I loved this episode. I loved it less than I loved "Scandal." It's still a fabulous episode of a fabulous show and I enjoyed it immensely and there was lots to love. I just loved "Scandal" more.
Partly that was because of the subject matter of this episode. I am easily scared, and I found this episode terrifying. I'm glad I didn't watch it at night, as was my initial plan, because I wouldn't have been able to sleep. I don't really like scary things, so I liked this episode less as a result. I also don't really care for stuff about people going insane, because it always makes me feel like I
am going insane. So there was that.
Strangely, I felt like I couldn't understand what was filling the time of the episode. Like, every time I looked, I was shocked to see I'd been watching for half an hour, or an hour, or whatever it was. It was like the opposite of watching "Scandal," when I kept expecting it to be almost over but it wasn't. I never felt like "Hounds" dragged, and I was never bored, it was just that "Scandal" was so jam-packed, it was like an entire season's worth of episodes in a 90-minute package. This was a more conventionally paced episode, stark only in contrast to the pacing of "Scandal."
I think "Hounds" also suffered a bit to me because I know Reichenbach is looming. So this felt something like a lark, a distraction from the real plot of the series. I know that isn't fair, but I do think it affected how I felt about the episode.
And I feel like all that leaves the impression I didn't love this episode. I did
love the episode. I just loved it slightly passionately less than I loved "Scandal." As for individual things I loved:
- "Like a fairy." The delivery of that line will never not make me laugh.
- "It's not actually possible for the victim to have done it." Interestingly, that's the outcome of "The Aluminium Crutch," the blog post that has been mentioned now in both episodes. I don't know what to make of this recurring joke. Probably nothing. It's just interesting to note.
- I like the Gothic atmosphere of this episode. One could easily see Benedict Cumberbatch playing Heathcliff, striding across the moor with a black coat billowing...
- Oh, Benedict Cumberbatch and your beautiful, beautiful eyes. It isn't that they were especially more beautiful in this episode, it's just that I feel they deserve all the recognition in the world and so I should mention them because I was remiss in not mentioning them last episode. They are beautiful eyes.
- John gets it right immediately: The hound is a story Henry made up to explain his father's death. But, if they'd let it go at that, they wouldn't have gotten to take a romantic holiday to the country.
- "You're showing off." "Of course. I am a show-off. It's what we do." Win.
- Sherlock inhaling Henry's smoke. Genius.
- I like how the archaic word "hound" becomes the thing that piques Sherlock's interest. Clever way to continue to use the classic title and not make it sound ridiculous, Gatiss.
- Sherlock pretends that he's going to send John to investigate all by himself. What a lovely little wink to the original story. I thought they were actually going to go through with it, too.
- Sherlock driving a car is inexplicably hot.
- You know how I said I wanted Jack Harkness to show up on this show and make out with everyone? If he were going to show up, he would hang out on top of tall cliffs of rock with Sherlock, I feel. They would have a standing-on-tall-things-off.
- The name of the pub, "Cross Keys," was so prominently displayed, I thought it must be a nod to something in the fandom I wasn't catching. Anyone know?
- I was trying to be more conscious of the portrayal of female characters in this episode. All I came up with was the fact that the psychiatrist had to call in the menfolk for help when her patient got to be too much for her, and that the female doctor was upbraided as cold and heartless toward her own daughter. But I don't know what to do with that. I fail with this stuff.
- I will never get tired of John and Sherlock being mistaken for a couple. Ever. And I want people to write me fic about John and Sherlock sharing a room at this inn. Actually, sharing a room with Lestrade. Not (necessarily) Like That.
- I loved the gay couple running the pub. They were adorable.
- When the soldier swiped Mycroft's ID, his photo came up. Sherlock looks nothing like Mycroft. Apparently, the soldier didn't even look. That's some crack security there. That said, I liked the growing tension of technological flags every time Sherlock used Mycroft's ID, and I loved the look on Mycroft's face when the news was given to him. In this Gatiss-penned episode, I loved the fact that Gatiss was like, "I don't have time to have as many lines as I had in the first episode, so I'll just have this one reaction shot that will steal the whole show." Yup. It did.
- I loved John being a soldier, saluting, pulling rank. We don't get to see that too often, and it was great fun. And I loved Sherlock's proud, delighted face afterward. (Reading of his expression: "That's my boyfriend, isn't he awesome?")
