Sherlock: Series 2, Episode 2 - The Hounds of Baskerville

Published January 15, 2012

Sherlock spoiler

The first series of this adaptation of Sherlock featured something of a sandwich of episodes, where the first and last were epic, and the centre episode was a bit of a letdown. We’re talking letdown in ridiculous terms, of course, where the worst Sherlock is still far better than the best of other TV, but when compared to itself, it was a bit of a dip.

As it turns out, I reckon this series is going to take the same shape. The first episode was incredible, and by all accounts the last is going to be amazing too. This second one, however, did not have me quite convinced.

Sherlock series 2 episode 2

We started with Sherlock going out of his mind with boredom, giving in to the temptation of cigarettes - albeit through secondary smoke. It’s good to see that he is only human, sometimes, even if it is one of the oddest humans around.

“How about a nice cuppa, and perhaps you could put away your harpoon?”

This was the second episode in a row where he psychoanalysed someone else and their love life, offending them in the process. This time it was Mrs Hudson, who very quickly found out that her new beau was not whatever she thought he was. We didn’t see very much of Mrs Hudson this week, as the boys flitted off to Dartmoor. In fact, we wouldn’t have seen very much of any other characters if they hadn’t managed to shoehorn Lestrade in. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that, and I know that Sherlock was always taking trains and bounding around the country in the books. Part of the joy of this Sherlock, though, is seeing him bounce off the people who find themselves forced to work or live with him. That was missing a little in this episode.

“In your own time.” “But quite quickly.”

Russell Tovey was excellent, as he often is. It was fun to hear him being posh, when he is more usually the geezer next door type. By the end, his simpering was starting to get on my nerves, but given he had been drugged and confused for the majority of his life, you have to forgive him.

The scene with Sherlock deciding to take the case confused me quite a lot, but before we knew it they were off and finding things out at a rural pub before infiltrating a top secret army base. Fabulous use of both Mycroft’s ID and John pulling rank. It was good to see the reference to his army days as they are all too forgotten with the fun and games he gets up to now.

I also loved that the blog and website actually helped them out of a scrape. More and more, the interactive element of the websites are influencing the stories, which I think is excellent. It works best when you can go and have a look at, for instance, John’s blog, if you want, but you don’t have to do that to keep up with the TV show.

“I don’t have friends.”

We had proper tension between the boys this week, with Sherlock not only shouting at Watson but also tricking him into being as scared as he’s ever been. They made up, with Sherlock having to apologise in his way, and also having to admit he was wrong, in his way.

It wasn’t the sugar, it was actually some pressure pads in the forest set to release hallucinative drugs to confuse the boy so that he wouldn’t tell what his father had found out. Forgive me, because I know we suspend our belief when we watch the master at work, but it all seemed a bit… much. Far-fetched, perhaps. They wanted to keep him quiet but couldn’t just kill him because they had to undermine him too. Couldn’t they just kill him and make it look like a drug overdose. There you have managed both and none of the big multi-decade setup would have been necessary? Were they going to keep the pretense up forever?

I enjoyed the story, liked the twists and turns, but it all seemed a bit preposterous to me in the end. Still, we had a minute or so of Moriarty tacked on the end to whet the appetite for next week’s today’s series finale. Supposedly, it’s going to be a weepy one.

I don’t take well to being told what emotions to have, but then again, Steven Moffat is never to be underestimated.

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