Sherlock Review: "The Hounds of Baskerville"

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"The Hounds of Baskerville" delves into the Sherlock/Watson relationship perhaps more than any other episode of this BBC series to date, so let's take a minute to discuss why, exactly, John Watson puts up with Sherlock.

The question of why Sherlock needs John is pretty obvious. From a practical standpoint, John is his sounding board, he'll do footwork for him and he can interact with normal humans in a way Sherlock can't.

Plus, he's a crack shot capable of physically defending Sherlock, as in the very first episode. Beyond that, Sherlock clearly values his friendship, even though he's loathe to admit it.

The Hounds of Baskerville Scene

For John, there's the simple answer: partnering with Sherlock helps give him the same rush and excitement he got from the war, and also helps him avoid dealing with his PTSD.

But there are plenty of soldiers who deal with PTSD in ways that don't make them codependent on a condescending sociopath who misleads, insults and drives away their girlfriends as a matter of course. Oh, and how tries to give them hallucinogenic coffee.

Beyond that, I think John has a surgeon's stubbornness and arrogance in his (accurate) belief that Sherlock needs him, and that he can, if not change Sherlock for the better, at least curb his worst qualities. (We get a hint of some of this same quality in the mentions of his relationship with his alcoholic sister.)

Other thoughts:

  • I like that John's offense at Sherlock trying to drug him was overwhelmed by his delight that Sherlock was wrong.
  • I thought the UMQRA Morse code bit was perhaps a red herring too far in an episode full of red herrings. The payoff wasn't really funny enough to justify it, making it feel like padding.
  • There was almost no Mycroft in this episode, despite being (or perhaps because it was) written by show co-runner Mark Gatiss, who also plays Mycroft.
  • This episode gives us the famous Sherlock Holmes quote: "Once you've ruled out the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must
    be true." As IMDB notes, Watson calls Sherlock "Spock" shortly after, and Spock said the same thing in "Star Trek II," crediting the quote to an ancestor. I will threaten to break the space/time continuum by pointing out that Benedict Cumberbatch has a role in the sequel to the recent Star Trek reboot.
  • The show has tremendous art direction and attention to detail, and I particularly like Watson's military-inspired jackets.


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (70 Votes)

One small detail that this episode got wrong. In the 1980's Ind. was still used for the state's abbreviation, not In. Even if it had been, they got it wrong on that account too. It would have been IN, not In.


Kidman arrived in the Emmys accompanied by husband and newly added American Idol judge Keith Urban within a gorgeous, white Antonio Beradi dress that featured splendid turquoise and multicolored beading. The dress exudes gracefulness and complemented Kidman's modelperfect figure exquisitely. Selecting Christian Louboutin heels in aquamarine, the blue hues drew consideration to Kidman's eyes.


I am an English mystery fan, , ,period. I can recite dialogue from Hercule and Marple and Jeremy's Sherlock. But I still have really enjoyed the new Cumberbatch series.... Except for the 'Hound'. Too revved up. It was like watching in 'short hand'. Or like Cumberbatch to the next power. There can be too much of a good thing. By the way, I rather enjoyed Irina as a domanatrix instead of an opera singer.


@ReneeM "Personally, I thought Cumberbatch's performance in Hound owed quite a lot to Hugh Laurie in House."
Christ, do American know that House is also loosely based on ACD's fictional character Sherlock Holmes? Going by Cumberbatch's schedule (they stared filming the 2nd ep of Sherlock S2 within a week after Cumberbatch finished up his stage work Frankenstein at the NT, and this guy has been working back to back LITERALLY since filming Sherlock S1), he won't have time to watch the whole season of House to see how to play Sherlock, and actually it's all in the source material, ACD's books. You know your comment really strikes as sour grapes?


