The Final Problem Review

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS BLOG CONTAINS SPOILERS OF SHERLOCK S4E3, THE FINAL PROBLEM.

Guys, because my review of The Lying Detective became ridiculously long the other day, I am reviewing The Final Problem in three installments. Three, you say? Yes, I really do mean three. The first one was about Molly Hooper. The second is this one, a review of the plot and character development of the episode, and the third will focus on TJLC. Don’t know the acronym? Stay tuned.

Much like my reviews of the earlier episodes, this will be a rambling list of things I loved about The Final Problem followed by a list of things I wasn’t wild about. Continue reading

Molly Hooper – BAMF

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS BLOG CONTAINS SPOILERS OF SHERLOCK S4E3, THE FINAL PROBLEM.

Guys, because my review of The Lying Detective became ridiculously long the other day, I am reviewing The Final Problem in three installments. Three, you say? Yes, I really do mean three. The first is this one, and it’s about Molly Hooper. The second will be a review of the plot and character development of the episode, and the third will focus on TJLC. Don’t know the acronym? Stay tuned.

I don’t need to tell y’all that the latest (possibly last) episode of Sherlock caused quite a stir. One of the main reasons for that was the emotionally charged scene where Sherlock has a phone conversation with Molly Hooper.

 

Lots of people were upset because they had  hoped Sherlock was going to confess his love to John, but that’s a matter for a future blog post. Lots of people were upset because they felt, and I agree, that the kind of psychological torture we saw in The Final Problem was too gruesome for Sherlock, and not half as clever as we’ve come to expect of the show. But there are two other problems that seem to be bugging people that I feel the need to address in more detail.

Didn’t Molly have a fiancé in season 3? Hasn’t she moved on from Sherlock?

You’re right, Molly did have a fiancé. This is a major plot hole and frankly it’s just sloppy writing.

Besides that, I agree that it would have been fair to Molly if, over the seven years this show has been running, she’d have gotten over Sherlock. It sad that this scene implies she never did, and I think she deserved a more exciting and fulfilling storyline, because her character could have had so much more depth than just “pining awkward catlady.”

I think the media tends to ridicule the feelings of women and glorify those of men. I don’t hear anyone argue that Snape deserved a less romantically hung-up storyline. A man showing his feelings is seen as manly. A woman showing hers is seen as pathetic. Or, as Louise Brealey, the actress who plays Molly, tweeted:

And then, here’s the second and final (hehe) problem: what is Molly doing walking into 221B in the closing scene like she hasn’t just been humiliated by Sherlock over the phone?

 

It’s remarkable, to say the least. During her phone conversation with Sherlock, Molly is visibly upset. Even Euros, the psychopathic mastermind killer sister, can tell.

Euros:“Look what you did to her. Look what you did to yourself. All those complicated little emotions…”

But then, without any transition or discussion between her and Sherlock, she’s back at Baker Street and happy as a clam. This is definitely an oversight on the part of the writers. However, when Steven Moffat was confronted with this inconsistency in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, that’s when things got ugly, things really got ugly.

If there is something fans seem upset about with this episode it’s that there’s no resolving scene with Molly after that very effective devastating call to her while she’s in the kitchen. Did you consider doing one? Is it fair to leave her that like that? 
Moffat: But that’s not how we leave her. People need to learn to face their televisions, we see her later on–

We see her skipping into the room but–
Moffat: She gets over it! Surely at a certain point you have to figure out that after Sherlock escapes tells her, “I’m really sorry about that, it was a code, I thought your flat was about to blow up.” And she says, “Oh well that’s okay then, you bastard.” And then they go back to normal, that’s what people do. I can’t see why you’d have to play that out. She forgives him, of course, and our newly grown-up Sherlock is more careful with her feelings in the future. In the end of that scene, she’s a bit wounded by it all, but he’s absolutely devastated. He smashes up the coffin, he’s in pieces, he’s more upset than she is, and that’s a huge step in Sherlock’s development. The question is: Did Sherlock survive that scene? She probably had a drink and went and shagged someone, I dunno. Molly was fine. Source.

