling Sherlock that he's completely incapable of taking care of himself. And yeah, Sherlock isn't stellar at it but he CAN do it and Joan is (or at least was) fostering that.