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[personal profile] stillane
There will be much capslocking, incoherent babbling, and gratuitous use of the words "I love ____" ahead. I'm kind of counting it as a win that I've regained the use of full sentences, really.

For me, this was to Series One what "A Study in Pink" was to the unaired pilot, in terms of sudden leveling up in awesome, and considering the complete adoration I have for the first series, that's saying something. The first one was really, really great TV; this was a damn good movie.

- STAYING ALIVE. Ahahahaha. Of all the post-TGG fics written, I never figured the crackfics would be closest to canon. I love that the whole scene has been building on the tension of the soundtrack (strings strings STRINGSSTRINGSSTRINGS), and that this just flips that the bird with glee. I love that, silly as it is, it does actually make Moriarty just that little bit creepier, because it's so damn unexpected that nobody - not us, and not Sherlock and John - has any clue what the hell to do with it. Is the tension over, or is someone about to get shot in the face? WTF just happened here?

- This may be an unpopular opinion - I've been avoiding commentary and spoilers like the plague - but I like Irene as dominatrix. I'm guessing there'll be some grumbling about the whole "But she's an actress!" thing, but it's an interesting translation of her career. Given the historical context, it would be really hard to have her still be an actress here and keep the high-profile-but-still-tawdry connotation of the job from the original without losing the cool sophistication that makes her so neat. Professional dominatrix just works, I think.

- "Where do you think our clients come from?" Eee. We're all the way from, "Do you want me to come with you?" to our clients.


- Sherlock with the Blowtorch of Irritation will never not be funny.

- The hat. Heh.

- I really want to know whose idea Sherlock meeting Irene was. I mean, Moriarty's unquestionably using her, but she's also already stalking Sherlock by news reports, so... Hm.

- LESTRADE IN THE CAR. "... and as far as possible, try not to punch him." Hahaha.

- THE SHEET. Also, as a side note, we have definitive proof that Sherlock eats and sleeps kind of hedonistically when he's not on an important case. And they have a ranking system for case importance, which John only argues minor details on. Hee.

- EVERYTHING ABOUT THE PALACE SCENE IS AWESOME.  I love that Sherlock is sitting in the palace IN A SHEET, scrunching his toes and waiting for John, and that he is clinging to that sheet like a security blanket and still refusing to get dressed on general principle. I love that John is so damned unflappably John here, because batshit insanity just works for him. I love that the second they make eye contact they absolutely lose it. Oh, boys.

- "We solve crimes, I blog about it, and he forgets his pants. I wouldn't hold out too much hope." *dies*

- I love that Mycroft really obviously regresses to cranky big brother throughout this scene. Sherlock throws him off his game, and does it in Mycroft's element. I wanted to feel like Mycroft's dig about Sherlock's sex life was a little OOC, but no, no, I get it. Little siblings drive you nuts.

- The ashtray. Eee. He's totally showing off, for no purpose other than cracking John up.

- I love that Irene and Sherlock are absolutely deliberately (maybe a little anvilishiously, but I don't care) shown as parallels. She's introduced with a riding crop, first thing. They're simultaneously picking out costumes, regarding them in exactly the same way. She wears his coat, and on a superficial level looks shockingly like a female version of him - slim, cheekbones of death, light eyes, hair pulled up short. Not subtle, maybe, but still cool.

- The alley fight cracks me up.
"I was a soldier. I killed people."
"You were a doctor!"
"I have bad days!" HAHAHAHA.

- "Somebody loves you." I will totally come back to this theme later - because OMG THAT SCENE THAT IS COMING - but I adore the things that Irene reads in John and Sherlock's interactions, and her bluntness about them. Her pattern is to mess with... well, everyone, but she does it by telling the absolute truth. (You know, like Sherlock.)

- On a superficial level, I have always had a thing for the cinematography and style on this show, and that bit with the couch in the field is like really good visual candy.

- "Noises are important. Noises can tell you everything." Oh, show. I love it when you are sneaky.

- John's little "Thank you" to the guy who shoots the smoke detector is perfect. Heh. BAMF!John rules.

