The Hounds of Baskerville is based heavily on The Hound of the Baskervilles of which the episode takes its name. In the original story, Sherlock and Watson must fight a mythical hound that is terrorizing the family Baskervilles. Of course, our version has a modern day twist on it. The episode uses the direct line about the “footprints of a gigantic hound,” found in the original novel. The flashing headlights on the moor are a throwback to the use of lamps at night to communicate in the story.
However, like all other episodes, the new story doesn’t rely on any one of the originals. The use of a drugging agent by means of gas makes an appearance in “The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot.” At the start of the episode when Sherlock is covered in blood and is holding a harpoon, comes from “The Adventure of Black Peter.” In the flat when Sherlock looks for his cigarettes in a slipper, he does the same thing in “The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual.” The conversation at the inn between Sherlock and Lestrade where Sherlock addresses his tan, uses the exact wording from A Study in Scarlet, in a different context however.
The fake bet that takes place in order for Sherlock to get information from Fletcher mirrors that of one he performs in “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.” There are also a few quotes taken from The Sign of Four such as the “seven percent stronger” bit about Sherlock’s cigarettes. The well known phrase, “”Once you’ve ruled out the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be true” is also taken from The Sign of Four and is the first time we hear the phrase in both the show and the stories.
It’s been a quite week in the world of news for Sherlock. As a reminder, the SHERLOCKED convention is still happening and while no dates or locations have been revealed, you can sign up for official email alerts here.
There is still no official premiere date for Series 4 but 2016 keeps popping up, this time in an article by UnrealityPrimetime where co-creator Mark Gatiss hinted at another 2 year wait. In another article published the next day, some of the reason for the wait was put on the fact that Martin Freeman is currently filming a different TV show, Fargo, and both lead actors are required to get the ball rolling on series 4. Seeing as how it’s already halfway through March and schedules haven’t even been worked out, the original 2014 Christmas release seems like an impossibility now.
Author Suggestion: While I suggest this for all episodes of Sherlock, watch this episode in particular at night, with the lights off, for a more complete viewing experience.
The episode opens with a frightened young boy running through the woods at dusk while we see intermittent shots of a man being attacked by something. The boy runs onto the moor (open rolling land unsuitable for farming) up to a woman with a dog. He screams at the dog and the scene cuts to a young adult male who looks similar to the child, presumably they are the same person. He stands in a hollow (small v-shaped valley) in the woods before leaving quickly. The title sequence plays.
We find ourselves at the flat with John looking at his laptop. Sherlock comes home and we watch John’s reaction turn morbid as the camera pans up to reveal Sherlock covered (seriously covered) in blood whilst wielding a fishing harpoon. Apparently, it’s okay to ride the subway like that in London. Some time has passed, since Sherlock is cleaned up and he is pacing around the flat with his harpoon in hand. He’s bored, is looking for a case, and is agitated when he yells out. He asks John to “get him some” which John steadfastly declines (is he talking about drugs?). No one will sell Sherlock any in the near proximity because he’s paid them all off. Sherlock calls for Mrs. Hudson then proceeds to tear the flat apart. John reminds him of how well he’s doing as Mrs. Hudson pops in. Sherlock is looking for his supply of cigarettes (better than drugs at least) as it turns out. Mrs. H won’t give them up so Sherlock deduces that she had a “late night” with the café owner downstairs before telling her that he is married. She leaves angry and John tries his best to get Sherlock to apologize.
Sherlock wishes his mind was as simple as John’s (Sherlock 1, John 0. Yes, we’re doing that again) and requires a new case to stimulate it. We find out the blood came from harpooning a pig as Sherlock shows the only case that has popped up on his site to John. It’s from a little girl who’s glow in the dark rabbit (actual live rabbit) mysteriously vanished in the night (not exactly what Sherlock’s looking for). Sherlock mentions they could play Cluedo (same thing as the game, Clue) instead. John refuses seeing how Sherlock determined the victim was the killer last time they played and just disregarded the rules. The doorbell rings and they determine it to be a client.
