So the Abominable Bride was basically about exploring Sherlock’s mind palace and bringing a lot of women into Holmes’ world.
Which makes sense, I guess.
Only there’s been so much postmodernism in my life that it’s starting to make me weary (I hope you remember Lt. Commander Data being Holmes in the holodeck, like, twenty years ago), and I never wanted women in Holmes’ world in the first place, actually Holmes’ world being devoid of women was the main reason I started to read ACD when I was fifteen.
I first became suspicious when the year did not stop at 1895 exactly but it kept going backwards. Then Mary started with the spying, there was a killer corpse bride, Molly in drag, and eventually suffragettes in pointy hats chanting in a crypt.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Mary being a spy or whatever, actually I like her very much. Mary is not Mary (canon Mary being dead) so I’m game with her alternative storyline. Also I’m fascinated by Russian/Jewish folk tales about corpse brides, you know I’m a Propp junkie. Not to mention my admiration for Emmeline Pankrust.
And of course we are well aware women are scarce in canon ACD and this is in itself a bad thing, cruel time the Victorian age.
The problem here, I believe, is that Moffat and Gatiss, no matter how well-intentioned the may be, are not equipped to make feminist statements.
First of all, when the privileged make a statement in favour of of the unprivileged, there is always the risk of them sounding patronizing, which is exactly what happens here with Sherlock saying men must lose the war against women.
Secondly, the aesthetic choice should have been handled more subtly. Representing suffragettes like witches and/or KKK people is simply absurd. I understand it was meant to embody the men’s fears about a changing world, but it was an error, like making Irene/Ilse a victim in an Islamic country in season one.
Anyway, I applaud the clumsy attempt made, I see the political point, thank you.
Unfortunately, to me the whole point of Holmes’ world is the bromance, so I really missed it here. The Falls scene was epic, I have to admit. Watson killing Moriarty at the Falls in Sherlock’s mind was absolutely fantastic. And I know in ACD sometimes you have to wait hundreds of pages just for Holmes to touch Watson’s wrist. But still, it was not enough, considering we are looking up at The Private Life as an inspiration.
Of course others may be perfectly happy about Holmes making a speech to allow women into the Victorian public life.
It’s probably me.
Me, I like stories where characters are equals. I don’t really mind their gender or what kind of involvement. Equality makes things very interesting, intellectually and emotionally. Holmes and Watson are equals. Sherlock and John are equals. Holmes and Irene Adler are equals. Holmes and Ilse von Hoffmanstal are equals. Mulder and Scully are equals. Lady Oscar and André. Princess Sapphire and Prince Franz Charming.
The problem is that women, to date, are socially unprivileged in comparison to men, therefore in order to have a story where a man and a woman are equals, you, as an author, need to want them to be equals and you need to make them equals. It’s hard work. Otherwise what you get is a story about how the privileged and the unprivileged interact and possibly marry, which is perfectly ok if your public likes that sort of things, or a suffragette film which is great when they’re in the mood for a good suffragette film.
Ironically if you want to talk about equality, inequality must be left out, which is why a good bromance always works and the ACD canon is such a happy place.
Now I’m terrified someone is going to reboot Withnail&I with a bunch of women in it.