- Sherlock freaking the fuck out when John is threatened will never not be amazing to watch. He spends so much time thriving under pressure that the difference is really obvious. Compare the scene with the kid on the phone and the painting in TGG to this one with the safe: both time crunches, both with a life on the line, both with a puzzle to solve. In the first one, though, he's exhilarated, and here he's just terrified. Irene has to give him a hint, even.

- The slow-mo battle scene is just pure porn. It says so much about me that I found that way hotter than the explicitly suggestive drugs-and-riding-crop bit just after, doesn't it? O_o

- Sherlock's room! It's pathologically neat and gloriously geeky - periodic table! - and I'm going to be freeze-framing the hell out of it for research.

- And this is where the original story ends, and where we get to what I love most about this show. Even when you know the original canon, you don't necessarily know what's going to happen here. Sometimes it's subverting canon, sometimes it's taking all the pieces and putting them back together out of order, and sometimes it's just looking at all the familiar sights upside-down. It's always loyal, though, which is so much cooler than if it were slavishly faithful. It's fandom.

- They smack down Mycroft in tandem for getting snippy with Mrs. Hudson! I love that he's so thrown by it, like, "WTF? But, I... Oh. They're actually angry. Okay. Nevermind." Sherlock can snap at her when he's tense and John can act like an entitled brat now and then, but they're her boys. They don't mean it, and she knows it, and god help anyone else that tries anything. <3

- I mentioned it before, but I love the way they're using music so far this series. The violin standing in for Sherlock's voice shows up sooner or later in pretty much every version of him, and it's so effective here. The "God Save the Queen" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" are neat, and the composing-as-emotional-management-tool is a great character note, but the "Auld Lang Syne"... Oh. So much better than words, or silence.

- The Christmas party where all of Sherlock's people gather 'round and Sherlock entertains everyone awkwardly and John's date feels terrifically out of place... I've read this fic. Well, these fics. Hee.

- Molly... *sigh*. Possibly in an attempt to distract my embarrassment squick, I tuned in on Lestrade for a lot of the beginning of this bit. For the record, his facial expression when Molly's coat comes off is hilarious.

- "No! Christmas is cancelled!" *snickers*

- Aaaand back to Molly. This whole scene is just... ouch, all the way around. What kills me is that Sherlock is so obviously trying to be the opposite of cruel, here: he's clearly thinking that she's finally found someone else, and that she is serious about this guy, and that it's okay to tease her about it. He thinks they've finally become friends. He's as bull-in-a-china-shop about it as ever, what with the crack about her appearance, but then, he's also just casually told Lestrade that his wife's cheating and John that his sister's drinking. Normal doesn't exactly apply, is what I'm saying.

What's really interesting is that he's very obviously tempted to just bulldoze along until everyone pretends it didn't happen, and that he stops himself. I love John's little look of surprise. There's this running theme throughout the whole episode of John, for all that he understands Sherlock better than arguably anyone, still not getting just how much Sherlock hides. I'm really hoping that plays out through the rest of the series, although I already fear that ep 3 is going to break me into itty bitty pieces regardless.

- Mycroft and Sherlock in the morgue hallway... Oh. The fact that Mycroft tells him that he can have one cigarette, like this is the one point on which Sherlock has ceded control... The way that Sherlock smokes... The framing of the two of them in profile... "Do you ever wonder if there's something wrong with us?"

- I love that Mycroft doesn't say that they don't care. He says it's not an advantage, but he still includes them in the everyone who can be hurt column. He treats it like a choice. Everything about the way Sherlock relates to emotion comes right back to this school of thought, and it's fascinating to contrast what he'll let himself show in front of Mycroft and away from him. (The reverse, for what it's worth, is just as interesting.)

- They have danger nights. OMG. And it never, never crosses John's mind to choose his girlfriend over Sherlock. He puts up a token protest, but there's never any doubt that Sherlock's going to win out, not on anyone's part.

- I don't know if there's some other significance to it, but the 1895 = Sherlock dies foreshadowing is already ominous. There is, apparently, and it makes me all warm and fuzzy instead.