EXCUSE, YOU, MOFFAT?

This is seriously ridiculous. You want so badly to have an emotionally charged scene that you conveniently forget about Molly’s fiancé. Then, you have two terrific actors do the scene, and the result is emotionally devastating to both characters and audience. And then… you completely discredit your own writing and undercut your credibility by suggesting that it wasn’t such an important scene after all.

What’s more, you excuse your plot hole by accusing viewers of ignorance: “people need to learn to face their televisions,” what does that even mean? One moment you accuse your viewers of overanalyzing and the next we’re being dumb? I’m so done with you right now, Steven. And you know what? So is Louise Brealey.

 

The Six Thatchers Review

I had planned to wait and review the whole new season of Sherlock in one go once it had all aired. As it turns out, I cannot restrain myself from commenting right now, just to vent a little bit. I think it’s important for me and all of the other frenzied fangirls out there that we’ve only seen one act of a three part story this week, and I think it’s likely that all is not as it seems.

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!

Continue reading

TV of 2016

December will be a month of looking back. I love revisiting the highlights of the year every December, and this year, for the first time, I have a blog to do it. So today I give you an overview of my favorite TV of 2016.

This Is Us

I’ve written about This Is Us before, and told you how much I loved it. Although I’m a few episodes behind at this point, I still do. Seeing Milo Ventimiglia in the Gilmore Girls Revival only made me more eager to see him be a wonderful Dad in This Is Us. It is the kind of feelgood show I look forward to watching over Christmas break. On top of its loveable characters and excellent plot lines, This Is Us has a wonderfully diverse cast which includes people with obesity being portrayed as actual people. This is great.

Gilmore Girls Revival

I realize now that I have yet to post my detailed analysis of the revival, and I will very soon. Suffice it to say that it was amongst the highlights of my year.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

This show, guys. This is such a great show. Do you want laughter, romance, music, dance and feminism, all tightly packed together in a wonderful show starring Rachel Bloom? Then Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is for you. I loved it so much that I’m currently rewatching it with my brother, who also happens to love it. I love it so much I listen to the soundtrack in my spare time. I love it so much I’ve lost the ability to logically explain why I love it, because my love is self-evident to me. I love it so, so much. Continue reading

Bisexual Erasure: It’s A Thing

If you’re not doing this yet, please take my advice and go watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It’s my favorite TV show currently running, with hardly any competition (okay, Westworld is pretty great, but Crazy Ex-GF is more my jam) and a new episode is added to Netflix every week.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend chronicles the tale of Rebecca Bunch, a hot-shot New York lawyer who moves to West Covina, California, essentially to stalk her teenage sweetheart. I hear you thinking it already: that’s not an innovative plot. Furthermore, there’s something sexist about having your main character move cross-country for a man. That doesn’t sound like a cool show at all.

But hear me out. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a show that debunks stereotypes at a heart-stopping rate. Even within the intro, the sexist nature of the show’s title is called out. Rachel Bloom, the writer, songwriter, producer and leading lady of the show, is incredibly self-aware, self-reflexive, funny and politically aware. Continue reading

The Final Episode: A How-Not-To Guide

I live in constant fear of contracting some rare, painful and terminal disease. I’m afraid of height, needles and shadows moving in the dark. I am, generally speaking, a fearful person. My worst fear, however, is not that of abandonment, or the social anxiety I experience at parties, or the dreadful nightmare I often have where my skin falls off and leaves gaping holes behind. My worst fear is being disappointed by a TV show.

We’ve all been there: you’ve invested God-knows how many hours in watching a show you have come to love with all your heart, and, quite suddenly, like the writers have lost their heads, the resolution of the plot is terrible. 

