The case this week is ‘The Hounds of Baskerville’, a take on the famous and similarly named Sherlock Holmes novel. Of course, this episode exhibits the usual Sherlock twists and modernisation; Baskerville is no longer a family name but the name of a military research base, and Henry isn’t the dead man’s nephew but his traumatised son.
I’m struggling to review this episode because I’m still not sure how I feel about it. It was an odd duck, segueing from Sherlock to The X Files with a hefty dose of Midsomer Murders thrown in. It even got a bit Minority Report for a few minutes too (more on that below). I think overall, with the exception of the thoroughly boring first fifteen minutes, I sort of liked it, despite something being ‘off’.
Maybe there were too many elements, maybe it became a bit ponderous in places, maybe the characterisation of Sherlock in the first fifteen minutes was so hyped up that emphasised how dull those scenes actually were since they couldn’t even hold his attention. Whatever it was, something threw this episode slightly out of whack.
Despite that there were some great moments in this episode — Sherlock’s near-breakdown in the pub was brilliant, as was John’s brief rank pulling, and the revelation that Sherlock’s (frankly adorable) attempt at making up with John was actually a ploy to sneak him potentially drugged sugar was hilarious. It does make you wonder whether his declaration that John is his only friend was genuine. I like to think so.
And what about that ‘mind palace’ scene? It went on too long, there were too many references (although, true, they weren’t really intended for the audience), but it was almost worth it for the Elvis moment alone, in my opinion. I’m hoping ‘mind palace’ is a canonical reference though because surely Sherlock could come up with a catchier name for his mind mapping than that? (Edit to add: apparently a ‘mind palace’ is an actual memory technique. Still sounds like an awful name though.)
But the body of the episode was completely blown away by the last 30 seconds. Why did Mycroft* have Moriarty locked away? Why did he let him go? Is Mycroft actually a ‘bad guy’? Despite the horror movie-esque cliche of Sherlock’s name being written on the walls, that last scene was absolutely amazing.
I can’t wait for next week’s episode to find out what the hell is going on. Will you be tuning in? Let us know your thoughts on ‘The Hounds of Baskerville’, and your theories on series two and Mycroft, in the comments below!
* In ‘The Great Game’, Sherlock mentions that Mycroft never texts if he can talk. Was his texting this week an oversight or a clue of some sort?