- JOHN AND IRENE. THIS WAS MY FAVORITE PART OF THE WHOLE THING. I love the parallels to John and Mycroft's first meeting, and the fact that everything is different now. I love that John is so very angry, and that this time it's because of his loyalty, rather than the other way around. I love that Irene calls John on his bullshit right back. I love the examination of gender and sexuality that's been going on the entire episode, but I especially love that right here the sly fanservice jokes about John and Sherlock as a couple are suddenly something else completely. I know there's been some unhappy commentary from the PTB on this subject of late, but the show itself is really, really clear on the idea that this isn't a simple thing. There is no neat little line between types of love in the universe they've drawn here, and that's... well. Yeah.

- AND THEN THE MRS. HUDSON SCENE. To quote Bad Boys II, "Shit just got real." I love that Sherlock imagines her calling for him, because there's no evidence of that, and it is his imagination. I love that he comes in like a bastard because it's the way he reassures her that he's got a plan. I adore the homicidal calculations. You will never convince me that the sound that Mrs. Hudson makes when CIA Guy goes down is not a laugh. She doesn't actually lose it until John gets there and the crisis is over. BAMF!Hudson rocks.

- Bad guy out the window. Unlike Bumbles, CIA Guys don't bounce. Heh.

- "England would fall." There is nothing about that scene that doesn't give me the warm fuzzies, from the way that Mrs. Hudson is a quiet badass to the way that Sherlock understands what she actually needs to the way that John looks at the both of them with hearts in his eyes.

- Irene lays it right out there on the table that she'd like to lay Sherlock right out there on the table, and John isn't staring at her. He's flicking back and forth between the two of them, and making himself hoarse. *snort*

- Moriarty is in London, and neither Sherlock or Mycroft know it. Also, Mycroft is "Mr. Holmes," while Sherlock is always "Sherlock." Huh.

- It's interesting that Sherlock doesn't expect Irene to have an ulterior motive for using his detective skills, and yet still checks for deceit when she comes on to him.

- PLANE OF THE DEAD = creeeeeeepy. I love the callbacks to the Chekov's gun bits at the beginning. Mycroft is "Mr. Holmes" to Irene, too. Hm.

- Sherlock badly needs a hug for about the next 10 minutes of this episode.

- "I imagine John Watson thinks love is a mystery to me." WHAT. I CAN'T EVEN. O_O

- Sherlock and the sentiment argument... This is, I think, Sherlock's biggest, longest-running con game. I'm not entirely sure how much of what he says he believes, and how much is sheer anger, and how much is the fact that Mycroft is watching. (And looking stunned, for that matter.) This would be a nail in the coffin of Sherlock's acknowledgement of emotion, except... well, except the entire rest of the episode proves otherwise.

- I love that John bitches about Mycroft never meeting him at cafes, so now they meet at cafes.

- Sherlock wanted to be a pirate. That is all.

- John, honey, you can't lie worth a damn, but I love you for trying. Despite what he tells Mycroft, some part of him knows very well that Sherlock can be hurt by this. The kitchen scene, and everything they don't say there... oh. Oh.

- Those last 15 seconds are improbable and ridiculous and I DO NOT CARE. I love that the whole episode turns the book canon's simple contest with a winner (Irene) and a loser (Sherlock) into an actual relationship. They both win some and lose some, and in the end, it doesn't matter. The fact that he rescues her is proof that he's just as sentimental as she is, which pretty much puts them back on equal ground. We go all the way full circle, and it turns out they're two of a kind after all.

In summary: THIS SHOW, GUYS. <3

Oh, and: I remain unspoiled for everything in the rest of this series aside from episode titles, so for the love of all that is holy, please don't tell me anything. Thanks.

Date: 2012-01-03 10:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Those last 15 seconds are improbable and ridiculous and I DO NOT CARE.

It is SUCH an deliberate, symmetrical, obvious bookend to the opening scene - in which Irene saves Sherlock from certain death, right down to the silly cell phone interruption of a tense moment! - it just drives home how they are playing a game that only the two of them really understand, and it isn't about winning or losing, it's about two geniuses who like the rare pleasure of not always being the smartest person in the room. The episode opened with her saving his life for her own reasons, of course it had to end with him repaying that debt for his own reasons. The way it happened was very very very ridiculous, yes, but I thought the reasons were clear.

