Saturday, January 04, 2014

"The Hounds of Baskerville" (2012)

After mulling over this episode for a few days, I've come to realize that it's never going to be a favorite.  Which both saddens and surprises me, since, as I mentioned in my previous post, The Hound of the Baskervilles is my favorite Sherlock Holmes story.  But maybe that's precisely why I didn't love this episode?  Did it tinker too much with a beloved story?  I don't think so.  I'm not by any means a purist when it comes to books and movies -- as long as it works for the story you are telling, you can make any number of changes and I'm generally okay with that.  And the story here works just fine.

No, what I disliked is how horror-ific it got.  And this is a purely personal thing:  I don't deal well with horror.  I am terrified by horror movies and horror stories (unless they involve vampires).  I have a strong imagination that, for some reason, latches onto horror things and works itself into a frenzy over them (unless they involve vampires).  I have watched maybe five or six actual horror movies (not counting vampire movies), all of them ten years or more ago, and there are still images and scenes from them that freak me out.  That will convince me my house is coming alive to attack me, whatever.

I'm also afraid of the dark.

Specifically, I'm afraid of what lurks behind me in the darkness.  I don't know what it is -- call it a nameless terror -- but I cannot reason my way out of it.  Some of the most fervent prayers I have ever prayed have been along the lines of, "Lord, please keep me safe from whatever is behind me."

And this episode of Sherlock has stuff in it that preys pretty directly on my fear of nameless terrors in the darkness.  I'm not saying I'm going to have nightmares because of it.  But this is not an episode I'll watch again and again.

Which is sad, because it's a very strong episode.  The fact that I'm having such strong feelings about it points to its power, don't you think?  And I did love some things about it.  The Grimpen Minefield?  Genius!  Dr. Mortimer is now Henry's psychiatrist?  Love it!  And Lestrade showed up -- made me so happy.

I also really liked Henry Knight (Russell Tovey).  Very sweet, sympathetic character.  Though I kept yelling at him to just call Sherlock or John already during a bunch of scenes.  But still, great character.

And there was this moment:

That was probably my favorite moment.  Can never tell if this Sherlock is being sincere or playing you, but I think he was being sincere there.  Actually, that's the other reason I didn't like this ep as well as I'd hoped:  Sherlock was too mean!  The trick he pulled on John (trying to avoid spoilage for some reason) made me really mad at him.  Grr.

So.  All in all, a great ep, but one I didn't love for extremely personal reasons.  Oh well.

Hey, look!  Two back-to-back blog posts about two different screen adaptations of the same story!  I'm not sure I've ever had that happen before.  Nifty.


  1. Thus far in the Sherlock series, the middle episodes seem to be the weaker than the first and last episodes. "The Hounds of Baskerville" ranks as my fourth favorite episode of the series, and even though it was great, I felt it could have been a little better, although I am not exactly sure how since I haven't seen in almost two years. Great review though! :) I am not a fan of most horror movies either, but that is mostly because I find them really dumb most of the time with Psycho, Jaws, and Alien being the exceptions.

    I look forward to read your opinion of the next episode!


    1. Interesting observation about the middle episodes. I think this was a very strong ep, I just didn't particularly enjoy parts of it.

      People call Jaws a horror movie all the time, so I avoided it for years. Finally saw it when a very trusted friend assured me it's exciting and suspenseful, but not horrific, so I saw it. And it was totally not "scary" like a horror movie, at least for me. Hmm.

  2. Sorry this one didn't turn out to be a favorite for you. It's definitely one of mine, for somewhat the same reason you didn't like it as much -- they did a fantastic job making it truly terrifying (but balancing it well). Especially in the scene where John is hiding from the hound. That was a horrible trick though... It's all part of his charm. ;)

    1. In the original story, Holmes tricks Watson too -- he pretends to be in London still, while all the time he's actually living out on the moor. So that makes me kind of more okay with the tricking, but still. Wanted to slap Sherlock for being such a git.

      I think it was really well made, but like I said, I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped.

  3. Aw, I'm completely with Sarah on this one. This episode is definitely one of my favourites and I really enjoyed the horror film-style take on it. I can understand why this episode might not be to your personal taste but, for me personally, I think it was completely appropriate for a modern-day update of the story. The horror genre is a direct descendant of gothic literature after all and with this story I really got a sense of what reading Arthur Conan Doyle's novel must have felt like for an Edwardian audience. I think in our time we often fail to appreciate the sheer impact that these kinds of stories would have had. For example: there's a silent film adaptation of Phantom of the Opera that was made in the 1920s that had people screaming and fainting at the cinemas but when I saw it all I could think was "Huh? This had people FAINTING?!" :D I'm with Sarah on Sherlock's trick as well.

    And this is slightly off-topic but series three of Sherlock has been fantastic so far :D And very focused on John which I think you'd really appreciate.

