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09 January 2012 @ 06:08 pm
Sherlock: The Hounds of Baskerville  
Short review: lots of fun, a nice, less serious middle episode before what will no doubt be a wham one next week, great acting and terrific writing

Long review: ranty and disordered, spoiler filled, below the cut

- First of all, thank you Mark Gatiss for writing the characters as they are supposed to be. Sherlock is human, John is especially BAMF and Lestrade is back to being perfectly capable. The original story is mostly Watson wandering around and reporting on things and I liked that we got a lot more of John handling business while Sherlock does...Sherlock things.

- I watch this show for John and Sherlock and their interaction was wonderful this episode. I like how they've accepted that Sherlock has to be a little more human for having John around and the whole exchange about the friendship was very sweet and handled in character for both of them.

- Wonderful acting all around, especially from Russell Tovey who did insane-on-drugs perfectly, without getting too over the top about it. Henry got a bit of the shaft from his original incarnation, who was more adventurous and brave, but I did like that we followed exactly how awful this project was by watching Henry slowly go insane.

- I called Sherlock being drugged during the inn scene, because Benedict did a great job of showing Sherlock not being himself, even in the way his hands moved around out-of-character. I didn't connect the drug to the H.O.U.N.D project though. I thought he might have done it to himself, for some reason.

- I also called the 'cell phone' thing, mostly because of how many times I have erased that word and changed it to 'mobile' while writing fic.

- The H.O.U.N.D project itself was super clever. Unlike Scandal I really enjoyed how they changed the story this time. You have to update it and Hounds is one of the more archaic stories in terms of having servants and a time when religion and curses were more readily believed. Doing what they did updated it nicely and more importantly, kept the general spirit of the story intact. Even if they changed the villain, somewhat.

- Sherlock drives? Really? Not only does that throw my canon out of whack, but I would really think that he would make John drive so he could look around without being distracted. I would have put down Sherlock as a terrible driver, yelling at everyone else on the road while doing crazy manoeuvres because of some misplaced sense of being on more important missions than everyone else.

- Sherlock's memory palace was awesome (is he related to Aloysius Pendergast?), but all I could think about when I watched it was how ridiculous Benedict must have looked acting it out before all the effects were put in.

- Again, I really enjoyed the little things - Sherlock hallucinating Moriarty (another check for personal canon!), John putting his military service to good use and keeping his little notes and instantly picking up on the Morse code, John's thought text coming up in a different font that Sherlock's, Sherlock bouncing around at the beginning of the episode and John being totally calm, Sherlock's harpoon, Sherlock's Cluedo theory, Sherlock not knowing Lestrade's first name (more personal canon checks!), John looking after Henry and remaining completely rational when Sherlock went off the deep end, John holding down the fort when Sherlock went off the deep end and Lestrade having a bit of fun being useful.

- Two small quibbles: did we ever find out what the Morse code was for? Besides scaring Henry to death? And John, a trained doctor, walking through a lab which makes bio weapons without bothering to put on any sort of safety equipment? When everyone else we've seen is all kitted out? Really?
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on January 9th, 2012 11:55 pm (UTC)
I think the Morse Code was there to serve as a plot device. It made John not be with Sherlock & Henry when they first got drugged and it later gave Sherlock the inspiration to consider that HOUND was an acronym. In reality the Morse Code was just a couple accidentally triggering their headlights while shagging.

I liked the idea of the mind palace but even with the effects put in it looked too silly to me.

Edited at 2012-01-09 11:56 pm (UTC)
The Writer They Call Tay: SHERLOCK: Sherlock shockawanderingbard on January 10th, 2012 12:22 am (UTC)
Oh, you're right, I'd forgotten about the dogging episode. So we're they actually making Morse code letters or was John just trying to make letters out of random flashes, I wonder? I was confused because I interpreted the flashing of the lights in Henry's house as some sort of response, like Barrymore responding in the original story, but now that I think about it, it was probably just Henry hallucinating or some sort of motion sensing light going on and off, or maybe something Franklyn set up to freak him out.

Yeah, I liked the concept too, I always like stepping inside Sherlock's brain and I sort of like the idea that the place he's set up for himself is not some sort of mental building, but more of a computer hard drive. I think it would have looked better without the fast-mo.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on January 10th, 2012 01:42 am (UTC)
Oh, and to add: Sherlock driving completely blew my mind. It looked so...wrong for some reason.
The Writer They Call Tay: SHERLOCK: Watson giggleawanderingbard on January 10th, 2012 03:31 am (UTC)
I think it was because he was so calm looking while he was driving. I can't see Sherlock as a calm driver. He's not a calm anything. If John had been making faces or hanging on for dear life, I would have found it more believable.