I also really loved that conversation between John and Irene in the factory/warehouse/wherever. I don't have any idea what TPTB have been saying, but what that conversation says, in such plain terms it might as well be in flashing lights, is that the characters are acknowledging that love and sexuality are not simple things in which everybody fits into neat little boxes. "These are our labels, and this is how we are acting outside of what those labels dictate." I ♥ complicated characters.

Date: 2012-01-04 12:23 am (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile]

it just drives home how they are playing a game that only the two of them really understand

I love how different it is from his game with Moriarty, too. Because they don't feel the same at all, except for that flicker of a moment in the scene in Mycroft's house when Moriarty himself is invoked, and then it twists all over again.

And now I kind of desperately want to know what Irene and Moriarty's interaction looks like.

but what that conversation says, in such plain terms it might as well be in flashing lights, is that the characters are acknowledging that love and sexuality are not simple things in which everybody fits into neat little boxes

I'm kind of sticking my fingers in my ears and lalala-ing my way past most of the external commentary myself, for the sake of just enjoying the show on its own merits. But, wow, what merits. I'm still a little stunned that they went there, in as far from a joking context as you can get. I mean, it's one thing to play with the idea of no one understanding their epic bromance; it's something else to acknowledge everything that they acknowledged there, without flinching.

I ♥ complicated characters.

YES. THIS. *g*
Edited Date: 2012-01-04 12:24 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-01-04 02:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
And now I kind of desperately want to know what Irene and Moriarty's interaction looks like.

After reading other people's episode reactions, I am feeling like I missed something HUGE regarding that interaction, because people keep saying Moriarty was manipulating Irene and she was a helpless pawn in his plans, but I didn't get that impression at all. If anything, I got the exact opposite feeling, that she was (usually) in control of the flow of information - because that is obviously her main play, knowing the power of information - and gave Moriarty what she wanted him to have because it amused her, just like she gave Mycroft what she wanted *him* to have. But so many people seem so outraged about how Irene was being controlled by Moriarty, I am all confused now and wondering which of us is completely interrogating the text from the wrong direction...

I haven't had time to rewatch it yet, so I don't know! Did I miss something huge? Was Irene scared of Moriarty? I thought she was scared of the terrorists and the governments and the CIA, etc. I came away with the impression that Moriarty and Irene were both doing their own thing as independent criminal parties, and their nefarious plans sometimes overlapped, and sometimes they sit around having tea and talking about how to make the Holmes brothers twitch, and also plotting the downfall of civilization, but mostly the first, because that's more fun.

Date: 2012-01-04 03:04 am (UTC)
eccentric_hat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] eccentric_hat
[butting in]

I am with you! Irene was one of the most self-possessed characters I have ever seen, and I feel like she was working with Moriarty because he had expertise she could use--she called him a "consulting criminal" after all--rather than getting used by him.

I've seen a little bit of criticism, too, about Irene as a self-identified gay character falling in love with the male lead because he's just so awesome, and I get where they're coming from, but--

1) They've already said she has carried on long-term affairs with both men and women; I know that's in her professional life, but some fluidity in sexual identity is built in to her character.

2) That scene, that scene in the warehouse. I can't get over it. She and John are both so bound to Sherlock despite whatever they might think about themselves. (And yet Sherlock, eavesdropping, is so so so alone, is treating them as the subjects of an investigation. Gah I can't even.)

3) The things Sherlock notices--increased heart rate, dilated pupils--are not that specifically tied to carnal lust. Speaking for myself here, they're things I experience when looking at a piece of art I love (well, the heartbeat thing is, I don't often measure my own pupils). The fascination she has for him doesn't have to be purely sexual to be physically manifested. Sherlock says she's in love with him, but Sherlock is not a reliable narrator in that moment--he's angry at her, he feels he's been had, he needs to redeem himself in front of Mycroft, and since when do we trust Sherlock on the subject of love? He betrays her in that scene, which is why, to me, it's okay that he's the one who rescues her--it's not putting her in his debt, or proving she's less clever than he is, it's just settling the score.

