Friday, February 7, 2014
Sex and the single Sherlock.
Sherlock Holmes certainly has come a long way with women in the past two years.
As he was created, many have seen him as asexual or at least a misogynist. There's the "never to be trusted" line, the "I have never loved" line, etc., etc. He warms to them somewhat toward the end of the original Canon, yet never has a real relationship.
In the prior season of Sherlock, he was referred to, without argument, as "the virgin." This season, he seems to have developed some small skills with the fair sex which he uses in his sham relationship with Janine. (Do we believe the headlines from the stories Janine fed the tabloids? They seem questionable at best.) We are left to theorize if he learned said skills from Irene Adler during the hiatus . . . and theorizing has alway been what we're left to on Sherlock Holmes's sex life.
Except in the case of Elementary . . .
"I view sex as an exercise, as do the women I entertain," Mr. Elementary announced this week, after Joan Watson handed his latest overnight guest her morning to-go cup of coffee.
"Yesterday was the archeologist, and last week was the school teacher and the magician," Watson reported, and from all the comments in the first two minutes of the show we learn that Mr. E has bedded five new women since last we saw him, and he adds one more by the time the show is over.
If Elementary was truly a show about addiction, this might be an issue to be dealt with. If Elementary was truly a show about bringing women forward, as their female Watson has always purported to do, Mr. Elementary wouldn't treat them like disposable, interchangeable objects (despite the constant claim that they're all happy with their one-nighters).
But what we are left with is a weird situation where Mr. Elementary (or his writers) seems to love rubbing Joan's face in his constant meaningless liasons while allowing her no ongoing relationship of her own. In a way, she's almost being treated worse than the one-night stands, forced to take the role of the virgin who waits for the moment she and Mr. E finally realize their love for each other. (Yes, she notably slept with his brother, but one could consider that a surrogate for the eventual real thing.)
I once wrote that Elementary hates Sherlock Holmes, but lately I wonder if it hates women worse. Even when Conan Doyle created Holmes as a misogynist, the detective had a very kindly streak in him toward the ladies, and his creator much more so. Sherlock has been giving us strong, fleshed-out female characters from the get-go (even if you don't like Sally Donovan, she's no patsy).
It's seems inevitable that our modern Sherlocks must be sexual Sherlocks. We live in a more open time that Conan Doyle did when he created the sleuth. But sex tends to involve partners, and I'd hope that our modern Sherlocks tend toward partners who are worth their . . . and our . . . time. Otherwise, we might as well go to Starbucks to watch people get their coffee to go.