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!

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A Reminder, A Rant & A Recap

This post consists of three parts: a reminder, a rant and a recap. Or, if you want to look at it that way, a reminder and two rants. Let’s get down to business.

Warning for some bad language in the rants. Also, some spoilers for all of Sherlock so far.

1. Reminder: the Mental Health Reading Challenge starts tomorrow. I’m very excited. More info + signups here.

2. Rant: This rant is about queer baiting.

“What is queer baiting?” you ask, a quizzical expression on your face.

The term refers to what happens “when people in the media (usually television/movies) add homoerotic tension between two characters to attract more liberal and queer viewers with the indication of them not ever getting together for real in the show/book/movie”. says Wikipedia.

You shrug. “So what?”

It can even add up to the point where it hurts the queer audience. Queer baiting often plays potentially queer hints and references as mere jokes, but “if the representations in question utilize humour, are queer people in on the joke or are they the joke?”[4]  (a

Is representation a joke? I think not. If you do, that’s your opinion but I’m going to take a wild guess and say you probably don’t feel very marginalized in your daily life. I see way too few characters with disabilities on television. I see way too few women and when I see them they are often portrayed as erratic or superficial. That fucking hurts me.

Storylines where a character can’t be fulfilled until they have overcome a disability fucking hurt me. Representation like that makes me feel as though I’m not enough. I was very angry when John Watson’s limp on Sherlock turned out to be psychosomatic, because it looked as though he only became a competent and interesting character when the disability was cured. That fucking hurts me.

Now, I’m personally not gay. I am, however, a student of cultural analysis and a vocal advocate for equality. I believe in the importance of equal representation in media such as television, and that’s why I’m really kind of angry at the creators of Sherlock: Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.

Here comes part 3: a recap of the relationship between John & Sherlock so far. Alternative title: a second rant: John & Sherlock LOVE each other.

When they first met in A Study In Pink, John and Sherlock had the following conversation in a candlelit Italian restaurant:

 

Dr John Watson: You don’t have a girlfriend, then?

Sherlock Holmes: Girlfriend? No, not really my area.

Dr John Watson: Oh, right. Do you have a boyfriend?… Which is fine, by the way.

Sherlock Holmes: I know it’s fine.

Dr John Watson: So you’ve got a boyfriend, then?

Sherlock Holmes: No.

Dr John Watson: Right. Okay. You’re unattached, just like me. Right. Good.

Sherlock Holmes: [pause] John, um… I think you should know that I consider myself married to my work and while I’m flattered, by your interest…

 (Source: IMDB)

 

Please keep in mind that the gentlemen knew each other for less than a day at that point. Keep in mind that Sherlock has some serious issues about opening up emotionally, and that Sherlock, the most observant man in the whole wide world, had somehow gotten the idea that John was romantically attracted to him. A few scenes later, they looked at each other like this.

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Merry Christmas!

This is a very disorganized post listing all of my favorite Christmas-related pop culture. That means books, film, TV and music. All of these put me in the Christmas spirit Merry Christmas, y’all.

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG OF ALL TIME: Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl

Kurt & Blaine singing Baby It’s Cold Outside on Glee

Klaine was amongst my very first OTP’s. When this song aired, they hadn’t gotten together yet, and I was so sure they would in the Christmas ep, but then I had to wait even longer… Oh, the torture of being a frenzied fangirl.

 

A Very Sorry Christmas by The New Mendicants

I like this song. And I wanted to share a Christmas song that was not (yet) incredibly well-known, so here we are.

 

Studio 60  season 1, episode O Holy Night

Blogpost(s) about the absolutely crazy amazingness of Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip are forthcoming. I must first finish my West Wing-binge, though, because I can’t handle more than one Sorkin-show at the time. Either way, Christmas is the time for romance and so it is for Jordan and Danny. Damn, I need to watch this again.  Continue reading

Sinterklaas

If you were looking for an elaborate takedown of Zwarte Piet and its racist connotations, this isn’t it. I celebrated Sinterklaas with my family this weekend and I wanted to voice how much I love the presents I got. Of course, there’s a lot wrong with Zwarte Piet, but that’s a story for another blogpost. Today, let me just show off my awesome new stuff!

One chocolate letter J, milk chocolate

It’s a Sinterklaas tradition that children get the first letter of their name rendered in chocolate. It’s also very tasty. I remember, when I was young, that me and my friends were concerned: did some letters consist of more chocolate than others? Were you better of being named Wilhelmina than Juliana, simply because the “W” is a bigger letter? It turns out that the answer to this question is no. They just make the “J” extra thick.

The Hour season one and two on DVD
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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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