The TV is on and we are watching some sort of news program on Dartmoor, the place where the military base Baskerville is housed that is rumored to perform animal experiments. The reporter brings up the possibility that some of the animals could have escaped to roam the surrounding area. A man appears on screen, their client, and shows a sketch of a scary looking dog with red eyes, believing that was what killed his father. Sherlock turns off the TV to show that the client is the man from the beginning of the episode, Henry Knight. Sherlock wants to hear everything from Henry, not the TV report.
After brushing away the useless information, Henry describes Dewer’s Hollow as the place his father was killed. We see Henry relive the event while describe a giant, black, red eyed beast. John proposes the possibility of a wolf when Sherlock jokes about genetic experiments (Sherlock 0, John 0. Let’s try negative points too this go around). Henry becomes defensive as we learn his father was a believer that Baskerville created monsters. It’s been 20 years so John is curious why Henry is bringing this up now. Mad, Henry goes to leave because Sherlock made fun of him when Sherlock whips out his deduction skills to wow Henry into staying.
Henry lights up a cigarette at Sherlock’s pleasure while John suggests Henry came up with the story to rationalize the traumatic loss of both his parents at a young age (his mother died before the father but that’s unrelated to the story). Sherlock does his best to be weird by leaning in towards Henry and inhaling the smoke he exhales from the cigarette. Henry reveals that’s what his therapist, Dr. Mortimer, thinks as well and it was her idea for Henry to return to Dartmoor to face his fears. Last night at the Hollow however, he saw footprints. Sherlock is bored and sends Henry away, but not before Henry reveals they were the prints of a “gigantic hound.” Suddenly, Sherlock is interested and takes the case. But he’s too busy and will send John on the case. It’s all a ploy to find the secret hiding place of the cigarettes (under the skull). Sherlock tosses them back to John claiming he doesn’t need them (Sherlock 1, John 0). The men pack up some items and head for Dartmoor, while we get a shot of Mrs. Hudson telling off the café owner.
There are some beautiful shots of the landscape that let us know we are far from London. Sherlock and John are driving in their rented Land Rover (and these guys don’t make enough money to rent a flat on their own…right) before stopping off to go stand on some rocks in the moor. John pulls out his handy dandy map and points out Baskerville, Grimpen Village where they’ll be staying, the woods Dewer’s Hollow is located in and most noticeably the Baskerville mine field. The men drive up in their Rover (which I desperately want) and park it outside The Cross Keys, an inn and pub where the men will be staying. As we get a wide shot, we really start to feel like this is a nice little country village and that getting out of London for an episode might be fun. On their way inside, they pass by a group of tourists finishing their tour with a young man talking about the “hound.”
Meanwhile, Henry is at his house in Dartmoor (same thing as Grimpen Village) talking with his therapist. He’s still pretty stressed out but can remember some words. “Liberty in.” They mean something related to the hound but he can’t figure out what. John checks in to the inn while only halfway denying he and Sherlock are a couple (5 for 5 episode wise. He doesn’t even care anymore does he?). He rips off a meat ticket receipt (strange for a vegetarian place…) while waiting for his change. John starts to work the bar tender and gets some information about the tour guide (Sherlock 1, John 1) who Sherlock follows outside to the eating area.
He asks to sit with the tour guide, Fletcher, and tries to find out if Fletcher’s seen the hound. Fletcher wants nothing to do with Sherlock and goes to leave when John comes out. Sherlock tells him their bet is off (Sherlock bet John 50 quid that Fletcher couldn’t prove he’d seen the hound apparently). Fletcher falls into the trap and shows the men a fuzzy picture of a black thing. It’s not enough for Sherlock and says he wins. Still falling for it, Fletcher tells them about his friend who had been sent to a secret army base and had seen horrible things, including massively sized animals. Then he pulls out a clay casting of a gigantic paw print, making the men think twice. John uses the opportunity to get the 50 quid from Sherlock (Sherlock 1, John 2) before they head off to the Rover.
