Sherlock: 202 “The Hounds Of Baskerville” Full Review
Review: Sherlock – The Hounds Of Baskerville (Series 2, Episode 2)
WARNING – FULL SPOILERS
Who let the dogs out?
This week’s episode of Sherlock was an intelligent and entertaining take on the infamous Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles. Featuring Russell Tovey as Henry Knight, a man terrorised by the memory of his father’s savage death at the hands of a black beast on the moors of Dartmouth, this episode was as mysterious as it was mythical. Cumberbatch and Freeman were both on top form again as the infamous duo, in an independent story that had good pace and depth.
The episode got off to a fantastic start with the usual level of banter between Sherlock and Watson, this time their discussion centred on cigarettes and Cluedo. Sherlock’s deduction that the victim must have perpetrated the crime, i.e committed suicide, was a touch of brilliance from scriptwriter Mark Gatiss. This did get me thinking though, what would Sherlock’s take on other classic games be, my bet is that he is the only person who would be able to find a way to go straight to jail and pass go and collect £200 in Monopoly.
Coming from a background of Being Human and Doctor Who, Tovey must have felt at home with the subject matter as he did a great job of playing a man tormented by repressed visions. At times it felt like he went a little overboard with his character but overall he did a solid job bringing the role to fruition grabbing a lot of empathy from us. I felt particularly bad for Henry when he was doing the classic movie cliché of flicking through the TV channels and seeing the thing your trying to avoid on every station. Poor fella, no wonder he was on the brink of suicide.
Fans of Batman Begins would have felt that this episode had taken a lot from that film’s use of fear inducing drugs, and they were right to do so. After Sherlock sees the ‘beast’ it left few explanations to be believable without venturing into paranormal theories. It could only have a very realistic and well-executed prank, a genetically modified creature that had escaped from Baskerville or some kind of toxic hallucinogen. A prank would’ve been a hard sell to the audience; a mutated dog-beast-thing would’ve been believable but a disappointing outcome so that just left drugs. Gatiss did do a great job of working this into the story and the connection to H.O.U.N.D Liberty, Indiana was fantastic.
In terms of the stylistic look of Sherlock, this week’s episode once again displayed its signature style of sharp editing, close camera shots and onscreen visuals. For the perfect example of how well this was executed then you should look no further than the scene where Sherlock dissects the man and his mother sat at the table in the pub. Cumberbatch played this flawlessly and the way in which his evidence is visualised is original as well as dynamic.
All in all, this was another amazing episode from an amazing series. It’s no mystery that the audience numbers are hitting over 10 million and still growing. This is fast becoming a jewel in the crown for the BBC and it’s great to see our TV license being spent on something more original than Strictly Come Ice Skating at the Fame Academy or whatever that show is called. As for next week’s episode, well we got a big hint from the closing scene (as well as next week’s conclusive episode titled The Reichenbach Fall) that Moriarty is going to play a part. I don’t know about you though, but for the life of me I can’t figure out who he is mad at…
Scene of the Episode – Sherlock’s “mind palace” was genius. It was a great way to see how Sherlock analyses things internally and his trails of thought were somewhat familiar. Having Elvis pop up whilst thinking about the possible Hound connections was brilliant.
Reviewed by Rich Jepson, cult TV enthusiast and author of 24: Terrorism Through Television.