Any writer can tell you that endings are hard. They run the risk of being cheesy, either too happy or too sad, or being just plain random. The ending of a long-running TV show should satisfy the audience, but giving them everything they want runs the risk of appearing unrealistic. It seems to me that the problem is this: we have no endings in real life. We go on, or we die. Even when we die, the people around us, the supporting cast, so to speak, eventually go on. No one has any experience whatsoever with something ending; so, it’s extremely difficult, maybe even impossible, to write an ending.

Still, I have some opinions on what constitutes doing it right and doing it wrong. Let’s have a look at some examples. WARNING: None of these examples are spoiler-free, but spoilers for each show are only in that show’s paragraph, so skip ahead if you must.

Bad Endings

How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother had its finale in 2014, but I only caught up on the show just last year. My friends had been watching it for a while and encouraging me to do the same. It was funny, they promised me, but not in the way of so many sitcoms that got nothing but the occasional snort of laughter from me; HIMYM had character development, it was a TV show with a heart and a soul.

I watched it. That takes three days, four hours and sixteen minutes, according to BingeClock. So I think it’s fair to say that I invested quite a bit of time. Of course, I made it to the final episodes with slight feelings of apprehension, as the resolution of the plot and the answer tot the Big Question (“Who Is The Mother?”) are infamous for being a disappointment.

The rumors were true; it was disappointing. The derailment of HIMYM’s plot wasn’t slow, like in Lost. It happened quite suddenly, over the course of the last handful of episodes. I was no longer amused. Through a series of events that don’t bear repeating, the character development the audience has witnessed over seven seasons is completely undone. No, Barney is not a one-woman man now. No, all those times we saw Ted’s relationship with Robin fail were just temporary, and they are actually meant to be.

A mainstream TV show like HIMYM, which gets its viewership mainly from people like me, looking for a happy feeling and a laugh, should not defy expectations in its final story arcs. HIMYM’s finale should have satisfied the fans, and it did not.

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This is Television

For those of you not as obsessed with TV land as me, here’s a quick newsflash: the pilot of the long-awaited drama This Is Us aired last Tuesday. This Is Us stars Milo Ventimiglia, whom I’m sure you all remember, Mandy Moore, and a bunch of other lovely actors. I just watched the pilot and I’m about to tell you why it’s great.

THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

 

Well, obviously because Milo is great. That’s nothing new. What’s also great about this show is that it has representation in it, and that it treats all of its characters with respect, while maintaining a sense of humor. Look at the example below. Continue reading

Raven Reyes: Dealing With Disability

Warning: This post contains SPOILERS for season one of The 100 and the first few episodes of season two. It also contains lots of screaming and fangirling over the most badass lady from the Ark: Raven Reyes.

When we first meet Raven, she is floating through space to repair some vital part of the spaceship she calls home. That’s right: Raven Reyes is amongst the most talented mechanics on the Ark: busting stereotypes since 2148.

the-100-is-to-focused-on-clarke-griffin-that-the-rest-of-the-cast-suffer-505078 Continue reading

Help, My Favorite TV Show Is Perpetuating Rape Culture!

“When a subject is highly controversial – and any question about sex is that – one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opinion one does hold.” Virginia WoolfA Room Of One’s Own

I watched Outlander today. Season two, episode seven: Faith. This post contains SPOILERS for Outlander up to that episode. It also contains my opinion on some controversial issues, so be warned. This post is not suitable for minors.

I fear my favorite TV show is perpetuating rape culture. Allow me to clarify. Outlander, its historical setting, its penchant for far-fetched dramatic plot twists and, above all, its swashbuckling hero Jamie Fraser, have conquered a place in my fangirling heart.

Every Tuesday, after the new episode of Outlander has appeared on HBO On Demand, I take an hour to watch it, and this hour is usually entertaining. I end up biting my nails, pulling my hair, and whispering “No, no no this can’t be happening!” each time. All in all, exactly what you want from a television show.

