I've been sitting here for awhile trying to put my thoughts together, because while there were some things I really enjoyed, there were a lot of things I was really troubled by. And I know that a lot of people on my flist just really loved it, and I don't want to harsh anyone's squee. But I just have to throw my two cents in. And I certainly don't want to tell anyone that they shouldn't be enjoying it, or bring it down in their eyes, but I have feelings, and so...
Let's face it, Steven Moffat is a misogynist, and that comes out in everything he does. Even when he writes supposed "strong female characters", they're more this kind. And again, I'm not trying to tell people not to like them; there are plenty of them that I like, too. But again, there are tropes and elements that are deeply troubling, and I think that needs to be addressed and not glossed over.
Because female characters get criticized constantly, and so often by women, I feel like it's important to ask: is this internalized misogyny coming out? Is this being overly critical? Is a female character getting called a Mary Sue when a male character would just be considered awesome? But there are problems with the women Moffat writes, sometimes on the surface, and sometimes more deeply, and I have to address them.
Irene Adler: on the surface- strong, charismatic, smart, sexy. But oh my god, the use of the lesbian who still falls deeply in love with the male hero: SO PROBLEMATIC. (And offensive, not to mention over-used.) Also problematic: the glamorization of sex workers. Yes, she chooses it, and she seems to enjoy it, and in real life, I would never judge someone for it. But this is just another example of the trope wherein the only way women can have power is through sex. And let's not talk about the male gaze issues in this: we had the parallel getting ready scenes between Sherlock and Irene... only Sherlock ends up in a bulky police coat, while Irene is in lingerie and then is totally naked. (I could even go into a long discussion of the application of make-up scene, but that's better left to Julia Serano, who has a great analysis of that in Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Also, I am aware that Sherlock ended up in the buff earlier, but a) that was played for laughs, b) it was very brief, and c) it wasn't in a sexually charged situation.)
Also, there was that whole thing where Irene needed to consult with Jim Moriarty, and yet was still in the end outwitted by Sherlock. In the original VICTORIAN story, Irene didn't need to consult with Moriarty, and also was successful in outsmarting Holmes. Nor did she end up needing to be saved by him. AND THIS WAS THE VICTORIAN ERA.
All of this was in the same episode where Mrs. Hudson was brutalized and needed rescue, and where Molly was totally humiliated by Sherlock, but oh, a kiss on the cheek makes it all better. Oh, and Watson had a girlfriend even he couldn't remember, and who is played as unsympathetic despite her valid grievances. ::headdesk::
I was very amused at how the cliffhanger with Moriarty was resolved, I was happy to see Lestrade, the deerstalker was awesome, John had some great bits, there were lots of good interactions with Mycroft... but despite the fact that there were a lot of things I enjoyed, I was still left wishing that I could get Moffat enrolled in therapy. And some women's studies courses.