- I liked the scarf-less coat look. It somehow made the coat even sexier. DIDN'T THINK THAT WAS POSSIBLE.
- "That wasn't my hat." Hahahahahahaha!
- "I would love to tell you, but then, of course, I'd have to kill you." "That would be tremendously ambitious of you." BEST. COMEBACK. EVER. I love Sherlock.
- "You being all mysterious with your cheekbones and turning your coat up so you look cool." Weirdest line ever. Not turning the coat up, I liked that comment, and I loved Sherlock's defensive "I don't do that." But the reference to the cheekbones? Oh, John, you've been staring at him, haven't you?
- I love so, so much how John scribbles everything down in his little notebook. HOW IS HE SO ADORABLE? And I really loved him transcribing the Morse code light flashing. I was really sad that didn't turn out to be important, because I thought it was so clever of him!
- This episode had appropriately creepy music. The music was half of what was freaking me out, really. AND ALL THE NATURE, OF COURSE. When John fell behind Sherlock and Henry in the dark forest, I was terrified for him.
- "I don't have friends. I've just got one." Awwwwwwww. See, the thing is, I really want to think he means this, and then I think that, you know, he is a manipulative bastard, so who knows? Which must be how John feels all. The. Time. Like, when Sherlock makes him the cup of coffee, I so much wanted to think he was just being sweet and nice, but I knew that he wasn't. And then he (thinks he) drugs John and locks him in a creepy place and observes him freaking out. I love that John totally shrugs that off, like, "Ah, well, it's Sherlock, what are you going to do?" It is such a strange relationship, and I love it so. He expects Sherlock to secretly drug him if he thinks it's necessary to the case, but he cannot abide being denied the title of "friend." (It's actually a nice parallel to that moment in "The Blind Banker" when Sebastian refers to John as Sherlock's "friend" and John corrects him to "colleague" and Sherlock's face does the subtlest little crumple at it. Oh, these boys...)
- BEST PART OF THE EPISODE: LESTRADE RANDOMLY SHOWS UP. I don't know why this made me so happy. I mean, it's not even like he did anything. He had, like, a dozen lines in the whole thing and played absolutely no role and had no reason to be there whatsoever, but I love him and I DON'T CARE, THE EPISODE WAS A MILLION TIMES BETTER BECAUSE LESTRADE WALKED INTO IT. We got the line about his name being Greg (Martin Freeman's delivery of "That's his name" was a beautiful thing to behold), and we got the implication that he is in constant contact with Mycroft and possibly frequently does what Mycroft tells him to do. Mycroft/Lestrade fics have been a secret guilty pleasure of mine for a while now. I was so delighted to have a bone thrown in that direction. I choose to believe Gatiss did that on purpose. There was that whole exchange: "You know, he's actually pleased you're here. Secretly." "Is he? That's nice." Awwww, they're so Sherlock's family. It's adorable. And then Lestrade got to grin and say, "You know, I'm actually enjoying this!" He looked it, too. He looked like quite a bit of alright in this episode.
- "Hello, brother, dear. How are you?" Where is the fic about how the rest of that conversation goes?
- "I can tell by your coat. You're one of the conspiracy lot." Major Barrymore. Why are you attacking the coat? Uncalled for, sir. NEVER SAY ANYTHING EVEN THE SLIGHTEST BIT NEGATIVE ABOUT THE COAT. IT'S VERY SEXY. ASK JOHN.
- The password being "Maggie" was...absurd. Password requirements are out of control, and that place let its top-secret-clearance employees use a simple word? And not have to change it every month or so? I mean, really? That was my least favorite part of the episode.
- There are mine fields out on the British moors? The idea of that was the scariest thing.
- I felt like this episode was kind of trickling to an end, and John and Sherlock's exchange at the end was underwhelming to me, and then Sherlock goes to tell the nice gay couple...what? That he killed their dog? And John thinks it's a good idea to let Sherlock deliver this news? I didn't get quite what was going on there...AND THEN WE GOT THE WHOLE MORIARTY CODA AND I FORGOT ABOUT THAT. Seriously, I loved the Moriarty thing. It made me almost giddy with anticipation for next episode. And it's Mycroft who lets him go. After he creepily scribbles "Sherlock" all over the walls of the cell. I AM SO NERVOUS. AND EXCITED. AND ALSO NERVOUS.