Anyway, I don't think I'm even responding to your comment at all at this point, so I'll stop.

Date: 2012-01-04 03:20 am (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Huh. I definitely came away from it with the idea that their relationship is probably a lot like Sherlock and Moriarty's; they both get something out of it, but would probably be okay with eventually shooting each other. Like, she's afraid of him, certainly, because he's the type of guy to go ahead and express his displeasure by killing people - and, well, to express his overwhelming glee by killing people - but not in any way because she's inferior to him. She's obviously comfortable setting the direction of their interaction, given that she's the one who decides when she'll meet Sherlock, etc. She talks about him like a casual business acquaintance, and it's her show, start to finish.

Moriarty was pretty obviously using her to his own ends, but not against her will. Their goals happened to coincide, so they helped each other out. Maybe other people are assuming that her fear in the episode was directed at him, but I kind of figured that she'd made a career out of holding powerful people by the short hairs and knew any of them could be after her.

So, basically, I got the impression that she's his equal in the same way that Sherlock is, but she's too smart to turn her back on a guy with the temperament of a box of rabid weasels. *shrug*

I could definitely be persuaded to subscribe to your Tea and Holmes Twitchiness newsletter, though. *g*

Date: 2012-01-04 03:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Tea in a very public place, maybe, because she ain't stupid. She pretends to laugh at his jokes and he pretends not to be worried about what syringes she's hiding in her corset. ;)

So, basically, I got the impression that she's his equal in the same way that Sherlock is, but she's too smart to turn her back on a guy with the temperament of a box of rabid weasels.

Ah, I like that, and now I'm thinking about how Irene finds Sherlock so fascinating because while she clearly knows a lot of very smart people, most of them are probably either government officials or criminals with grand schemes for world domination, and when you've got all the world's secrets on your phone just because powerful people are careless during sex, that gets boring after a while. Whereas Sherlock spends his time trying to figure out why some random, unimportant hiker died on a sunny day, never mind who the guy was, because for him it's the puzzle that matters most, not the power behind it. And that's interesting! And new! No wonder she looked at Sherlock and thought, "I want one of those to play with."

This show makes me all rambly. :D

Date: 2012-01-04 05:48 am (UTC)
eccentric_hat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] eccentric_hat
I'm interested by your read of the Molly/Christmas party scene. Molly seems to me like the very weakest point in the show's writing, such a cliché that I keep thinking something must be waiting in the wings for her--a woman who conducts postmortems must be, in some corner of her soul, something more than a flibbertigibbet. I mean, she's already DATED MORIARTY, but apparently that means nothing about Molly's character. Anyway, I keep sympathizing with her even as she keeps disappointing me, and I found the Christmas party a really difficult scene to watch. Way way too much embarrassment squick there. So it was hard for me to see Sherlock as anything but a complete asshole while that was going on. But maybe you're right that he is trying to be friends, that he thinks that's possible because she's moving on (even though it seemed pretty obvious that gift was for someone at the party, or why would it be on top of the bag?). I don't know, I have to watch it again.

(Also, I don't believe Molly would wrap Sherlock's gift with more care than everyone else's, just because I don't really believe she would wrap any of them carelessly--if you live alone, and you are as sentimental as she seems to be, and it's Christmas, then you take time when wrapping presents because it's a festive thing to do--but I am not projecting there at all, no sir.)

OH WAIT I'M NOT DONE--How was Mycroft's plane of the dead plan supposed to work? I mean, the plane blows up, the news reports that it was full of passengers, but nobody in the world knows of a single person who was killed in the bombing? That just kind of makes it impossible to report that news, doesn't it? "We are observing a moment of silence today in the memory of [redacted]."

I'm also still kind of confused by the connection between Moriarty and the terrorists but like I said, I need to watch it again.