This is my favorite story from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle because I grew up visiting my Granny in Torquay, Devon. She treated me to picnics on Dartmoor. I adore the Granada TV adaption with Jeremy Brett. I enjoyed last night's episode simply because it was a modern spin "inspired" by the original story. Last night's episode gave a nod to other Sherlock stories, such as the suspicious gas from Devil's Foot. I join the others in questioning the three stars. At the very least, it delved into the Sherlock/Watson relationship, skimmed the Sherlock/Mycroft relationship, and nodded at the Sherlock/Lestrade relationship (funny that Watson, but not Sherlock, knew Lestrade's first name). The morse code was a nod to the flashing lights in the original story that also proved to be a red herring ... I thought the resolution was funny! **** Spoiller **** MIL is visiting us and watched with us. She asked early on, "Why is the scientist saying 'cellular' when the Brits say 'mobile'?" Maybe she has a bit of Sherlock in her.


I don't think Benedict followed Hugh Laurie to do his acting. If you saw season 1 - same type of thing - tho the fireplace section was very frantic for a reason.
This was a very enjoyable episode. I think anytime Benedict and Martin (or not) are in a scene together is worth 4 stars. Maybe people think this all looks easy or something and kind of don't realize the greatness of the performances.
By the way "House" Is Sherlock Holmes - just put in this setting. The person who did the show said it.


"The Hound of the Baskervilles" is my least favorite major Sherlock Holmes story. I thought the mystery aspect was reasonably good and I thought the Morse code point was OK because the original story had a similar red herring: the sister of an escaped convict used a lantern at night to signal that the coast was clear (or something like that). A "Sherlock Scan" is part of the convention now, but some of the reasoning was a little arbitrary. Saying it rapidly didn't mean it was right. I enjoyed the development of the Holmes/Watson relationship, as well as the H/W/Lestrade relationship. Too much Mycroft in an episode by Mark Gatiss would have seemed self-serving.


I thought this was the weakest of the new Sherlock series. When Holmes reels off his "reading" of someone, from the myriad tiny clues he's taken in at the speed of light, and we're supposed to be oh so impressed? All I could think was how many takes must have been required for Cumberbatch to spit all those lines out without making a mistake. Just seemed smug and silly and reminded us that this WAS just a movie -- it spoiled the illusion. Personally, I thought Cumberbatch's performance in Hound owed quite a lot to Hugh Laurie in House. Like he must have watched a whole season's worth of episodes just before shooting this. As for the bad guy, it was pretty obvious, even to my slow-on-the-take self, who that was. I forget how exactly how it is phrased, but there's some theory re the identity of the villain in mysteries that goes something like, It's the one character who is, when you think about it, superfluous to the plot. And if that wasn't enough, the writers beat the point home by having Sherlock guess his computer password by perusing the man's library and noting that he admired Churchill and Thatcher -- clearly, if the guy is politically conservative, he MUST be a villain! And finally, as much as I like Rupert Graves, Lestrade's appearance in this felt totally forced.


So much better than Scandal in Belgravia, with it's one dimensional Adler.
However, in this episode as in the last, the darkness was a bit much. The mix of humor and and grim and rude was delightful. This episode was again better than Scandal for the inclusion of more humor, but for both episodes the pace was a bit too fast. I wanted more rest spots to catch up with the pace. I will write more on this later on my blog, but I have a series of comments on the Scandal episode. I found it truly disturbing, especially since Moffat is being rewarded for sexism. (See


And John's arrogance? For my part I think John believe in his friendship with Sherlock and that's whu he's here for him. That's what friends do, and as Sherlock is a slighty different case, their dynamic will obviously change.

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Sherlock Season 2 Episode 2 Quotes

Sherlock Holmes: I didn't really ask, Dr. Franklyn, but what exactly
do you do here?
Dr. Franklyn: Oh, Mr. Holmes, I'd love to tell you. But then of
course, I'd have to kill you.
Sherlock Holmes: That would be tremendously ambitious of you.

Dr. John Watson: What're you talking about, you're busy? You don't
have a case! A minute ago you were complaining...
Sherlock Holmes: Bluebell, John! I've got Bluebell, the case of the
vanishing glow-in-the-dark rabbit. NATO's in an uproar.