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It's odd, isn't it? Strange choice of words. Archaic. It's why I took the case. "Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound." Why say "hound"?
Sherlock Holmes

The 21st century take on possibly the most famous work in the Holmes canon - The Hound of the Baskervilles.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Dr. Frankland is very polite and friendly despite being a murderer involved in highly unethical scientific experiments.
  • Actor Allusion Henry Knight, a man afraid of a killer hound that turns out to be a man, is played by Russel Tovey, who plays the werewolf in Being Human.
  • American English: Becomes a plot point when Sherlock notices Frankland says "cell phone" instead of "mobile phone".
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Upon Lestrade's supposing that Sherlock likes the familiarity of seeing the same three faces - his, Watson's and Lestrade's - back together again, Doctor Watson off-handedly suggests that the great detective has Asperger's Syndrome. May or may not be the modern series' attempt to address the literary descriptions of Sherlock Holmes, whose great intellectual skill is offset by a lack of social poise.
  • Arc Words: "Liberty" and "In," not to mention the eponymous hound.
  • A Worldwide Punomenon: In the comments for the blog writeup of this case.

 Bill Murray: It sounds as if the dog's bark was worse than its bite!

Mike Stamford: It's certainly given me paws for thought.

Bill Murray: Surely this is just a Shaggy Dog Story.

Sherlock: John, fetch me my revolver.

 Dr. Frankland: I'd love to tell you, but then of course I'd have to kill you.

Sherlock: That would be tremendously ambitious of you.

  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Sherlock and John manage to use two consecutively. They sneak their way onto the Baskerville base and have a look around. First Sherlock pretends to be Mycroft to get them onto the base with an ID he acquired long before, just in case; then John uses his ID showing his rank of Captain to get "the full tour" from the Corporal who challenges them being there, claiming Baskerville is never subjected to inspections, ever.
  • Beard of Evil: Subverted with the Major.
  • Busman's Holiday: Lestrade is sent down by Mycroft to check on Sherlock, but also is on holiday. He gets roped into the case. John addresses him as "Greg", much to Sherlock's confusion.
  • Call Back: Before they're about to go into Baskerville for a second time, Sherlock tells John he'll have to go look for the hound on his own and says; "Could be dangerous", the same words he texted John to get him to agree to help him in A Study In Pink.
  • Chekhov's Gun: They mention a minefield at the beginning of the episode. It's not a matter of if someone gets blown up, it's when.
    • A seemingly random email Sherlock gets from a little girl asking to find her missing pet rabbit.
    • The vegetarian pub owners ordering from a butcher. John finds the receipt in the first ten minutes, it's not important till the second act.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Baskerville facility.
  • First-Name Basis: An odd example with good old Maggie.
  • Foreshadowing: Sherlock finding John sitting gloomily in a graveyard foreshadows the next episode.
    • Also when Sherlock is initially analyzing a clue, he interprets it as Liberty In- paraphrased, in death there is freedom. Which pretty much sums up the events surrounding his "death" in the next episode.
    • This exchange becomes exceptionally unnerving in light of the third episode:

 Henry (to Dr Frankland): Why didn't you just kill me?

Sherlock: Because dead men get listened to! He needed to do more than kill you; he had to discredit every word you ever said...

