". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Saturday, May 12, 2012

*Scandal in Belgravia* Part 2

Since the first three episodes of this Sherlock streams from netflix, I indulged by re-watching the third, "The Great Game," which introduces Moriarty. It was extremely squicky to realize that Molly had been involved in some way with Moriarty via the lab, introducing the lab IT kid that Moriarty played, to Sherlock as her suitor ("office romance," she chirps) in hopes that this might jolt Sherlock into noticing her as a potential romantic partner. However, this was a brilliant bridge then, into the opening of "Scandal in Belgravia," which I then immediately watch again, via PBS streaming.

Upon re-watching it also seemed wrong that Sherlock beat that CIA agent who roughed up Mrs. Hudson. That's not how Holmes has ever behaved in canon.

Now as far as I was wrong -- my imagination in retrospect completely made up Holmes using a digital gizmo to unlock Adler's phone. There was no gizmo. What there was, was me, wondering during those scenes why they didn't use a gizmo. So I now wonder why there was no digital gizmo, but nevermind
The more I've been thinking through the Adler scenes again, the more I'm not liking how Irene Adler is handled by the writers. They were under a compulsion to make it absolutely clear to the audience that Sherlock Holmes beat HER, is on top, in charge, won -- SHE's love with HIM. Further, the dominatrix aspects were poorly handled. Particularly the posing with the riding crop over Sherlock's photo was clunky, indicating the writer(s) were thinking, Hey! Nifty concept! while knowing little of either the profession of dominance, or the dynamics of power exchange, and uncomfortable with thinking of them on a personal creative, imaginative level too.

OTOH, it is really nifty that Adler's older than Sherlock. This is something you hardly ever ever see in television, movies or novels.

Still, I'm not all together happy with the compulsion to make some larger erotic-romantic arc for Sherlock. We never needed it in the canon Holmes or in the Brett Holmes. It gets so confining to make every kind of entertainment and story have to have a Big Sexual Thang, instead of all the other relationship things you can explore if you don't plug Big Sexual Thang into that slot every time. Still, as  amiga CB-S observes, "the fascination was mutual and unrelated to the whole dominatrix aspect, though not unrelated to Irene's tightrope walk with political power."

I’m becoming concerned though with the perspective of super intelligence and its lack of sympathy for the rest of us -- it's Holmes, Adler, Moriarty and Mycroft -- and how this will play out in future episodes.  The rest of us are of no interest to their sort,  unless we are their ‘pets,’ as Moriarty threw at Watson, and among whom the pets would be included Mrs. Hudson and Molly.  And the rest of us aren't even that.

I have problems with supers of any kind anyway in entertainment, and the superintelligences more than any other. Their actions are right and unquestioned, because they are smartest.  The consequences are decisions like Coventry decision, that is reduxed in "Scandal." That's not good enough, as Watson, our spokesperson reminds Holmes at every turn.  That's why this episode works so well -- Holmes wasn't always so super, but was getting a sense that there is a wider world than what's in his brain, and that matters as well, which was set up again, with the astronomical universe role in "The Great Game."

In any case I'm looking forward to Baskerville this coming week.

EDT:  Now I get it.  The writers are Dr. Whoians writers, producers, etc..  As I have always had zero interest in Dr. Who to the point of having never ever seen a single episode of any of the incarnations of Dr. Who and never will see one, I didn't realize.  And now, considering how they did Irene Adler in this series, I understand how my instinct repelled me from Dr. Whoing.


buddy2blogger said...

Nice review of the episode.

I have voiced similar opinions in my review .


Foxessa said...

Thank you.

I much enjoyed reading your comments as well, so thank you also for alerting me to them.

Will look forward to your responses to the next two episodes.

Love, C.

Foxessa said...

This is what I left at your blog:

I have read Doyle's Holmes, but I'm no Sherlockian in the sense of those who really are -- it's more that I'm well-read, perhaps. However, I am a Brett Sherlockian, if that contains for anyone what it means for me: the evocation of a very particular time in the way it looks, how people behave and think, and all very close to how Doyle, the writer and originator, saw all of it as he wrote. This is for both good or not: the imperial smugness, the matter-of-fact racial attitudes, and so on. What is most impressive to me at least, is how Brett plays Sherlock, as Sherlock Holmes himself seemed to be in these in these situations, rather outside the mainstream assumptions of the natural superiority of English anything over anyone else. This was his great gift of being a supremely rational being. He wasn't a sociopath, he was a reasoning being. Brett’s Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were both gentlemen.

Nevertheless, the arc - continuity writing of the four episodes I've seen so far of Sherlock is very good. The first real failure of imagination for me was Adler -- naturally, as media people seem not to know what to do with women at all except to make them all nekkid, whores and hopefully humiliated, degraded and violated. So it's somewhat situations, rather outside the mainstream assumptions of the natural superiority of English anything over anyone else. This was his great gift of being a supremely rational being. He wasn't a sociopath, he was a reasoning being.

Love, C.

buddy2blogger said...

Thanks C for your kind appreciation.

I have posted my review of 'The Hounds of Baskerville'.


buddy2blogger said...

Brett gave an intense performance as Sherlock Holmes.

I would recommend the book "Bending the Willow: Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes" by David Stuart Davies. This book is a must read for fans of Jeremy Brett.


Foxessa said...

You alerted me to the Jeremy Brett Holmes book previously -- and I immediately to another dedicated Jeremy Brett Holmes fan, who immediately ordered the book. I'm not sure even finished reading the e-mail before clicking amazon.


I shall go and read your take on Baskerville as soon as I've seen it myself. I don't own a television, so all my watching is on my nicely sized monitor, usually on dvds or via streaming on netflix, and now PBS.

Love, C.