In the first season of Sherlock, there was a noticeable second episode lull. After being introduced to this incredible world, we were dragged down into some plot about teapots. And with only three episodes per season, every moment counts here! Coming into this season, there was hope that the second episode wouldn’t suffer the same fate. And considering that this episode is based on The Hound of the Baskervilles, which is arguably Sherlock Holmes’ most famous adventure, Sherlock had the chance to prove that first season second episode lull to be only an aberration.
This episode opens not with Sherlock or Watson, but a kid named Henry who’s very afraid of dogs. This isn’t a normal Sherlock opening. It’s a Fringe opening or a Grimm opening. Not bad, but just okay.
Back in London, Sherlock is bored from a lack of cases and suffering severe nicotine withdrawals. Unfortunately, when he’s bored, he becomes the most intolerable human being on Earth. His powers of deduction are diverted into being a jerk. Enter Henry the scared kid with a case: his father disappeared twenty years ago, and the main suspect is a giant hound. It’s time for the boys to head out to the country.
The locals are welcoming to the out-of-towners. The innkeeper mistakes Sherlock and John for a married couple (aren’t they, really?), and Sherlock uses a card he stole from Mycroft to get into Baskerville, the British government’s top secret military research facility. Where Sherlock has to fake his position, Watson gets a chance to pull rank and demand a tour. While investigating, security notices something amiss, and Holmes and Watson are nearly thrown out. Luckily, the head scientist is a fanboy for Watson’s blog. It’s a very lucky coincidence, and somewhat out of place for the show.
That night, they’re back on the case of the Hound, and head to Dewar’s Hollow with their victim. After a nifty horror movie sequence, it happens. Sherlock sees the Hound and he believes his eyes. “Once you rule out the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be true,” he explains to Watson and himself through tears. Yes, Sherlock Holmes is afraid of a dog.
The next morning, Sherlock apologizes to Watson in the episode’s funniest scene. Nothing's better than when Sherlock attempts to act like he has real human emotions. They decide to head back to Baskerville. After a bit of investigation, Watson is trapped in a laboratory with the Hound. He believes, too. Too bad it's not real. Sherlock explains that they’ve all been drugged. The Hound is in their mind. From there, the dominoes all fall, with a brief detour to the mind palace. The final showdown has Henry and Sherlock facing their worst nightmares. For Henry, it’s the Hound. For Sherlock, it’s Moriarty. Lestrade and Watson shoot the hound, and it’s only a common dog.
The problem that sinks "The Hounds of Baskerville" is the same that sunk "The Blind Banker." There’s no adversary. Sherlock is at its best when Holmes can bounce thoughts and quips off of a worthy opponent. Irene Adler, Jim Moriarty, and the insane cab driver work at the same level as Sherlock. Against a more amorphous opponent, such as an imaginary dog, the show’s strengths aren’t utilized completely. "The Hounds of Baskerville" is a police procedural. We expect more from Sherlock. No show can be great all of the time. Here’s hoping that "The Reichenbach Fall" brings the show’s quality back up. Judging by that tag with Moriarty, it should.
Our Favorite Quotes:
Watson to Sherlock: “You being all mysterious with your cheekbones and your turning your collar up to look cool.”
Sherlock to Watson: “I don’t have friends… I’ve just got one.” The most bromantic line in the series.
Sherlock: “You can never be the most luminous of people, but as a conductor of light you are unbeatable.”
Sherlock: “Get out… I need to go to my mind palace.”
What did you think of the latest episode of Sherlock?
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