Date: 2012-01-04 10:30 pm (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, Molly frequently makes me cringe away in contact embarrassment, and I really want something good for her. I think I'm willing to let the writers slide on her characterization being unrealistic only because of her field; I've met some reeeeally awkward pathologists in my time, you know? I still want her to bust out with some awesome moment... Mostly, I just want her to have a comfort zone, and for us to get a glimpse of it eventually.

Sherlock in the Christmas scene almost read as a little bit tipsy, to me. I have no real evidence for this, but he's not monitoring himself very well at all, in terms of what revelations he lets fly, which he's really only done before in the show when he was worked into too much of a tizzy to bother. Maybe he's just being a jerk and showing off there after all, but the teasing tone he starts out with and the fact that he genuinely feels bad for hurting her feelings makes me wonder. Also, it definitely never crosses his mind that the gift is for him, even though he's shown in the past that he knows he has an effect on her. So, yeah. I don't think he's firing on all cylinders there, which is a crappy prospect for everyone involved.

Then again, half of it is a set-up for the context of Irene's gift on the mantle, with the flash of her coordinating her lipstick and the wrapping, too. Gah. I don't know. I need to watch it again.

How was Mycroft's plane of the dead plan supposed to work?

I think the months and years of planning he mentions are probably supposed to be the logistics of creating cover identities for a plane's worth of bodies. A list of names with the basic paper trails, maybe a few strategically orchestrated "grieving family members" to appear in the press, and I can kind of believe it could work. At least until the requisite plucky reporter comes along to break the conspiracy wide open. *g*

Moriarty and the terrorists... hm. The way it works in my head is that he's got connections to them much like he did with the Chinese group in TBB, and so when he wants to tie up loose ends by taking out Irene at the end, he calls in his debts with them. I tend to think that most of what Irene says is the truth, with some tweaking: she really does collect information mainly as security, although she has no qualms about using it to her advantage when it suits her. It doesn't really make long-term business sense to collect secrets the way she does with the purpose of selling them, because everybody would know that she's the one doing it pretty quickly. There's no threat in holding the secrets hostage if they know perfectly well she's just going to out them anyway. On the other hand, when you piss her off, apparently she tells the world that she's been sleeping with both you and your wife separately, so...

I don't think she had intentions of selling the Bond Flight info in the beginning, but the CIA realized they had a leak and went after her - CIA Bad Guy alludes to her kicking their asses before - and that motivated her to find out just what she had to bargain with. Moriarty is the guy with his fingers in all the pies, so she contacts him with the news that she has something interesting, and Sherlock is suddenly famous for being able to solve all the puzzles ever, so she starts planning a way to make this his problem. The various secret services are still after her, so she fakes her death, but that's a temporary solution at best. She still needs to ultimately get enough advantage over someone to ensure her protection (and one hell of a payday, if that note to Mycroft is any indication), and Moriarty lets her in on the best way to play Mycroft Holmes. (Which is, really, to both of their advantages.) The leak of the Bond Flight info itself is the perfect blackmail, as it endangers both Mycroft's career and his brother by proxy, and it conveniently gives Moriarty a little welcoming gift to bring to the terrorist community. Everybody wins! (Well...)

I can't decide where messing with Mycroft, playing with Sherlock, and ruling the world fall in Moriarty's overall hierarchy of needs, though. How much is business and how much is pleasure, for him?

Wow. That turned into a lot of unnecessary thinking out loud. Sorry.

Date: 2012-01-05 03:11 pm (UTC)
eccentric_hat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] eccentric_hat
Wait wait, who called in the hit on Irene? Because Mycroft is so cold when he tells John "I was thorough" that it sounds to me like he's done rather more than, uh, thoroughly check his facts.

(On top of everything else, I have a bunch of thoroughly tangled thoughts about the morality of the characters in this story, none of which I've so far managed to articulate, but Mycroft seems very...morally tainted after this story, one way or another.)

I do think your explanation of Moriarty's ties to the terrorists makes sense. I just watched it again and it's not made any clearer, but I like your explanation. Molly, I don't know--I mean, her job is a good one for someone who's interested in medicine but never wants to deal with patients, but you're right, let's at least demonstrate that she does have a comfort zone--have her find something significant on a body, whatever. There are few enough women in this show that it matters to me when one of them is such a lightweight character.

