Okay, 'Elementary' had a chance here and, well, kinda missed the mark.
Hound of the Baskervilles is arguably the most well-known and the most popular tale in the Canon.
So they had a lot to work with, and a lot of room to miss the mark. Which they did.
Retelling the Hound is always going to be hard. You can either re-tell the story canonically, a great Gothic tale of mystery and murder, and be judged by how well you pull that off.
Or you can adapt it in a totally new way and, well, be judged by how well you pull it off.
‘Elementary’ with ‘Hounded’ didn’t seem to be able to make up its mind on which way it wanted to go and failed in both directions.
The show opens with Holmes walking in on Hawes who is examining a new body at the morgue. Hawes’ work has been slipping of late and Holmes has come to point that fact out and if possible discover why.
The show then cuts to Central Park and a man being chased through the woods by an unknown assailant. The man running stumbles of a cliff and is hit by a truck. Holmes discovers that there was someone else present and could be a possible witness.
The man is Charles Baskerville.
While Holmes works on finding out what is wrong with Hawes, Watson finds the witness, a homeless man, and discovers he saw a large wolf or small bear attack Charles.
And so, without going over the whole show again, we have a murdered Baskerville, another who will inherit the fortune, but who doesn’t really need it, and the rest of the cast from the Canon.
Where the episode falls apart is when it doesn’t either stay true to the original story and just retell it, and it also doesn’t come up with something new and unique in its telling.
Mostly the episode is guilty of using as many clichés as possible without putting them into a well told story.
The episode does however once again hit on timely topics, GMO’s and robots, but they could have done that without, perhaps better, using HOUN as the backdrop.
The episode actually became more of a test to see how many HOUN clichés one could catch and not worry about the story line.
So, here are the ones I caught;
‘Sir’ Charles is chased down a narrow lane.
He dies of something other than the ‘beast, (canonically a heart attack, in this episode, a truck).
Henry Baskerville is the heir (as is apparently everyone else in the episode).
Part of the story takes place in Devonshire (Devonshire Robotics)
Watson is sent off to investigate on her own while Holmes goes elsewhere. (Her checking up on the witness while Holmes played chess).
A Stapleton is involved and related.
Hugo Baskerville (in this case a railroad baron).
Barrymore (this time working for Stapleton).(The name served no real purpose in the storyline.)
Miss Lyons (a Stapleton)
An unknown heir.
A glowing dog (this one a big pussy cat).
And also mentioned Canonically or from ACD;
Holmes mentions ‘The Woman’
While it was fun to spot these, the story did not need any of them and would have probably made for a better episode without the HOUN connection, especially considering how much is expected once you connect it to the original story. (Hey 'Elementary', change the names and show it again.!)
One of the things that have always made HOUN such great story is that Holmes is taken out of his perceived comfort zone, London, and sent, for him, to an alien environment, Dartmoor. Holmes we believe is a creature of the city, not comfortable in such a rural setting. (I am going to have a separate post for this discussion.)
This episode failed to even attempt use that Gothic setting to its advantage. The location is as much a part of HOUN as is anything else. It is the sinister nature of the enviornment that sets the tone (I know; Central Park at night isnt' scary enough for you?) The story should have gone to New Jersey or some where else.
Another flaw in the episode was the fact that everyone loved each other, for the most part.
Henry loved Charles, Stapleton loved the Baskervilles. Barrymore, while maybe not loving Stapleton at least didn’t mind having drinks with him.
Stapleton loved, well, women.
The dog loved Charles.
Okay maybe Ms. Lyons didn’t love everyone, but she should have because her plot line was really bad.
We were never told how Roger mistreated her father, the hippie, the one who moved to Australia. I thought hippies did that kind of thing. A free and open life.
She had a great job. Didn’t it pay well? And just like in the Canon, why didn’t she just ask to be part of the family? Everyone loved each other. They would have made her feel welcome.
And instead of calling this episode 'HOUNded', maybe we should call it 'GUS', after the robotic dog. I don’t claim to know much about the physics of robots but I don’t see a machine like that being able to maneuver like it did in the park at night in such a rough terrain. A tracked vehicle would have trouble unless it was the size of a small tank.
The side story with Hawes was well done and showed some growth on Miller’s Holmes part.
The acting was still strong by the leads. The extras didn't carry enough weight, once again considering the source.
I know, at this point I am starting to sound like Brad (I feel dirty) but in this case he may have a point. I will check to see if he has any thoughts on this episode after I post this.
The episode did however live up to this season, and, compared to the last few seasons, it remained strong. It did not however take advantage of its source material which set it up as a failure.
It would be akin to setting Mutiny on the Bounty on a pontoon boat.
The weakest episode of this season.
The weakest episode of this season.
Because of its poor treatment of HOUN I can only fairly give it;