Monday 2020-09-28
Enola Holmes -- directed by Harry Bradbeer, written by Nancy Springer.

Ostensibly, this is a progressive film: all the strong characters are female, Sherlock is criticized for never being political, and the central plot point is a dead-locked vote before Parliament to extend suffrage.

However, the arch-villain stands for both nature conservation and social conservatism. In one notable scene, Enola walks through the woods of Tewksbury's estate with its dowager who pointedly remarks upon its beauty and the curatorial nature of aristocratic rule.

While on one hand, this makes sense; it seems intellectually pure that the central ethos of conservation should span society and its interactions with nature. The other hand, though, is incredulous; in what world are Greens aligned with social conservatives?

Fast-forward to the end of the film. The evil conservatives have been defeated and the reform bill has passed. The last shot rises from the street up to a roof-top view of London's chimneys' coal black smoke. So we won, and we end up with pollution?

Maybe this is an elaborate jab at The Crown and The Great Smog of London episode? "We gave you the vote. And what did you do? You poisoned yourselves." -- Assuming that this is not just some misanthropic jape, what else is there?

Since the dowager could have just as easily owned coal mines and dark satanic mills, this does not seem like an accident in the telling. Perhaps the writers are writing for two audiences? These times of division reward writers who can appeal to both ends of the political spectrum.

Note that non-Tories have a hard time writing Sherlock. Witness the BBC's recent fumbling of this character from the zenith of their Empire; it is not easy to write when every newsday seems to start with some sequelae of your colonial past.

So take a Tory character, wrap it up in suffragette garb, add some dog-whistles, and print some paychecks?

Is that what's going on? Watch the film, and show me otherwise.