can we talk about this episode 10 scene for a hot second
You know, the one where Victor announces his and Yuuri’s engagement? The one that shattered us all into ecstatic little pieces and then brought us back to life? That one
Okay so, the first time I watched this scene and I started to hear the angry guitar music in the background and see the other competitor’s less-than-enthusiastic faces, my heart sank.
I was like, okay, here’s where the homophobia comes in, I knew this utopia (lol) couldn’t last, now they’re going to start revealing their inner asshats. Buuuuut
can we talk about the fact that these sweet amazing friends aren’t actually about to reveal their homophobic tendencies? Instead the thing they get pissed about is Victor claiming that Yuuri’s taking home the gold. Completely bypassing the thing that most people would assume they’d freak out over; no, instead they just accept that as a fact of life as they should and the thing they get pissed about is the only thing they SHOULD be pissed about. This is the best bait and switch I’ve ever experienced oh my god
I love this show, I love these supportive cinnamon roll friends, I love this healthy competitive spirit and most of all I love the fact that nobody treats this queer relationship as anything abnormal. Say what you want about media addressing issues LGBT people face…as a member of the LGBT community I just wanna say it’s nice to have a story that treats a gay couple just like any other hetero pairing. So much appreciation, thank you Kubo-sensei for creating this beautiful healthy angst-free haven of a show. GAHHH
Kitty’s Storyline in Elementary as of S03E06 (tw: rape) (spoilers)
[image of a white woman, long brown hair, the character Kitty Winter from Elementary, leaning against a doorway with arms crossed. Dark gray unzipped hoodie, light gray shirt, black pants]
Ok, I have to admit - as previously mentioned, when I first met Kitty, I was dreading this “girl-on-girl” jealous rivalry between her and Joan for Sherlock’s attention. I was like ugh really writers? ugh am I going to watch this? I’ll give it a few eps
And it was definitely worth those eps. Kitty has probably one of the best written storylines about rape I’ve seen or read in American media.
Let’s start. I’d like to talk about 3 scenes in particular.
First, the scene in which we learn about Kitty’s backstory.
Sherlock says, “Kitty was the victim of a horrific crime.”
He doesn’t say what happened to her. We aren’t presented with visuals. It’s not about voyeurism. It’s about Kitty.
And then Joan reads about Kitty’s rape in a file after having been invited by Kitty to do so
I’ll repeat - Joan does not read Kitty’s file without Kitty’s consent
(And - though Sherlock gives Joan the file without consent - he does not allow Kitty to remain ignorant about his actions - he informs her almost immediately that he has given her personal information to a third party and explains himself)
So this is an image of rape from the average Western tv show:
No, there is no image. I’ve included no image becausewe all know what it looks like, we see these images repeatedly.
Here’s an image of rape in Elementary:
[image of an Asian American woman, the character Joan Watson played by Lucy Liu, reading some papers with a glass of white wine in the foreground and bookshelves in the background]
We don’t see the contents of the file. Nor are the contents of the file are described to us. The image of violence is *not for us* - because it’s not about the violence - it’s about Kitty. The viewer is not invited to see Kitty’s personal nightmare - she has not given *us* her consent.
As soon as I saw this scene, I knew I was right to continue to watching this show. How rare is it to see a show/read a book about rape that doesn’t include the voyeurism of rape in it? Honestly, that’s one of the things that I most hated about The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I know it’s supposed to be anti-rape and all - but by my reading, it’s still a male fantasy version of anti-rape. I read the book years ago, and I still have the visual image of a man stuffing a live dove up a woman’s vagina. Why is that image necessary to the storyline?
Here was what was necessary to the storyline:
The victims suffered a horrific crime.
That’s all we need. Use your imagination. On screen voyeurism not necessary.
So again, this scene alone has me admiring the brilliance of the writing and directing of Elementary.
The interaction with Captain Gregson and his daughter after he has punched his daughter’s partner (work partner and sex partner) for physically abusing his daughter. Again we don’t see the punch.
‘Punching a bad guy in the face’is a (white cis) male power fantasy - using violence to act out the white knight protecting a damsel in distress - whether she wants him to or not
Instead, we are introduced to the matter with Gregson being castigated by a higher up.
And then the daughter remonstrates with him. The contents of that conversation are also astutely written and I might write another post about them.
