The following is an episode review of Sherlock: Series 2, Episode 2 – The Hounds of Baskerville
The Hound of the Baskervilles is probably the most famous Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel, and is actually the only Holmes crime novel I’ve read cover to cover. I read the novel when I was very young, and it is the one title I always think of when the topic of Sherlock Holmes comes up. So when the Sherlock writers announced that one of the series 2 episodes would be titled The Hounds of Baskerville, they had a lot of pressure to make something solid. Is it any good? Definitely.
In The Hounds of Baskerville, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson travel to Dartmoor to learn about a local legend, and to find out whether or not there really are hounds in Dartmoor, and to test out some conspiracy theories. It is a really interesting episode, which, while trying to make an adaptation, took some fairly huge risks by putting an interesting modern twist on the original story.
The episode is also rather different, fresh, and new for the show, as it tested out some other tones and moods in an episode that feels like it stands on its own. Normally Sherlock is a rather safe show, but the episode really changed the scenery, and it gave the show a nice breather from the overall series arc. A nice change of pace.
But it is way more than the tone and the mood that has changed, this is stylistically much more of a horror-thriller episode from the Sherlock-team, featuring very specific camerawork. And it all works. Cinematographer Fabian Wagner does a beautiful job of creating these appropriately haunting images on the moor. It takes perfect advantage of the location, and is probably the best use of cinematography I’ve seen on the show.
You can’t mention this episode without thinking about Sherlock’s mind-palace, it is an intriguing technique, which is perfectly made to use by the Sherlock-team and Cumberbatch. The mind-palace scene is the first of many similar scenes in the show, and this was a proper place for them to start. It keeps our attention on the case in front of us, when we could have completely lost interest in the case over an hour into the episode.
The episode as a whole is a nice change of pace for Sherlock, as it perfectly alters the tone, cinematography, and story of this second series. The episode stands out for a number of reasons, but I wouldn’t fault you for having expected something more from the episode, and were thus left somewhat underwhelmed. The Hounds of Baskerville was sure to disappoint some people, but I don’t stand with that group.
-I’m Jeffrey Rex