    1. Oh yeah, it totally worked. Just a little too well for timid, impressionable me! Lol.

      I've seen the 1925 silent version of Phantom of the Opera, and while it didn't make me scream and faint when Lon Chaney revealed his disfigured Phantom face, it did make me jump, and it's really quite horrifying. I own a copy, but have only watched it twice because it's so creepy.

      Hmm. Focused on John? Hmm. Guess I'll have to see it for myself, but I'm really quite the Sherlock fan. Which is why I'm mad at him for being mean to Watson. As Watson said in the original story (this is my memory, not an exact quote), "I deserved better from you, Holmes."

    2. Ooh, Hamlette, are you a John fan too? I love Sherlock, but John's my man. ;) And Hannah and Sarah are right (waves at both of you), this latest season is very much focused on John, which is AWESOME!

      Of course, some of this could be my Martin Freeman love bleeding over. Nah, I've always loved Watson.

    3. I'm an ISFJ like Watson, and I do identify really strongly with him. And feel quite protective of him. Definitely a John fan! And also a Sherlock fan. In the original stories, I love Holmes most, but Watson only slightly less.

  4. Oh no! It's still very much the 'Sherlock' show! It's just that Episode One focuses a lot on how John feels about Sherlock's return and Episode Two is essentially a big love letter to his character :)

    1. Aha! Obviously, I just have to wait and see. Which is okay, since I haven't watched "The Reichenback Fall" yet anyway. Maybe this weekend!

  5. Le sigh. I love this episode, deeply. It doesn't have much to do with Moriarty, so it's an instant winner with me.

    My one struggle is how Sherlock deliberately treats John like a lab rat. I don't like that, partially because John and I share the same personality type, and partially because that's just outright mean to do to a friend. This is not the same Holmes who profusely apologized to his Watson for risking his life in "The Devil's Foot." The personalities don't jive in that at all, and by the end of that scene, I was ready to wring Sherlock's neck in frustration. It's a wonder he and John are friends at all!

    Oh my gosh, I can't believe you're so far behind in the series! I'm actually *gulp* two episodes into the latest season because I find them online. This last season probably has the weakest cases, but the best character development, and therefore the best episodes for me.

    Man, all this "Sherlock" talk makes me want to rewatch the series! Hmm, not working tomorrow. Maybe that'll work. ;)

    Glad to have finally hopped over onto your 2nd blog. It's so cool!

    1. Yes, I get a bit sick of Moriarty in general. Every single book or movie or show about Holmes seems to feel like they have to tackle Moriarty, or make him a huge part of the show, and I get tired of that. So tired. More tired than of Irene Adler, to be honest.

      And yes, I really just... want to punch Sherlock in the face for treating Watson that way. In the original story, he does trick Watson into thinking he's still in London when he's really lurking around the moor, but it's not nearly as mean. He didn't scare Watson half to death in the original, must got him pretty worried for a little bit.

      And yes, I'm soooooooooooo far behind. Life with three small children and no TV channels of any sort does have its price. But I'm catching up in time for season 3, and didn't have to wait 2 years for that, so I can pretend I meant to do it this way, lol.

      Glad you made it over here too! I hope you find lots to amuse you :-)

    2. You and I feel much the same about Sherlock in many ways. I think you'll be surprised, though, in this 3rd season. Sherlock's different somehow. Maybe it was being away from John for so long made him realize he missed having a friend. The focus really is on their friendship in the 3rd season, how it works, what makes it tick, why John hasn't killed him yet. ;)

      The only Moriarty that has ever impressed me is the Moriarty in the new films with Jude Law and RDJ. He truly is the Napoleon of Crime that Doyle described. The rest of the characterizations are entertaining rubbish, but Moriarty was spot on. I think that's why the Moriarty for Sherlock disappointed me so much. I expected more than a lunatic.

      Your blog is awesome! I could literally spend years wandering around and not get all of your posts read. :)

    3. Ooooh! Different Sherlock? So intrigued. (Also, those last two sentence fragments came out in BC's voice in my head. Just so you know.)

      And I agree! I LOVED the Moriarty in "A Game of Shadows." Also loved Stephen Fry as Mycroft. The Moriarty here... he's too silly. Too over-the-top. Oh well.

      And thank you! I've been blogging for a little over 11 years, so yes, there's a lot to get lost in. I'm so glad Blogger instituted the tags after a while, as once I got all my old posts tagged up it made navigating a lot easier. And I made my list of movie reviews, that might help too. Looking forward to more comments from you! I'll answer your others tomorrow -- it's long past my bedtime already tonight, I'm afraid.

  6. I'm totally with you about horror stuff! It's the (somewhat embarrassing) reason I stopped watching Doctor Who. It just preys on my imagination too much, no matter how unrealistic it is. I didn't love that aspect of this episode, either. But I agree that it worked.

    1. It's the (somewhat embarrassing) reason I haven't gotten into Dr. Who at all. I value my peace of mind and ability to sleep.


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