But since this post is about Kitty - Kitty and Gregson’s conversation about whether or not he has the right to undermine his daughter’s decisions about her life for the purposes of male protection. Kitty tells him - no you don’t. Just flat out - no. Your daughter is an adult. You’re doing the right thing to abide by your adult daughter’s decisions about her own life. Gahhh! This show!!!
(note - any quotation without quotations marks is not a quotation - it is an interpreted paraphrase.)
And then Kitty protects the daughter by scaring away the partner from the precinct. At the time I watched, I was like - well, that’s a good solution, but a little too neat, a little too convenient - ok. It’s nice to see women who have suffered sexual violence protecting other women who have suffered violence from a romantic partner.
But **combined with the next episode** Kitty’s protection of the daughter is brilliant.
Which brings me to:
Third - the pair of scenes between Joan and Sherlock then Sherlock and Kitty.
Joan has noticed that Sherlock has been sneakily giving busywork to Kitty because he doesn’t want Kitty to date some dude she met in the coffee shop.
This is a problem for several reasons
Sherlock doesn’t have the right to be jealous of Kitty’s time
Sherlock doesn’t have the right to determine who is appropriate for Kitty or when it is appropriate for her to start dating
Sherlock is lying about the reasons he’s giving Kitty busywork and thereby manipulating her (I forget if Joan actually states this third reason, but if not, I am)
And Sherlock confronts Joan - you aren’t Kitty! Who are you to know this girl’s life just because you read her file!
And Joan confronts Sherlock - you have no right to determine what is progress for her when she makes her own progress!
And the beauty of it is - they are both right. Joan, as a counselor, is tempted to counsel Kitty instead of just being a friend - and Kitty is aware of that, she goes to the survivor circle because Joan wants her to and because Joan was Sherlock’s partner first - there is a power dynamic there. Joan also bases a lot of her reaction to Kitty on her own experience with Sherlock - which comes from a very different place than Kitty’s relationship with Sherlock. Yet Sherlock **doesn’t** have the right to manipulate Kitty’s agency any more than Gregson has the right to undermine his daughter’s agency.
So in the next scene, Sherlock asks Kitty to have a conversation with him and states - I’ve been manipulating your time and impeding your progress when I don’t have a right to. That was a mistake. I should have trusted you, your self-knowledge and agency, to determine your own progress. (and i’m sorry, i know i’ve said it but man! the way this show writes characters who engage in introspective personal growth! can you imagine season 1 sherlock saying this? no way!)
And her response is - I know. I know what you’ve been doing and I’ve allowed you to, because your protection makes me feel cared for and loved.
[image of white woman with long brown hair, the character Kitty Winter, showing from the chest up, sitting on a red couch next to brown grocery bags. She is looking down and smiling a little. Wearing a black jacket with epaulette style buttons on the shoulder.]
Like, pause. On American TV, we’ve definitely made the transition in writing to have former portrayals of the rape victim, damsel in distress, become the rape survivor - tough as nails. Has PTSD but is handling it. That’s it’s own trope. Tasha Yar on Star Trek is motivated by her past to become the tough as nails security officer, constantly escaping rape gangs. Even Jessica Jones (which is brilliant specifically in its portrayal of PTSD) doesn’t have people **care** for her. Girl with a Dragon Tattoo? She’s burning stuff down and blowing people up - which is great, nothing against that anger. But where is the care for her, the tenderness?
Here is a reminder to us then - yeah, I’m Kitty, I’m a detective, and I need love. I deserve love. I recognize this love and accept it for myself.
I just - this line just…is excellent. It’s not an either/or. Survivors aren’t damsels in distress or oh-so-damaged terrorizing badasses - there’s room for love without stifling. And each person’s journey and each relationship navigated is different.
And so Kitty’s protection of Gregson’s daughter - yes it’s convenient for the show. But she’s also coming from a place of deep empathy.
May I also mention how brave it is for Kitty to verbalize both her acceptance of and continued desire for Sherlock’s care? This act of trust and vulnerability is one of her most courageous moments.
So what does Sherlock do? Does he gloat like, oh, I was right to manipulate her all along? No. He was still in the wrong.
But now he knows that Kitty wants his protection. He has her informed consent.
So, he offers her a choice. He
Gives her more free time *to do with as she will* stay in, go out, take music lessons, date, whichever
Offers her an opportunity to be in a date-like situation- *with Sherlock as backup* i.e. Knowing that Kitty wants his care, Sherlock offers her more care.
So basically, yeah. I’m not even halfway through season 3 and I’m just blown away.