"one tiny thing that just struck me:
How far the show went out of its way to make it clear that Holmes wasn’t sexually pressuring Irene. He offered her his “bet,” and I can imagine a zillion other shows that just would have left it there as a sexy “edgy” flirtation, but no - Holmes stopped himself in the middle of the flirt to make it clear that he was not conditioning his silence about her thefts on her going on a date with him.
Similarly, when he came to see her after she refused to go out with him again, obviously someone somewhere was afraid he’d look like a stalker, and so he began his speech by making it very clear that he understood it was her right to refuse him - I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a show actually spell that out in words before, because we’re all supposed to understand that the romantic couple is meant to be and therefore all’s fair, etc etc."
in a media landscape where men pressuring women and violating their boundaries is portrayed as natural in many ~innocent and romantic~ relationships and pretty much obligatory in ~edgy dangerous~ dynamics, I still love this to ABSOLUTE PIECES
"But the final hour is called “Heroine” for a reason, as this is also a story about Joan Watson at the end of the day. In a case where Sherlock is at his weakest, and when he is unable to realize that the path to victory is failure because it means acknowledging that failure is even a possibility, it is Joan who sees more clearly. Joan isn’t afraid of Moriarty, but is rather protective of Sherlock (as both his sober companion and his partner), and the confusion that Moriarty’s emergence creates within Sherlock creates surety for Joan. If Sherlock only sees puzzles and Moriarty only sees games, Watson sees actual people: her interest in Sherlock is human, the kind of relationship that Moriarty can’t even imagine (referring to her as a mascot at one point in their lunch date). While the truth about Moriarty robs Sherlock of the most striking, human connection he believed he had ever made, the resulting investigation reaffirms a more powerful connection in his partnership with Joan, the newly discovered species of Newglassia Watsonia a metaphor for what happens when an extremely rare bee miraculously unexpectedly finds a compatible partner."