In the car, the men pop over to Baskerville to poke around a bit. John doesn’t see how they’ll get in but Sherlock has a copy of Mycroft’s security card (Sherlock 2, John 2), which gives them access into the base (How security doesn’t pick up on the fact that the picture on the card looks nothing like Sherlock is beyond me). They park the Rover and head towards the building housing the labs when a Corporal Lyons of security pulls up and asks what’s wrong since they aren’t inspected at Baskerville. John whips his army badge out, pulling rank on the young man and requests a full tour immediately, without the head of security being made aware of their presence (Sherlock 2, John 3).
Inside, we go through a series of doors which the Corporal and Sherlock swipe their cards, all the while the authorization screens keep reminding us that the men haven’t got long before they find out the card’s been stolen. Downstairs, we walk through a large, bright white lab with people in clean suits and animals in cages. A Dr. Frankland briefly introduces himself as he goes about his work. The pair and the Corporal visit a smaller lab and a Dr. Stapleton who performs genetic experiments. However, Sherlock recognizes the name from his blog. Do you remember Bluebell, the luminous rabbit who was stolen from the beginning of the episode? Dr. Stapleton is the mother of that little girl (everything does serve a purpose on this show, one way or another).
It’s time to go as Sherlock’s figured out they’ll get caught soon. They make their way out of the labs and back up to the ground floor but are stopped when the corporal discovers the card is unauthorized and locks down the base. Major Barrymore, head of security, looks like he’s about to arrest the men but Dr. Frankland in the background fakes that he knows Sherlock and that there’s been a mix up of some sort. The good doctor escorts the men back to the Rover, knowing who they really are and tells them he was friends with Henry’s father and would like to help with Henry if he can. The pair then leaves while John brings up the coat collar thing Sherlock does and calls him “cheekbones” (Sherlock 2, John 4).
In the Rover headed to Henry’s house, they discuss whether or not Dr. Stapleton has been performing genetic experiments to create something deadlier than a bunny that glows. In a flash we’re at Henry’s house, which is really nice, and we find out Henry’s actually rich (for Sherlock’s general rudeness towards offers, he wipes his feet before entering, something John doesn’t do. Look back to last episode and you’ll find him doing the same thing as well).
Henry gives the boys some coffee while he tells them about the words “Liberty in.” In an effort to move things along, Sherlock plans to bring Henry out to the moor, and the Hollow, that night and see if something attacks him. Henry doesn’t look too keen on the idea but Sherlock and John will be going with him. There are some lovely shots of the group, flashlights in hand, crossing the moor at dusk (Fun fact: The British call flashlights torches). By the time they’ve reached the woods edge, it’s full on night time and plenty dark. The music and the lighting start to give off a horror movie vibe that stays for quite a while. John, being in the back, hears some rustling and stops while Sherlock and Henry go on without him. He looks around a little before noticing a flashing light on the top of one of the moor hills. Quietly, John calls for Sherlock but realizes he’s no longer there. Using his military skills, he works out the Morse code of the light to be “U.M.Q.R.A.” but doesn’t understand it. There’s a cut to Sherlock and Henry walking and then back to John who’s still quietly calling for Sherlock to tell him about the lights.
Down the path, Sherlock talks to Henry about Dr. Frankland. He and Henry’s father were good friends, despite their differences, much like Sherlock and John. When they stop, Henry shows that they are at Dewer’s Hollow. Meanwhile, John is trying to catch up and find Sherlock when there’s a strange clanking noise. It keeps happening and you start to get this feeling that John is the guy that gets killed first in a horror movie because he’s separated from the group. John finds the source to just be some water dripping on an old sign and smiles a bit of relief. But a black mass that appears out of nowhere and is gone just as fast (with a creepy sound too) behind him makes you realize he isn’t exactly safe. There’s a nice loud howl and John books it out of there, believing something is nearby.
