23 yr old grrl. Please 221B my friend.
It’s just that I thought it would be different with Elementary. I thought the whole amoral=emotionless=inhuman trope could maybe be avoided? They did that to death in BBC Sherlock, especially the fandom, and although I had to block a couple of elementapeeps for insisting JLMHolmes is “more human,” I figured the ableism would maybe be less in a show/fandom that didn’t revolve around a character such as BBCSherlock that even the writers and actor don’t seem to fully understand, let alone the fandom…and don’t even get me started on how people talk about Moriarty as some blood-dripping kinky fiend…
And JLM Holmes is emotional in a far more visible way (well to neurotypicals - it is not hard to see emotion in BBCSherlock if you know how to look; it stares me in the face). So I figured a show centered around this type of character wouldn’t have the same problems that make me so damn uncomfortable with the Sherlock fandom. Perhaps I was just waaaaay too optimistic. Probably.
And then Adam.
Thing is, though, Adam really isn’t the amoral=emotionless=inhuman type either and I find it really fucking annoying to treat him like one.
What Holmes said about his abuse…that doesn’t suddenly disappear at the “twist.” He was a little kid when he was taken; he didn’t turn the tables overnight. He went through hell.
And Holmes…Holmes overidentifies with a particular type (at least so far). The type with the uncontrolled emotional pain of some kind. The person whose emotions push them into actions they later regret. Whose urges they don’t entirely understand or control. It wasn’t just about taking advantage, though that was important - it was the whole impulsive aspect.
Adam fits that, is the thing. No matter how poised he was in the bedroom encounter, he has vast swathes of emotional pain and it leaks out and explodes and pushes him to do things.
They are not good things, nor are the especially forgivable, but they are not a matter of too little emotion, but rather of too much, and no suitable outlet, no role model, no nothing. We can acknowledge that emotion and abuse are factors without forgiving his horrific actions.
It isn’t a simple haha fooled ya you were totally wrong Machiavellianschemer thing. Sherlock knows abuse, he knows ways it can fuck with you - it just screwed with this kid a different way than it did Sherlock, but his instincts were not all off the mark. There is that similarity.
I mean that is the whole point of JLMSherlock as a character, the way emotions and impulses make you explode and screw up — it’s not about a lack of feelings, perceived or imagined, or any of that. How feelings don’t make you a sainted wonderful queen of empathy but in fact can cause loads of damage.
Also I have to wonder why this kid is apparently the emotionless Machiavelli Moriarty type when, in fact, the criminal we have seen, so far, with the least emotional reason for the crimes, was the lady in the second episode. All we know of her motives is money, and yet somehow she is not the cunning emotionless trope - but a scarred horrifically abused kid with serious emotional issues is? I really do question that. Is it another white dude thing, or her lack of screentime? maybe both?
I hugely appreciate the fact that, as the OP says, Elementary addresses emotions and impulses and how they can really screw people up and aren’t always a good thing (especially when it comes to abuse and mental illness/disability—which is so remarkable). But it makes me so, so uncomfortable when people do that whole “oh, Elementary Sherlock is so much more feeling and emotional and human.” Or the more flippant “BBC Sherlock could never” (and variations thereof) because you are right! No, he probably couldn’t.
But there you go, tryin’ to make disordered people feel bad about themselves for things they can’t help! That’s probably really helpful, great idea! (super ironic considering how insightful and instructive Elementary has been in terms of this specific issue.)
I know things are rough right now, but just remember:
- at some point, John and Sherlock actually played Cluedo
- John and Sherlock dressed up as and played the parts of ninjas
- Molly has a cat named Toby (NB: also the name of Holmes’ canine friend in the Sir ACD canon)
- Jim Moriarty watched at least one episode of Glee