Fanfiction Fridays: Of the Devil’s Party by Mermaiddrunk

Sherlock is rarely hesitant and seldom tactful, but there’s a tentative quality to his tone when he says, “You’re not… falling for her are you?”

“What? No!” She’s suddenly aware of how high-pitched her voice has become and she shakes her head, annoyed at herself. “No. That’s insane.” And it is. Completely.

He continues despite her protest. “Because I’m well aware of the allure she possesses.” And here, his face takes on a wistful expression, as if recalling some memeory that Joan desperately hopes he won’t share. He doesn’t, and instead says, “But, you must remember that the pull she exerts is not unlike that of a black hole. She will suck you in, but ultimately leave you empty and decimated.”

Joan’s first instinct is to laugh at the absurdity of being “sucked in” by anyone, but then she thinks of Moriarty and her raptor sharp gaze. Cold steel through the heart. And she doesn’t laugh. Instead, a choking sound claws its way out of her throat as she struggles for words. “Sherlock, come on. I’m not falling for Moriarty. She sends me letters, which I ignore. That hardly makes for a successful… courtship or whatever.”

It goes against a personal code I have to recommend works in progress, but today I’m breaking that to bring you Of the Devil’s Party by Mermaiddrunk, a fantastic Elementary fic that I just couldn’t wait to share.

First, a confession: I’m painfully and deeply committed to the idea of bi!Joan Watson. While in-show I’m holding out hope for them to introduce a still-female Mary Morstan character for her to romance, I’m also intrigued by the potential for a relationship between her and Jamie Moriarty. Their in-show relationship has such an antagonistic dynamic, but Moriarty also clearly has a weird sociopathic ladyboner for Joan—like, can we talk about the giant painting of Joan’s face that she made while locked up in that warehouse? She’s pretty obsessed, and for a fanficcer, it’s a pretty easy jump from obsessed to smitten.

Seriously the painting is enormous.

Seriously, the painting is enormous.

Of the Devil’s Party is set during the second season, after the incident with Moriarty’s daughter. Moriarty has been freed by the authorities, and heads off into the world to rebuild her criminal empire. However, after a few weeks, she starts reaching out to Joan, first through letters and then through phone calls. Joan is at first utterly unamused by Jamie’s attempts to reach out and befriend her, but the two of them eventually grow into friends. As of the fic’s more recent chapters, that friendship is beginning to develop into something romantic, much to Joan’s surprise and Sherlock’s unease. Continue reading

Breaking Out Of The Fridge: Subverting Women’s Victimization in Pop Culture

women in refrigerators

My dismembered girlfriend?! That’s an awful surprise!

Several years ago, comics writer Gail Simone introduced the term “women in refrigerators” as a way to describe women in comics who have been hurt or killed as a way to further a man’s pain. Since then, it’s entered the general geek vernacular as a way to describe any woman who ends up dead for manpain’s sake, and while more and more people are likely to call out The Powers That Be for writing women this way, it does remain an often-used trope. The whole premise of Supernatural revolves around two fridged women, Mary Winchester and Sam’s girlfriend Jess, and women regularly are hurt or die to make its leading men sad. (A short list: Anna, Sarah Blake, Pamela, Meg, Amy Pond, Jo, and Ellen, just to start us off.) Barry Allen’s origin story in the upcoming Flash series centers around his mother’s death. Rachel’s death in The Dark Knight was purest fridging, and so were Allison’s death in Teen Wolf, Frigga’s death in Thor: The Dark World, and Spock’s mom Amanda’s death in Star Trek XI.

The problem with this trope is that it reduces women from people with agency into objects that are acted upon; they go from characters who make choices to tools whose purpose is to make someone else sad or angry or motivated, and that propagates the idea that objectifying women is a legitimate storytelling technique. One interesting thing about this trope, though, is that it’s become so expected that writers have started to use it in a subversive and surprising way.

Spoilers for Arrow Season 2, Elementary Season 1, and How To Train Your Dragon 2 below the jump.

Continue reading