Another thrilling episode which had Jared hiding under a blanket but not as good as the last one.
The idea of a secret military establishment which was rumoured to have created giant, genetically-modified animals was a good one, but the bits about H.O.U.N.D. (being an acronym of five researchers’ names) was lame, having neither plausibility nor, in my opinion, rich possibilities for drama.
Holmes’s nicotine withdrawal near the beginning, and his anxiety attack in the Cross Keys were both acted superbly by the faultless Benedict Cumberbatch. If he has not done so already, I think he will this year overtake Winton Marsalis as The Coolest Man On Planet Earth. If I were his insurer, I would be doubling the premium on his cheekbones, and possibly certain other parts of his body.
Martin Freeman also continues to excel as Watson. This portrayal of Watson makes good use of the character’s military background. Like all good Watsons, he is an independent character and takes every opportunity to point out Holmes’s faults. The sequence when he was hiding in the lab and thought the hound was after him was brilliantly acted.
Henry Knight (Russell Tovey) was a character who was a product of this adaptation, not the original story, but he was convincing and engaging. If I had been in fear of my life because I thought I was about to be stalked and eaten by a gigantic, luminous hound, I would not have chosen a downstairs room with the largest picture window in Western Europe as a place in which to brood about my plight. Nevertheless, this made for superb drama.
If this adaptation had been an Open University creative writing assignment, it would have lost a few marks over the plaster cast of the huge pawprint. Presumably that was just a fake, but this was left as a loose end. Holmes’s method of getting information by pretending to have a bet with Watson was borrowed from another story (one about geese and a stolen gem – I forget the title of it).
I leave you with a question to test your powers of observation and imagination: what particular branded personal item do this Sherlock Holmes and I both possess?
Anybody who enjoyed this episode and has also begun reading ‘The Companion’ (the novel I am posting on this blog) may be interested to know that chapter 5 and a few subsequent ones will contain a character who is a genetically-modified rabbit.