Season 2 Episode 2

The Hounds of Baskerville

Aired Unknown Jan 08, 2012 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
359 votes

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Episode Summary


Henry Knight claims that his father was killed by a monstrous creature at large in Dartmoor, and asks Sherlock for help. When he and John Watson arrive on the moors to investigate, they discover a top-secret army base may be connected to the death.

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  • Dog days

    It's not a bona fide rug-pull, but Sherlock does at least sway the mat with uncanny clandestine experiments and terrifying childhood traumas completely taking the place of the previous episode's light-hearted humour in "The Hounds of Baskerville". Moreover, this one establishes its main plot after only five minutes and, if you ignore the forced quarrel between Sherlock and John, stays fully focused on it for the remaining time, whereas "A Scandal in Belgravia" made its central storyline rather hard to pick out for quite a while. In essence, there's a plethora of differences between these two episodes and the all-important one resides in their quality.

    I'm earnestly begging for this not to become a practice, but as yet, the monumental brilliance exhibited by Sherlock in the first and final episode of its series has, at the halfway point, consistently made room for a run-of-the-mill detective story with some of its title role's quirks added to the recipe. Remember "The Blind Banker"? That was precisely the same type of let-down, plainly above average when compared to all the rest that can be discovered on television, yet a potentially fatal drop in form for this programme. For all I know, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss used "The Hounds of Baskerville" to find out if an eerie and sombre atmosphere suited Sherlock - and, as it happens, the two and director Paul McGuigan succeeded in conjuring up some frights. The issues with this episode aren't in its style, however, but in Gatiss' script, to which he admits clichs (does the unknown friendly bloke showing up in the beginning always have to be the culprit?) instead of jokes or more than one individual trait for each of the newly introduced characters. Particularly Russell Tovey, portraying Sherlock's 'client' Henry, is badly off; his apparently not having paid the BBC licence fee leads him to be furnished with no more than alternately looking traumatised, screaming 'Oh God!', and threatening suicide.

    Having vented all of these criticisms, a lot of positive attributes about "The Hounds of Baskerville" remain, first and foremost, how Gatiss and Moffat modified Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1902 novel to conform to this day and age, and how McGuigan realised it more chilling than anyone before him. As always, there's also some praise belonging to Sherlock's main acting cast, most of all Martin Freeman, who in this instalment proves to have performing flair outside the realms of comedy in a scene that sees him hiding in a cage. Along with the aforementioned suspense that surprisingly works, "The Hounds of Baskerville" are gripping 90 minutes despite being a second-rate Sherlock episode.

    My detective scribblings:

    - There's a glaring lack of humour in this episode, but that one scene of Sherlock reacting to Henry's puffing on a cigarette by coming closer to him and inhaling the smoke just about makes up for all of that.

    - Let's not overuse the 'outwardly insignificant case being turned down but later transpiring to be connected to the main story' thing, shall we, Sherlock?

    - The ideal Christmas present for John would be "Behaviour in sinister places for dummies" and he could give "Noticing someone has left the group for dummies" to Sherlock and Henry as one.

    - Hopefully, Sherlock's 'mind palace' will be incorporated some time again because that looked fairly impressive in this episode.

    - So, you're telling me that for high-security intelligence, a major's password would be the six-letter sobriquet of a person with whom he has frequently had contact? "BULLSHIT" would have been a better choice, if you ask me.

    - Best line(s) of dialogue: it's far too much to type down here, but Sherlock proving his abilities on 'the sentimental widow and her son' in the restaurant right after having seen the hound for the first time was fairly fantastic.moreless
  • 2nd fave ep.

    Really great episode. I don't know why it has the lowest rating out of all the episodes (unless it's a book vs tv thing). This was my 2nd favorite episode of the series; it gave me terrified chills and thrills that had me smiling at the brilliance of the whole thing at the peak of the ep. Once again, really great episode.
  • Superb!!

    Part-mystery, part-horror. Excellent performances by Benedict and Martin. Great pacing. Never got bored for a sec. Simply Loved it.
  • 2x02 - The Hounds

    This was one that was okay. I think the only reason I didn't rate it lower was because I always appreciate seeing Lestrade and Sherlock's jerkish behavior in using John as a experiment really cracked me up.
  • Truly, truly awful

    This great story, certainly my favourite of the Rathbone series, has been butchered by Mark Gatiss to such a degree that it's almost unrecognisable aside from some supposedly clever play-on-words references. Whilst I can understand the need for the story to be rewritten for modern times, replacing the great Grimpen mire with the Grimpen minefield was merely a vehicle for a whopping explosion and the plot was so transparent that even Nigel Bruce could have worked it out.

    There were some nice touches too though, such as keeping the Stapleton name and having an actual large hound kept in secrecy, so it's not all bad news for those who know and love the original story.