Henry and Sherlock climb down into the Hollow and find massive paw prints as the music builds more and more. Something is still howling nearby as John is moving fast through the trees. We hear a growl as Sherlock scans the top edge of the Hollow with his flashlight. His face looks of sheer terror and disbelief all rolled into one as the camera pulls back to stare down at him from the Hollow’s edge. We see nothing but Henry’s freaking out that he saw it and the look on Sherlock’s face makes it obvious he did too. They leave and find John on the edge of the woods, who asks if they heard it. Henry says they saw it, but Sherlock says he saw nothing.
Pretty shaken up, John follows Henry home and prescribes him some medicine to help him calm down and sleep for the night. But Henry’s a little happy, knowing that Sherlock saw the hound, despite what he says. The scene transitions over to Sherlock sitting besides the fire inside the Cross Keys pub as John comes in. John talks about how he doesn’t quite believe Henry and then goes on to talk about the Morse code lights but Sherlock isn’t listening. He looks scared, legitimately fearful, which is shocking for someone we’ve never seen frightened. For a moment you think he might even cry. Aware that something’s up but ignoring it, John suggests maybe it’s just a big dog that’s loose.
Sherlock cuts him off and says he saw a gigantic hound, just like Henry. John tries to keep Sherlock rational but Sherlock is convinced in what he saw. As the scene has drawn on, Sherlock has grown more and more upset and his fear is palpable. Even he is amazed at how he’s let the fear seep in. When John suggests Sherlock is just worked up, Sherlock says he’s fine and proceeds to start breathing heavily and shaking a bit (that’s normal, right?). John starts looking concerned and when he presses again, Sherlock yells that nothing’s wrong with him, attracting the attention of the pub. He quiets down and says he’ll prove he’s okay. He deduces a mother and son out for dinner, growing more violent with his voice, expressions, and words as he goes on until he tells John to leave him alone. John brushes the incident off and retaliates that he’s only Sherlock’s friend so it doesn’t make sense why Sherlock wouldn’t listen to him. When Sherlock bitterly tells John he doesn’t have friends (not cool), that’s the final nail in the coffin and John leaves quickly (Sherlock 1, John 4).
Outside, John sees the flashing lights in the distance again and goes to investigate on his own. Now we return to the horror movie type feel as signaled by the harsh bird screech. At Henry’s house, his medicine’s worn off and he’s woken up. He stares out to his dark backyard, (through his floor to ceiling glass wall) as quick cuts of “liberty”, screeching, growling, etc. pierce through and give your heart a little jump. This is basically a window into Henry’s head to let us see and feel what he’s going through. Back with John, he’s walking along the moor and comes along a group of cars parked in a circle where people are having sex in the cars. Whoever’s in there just happens to keep hitting the lights by accident. Horrified, John quickly leaves when he gets a text from Sherlock. He would like John to interview Henry’s therapist who happens to be in the pub at the moment. We see John’s still miffed by his all caps responses. But Sherlock knows John and sends him a picture of the therapist (attractive, female therapist by the way). He calls Sherlock a bad man for knowing his weakness so we can expect to be seeing the therapist soon.
Henry’s watching TV, looking pretty drained and tired as he glances outside. The TV shows us a program on wolves (not good sleeping TV. I suggest a documentary on lighthouses, knock you right out), as he changes the channel to something else. Outside, the backlights turn on, lighting up the yard and quickly turn off. He thinks nothing of it. In the darkness, something passes by. Henry flips channels again to reveal another wolf show is on (that must be popular stuff in the UK). He turns the TV off and the backlights go on again, this time spurning his attention. Standing up, the lights go off again but this time he catches the shadow of a beast. Turning to panic, Henry pulls out a gun from his cabinet drawer and aims outside. He leans in close to the glass and as the lights come on, something hits it, hard, in line with his head. The lights go off and on again and by now you might be getting a twinge of sensory overload from the lights if you are watching in darkness. The lights turn off for the last time and Henry curls up into a ball on the ground, unsure what to do.
