Sherlock Actor and Steven Moffat Disagree on the Finale’s Impact on Molly Hooper

Sherlock Season 4 has come to a close but not without its usual controversy. Showrunner Steven Moffat and actor Louise Brealey disagree on one specific bit of Molly Hooper’s development.

[Editor’s Note: Spoilers for the Sherlock finale to follow, also expect spoilers for the rest in the comment section.]

How the BBC’s Sherlock treats its female characters has been hotly debated for years and continues through the Season 4 finale, “The Final Problem.” Some put this squarely on Moffat, citing his work on Doctor Who and more, but Mark Gatiss shares writing and executive producer credits so we shouldn’t assume the choices are his and his alone. But Moffat recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the finale and his thoughts on Brealey’s Molly leave something to be desired. Here’s how their conversation went:

EW: If there is something fans seem upset about with this episode it’s that there’s no resolving scene with Molly after that very effective devastating call to her while she’s in the kitchen. Did you consider doing one? Is it fair to leave her that like that?

Moffat: But that’s not how we leave her. People need to learn to face their televisions, we see her later on–

EW: We see her skipping into the room but–

Moffat: She gets over it! Surely at a certain point you have to figure out that after Sherlock escapes tells her, “I’m really sorry about that, it was a code, I thought your flat was about to blow up.” And she says, “Oh well that’s okay then, you bastard.” And then they go back to normal, that’s what people do. I can’t see why you’d have to play that out. She forgives him, of course, and our newly grown-up Sherlock is more careful with her feelings in the future. In the end of that scene, she’s a bit wounded by it all, but he’s absolutely devastated. He smashes up the coffin, he’s in pieces, he’s more upset than she is, and that’s a huge step in Sherlock’s development. The question is: Did Sherlock survive that scene? She probably had a drink and went and shagged someone, I dunno. Molly was fine.

First of all, “People need to learn to face their televisions” is so unnecessarily condescending and part of the reason I cringe whenever I open an interview with the creator. He can’t stop himself saying things that look down on fans and that’s so disappointing. But I digress. We see Molly is “ok” after the emotional scene but I, as a viewer, also would have liked to see her and Sherlock briefly discuss what happened and where it leaves their friendship. Could Molly be “ok” after that? Sure, but it would leave a mark and speaking from experience, she probably wouldn’t be the same and neither would their friendship. Going back to “normal” after something that devastating is relative, as they say.

But Moffat’s thoughts here are another example of how many female characters are treated, as the impetus for the male character’s pain. Moffat even says this specifically: “he’s more upset than she is, and that’s a huge step in Sherlock’s development.” And well, that’s all that matters apparently. “Women in refrigerators,” “disposable woman,” however you want to refer to it, this is one of the more exasperating fiction tropes out there. Molly is a great character but when you ignore what should have been a huge bit of development for her and only focus on what it meant to Sherlock, you do her (and her fans) a big disservice.

Apparently the actor herself was getting blowback for the writers’ choices and took to her Twitter account to share her thoughts:

“Loving someone after years is not reductive, retrograde, antifeminist or weak. Fight the patriarchy, not me, and read some fucking Chekhov,” she wrote. Later adding two more tweets: “I won’t be discussing this again on here, so you can save your personal attacks, but [for the record] I disagree with Steven about the impact of the scene on Molly… & that’s fine.
He’s allowed to feel something. So am I. So are you.”

So, what do you feel? Use the comment to discuss your thoughts on the entire season, not just the Molly development.

(via The Independant)

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4 Responses to “Sherlock Actor and Steven Moffat Disagree on the Finale’s Impact on Molly Hooper”

  1. Lalalulu says:

    The scene put me on the edge of my sit, i admited , just because i didn’t want to see Molly dying. But then when suddenly the scene gets over i was like : ” duuuude what the f…just happen!!!!”. Then i see an interview with the creator saying :” she goes to a bar and shagged someone…()and that’s what people do”; i have to run over my room and read some fanfic to relax.

  2. Shoe says:

    I think Moffat is never going to get quite how his characters’ actions are perceived. He probably needs about a year off from making television before he gets any clarity over this.

  3. VindicaSean says:

    I’ve really soured on Moffat in the last few years. The man is so up his own ass over how clever his writing is(n’t), and refuses to acknowledge his own shortcomings because of the modicum of success he’s had. Every script the man turns in just conjures images in my mind of him sitting over a typewriter (I’m old, get off me), snickering like Muttly from the Hanna-Barbera Crazy Races cartoon, going “Aren’t I so very clever? Yes I am”.

  4. BronzeSquib says:

    That scene clearly took a huge toll on Molly. The fact that we saw her skip into the room later means nothing. She’s been shown, on multiple occasions, to be very good at pretending she’s OK when she absolutely isn’t.
    If they do get another season, hopefully Gatiss will have talked some sense into Moffat and they can address this properly.
    Also, gosh, wasn’t Molly barely in any of this season!