Outlander is notorious for its frank dealings with sexual scenes. To me, this seemed at first to be a selling point. A TV show from a female point of view that has sex scenes in it? A show that depicts women as hot-blooded creatures full of sexual desire? Hell yes. And with a leading man that handsome. HELL YEAH.

The first season of Outlander did not disappoint. There was sex. There was this adorable bit of pillow talk:

Jamie: “Did ye like it?”

Claire: “Yes, I did.”

Jamie: “Oh. I thought ye did, though Murtagh told me that women generally do not care for it, so I should finish as soon as I could.”

Claire: “What would Murtagh know about it?”

(Gasp) Is that…a woman admitting she enjoys sex? On a TV show? Round of applause, ladies and gentlemen.

But the last episode of season one, To Ransom A Man’s Soul, brought a whole new dimension to the dreamlike romantic drama of Outlander. In this episode, everyone’s favorite Scotsman Jamie is tortured both physically and psychologically, and raped by his worst enemy, Captain Randall. There had been the threat of rape before, when Claire was abducted by the Captain, but that time, Jamie had come to the rescue. Then there had been the almost-rape of Jamie’s sister Jenny, which she had averted by getting a fit of the giggles. The resulting scene had been unnerving, to say the least.

Now, in season 2’s seventh episode, Faith, there were two portrayals of rape. In the first, Captain Randall was the perpetrator once more, and the victim was a young boy. The second was when Claire, in exchange for Jamie’s release from prison, allowed the king of France to sleep with her. In a sense, she consented to it. However, she was clearly uncomfortable and dismayed by the act. She expressed later that she felt violated. In my opinion, this type of power play is just as much a rape scene as these other scenes I described above.

Now, you might say that a historical TV show of this caliber has a responsibility to portray history accurately. Denying, for example, the holocaust, or the ill treatment of African slaves, or the poor position of women in 18th century society, is a crime. If we gloss over the nastier parts of world history in this way, we might forget about the mistakes humanity has made, and make them again. I agree with this assessment, and to portray Claire Fraser as a character with the same amount of agency and power as her male counterparts on Outlander, would be a gross denial of the inequality women have faced and fought for centuries.

That said, let me tell you something about rape culture.

Wikipedia states: “Behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification, trivializing rape, denial of widespread rape, refusing to acknowledge the harm caused by some forms of sexual violence, or some combination of these.”

Read the full article here.

The most pervasive of these attitudes in Outlander, I think, is trivializing rape. Rape is just another one of the things considered normal in this brutish society of violence and power play. It is a way to assert dominance, on par with punching someone in the face. The psychological trauma inflicted by rape is often overlooked. For example, Jamie, in my opinion, took an unusually short amount of time to get over the fact that he was raped by Randall.

Jamie does, however, suffer from toxic masculinity, the exceptionally high social pressure put on men within rape culture. To be stronger than his wife, to physically protect her, to sexually satisfy her, to provide for her. His rape is even more shameful than Claire’s, because it makes him submissive in a culture that expects men to be dominant. Yet he allows Randall to rape him in exchange for Claire’s safety, due to the expectation that a husband protects his wife at any cost.

“But it’s a TV show!” you say. “It’s not real. Everybody watching it knows it is fictional, and most people also know that rape was a part of the culture portrayed on the show. We don’t take it all that seriously!”

I disagree. What we see on TV and what we consider normal in real life is closely related. We are, I hope, all aware that rape is not okay. But are we also aware that it isn’t okay for women to use sex as a bartering chip? Are we aware that women and men are equal, and that there is no gender naturally submissive to the other? I’m afraid some of the finer points of equality escape some of those watching Outlander. I am afraid that those of us sexually aroused by lack of consent in sex scenes are slowly starting to consider rape okay.

As long as rape culture is a serious problem in our actual society, any portrayal of behaviors that enforce rape culture in the media are harmful to us all.

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