At the pub, we find John with Dr. Mortimer, drinking wine and having a merry ole’ time. She sees through his ploy to try and get information about Henry when John reveals that Sherlock might be going through the same thing. The odds look like they are turning in John’s favor but Dr. Frankland pops up and lets loose that John’s in town on an investigation. He’s there just long enough to ruin things for John as Dr. Mortimer leaves annoyed. The next morning, Sherlock is out on the moor standing on his favorite rock, staring at Baskerville and looking cool. The gears grind in his head and we are over at Henry’s once more.
Sherlock asks how Henry is, not caring really, and then goes to make some coffee for the men. Henry asks why Sherlock lied about the hound but Sherlock cuts him off. Why does Henry call the hound a hound and not a dog? The word choice is what drew Sherlock to the case in the first place. Suddenly, he decides he doesn’t want coffee anymore and leaves. Walking through the village, Sherlock spots John going over his notebook in the church cemetery (no parks in this village I’m guessing). He walks up to John and the air is still a bit tense between them. Sherlock asks about the Morse code but John says it was nothing.
He tries to make a joke about how John made out with Dr. Mortimer but John tells him to stick his icy demeanor. Trying to win John over, he tells him how he felt doubt in his senses last night, that’s why he was so scared, but that he doesn’t actually believe what he saw. Full of iciness himself, John tells him good luck with that and walks off. Sherlock reiterates that he doesn’t have friends, he just has one (Sherlock 4, John 4. 3 points for the utter sincerity and smile it puts on your face). Thawing some, John walks away and out into the inn parking lot when Sherlock calls him amazing. Running after, Sherlock basically tells him that he’s not the smartest person but he’s helped him to figure out that hound might actually be an acronym.
Looking in the inn doors, we get a glimpse of a very tan Lestrade hanging out inside. Sherlock doesn’t believe he’s on holiday (obviously, look at his skin. He’s just come back from one) and John says hi to “Greg.” Who’s Greg? Sherlock doesn’t know either but that’s Lestrade’s first name actually and he’s there because Mycroft wants a check in on his little brother. John thinks it’s great and pulls out the meat receipt from earlier on. Perhaps Lestrade can question the inn owners about it.
In the empty pub, Lestrade is sitting down with the owners while Sherlock makes John some coffee to apologize (Sherlock 5, John 4). He accepts but on the first sip tastes the sugar, which he doesn’t take. Sherlock looks worried so John forces it down to make him feel better (Sherlock 5, John 5). Lestrade basically gets out that the owners tried to use Henry’s story to fuel tourism and their livelihood by using a big dog in the woods that would eat lots of meat. However, they couldn’t control it and put it down. Lestrade and John step out of the inn while Sherlock follows shortly after. Lestrade leaves and the boys decide to head over to Baskerville once more to test Sherlock’s new theory, this time with permission from Mycroft. In the car, Sherlock tells John he’ll need to speak with the Major, so John will have to start the search for the hound on his own.
Inside, Sherlock speaks with Major Barrymore who isn’t pleased that Sherlock has unlimited access for the day, but lets him roam as he pleases. The Major says Sherlock won’t find anything as we cut over to Henry’s house. He’s holding a picture of his parents while looking very tired and depressed. Closing his eyes, trying to nod off, a glowing red eye and screech cut through and Henry starts freaking out (poor Henry, he can’t even sleep which doesn’t help his paranoia).
Back at Baskerville, John walks into the large lab we saw earlier but the few people that are in there are leaving and turn off some of the lights as they do (weird). Plus there’s no animals or anything like before either. Obviously, John notices but acts like himself and ignores it. He checks out a little side room first but doesn’t find anything. When he leaves, a giant examining light turns on sharply, blinding him (mind you, that wasn’t there when he went in), as well as all the lights in the room making it nearly blinding in the room. Add in a loud ear piercing alarm and it makes the light and dark situation at Henry’s house seem tame (the sound is worse if you are listening with headphones as it moves from one headphone to the other, confusing your brain). John makes it back to the door he came in and swipes his key card. It doesn’t work. Trying again, it still doesn’t work and it doesn’t work the third time either. The lights cut out along with the alarm and it takes John a minute to get his bearings (if you close your own eyes, you’ll see those same circles he does. It’s interactive that way, just remember to open them again).
