"Watson as WoC not being ex-army honourably invalided-out, but instead being a paid caretaker for the male white hero because she has failed in her profession doesn’t bother you as sexist and racist? Funny, your standards."
Nice try, but if you’d actually SEEN Elementary you’d know that Watson didn’t get kicked out of her profession. She chose to leave.
And you want to see a woman of color in the army? Where she has an extremely high chance of being raped and most certainly would be harassed and abused? Where she would be part of the most powerful colonialist force in the entire world? Okay.
No. The thing is, many women of color DO have jobs as caretakers and health workers and they do not get benefits and they certainly do not get respect. Holmes—as much of an ass as he is—actually does the right thing and apologizes to Watson, genuinely, when he has hurt her. You can’t get much different from BBC’s Sherlock, who slut shames Sally Donovan, a WoC, by exposing her affair with a married coworker.
And the biggest flaw in your argument? Joan Watson actually has a personality. She’s a three-dimensional character. The menacing Chinese gangsters in TBB, the Karachi Terrorists? Flat, one-dimensional. Cardboard evil. THAT’S racism. Not the complex woman of color who’s just the latest incarnation of one of the most beloved characters of nineteenth-century western literature.
No, I’m honestly not sure we watched the same show. I’m not sure what kind of “strong female character” goggles you’re wearing, but last time I checked IRENE WON in canon. Completely. Unequivocally. Irene, in BBC’s Sherlock, was utterly destroyed, reduced to her emotions (because women are more emotional, amiright?), and, yes, reduced to a stereotypical lesbian trope. Because as much as I agree with you that it is indeed possible to be attracted to/fall in love with/find a connection with someone outside your general group of attractors, to depict this in media is tricky because it becomes the ONLY representation of gay women. That there will always be the right man for them. And the fact that Sherlock read that off her from her pupils dilating and her pulse racing disgusts me. Because there are SO many other reasons for your pulpils to dialate and your pulse to flutter—maybe she was excited by the game! Maybe she was terrified! Anything would have been better than what ultimately came across—poor Irene, too caught up in her love, unable to resist a clever pun. And no, I haven’t seen The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, but I know enough about it to see the similarities and I find it very telling that people are so quick to bash Elementary as a Sherlock rip-off when they have very little in common whereas entire sequences in Sherlock are lifted directly from The Woman in Green and the Granada series.