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)

I really like this website, it's always nice to see opinion of others but when I see a Gossip Girl episode rated 4/5 and Sherlock only 3/5 I just wonder if we live in the same world, or if it's an american thing. I know it's not the same reviewer but it was just an example to present my shock. (Yes, I watch/used to watch GG, so I know the quality and please, this just make my heart hurt).
But what comes out of this review is that, sorry to say, you don't know the characters at all and obviously missed the central element of the show, John and Sherlock friendship, if all you can see is John PTSD! I really don't know what this come from by the way. This episode is a strong one regarding S/J friendship and Sherlock's own demons! Lestrade is a great addition "Greg? That's how you call yourself now" or something like that, Sherlock "experiment" on John...and poor poor Henry!
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.


I agree....this deserved more than 3 stars.
Great show...wish a season was more than 3 episodes (but I sort of understand after reading the creators explanation).


This can be deemed a review? All I read is John....John.....John.....John's PTSD...John's jacket...John...John....LMAO!!!


Puzzled by the low rating as well. I'd say at least a 4/5 for the deft shift from the comedic beginning to the emotionally intense middle to the light lift near the wrap to the ominous hint of what's to come at the end. Cumberbatch deserves 5 stars alone for the tour de force 5 minute rant of deduction after "seeing" the hound and Freeman for tossing off his pithier lines ("Did we just break into a high security research base for a rabbit?" "You with your cheekbones and being all mysterious and turning your coat collar up to look cool."). Seriously. Name a single U.S., besides The Big Bang Theory, that is writing at this level AND has the actors to pull it off AND the production team to make a guy in his "mind palace" absorbing. Granted BBC's Sherlock does require the audience to pay attention and keep up, but then it's good to build a few new dentrites and brain cells after losing so many the rest of the week. And I agree completely about Russell Tovey deserving recognition for an amazing performance. It always seems so natural that most people forget he's acting -- which is what we're suppose to do. I do give the reviewer credit for a nice analysis of Watson's character and motivation. Well done. And the observation about the alcoholic sister is especially astute. Thank you!

Aint born typical

The Hound of the Baskervilles has always been my least favorite Sherlock Holmes story. The ending always felt like a let down to me. I'm speaking about the original. That being said, I really enjoyed Mark Gatiss' take on the story. It was scary and clever and very well executed and in the end, even though nothing in the episode made sense, it all made sense. Even though you KNEW from reading the books there was no such things as giant mutant hounds, the acting in this episode made you believe that maybe JUST MAYBE something like that was possible. The episode kept me on the edge, so I agree, 3 stars seems a bit low, especially considering that I think it was a better episode than the one preceding it. Well, next week's episode better get 5 stars..though I'm rather sure it will (provided that the reviewer can collect all the emotions that will be shattered into a million pieces).


Spock quotes Sherlock Holmes in Star Trek VI, when he and the crew are discussing the possibility of a Klingon Bird-of-Prey that can fire while cloaked. (Yes, I know, I just totally outed myself as a total and complete geek for knowing that off the top of my head.) I'm not going to complain about the lack of Mark Gatiss in the episode - the guy has to be pretty busy doing other stuff, too. Besides, we got plenty of Lestrade, who is always fun to watch. I am a bit perplexed that this episode was rated a 3.0/5, especially since the reviewer didn't give a whole lot of explanation for the relatively low rating.


that was way harsh. 3 stars? how can it not be more? this show has more wit and brilliant rapid-fire dialogue that bland network shows dream of dreaming of aspiring to. sherlock is growing and apologized to john in his own way, yet still staying true to his disastrous self. people give the middle shows less appreciation and attention because it's "filler", no irene or moriarty so it's not as interesting. but it gave us some one-on-one with the boys and lestrade, and how can that be bad? and no mention of Russell Tovey?! the tortured and lovable werewolf, George? or tortured and lovable dog-haunted, Henry?

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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.