He’s got his flashlight out and hears something. Moving towards the covered cages, he checks them to find nothing, nothing, a monkey, and nothing. But the last cage is bent, like it was ripped open by something. A growl behind him reminds us that John’s back in the horror story mode of the episode (and would probably be dead by now if it were that type of show). Quickly, he dashes to the small room he went in before but the card still isn’t working (cue sad John music). Unsure what to do, he calls Sherlock who doesn’t answer. Starting to freak out, John starts making his way towards another door when we hear paws scurrying on the floor. Hurrying up, he gets over and pulls out the card but never even uses it when he hears the hound growling, louder now, and running around near him. He has to cover his mouth with his hand to stop the hound from hearing his heavy breathing before glancing over at the cages which he runs over to and into an empty one, closing it behind him. He pulls down the sheet, covering it some, but he can still see out a little bit. All the while, the hound’s growls have turned more and more vicious and it’s ready to tear John to pieces.
Inside, John covers his mouth again and the growling gets a bit quieter when Sherlock calls. John’s looking worse than even Henry’s been (and looks more scared than when he had a bomb strapped to him) and whispers to Sherlock to get him out before cracking his voice. Sherlock asks him to keep talking but John’s afraid it’ll attract the hound. He asks what John sees. At first he sees nothing but then John’s expression changes as he leans back to the far edge of the cage. He stops whispering and says he sees it, right in front of him. We see a shadow through the sheet and as it pulls back the cage door, John’s done for.
The door opens, the lights come on, and Sherlock is there pulling John out. He tries to calm him down but John is a little beyond that at the moment and has an outburst. Clever Sherlock asks John about what he saw and it turns out, they saw different things. They’ve been drugged, along with Henry, to make the hound seem real but now they’re off to get some answers.
We pop over to Dr. Stapleton’s lab where she’s working with another rabbit who also glows. Blackmailing her by claiming he’ll tell her daughter what happened to Bluebell works and he starts to examine something under a microscope. John’s still coming down off his episode but looks more like himself than a few minutes ago. He and Dr. Stapleton have a discussion about genetic experiments and that it does happen, even cloning and not just of animals, but not at Baskerville. Sherlock gets mad and throws his slide, noting that there was no drug in the sugar he took from Henry’s house (so that’s why he went there). Confused, Sherlock tells them to leave so he can go to his “mind palace” (a memory tool that can be used to help remember information and thus never forget it. I’ve actually tried it once and was scared when it really worked). While we don’t really see in the palace (you’ll get to…someday), Sherlock comes up with “Liberty, Indiana H.O.U.N.D.”
Henry is being chased on the moor by the hound, gun in hand, when he fires at it. Unfortunately, Henry’s hallucinating from the drug, lack of sleep, or a mixture of both and almost shoots Dr. Mortimer in his house. Horrified with himself, he leaves. Back at Baskerville, Dr. Stapleton brings Sherlock and John to a computer room where they can look up CIA project H.O.U.N.D. but her access won’t let her see. After some deductions, Sherlock figures out the Major’s password and they’re in. The file opens and we see phrases like “extreme suggestibility, fear and stimulus, conditioned terror, and aerosol dispersal,” pop up. The drug, meant for use against enemy combatants, basically makes people go insane from fear and will lead them to kill others because of the intensity of that fear, something we see starting to happen to Henry. Using a picture in the file, they figure out Dr. Frankland has been trying to continue the experiment he worked on 20 years ago with Henry as an unwitting test subject.