Have you read the fic where Molly is Moriarty's sister/collaborator? (It's called The Anatomist.) I'll link it for you if not--it's incredibly good.

Date: 2012-01-08 10:34 pm (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
I've been assigning the hit to Moriarty just because the show ties him explicitly to the terrorists - apparently there's a screencap of relevant newspaper articles? Haven't seen it yet, myself - but I suppose anybody on Irene's client list with sufficient connections could be behind it. I counted Mycroft and the CIA out, though, just because I couldn't see them needing to go to the trouble of outsourcing.

I chalked Mycroft's frostiness with John up to the standard Holmes irritation at being reminded of a mistake, and the assumption that he'd ever make the same one twice. *g*

Re: Mycroft as morally tainted... I keep wondering about the CIA breaking into Baker St. The only players who know that Sherlock has the phone are Irene and Mycroft, presumably, and Irene has no incentive to tip off the CIA, so... Also, what was Mycroft hoping to accomplish by having John be the one to lie about Irene's fate? Courtesy of TGG, he knows firsthand that John's a terrible liar, even if John himself seems to have no clue. If he wanted Sherlock to actually believe the lie, the better option is to either tell it himself or leave John believing it as well. It's either a symptom of Mycroft's own sentimentality to see John as his conspirator in minding Sherlock, or part of a really twisty I-know-that-you-know-that-I-know situation.

I haven't read the Molly fic you're talking about. Is it on AO3? It's a little scary how easily I could see her whole character as a part she's playing, like Jim from IT. Huh.

Date: 2012-01-08 11:48 pm (UTC)
eccentric_hat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] eccentric_hat
(Wow, I'm still talking about this episode, and today there's another one! I don't feel ready for a new infusion of canon! Also, this comment lost focus more or less right away, surprise surprise, but now I've typed it so I might as well hit post.)

First things first, here's the fic. The author was originally going to make it longer, so you may see some references to it being a WIP, but the ending it does have is just about perfect (and the story is quite long as it is).

I'm reading Mycroft through a few different lenses, none of which are giving me a very favorable portrait of him right now, and it's difficult for me to make very coherent statements about him. His bowing-to-authority qualities really came out in this episode, and while he's on the right side, he seems to me to have given up a lot of moral independence to get where he is. To put it in slightly cutesy form, Mycroft fears England will fall if Irene goes public; Sherlock fears England will fall if Mrs. Hudson leaves Baker Street. It's a matter of where your loyalties lie. The story reveals that Irene has information that poses a genuine security risk, but that's not what they use to get Sherlock on the case--Mycroft thinks the best piece of information to share is about the young female person*, that that is adequate reason to enlist Sherlock's help. But that isn't what convinces Sherlock to help at all. He helps because he's interested. (He seems very interested in the power dynamics at play--see the way he rolls the word "dominatrix" over his tongue, or how thrilled he looks when saying "Power! It's a power play! Oh, that is interesting!" or however that line goes.) Anyway, Mycroft dictates action based on an arbitrary authority, see--not the Bond-flight plan, but the threat of a royal scandal--whereas Sherlock won't even put on his trousers for that kind of authority, and chooses his cases based on his own sense of values.

And Sherlock's values are a bit not good, but they're his. He's preserved his moral independence even though some people would say he's just amoral. Mycroft is edging toward not being able to make moral choices, only procedural and expedient ones.

*Apropos of nothing much, I love the cloud of anonymity around the royal family in this episode. Like, of course I'm thinking of Kate Middleton, but they steered carefully clear of her--maybe it's one of the Duke of York's girls, maybe it's someone I've barely heard of because I'm not a royal watcher. And who *does* Harry (is that his name?) work for? Who's the smoker--the Queen, Prince Charles...? Anyway, I don't know what the writers' reasons were for doing it that way, but they managed to make a story that suggested a titillating scandal without making it too distasteful by associating it with a particular real person, and I thought it was very artfully done. Just a craft appreciation note, I guess.