  • Gender Flip: Dr Louise Mortimer. Corporal Lyons. Possibly Dr Stapleton depending on whether you think she's based on Jack or Beryl from the original (she doesn't quite fit either).
  • Going Cold Turkey: The reason for Sherlock's manic behaviour during the Cold Open.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Oh, it's you, Alonso!
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: It's a coincidence either way, but looking at the episode now, knowing that Benedict is going to be in the sequel to the Star Trek film, all of the bright white and lens flares of Baskerville starts to look reminiscent of the 2009 version of the Enterprise.
  • Insistent Terminology: One of the reasons Sherlock takes the case is that Henry continually refers to the thing that attacked his father as a "hound." It is a hound. Of sorts. Sherlock also refers to it as a hound, but John sticks to calling it a dog.
  • Land Mine Goes Click: Dr. Frankland dies this way, having unwisely decided to enter the Grimpen Minefield while trying to escape.
  • Mistaken for Gay: John and Sherlock are mistaken twice -- first, by the actually gay pub owners, then by Henry's female therapist, who because of this leaves the pub instead of giving John the information he needs.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Sherlock harpooning a pig carcass to solve a case comes straight from "Black Peter."
    • When Sherlock is having his nicotine freak-out in the beginning, one of the places he looks for his hidden stash is in the toe of an old Persian slipper. This is where he keeps his pipe tobacco in the original stories (Watson mentions it in "The Musgrave Ritual").
    • Sherlock's frustrated "I need something stronger than tea! Something 7% stronger..." is a reference to his famous cocaine habit in The Sign of Four, where he injected a 7% solution.
    • Sherlock's remark about his mind being "like an engine racing out of control, a rocket tearing itself to pieces on the launch pad" when he doesn't have work echoes "The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge," where the original Holmes says "My mind is like a racing engine, tearing itself to pieces because it is not connected up with the work for which it was built."
    • "Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!" is one of the most famous lines from the original novel.
    • Sherlock's waffling about whether he will go to Dartmoor or send John to investigate is a wink at the fact that, in the Conan Doyle version, Holmes does send Watson down to Baskerville Hall in his place. Sort of.
    • Sherlock spots the horse-racing section of a paper rolled up in the back pocket of a potential eyewitness. When the man is not forthcoming with his information, he pretends to have bet John that the man couldn't produce proof, and the man immediately gets very talkative. The original Holmes pulls the exact same stunt in "The Blue Carbuncle."
    • "Once you've ruled out the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be true," is a favorite Holmes Catch Phrase employed in several of the original stories.
    • Sherlock's remark that emotion is like "grit on the lense, a fly in the ointment," is a reference to the line "Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his" (From "A Scandal in Bohemia").
    • Holmes' reference to Watson as a "conductor of light" occurs in the original Hound of the Baskervilles. "Murder - refined, cold-blooded murder" is also lifted straight from the novel.
    • Sherlock describes Lestrade as being "brown as a nut" (meaning his tan). This is lifted word-for-word from A Study in Scarlet, although there it was Stamford describing Watson.
    • The glowing bunnies are a nod to the original hound, which was painted with phosphorus to appear supernatural.
    • The Grimpen Minefield is, of course, wordplay on the Grimpen Mire. The villains in both stories die trying to flee through it.
    • The hallucinogenic fear gas is reminiscent of "The Devil's Foot," as is Sherlock's experiment with it, although in this case the results are merely emotionally traumatizing rather than life-threatening.
      • Sherlock's experiment on Watson also recalls a remark of Stamford's in A Study in Scarlet that he could imagine Holmes "giving a friend a little pinch of the latest vegetable alkaloid, not out of malevolence, you understand, but simply out of a spirit of inquiry...".
    • Henry Knight's name is a play on "Sir Henry" from The Hound of the Baskervilles. Many of the other names are taken more or less straight from the original - including the surname of the original villain. Interestingly, the character with the original villain's name turns out to be a Red Herring who eventually helps Sherlock and John to solve the case, but the real villain of this story did actually share more similar personality traits with the original and also dies in a very similar way.
  • Not His Sled: Stapleton has nothing to do with the hound.
  • Only Friend: Sherlock points this out to John, clarifying his assertion the night before that he "doesn't have friends":

  Sherlock: Listen, what I said before, John, I meant it. I don't have friends. I've just got one.

  • OOC Is Serious Business: When Sherlock declares he will take on the case of Bluebell, a missing rabbit, John immediately gets up and gives him a packet of cigarettes. John is also weirded out when Sherlock makes coffee for him. He's right to be.
  • Red Herring:
    • The Morse code John notices. It turns out to lead to a dogging site instead of anything relevant to the case, though it does at least provide Sherlock with a genuinely helpful Eureka Moment.
    • Dr. Stapleton, especially for those familiar with the original novel. She's involved in genetic experimentation on animals of dubious legality, but is otherwise innocent -- and her counterpart in the original turned out to be the killer.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Moriarty's cell. Which Mycroft lets him out of. Leads into the next episode.
  • Scenery Porn: This episode sure makes (non-British) viewers want to visit Dartmoor.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Henry watched his father being murdered by a scientist while under the effects of a hallucinogenic chemical; the 'hound' was something his mind invented to cope with the trauma.
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish: "Maggie". He could have at least added random numbers or something...
    • Not only that, but picking a line of sight password is one of the WORST things you could do.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In this episode, Sherlock has gone from violently defending Mrs Hudson and showing a lot of affection for her, to cruelly telling her a man she's involved with is a bigamist and threatening her with a harpoon- all because John won't tell him where his emergency cigarette stash is. John is so horrified by his behaviour that he shouts at him and then, when Mrs Hudson has tearfully retreated, orders him to go downstairs and apologise to her.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: The experimental drug acted as a fear stimulus that ended overwhelming and killing the test subjects.
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