    Aside from Gatiss' meddling, this was the weakest of the 5 episodes to date - the next one has considerable redeeming to do.moreless
Russell Tovey

Russell Tovey

Henry Knight

Guest Star

Amelia Bullmore

Amelia Bullmore

Dr Stapleton

Guest Star

Clive Mantle

Clive Mantle

Dr Frankland

Guest Star

Una Stubbs

Una Stubbs

Mrs Hudson

Recurring Role

Rupert Graves

Rupert Graves

DI Lestrade

Recurring Role

Mark Gatiss

Mark Gatiss

Mycroft Holmes

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (13)

    • John: Go after her and apologize.
      Sherlock: Apologize?
      John: Um-hmm.
      Sherlock: Oh, John, I envy you so much.
      John: You envy me?
      Sherlock: Your mind, it's placid, straightforward, barely used. Mine's like an engine, racing out of control, a rocket tearing itself to pieces, trapped on the launchpad. I need a case!

    • Sherlock: Phone Lestrade. Tell him there's an escaped rabbit.
      John: You serious?
      Sherlock: It's this, or Cluedo.
      John: Ah, no. We are never playing that again.
      Sherlock: Why not?
      John: Because it's not actually possible for the victim to have done it, Sherlock, that's why.
      Sherlock: It's the only possible solution.
      John: It's not in the rules.
      Sherlock: Then the rules are wrong!

    • Henry: Do you know Dartmoor, Mr. Holmes?
      Sherlock: No.
      Henry: It's an amazing place. It's like nowhere else. It's sort of... bleak, but beautiful.
      Sherlock: Hmm, not interested. Moving on.
      Henry: We used to go for walks after my mum died, my dad and me. Every evening we'd go out on the moors.
      Sherlock: Yes, good, skipping to the night that your father was violently killed, where did that happen?

    • Henry: How on earth did you notice all that?
      John: It's not important...
      Sherlock: Punched out holes where your ticket's been changed...
      John: Not now, Sherlock.
      Sherlock: Oh, please. I've been cooped up here for ages.
      John: You're just showing off.
      Sherlock: Of course. I am a show-off, that's what we do.

    • Sherlock: What did you see that changed everything?
      Henry: It's a strange place, the hollow. Makes you feel so cold inside, so afraid.
      Sherlock: Yes, if I wanted poetry, I'd read John's emails to his girlfriends. Much funnier. What did you see?

    • Sherlock: Nice touch.
      John: I haven't pulled rank in ages.
      Sherlock: You enjoyed it.
      John: Oh yeah.

    • Sherlock: I never did ask, Dr. Frankland, what exactly is is it that you do here?
      Dr. Frankland: Oh, Mr. Holmes, I would love to tell you. But then, of course, I'd have to kill you.
      Sherlock: That would be tremendously ambitious of you.

    • John: So?
      : So?
      John: What was all that about the rabbit? Oh, please, can we not do this this time?
      Sherlock: Do what?
      John: You being all mysterious with your cheekbones and turning your coat collar up so you look cool.
      Sherlock: I don't do that.
      John: Yeah, you do.

    • Sherlock: The question is, has she been working on something deadlier than a rabbit?
      John: To be fair, that is quite a wide field.

    • Sherlock: Look at me. I'm afraid, John. Afraid.
      John: Sherlock...
      Sherlock: I've always been able to keep myself distant. Divorce myself from feelings. But you see, body's betraying me. Interesting, yes. Emotions. Grit on the lens, the fly in the ointment.
      John: All right, Spock, just take it easy.

    • Sherlock: I uses my senses, unlike some people. You see, I am fine. In fact, maybe better. So just leave me alone.
      John: Yeah. Okay. Okay. So why would you listen to me? I'm just your friend.
      Sherlock: I don't have friends.
      John: No. Wonder why.

    • Sherlock: How about Louise Mortimer? Did you get anywhere with her?
      John: No.
      Sherlock: Too bad. Did you get any information?
      John: Hm. You're being funny now.
      Sherlock: I thought it might break the ice a bit.
      John: Funny doesn't suit you. I'd stick to ice.

    • Sherlock: Murder weapon, scene of the crime, all at once. This case, Henry... thank you. It's been brilliant.
      John: Sherlock.
      Sherlock: What?
      John: Timing.

  • NOTES (2)

    • This story was adapted from the novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles, first serialized in The Strand Magazine (nine successive issues dated August 1901 to April 1902) and published in book form in 1902.

    • International Airdates:
      Sweden: February 11, 2012 on SVT1
      US: May 13, 2012 on PBS
      Slovakia: January 30, 2013 on STV1


    • Sherlock: It's this, or Cluedo.
      Cluedo (or, in the US versions, Clue) is a board game in which one must discover the identity of the murderer, his weapon, and its location, of victim Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US) from a pool of, traditionally, six suspects, six weapons, and nine rooms. They are chosen randomly for each game from stacks of corresponding cards, and it is therefore impossible for Dr. Black/Mr. Boddy to be his own murderer, since he doesn't have a card.

    • John: All right, Spock, just take it easy.
      Referencing the 1960s TV series Star Trek, and the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer Mr. Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy. Vulcans suppress their emotions to the point that many outsiders believe that they have no feelings whatsoever. At least one Star Trek movie suggested that Sherlock Holmes might be one of Spock's ancestors on his human side.