Date: 2012-01-08 11:49 pm (UTC)
eccentric_hat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] eccentric_hat
John is sort of in between the Holmeses, loyal but still independent. He's a military man, he's taken the King's shilling, he's pretty horrified by the suggestions of what's in Irene's photos--that moment when he can't put down his teacup!--but he doesn't try to convince Sherlock to take the case. When Sherlock says he's never had a client with a navy, John laughs a little and stands by him. People keep asking him to lie to Sherlock in this episode, and his response in each case is to do what he thinks is best for Sherlock, though you're right, Mycroft is making a TERRIBLE LIFE DECISION asking John to lie, it will never work, he has to know that. But maybe Sherlock so habitually distrusts Mycroft that Mycroft will at least take a chance on Sherlock trusting John? I don't know, none of that makes a lot of sense.

ANYWAY. I feel like the way I'm reading Irene's supposed assassination is inflected by my being an American, in a time when there's furious debate going on about the American government's right to kill US citizens overseas without due process. I don't particularly expect that there's an intentional link there, but I'm not terribly interested in intentionality when thinking about this show. I don't think Mycroft would need to outsource, but he might find it expedient, you know, for public relations purposes. It's possible I'm also taking this interpretation because it makes the racial politics of the show more nuanced than "the Middle East is where war happens and people get killed there." And though it's a slight thing, if Mycroft planned the assassination, that provides the hint of an explanation for how Sherlock knew about it and was there--he doesn't have Moriarty bugged, and Irene is highly unlikely to have contacted him herself at that point.
Edited Date: 2012-01-09 05:28 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-01-04 08:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Thank you for articulating everything I loved about this episode and this Irene (OH IRENE) and the show's cleverness and wit (+1000 points to you for a Bad Boys and/or Hot Fuzz reference). And thank you for adding to my squee (which manifested itself in a 40-pic heavy recap). :D :D :D

Date: 2012-01-04 10:34 pm (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
HEE. I really was thinking Hot Fuzz first, and then the academic geek training kicked in and I went for referencing the primary source. Citations for "Shit just got real" are serious business, don't you know? :D

Glad to revel in the glee with you, and off to check out your recap, too. They deserve all the pics in the world. *g*

Date: 2012-01-10 04:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This entry is magnificent, and these comments are magnificent and just about everything I'd want to say has already been said here (or I've said it in my pages and pages of emails to [ profile] eccentric_hat

I just have to add my voice to the comments about Irene/Sherlock. I realize I'm preaching to the choir and we all seem to agree that the Warehouse scene was THE BEST SCENE but I am really shocked about the criticism I've read in reviews that Irene is gay so she can't be into Sherlock. I mean, seriously, did they not hear anything other than the "I'm gay" line in THE BEST SCENE? Yes, a character says she's gay, while driving home a point about just how messy and complicated emotions and attractions are and then people are surprised that she has messy and complicated feelings?

Anyway, I guess I just want to write a love letter to the writers thanking them for taking the show there because really, right now, what they're doing with John and Sherlock, it is everything I've ever wanted from this fandom and so much more interesting and nuanced than anything I'd ever expect from television.

And, in closing, here's Steven Moffat, balking at the idea that Adler can be summarized as a love interest and insisting that the show is more complicated than that. The pertinent part starts at 1:36

"Well, IS it a love interest? It's two magnificent predators circling each other in a dark and terrible fascination."

Date: 2012-01-15 09:19 pm (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Hi! I've been a bear of very little brain this week, and pretty much failed at all forms of communication. Sorry. :(

I hadn't seen that clip! (Tragically, between RL and my extreme spoiler phobia, I've seen almost none of the promotional stuff.) It's such a fantastic description of them, though, and goes back to the whole messy, twisty cat's cradle of Irene and Sherlock vs Moriarty and Sherlock (vs Irene and Moriarty, I suspect). It's probably for the best that the three of them have such different motivations and goals; if they ever went all triumvirate, the world would be really, really screwed.

I'm with you on the love letter writing. Just... THIS SHOW. There's so much to it. 'Complicated' kind of says it all. *happy sigh*

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