Sherlock: The Hounds Of Baskerville – Dork Review

Sherlock: The Hounds Of BaskervilleThe 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?

More Sherlock on Dork Adore | Sherlock: The Great Game – Dork Review

Nick Bryan

Nick learned to read and write at an early age. This has developed into an unhealthy need to either write stories or consume them for later dissection. He reviews film and TV on Dork Adore and The Digital Fix, lives in London and enjoys a nice white beer.

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  1. says

    I loved last night’s episode. My housemate watched most of it from between her fingers – if the writers were looking for more on the horror side, I think they achieved it!

    Really excited about next week’s episode although saddened that I’ll have to wait another year for the next series :(

    • says

      I’ve always felt they should air the Sherlock series as six 45 minute episodes to make it feel like it lasts longer, so just make the current three stories into three two-parters. Sadly the BBC have not yet read this idea from my mind. 1.5 hours always seems quite long for that show.

  2. says

    I enjoyed this episode but I agree that 1.5 hours is a bit long – especially as I needed to get to bed! I’d much rather have the episodes spread out. 

    Maybe I’ll stop after 45 mins next week and watch the last bit later but that might take more self-discipline than I have!

  3. Emma Anne James says

     Got to disagree about the mind-palace, that’s fairly common technique used by everyone from politicians to students as a memory aid. What was funny is that its usually a house, Sherlock had a palace. Otherwise a really good review and a brilliant episode.

    • says

       In the books, Holmes talks about his “brain-attic” :
      “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty
      attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A
      fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that
      the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best
      is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in
      laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful
      indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic.”

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