Sherlock plans to set up a meeting with the doctor but John gets a call from Dr. Mortimer telling him about Henry and the gun. Sherlock calls Lestrade and tells him to get to the Hollow with a gun, knowing that’s where Henry will have gone. Henry climbs down into the hollow and puts the gun into his mouth when Sherlock and John arrive. They try to calm him but he’s aimed the gun at them to force them to stay away. Sherlock tells Henry to remember what happened but he can’t and nearly shoots himself. Trying once more, Sherlock tells him it was man who had killed his father and Henry starts to piece it together. The image of the hound came from the shirt that Dr. Frankland had been wearing when he’d killed Henry’s father. Making Henry appear (and go) crazy would discredit him and his story of his father’s murder. Lestrade finally arrives and Henry’s calmed down to the point where John can safely take the gun from him. The hound they’d seen was just a normal dog their drugged minds had tricked them into believing was a monster.
Or not. A beast howls and we finally get to see the hound as a huge, black furred, glowing red eyed beast that rounds the edge of the hollow. Henry goes nuts and even Lestrade sees it, who by the way isn’t drugged. Sherlock believes it to be a normal dog still when it starts making it’s way into the hollow. Behind the men, a figure in a gas mask comes out from the small cave in the hollow (you might have caught a glimpse of him before). Sherlock runs to him and rips off the mask to see the face of Moriarty (apparently a big fear of Sherlock’s) before finally seeing him as Dr. Frankland. The doctor is covering his mouth and nose. The drug is in the fog that’s been building up in the hollow, which is released through pressure pads under the ground.
John shoots the dog and we see it is just a normal dog. Henry attacks Dr. Frankland but after being pulled off is glad because he knows he isn’t crazy. The dog isn’t quite dead which gives Dr. Frankland the chance to run while John kills it. The men pursue him out of the hollow and to the edge of the woods. Dr. Frankland runs into the minefield and after stepping on a plate, steps off, letting off a large explosion. Henry looks as though he can finally relax.
The next morning, John is eating breakfast outside when Sherlock joins him. The inn owners never had the dog put down we assume. John’s curious about what happened in the lab. Well, he got exposed to the drug from the leaky gas pipe in the small room he’d visited. It doesn’t make sense though because Sherlock thought the drug was in the sugar from Henry’s house. Doing his own deduction, John realizes Sherlock was the one that locked him in the lab (Sherlock 4, John 5. Not exactly how you’re supposed to treat your one and only friend). It was an experiment to see how the drug worked on the “average mind.” Sherlock was wrong about the sugar (Sherlock 5, John 5. Points for proving he actually is human), but everything’s hunky dory now. Right?
The scene fades to black but we don’t hear the normal credit music so there’s something more to come. We come back to see Mycroft looking in on a man in captivity. Moriarty. He looks just as crazy as ever. Mycroft lets him go and as the camera pulls out, we see that he’s scribed Sherlock’s name onto every wall, many, many times, including the viewing window. The credits roll and we’re left with a new mystery to solve.
I like this episode and I’m not afraid to say (okay, maybe a little) that it’s my favorite of the entire show thus far. The best? It’s starting to get harder to answer that question but probably not. Before the hounds come after me, let me explain. First off, it takes us out of the big city and into the small town mystery. There are no taxis to run off to, crime scenes in flats, or people in suits being all business (no offense to suit wearers). It’s simply a refreshing change of scenery as Lestrade even says so. Also, I like things like grass and trees so it has that going for it. Plus, there’s the introduction of the mind palace, which if you search the web, can find more detailed information about how to build your own. It sounds crazy but does actually work if you put the effort into remembering it.
Another big departure this episode takes is the thriller/horror movie type feel the episode has at certain points mentioned above. If you aren’t a fan of those types of films, you might not like this episode understandably. It’s certainly a risk for the show to take but it manages to keep the wit and story in line, just like a normal episode of Sherlock. Overall, I would call this an exploratory episode that keeps the show from becoming placid while still giving us a fun episode to enjoy.
I will admit I don’t necessarily like everything in this episode. I was really hoping there would be a giant hound roaming the moor, not just everybody getting drugged up and going nuts. It’s a bit of a let down when you realize the glowing bunny is the most we get to see of genetic experiments.