Btw, that thought you had about Mycroft having taught Sherlock to drive? It is totally becoming a story. Well, a plot bunny at least. If you don't mind?
formerly lifeinsomniac: SherlockChaseScenejoonscribble on January 10th, 2012 03:40 am (UTC)
Btw, that thought you had about Mycroft having taught Sherlock to drive? It is totally becoming a story. Well, a plot bunny at least. If you don't mind?

Not at all! Go for it! I'm always eager to read any Sherlock fic from you.
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on January 10th, 2012 12:15 am (UTC)
There was no morse code. It was the result of a lover's lane interaction and a faulty headlight.

I thought it odd Sherlock drove as well.

Good episode though!
The Writer They Call Tay: Dresden: Harry confusedawanderingbard on January 10th, 2012 12:25 am (UTC)
I'd totally forgotten about the headlight thing. My tv was a little dark, so I had trouble figuring out what was going on there at all.

Very good episode!
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on January 10th, 2012 12:30 am (UTC)
I also liked how many nods to canon there were- so many people's names for example.
The Writer They Call Tay: SHERLOCK: Watson's cute noseawanderingbard on January 10th, 2012 03:34 am (UTC)
I just read the original last week, all of the Holmes oeuvre is up on iBooks for free, so I've been merrily reading and rereading on Dad's new iPad. Therefore there were a lot of "oh, I see what you did there" moments for me. I love those little details they manage to sneak in.

Edited at 2012-01-10 03:35 am (UTC)
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on January 10th, 2012 03:39 am (UTC)
I love the original ACD version and I've also seen a LOT of different versions, although most do deviate from canon somewhat. The Granada version (Jeremy Brett's) is amazing although my favorite is the version with Richard Roxburgh as Holmes and Ian Hart as Watson (It's up on youtube here, if you haven't seen it)
The Writer They Call Tay: SHERLOCK: Watson giggleawanderingbard on January 10th, 2012 06:17 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I've watched part of it now and am really enjoying it. For some reason Roxburgh laughs just like I picture Holmes would laugh.
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on January 10th, 2012 06:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, glad you like it! It's my favorite Holmes&Watson I've seen in general- they have wonderful interactions.
The Writer They Call Tay: SHERLOCK: Watson's cute noseawanderingbard on January 10th, 2012 09:33 pm (UTC)
Having seen it all now, I have to agree, they are great together. Ian Hart did a wonderful job as Watson. I always like it when writers remember that Watson is a person of normal intelligence, not an idiot. He's perfectly capable, he's just not Sherlock Holmes. Except Ian Hart runs like a muppet. It made me giggle. He is badass with a gun, though and the whole exchange getting Holmes out of the mire was great and so them.

They did a great job on the pacing too. Some of the older productions I cannot get through because it seems so slow. I'm a product of my generation, I suppose, but after ten minutes of people sitting around looking at each other, I tend to go 'happen! something happen!'
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on January 10th, 2012 09:43 pm (UTC)
Oh defintely YES on the pacing. I'm all for creating effect and whatnot but things need to HAPPEN.

I was sad Roxenburg and Hart didn't do any other Holmes stories together.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on January 10th, 2012 11:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I see that Ian Hart played Watson again, but Roxburgh didn't come back for Holmes. I quite liked his Holmes. He was a bit more spirited than others I've seen.
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on January 10th, 2012 11:07 pm (UTC)
I've seen the other Hart!Watson one, it's... okay. The story is kind of weak and the Holmes is okay, but not great. Roxburgh was just *perfect* and he and Ian Hart really clicked in my opinion.
The Writer They Call Tay: BB: just a yoawanderingbard on January 10th, 2012 11:58 pm (UTC)
I think I have the other one on my Ziplist, but I haven't seen it yet. It's on my list for the Michael Fassbender factor, I think. It looks like it might also be up on YouTube, though. I may have to watch for academic purposes. I love comparing interpretations of characters.

I find things that aren't based on the original stories tend not to be as strong. You can update them all you want and make it work for modern audiences, but I think you need the framework of the stories for it to really work. It's what makes the new series work, I think. The threads to the original stories are there, as well as lots of interesting new ideas.
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on January 11th, 2012 12:53 am (UTC)
Very true. I'm sure it's possible to write an excellent Sherlock Holmes story without any canon basis but it's certainly easier if there is one.

And yes, for academic purposes. Of course. :)