TV in Review: Sherlock, “The Hounds of Baskerville”

This review lands in the middle of a puddle, so to speak. It’s halfway between January, when the episode premiered in the UK, and May, when the it will air in the the States.  Once again, I try not to give away any of the crucial turns in the mystery, but if you want to avoid any hint of a half-spoiler, turn back now!

“The Hounds of Baskerville” differs from previous episodes mostly due to the tone. They definitely take the horror route, full of growls and snarls and glimpses of dogs.

Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound.

All the dog references are pretty cool, but if you don’t already know about the British extracurricular activity called “dogging,” you might not want to look it up while at work.

There’s also a continued meta-awareness of the myth that they are making, but it’s fun, and not to the point of annoying.

JOHN: Oh, please, could we not do this, this time?

SHERLOCK: Do what?

JOHN: You being all mysterious, with cheekbones and turning your coat collar up so you look cool.

John’s right. Sherlock looks mysterious and his coat is magnificent! If I had the cheekbones for it, I’d get one for myself and start hanging out on the local cliffs, to try and attract the local lasses. It’s got to work as well as speed dating!

If “A Scandal in Belgravia” was all about ways of watching, then “The Hounds of Baskerville” is about lights and lighting, with plenty of play of day and night, and varied light sources…

…at times it had an X-Files factor…

They’re making sure to spend some time on character development, starting off the episode with some signs of Sherlock’s addiction, which impacts his cognition and makes us wonder whether detective work is actually a compulsion for him rather than a choice.

SHERLOCK: Oh, John, I envy you so much. Your mind, it’s so placid, straight-forward, barely used. Mine’s like an engine, racing out of control, a rocket, tearing itself to pieces, trapped on the launching pad. I need a case!!

And of course Sherlock’s relationship with John remains at the center of the series.

SHERLOCK: I don’t have friends.

JOHN: No. I wonder why?

They do need to be careful not to use Sherlock’s brother Mycroft as a get-out-of-jail free card. (Or a get-into-jail free card, for that matter.)

Also, the solution to the mystery didn’t impress me much, as it seemed to be more of a pretext for all of the hunting and searching, rather than any sort of revelation that prodded additional rumination. But hey, even if the ending wasn’t brilliant, getting there provided yet another gripping ride and Sherlock continues to provide some of the best entertainment on television.

I give “The Hounds of Baskerville” four flashlights on my official Scale of Artificial Light Sources.

Now, to quote Mr. Holmes himself…

Get out, I need to go to my mind palace.

“The Hounds of Baskerville” first aired on the BBC on January 8, 2012
TV in Review: Sherlock, “A Study in Pink” (Season 1, Episode 1)
TV in Review: Sherlock, “The Blind Banker” (Season 1, Episode 2)
TV in Review: Sherlock, “The Great Game” (Season 1, Episode 3)
TV in Review: Sherlock, “A Scandal in Belgravia” (Season 2, Episode 1)

geeksyndicate: TV REVIEW: Sherlock Season 2 Episode 2 – The Hounds of Baskerville
Et Cetera: The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Review
LibiCritic: Sherlock: The Hounds of Baskerville

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About Matthew
I care about politics, but also enjoy tabloid talk. So what’s a boy to do?

5 Responses to TV in Review: Sherlock, “The Hounds of Baskerville”

  1. Thanks for the advanced warning on the spoiler. I’ll come back to this review after I watch the episode.

  2. Zorbear says:

    I’m in a bit of a muddle about this series. While I’ll watch anything Sherlockian, the writers seem to working too hard at being ‘clever’ and not hard enough at being good. I’ll probably get flamed for that, but since what I think about stuff isn’t really all that earth-shaking, in the end, it won’t really matter.

    (Sigh) I really miss Jeremy…

    • Matthew says:

      I get what you’re saying. I’m going through the old episodes of the new Doctor Who and find a similar kind of tension, although I’ll still take “clever” over most of the crap on TV! The episodes of Sherlock which I personally find fantastic — most notably the very first one — tide me over when they hit one I like much less, like “The Blind Banker.” For me, when they make mistakes or hit the wrong note, it’s frustrating in part because they really have all the ingredients they need for near-perfection.

  3. Matthew says:

    Reblogged this on polentical and commented:

    Yesterday was spent on airplanes, so I haven’t had a chance to watch the latest Mad Men (the agony of delay) but back in March I blogged about the latest episode of Sherlock. For those of you watching it on PBS…last night might have been fun, but just wait for the coming finale…

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