It’s been 5 episodes now and Sherlock and John have been living together for at a minimum over a year, probably two now (it’s very hard to keep track of where they fall in the space-time continuum but it’s somewhere around there). After two years, surely Sherlock’s softened some, at least with John. We get glimpses of it when they talk about Cluedo and how John has stopped being amazed at Sherlock’s deductive skills and now calls him a show-off instead. So when Sherlock says he doesn’t have friends, as a viewer you think he hasn’t changed at all really. However, when he tells John that he’s his only friend, you believe it and understand that’s a big deal for Sherlock to say he has a friend. That is character development from a few episodes back when John only referred to Sherlock as a colleague.
Last thing to discuss is the acting of The Hounds of Baskerville. The acting has always been great but with an episode that requires a lot of changes for the characters, and us, it really shines through. The portrayal of Sherlock afraid is amazing as the character of Sherlock doesn’t get lost behind the fear but instead encompasses it. When John is in the lab, a mostly expression driven scene, you feel the fear through his face along with the other elements of the shot. Sherlock and John ended in a tie once again this week but actor Russell Tovey who plays Henry Knight is the real winner. He doesn’t feel like just a client but more like a new friend to Sherlock and John that they are trying to help out. Tovey had a lot of emotionally charged scenes to work through and he executes them wonderfully. In the end, he was the real star of the episode.
And what was the bit with Moriarty at the end about? Check back next week to find out!
1. “Once you’ve ruled out the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable must be true.” -Sherlock
2. “Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound.” -Henry
3. “Listen, what I said before, John, I meant it. I don’t have friends. I’ve just got one.” -Sherlock
4. “Brilliant.” –John
“What’s the matter?” –Sherlock
“We’ll get caught.” –John
“No we won’t. Well not just yet.” –Sherlock
“Caught in five minutes. ‘Oh, hi! We just thought we’d come and have a wander round your top-secret weapons base. Really? Great! Come in, kettle’s just boiled.’” -John
5. “Huh. Look at me, I’m afraid, John. Afraid.” –Sherlock
“I’ve always been able to keep myself distant. Divorce myself from my feelings. But, look, you see? My body’s betraying me. Interesting, yes? Emotions. The grit on the lens, the fly in the ointment!” –Sherlock
“Yeah, all right, Spock.” -John
6. “Yes, if I wanted poetry I’d read John’s emails to his girlfriends, much funnier (John sighs).” –Sherlock
7. “I never did ask Dr. Frankland. What exactly is it that you do here?” –Sherlock
“Mr. Holmes, I would love to tell you, but then of course I’d have to kill you (laughs).” –Dr. Frankland
“That would be tremendously ambitious of you.” -Sherlock
8. “Did we just break into a military base to investigate a rabbit?” -John
9. “What the hell are you doing here?” –Sherlock
“Oh, nice to see you too.” -Lestrade
10. “Oh, please. Can we not do this this time?” –John
“Do what?” –Sherlock
“You being all mysterious with your cheekbones, and turning your coat collar up so you look cool.” –John
“I don’t do that.” –Sherlock
“Yeah, you do.” -John
11. “Not now, Sherlock.” –John
“Oh, please? I’ve been cooped up in here for ages.” –Sherlock
“You’re just showing off.” –John
“Of course. I am a show-off. That’s what we do.” -Sherlock
Some may call this the episode where we explore the concept of love. In celebration of love, I’ve found a few pictures that finally address all those couple jokes in the show. Enjoy.
Yes. It’s quite obvious why John is always having to claim the men aren’t a couple when you look at it like this.
This was just too good not to be included. Bonus points for “Jawn.”
Of course Sherlock and John are a couple. Even Irene Adler admits it. They just aren’t that kind of a couple. Never fear though, the jokes never end and they probably never will.
If you have a suggestion or content for a future GIF/Pic of the episode, email email@example.com with “GIF/Pic of the episode suggestion” in the subject line. Include a link to where the original content was found if necessary.