The second episode of new Sherlock! This time, The Hound Of The Baskervilles gets the treatment, as Moffat and Gatiss pound through Conan Doyle’s most famous stories. There’s also a guest shot from Russell Tovey, who has now shown up in almost every famous geek show of our time, not to mention BBC3’s excellent Him & Her.
So this episode comes with a pedigree, but how did it perform in the dog show?
The Horror Of The Baskervilles
After last week’s London-based run through the Sherlock scenery, we got a change of pace. Our heroes decamp to the country to search for a mythical hellhound, whilst Russell Tovey’s character steadily breaks down around them. And it’s a slowdown from the usual Sherlock headrush of images.
In fact, there’s a sense of horror shot through here, both during the scenes set in the woods and the military facility segments. Writer Mark Gatiss is a renowned horror fan, scripting the unsettling Night Terrors episode of Doctor Who, not to mention his documentary on the subject, and it made him a good choice for this Hound.
I especially liked Bluebell the rabbit, who not only provided a funny callback, but also primed us for the possibility that genetically engineered animals are real, so… maybe there is a monstrous super-dog on the loose? Well pitched. But poor little bunny.
The Mind Palace Of Being Human
Since the whole show pivots around the Holmes/Watson relationship, it’s fortunate that this episode allows some interesting interactions between them. The possibility of real monsters not only unsettles the viewer, but the great detective too, and I enjoyed the resultant tension.
Russell Tovey brings his normal charm to his part, which helps make the character sympathetic despite a descent into mania. I was disappointed that he was largely absent in the second half, but I guess his name isn’t in the title. Also saddening that the Hound itself didn’t turn out to be Tovey’s character transformed into a werewolf.
Even though the eventual truth wasn’t as outlandish as hinted by Bluebell or Being Human, there were borderline-scifi moments that sat oddly next to other episodes. The “mind palace” scene pushed Sherlock further into alien robot territory than I really like.
Nonetheless, a good middle story, much better than last year’s slightly disappointing The Blind Banker. And next week, the final confrontation with Moriarty, worryingly penned by the writer of that episode, but nonetheless, after a strong series, I’m looking forward to seeing how they end it. Even if it feels like it’s all over far too soon.
Check this episode out on iPlayer, and let us know how you’re finding the second series of Sherlock. Are you excited for the finale?