guys am I doing it right
guys am I doing it right
da urls O_o
Steven fucking Moffat ladies and gentlemen.
THIS MAN IS SO MUCH INTELLIGENCE ITS BEAUTIFUL.
There are many names to what she does. She prefers Dominatrix.
Sherlock & sexual inexperience
The cutting references to Sherlock’s sexual inexperience really fascinate me in this episode (in the scene shown above, and again at the end of the episode, when Irene Adler reveals that Moriarty’s nickname for Sherlock is “The Virgin”). Sherlock shuts down the notion of sex in “A Study in Pink” when John broaches the subject, saying he “considers himself married to his work” — after a bit of sparring regarding John’s intent, John backs off, says “It’s fine, it’s all fine,” and the matter’s dropped. The sex talk isn’t really a big deal because John has approached the topic with nothing more than genuine curiosity and a desire to understand Sherlock (despite Sherlock’s initial misunderstanding of thinking that John is coming on to him), and Sherlock is comfortable straight-forwardly asserting his lack of interest in sex and relationships because he’s comfortable with John and he’s not being antagonized in any way.
But sex is brought to the foreground in “A Scandal in Belgravia,” given the sex-dominated (ha) nature of Irene’s work and her revealed attraction to Sherlock. And this time, the discussion doesn’t involve John casually asking about Sherlock’s relationship status — it’s a number of antagonists not-so-subtly mocking Sherlock about sex: first Mycroft, then Irene, relaying Moriarty’s nickname for him. Sherlock is used to being reviled for his general lack of social skills, and he doesn’t care about that — he doesn’t care about how he relates to people, as long as he remains confident in his own intelligence and he gets the job done, and his abilities in these areas allow him to defend himself from those who question him. But sex is a subject out of his depth because he has no personal experience with it and pays no attention to it, and it’s unlikely anyone (other than John) ever approaches the subject with him, so he’s completely unprepared to deal with the cruel comments about his sexuality in “Scandal.” He’s not having a safe conversation with John; he’s being exposed for his inexperience and thrown to the wolves who are intent on hurting him.
So both times Sherlock’s inexperience is mocked, by Mycroft and Irene, Sherlock is struck dumb by the attacks, an unusual situation for a loquacious man with a quick brain. Mycroft condescendingly tells Sherlock “not to be alarmed” about Irene’s sex work; Sherlock quickly (too quickly) defends himself with “Sex doesn’t alarm me,” but it’s an empty defense that falls flat. Sherlock’s left himself wide open for Mycroft’s biting comment: “How would you know?” And Sherlock simply has nothing to say to that; he can’t defend himself because Mycroft is right. How do we know Mycroft is right? Put it this way: would Sherlock ever let Mycroft get away with a comment like that if it weren’t true? It must be. How would Sherlock, a man who values knowledge and data (that he gathers himself) above all else, know about sex if he’s never had it? Sherlock’s offended look melts into an uncharacteristic expression of speechlessness, hurt, and, it seems, embarrassment — it’s a look that expresses that the comment is a very low blow, even for Mycroft. Sherlock and Mycroft are used to fighting with each other, but not quite like this, on such a personal level.
Later, when Irene mockingly tells Sherlock that Moriarty calls him “The Virgin,” Sherlock’s face once again shows a flicker of hurt across it, and once again, he’s struck dumb, unable to speak in his defense, because it’s true. For all their cruelty, Mycroft and Irene are right: he is a virgin, and he’s feeling especially vulnerable in this scene because Irene has so profoundly outwitted him and made him feel like a fool. He eventually comprehends, and reveals, Irene’s sexual attraction to him by explaining that he earlier took her pulse, which was racing, and noticed her blown pupils, but it’s all scientific, clinical information about lust. It’s knowledge that comes from books, not personal experience. He has none. (This twist of Irene “losing” to Sherlock due to her feelings for him is quite problematic, but that’s a discussion for another post).
Okay, now I need to talk about that “took your pulse” scene a little because yeah. I think that — before getting to the Fall— watching that scene for the first time hit me harder than any scene in any of the previous episodes. That’s when my esteem for the show as a whole stepped up another level.
When Irene snapped Sherlock with that nickname, and then snapped him again with the brush-off “you’re done, junior” (words so specifically calculated to be both condescending and dismissive, exactly how she’d brush off some lovestruck boy and not a man who could match wits with her) — I whispered out loud to my friend, “shit, he’s going to tear her apart, now.”
Because this was exactly what happened in the earlier scene, with Mrs. Hudson, but a variation: someone exposed his affections, and by doing so made him vulnerable. This was before fandom, and before I had any time to think in depth about the character at all (I watched the whole series over two days)— and I still followed the thread of Moffat’s narrative immediately, and understood that this kind of exposure was the very thing that must have created Sherlock Holmes.
This is what created the Sherlock Holmes who says “I don’t have friends” and “alone protects me” and “it’s all transport”.
That’s why, even as he’s turning the tables on her, the first apology Irene makes is to insist that her hurtful words were not sincere: “I was just playing the game.” It isn’t a cheap declaration of love: it’s Irene realizing too late exactly what she’s done to him, to his heart, and that the consequences will be unflinching as only a Holmes can manage. Even the way he phrases himself— “thank you for giving me the final proof” is the language of a door cautiously opened, now slamming shut.
Ironically enough, her revealing an uncomfortable and intimate knowledge of his heart and his vulnerabilities is exactly what snaps him out of his confusedly emotional haze: she sees him, but in revealing this reveals herself.
He didn’t decipher that code from just her pulse.
imagine if there was a chemistry fandom and people shipped elements with other elements and then other people were like NO THAT ONLY FORMS A COVALENT BOND IONIC BONDS ARE BETTER and they have ship wars over sodium chloride and sodium carbonate