“Sleep Hollow” Season 2 Retrospect – A Mixed Experience With a Potential Future Still

This is War Sleepy Hollow

      “Sleepy Hollow” season 2 was a mixed experience and now that Season 3 is a go it’s time to give my thoughts fully on the season and what I see as the best and worst futures for the show. First, the reason the show was a mixed experience was due to the inconsistency of the episodes in narrative structure (didn’t know if the show wanted to be an arc or episodic show), dropped narratives and it’s inability to handle minor characters.

     What made Season 1 work was it’s arc heaviness. Moloch was trying to come back into the world, the Headless Horseman was a threat and Ichabod was trying to reach Katrina. This was the main focus of Season 1 and it never got away from that really, which made it very strong. This show had elements of that but felt like it was playing with a lot of ideas. Henry Parish (The Horseman of War) actually succeeds in bringing Moloch into the world and the first half is good about tying all that together, but in the second half they do a whole bunch of one off episodes that try to tie in Hawley’s adopted Mom and others that just felt like filler, even if they were enjoyable. This made the show feel lost up until the very end when they focused on the core relationships of Team Sleepy Hollow and their relationships to Katrina and Henry, giving us a very entertaining last two episodes that captured at least some of what made Season 1 great.

     Another issue, tied to the inconsistent narrative of arc and single episodes was the dropped narratives. At one point Abraham the Headless Horseman says he will wait and not kill anyone until Katrina can find a cure to his curse, this is never brought up again. There is now an angel named Orion running around who wants to cause destruction, he is never brought up again. Also the Reyes arc with the police department and her relationship with the supernatural is never fully dealt with either, or her relationship to Detective Irving. This really hurt the overall feel of the show as these are important characters and relationships. Season 3 has the potential to solve some of these issues.

    The final issue of the problems I had with this season were how minor characters were handled. Katrina had no motivation until the very end when Henry wants to start a Coven with her, after that she goes bad and wants to bring him back to life. Henry also didn’t have any motivation after he killed Moloch and his plans for World Domination didn’t feel fully fleshed out. There is no need to bring up Hawley, I hated the character and how contrived he felt. Benjamin Franklin also felt the same way at times, until the Finale. Before the Finale he was the McGuffin for everything this season. They also didn’t know what to do with Abraham the Headless Horseman, which is a shame given how important he is to the lore of the show as a Horseman of the Apocalypse. But even given these issues, there is promise in what they got right.

The Promise and Potential Problems of a Season 3

   First, I want to go into the problems. The problems is this show could become something like “Supernatural” a show that is wholly “Supernatural” and has no arc or direction (“Supernatural” really should have ended at Season 5), this could lead to it being a Monster of the Week type show which would only hurt it as with it we’ll only see character arcs retread and the Apocalypse will keep getting pushed into the future, which will hurt the lore and potential mythology of the show. They could also bring back Hawley, Katrina and Henry which would be wrong, their stories are done. When a character is gone, let them stay gone so our core cast can develop as people. No contrived writing, which is what I see happen when a show becomes too episodic and doesn’t have an arc to reel it in.

     The promise of “Sleepy Hollow” is in it’s Finale. What was the thing that Abbie’s ancestor warned about? She implies their mission as Witnesses isn’t done, which means there is a bigger bad out there. They could go the Devil route, which would be cliche but would work and from there have our heroes be pushed to their limits and have things change in “Sleepy Hollow.” For now Sleepy Hollow the town is static even if our characters have changed. Eventually it has to go the way of “Buffy” and destroy the town or change it in a radical way to show that the Supernatural can change this world. Changing the world will force our characters to change and that core cast is the reason I watch the show beyond the Mythology Arc. Jenny, Abbie, Ichabod and Irving were big reasons I kept coming back. I want to see their stories and the story of Ichabod and Abbie as Witnesses finished. If the writers milk it, I will eventually stop watching. I want a show that has an ending, which means bringing about the Apocalypse and giving our witnesses a role in dealing with the implied bigger badder villain out there. That is the promise of Sleepy Hollow.

Final Score of Season 2: 8.3 / 10. Potential to be great again.

Sleepy Hollow – Season 2, Episode 17 – “Awakening” – Completion of an Arc and a Brave New World

Sleepy Hollow s 2 e 18

     Well, what I’ve been wanting to happen for a while finally did and maybe this is the end of someone for good? At this point I have some of the same fears related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as I do for “Sleepy Hollow.” Does anyone really stay dead? Without permanent death what of character arcs and consequences? If in fact what this episode did stays permanent though, I’ll be happy with how it went. It really all depends on the Finale and if “Sleepy Hollow” gets renewed.

    “Awakening,” was directed by Doug Aarniokoski and written by M. Raven Metzner.

    The story begins with Henry approaching Katrina with a dream of awakening all those with Witch Blood to create a Brave New World with the two of them at the head of the coven. We see the practice run with a bell similar in design to the Liberty Bell that awakens three people who kill those around them who were threatening them and come back to the present. From here Abbie, Jenny and Ichabod try to destroy the bell but are stopped by Henry and Katrina, forcing Ichabod to finally make the hard choice.

The Pros: Detective Irving – We see Evil Irving for much of the episode and realize he is undead due to not having a soul. After Henry is defeated though, he gains his soul back and is alive.

Jenny Mills – Jenny almost has to make the hard choice of turning Irving into stone with the Gorgon head but is saved from making the choice when Abbie and Ichabod finally defeat Henry.

Katrina Crane – Katrina is finally interesting! We learn that she has missed her sisters in the coven and wants nothing more than to help Henry fulfill his dream so she is no longer alone in the world. This leads to her trapping Abbie and Ichabod and turning on Ichabod and going full Evil (and going back in time to save her son and let Ichabod die) in order to get revenge for Abbie and Ichabod killing Henry.

Ichabod Crane – Ichabod is shown to no longer be Lawful Stupid! He fights his wife when she goes bad and makes the hard choice with letting Abbie kill his son so that no more people will die by his hand (and frees Irving in the process). It’s a powerful scene and now he is trapped alone in the present, but we’ll be seeing past Ichabod due to what happens to Abbie.

Henry Parish – Henry finally makes peace with his mother and together they try and make a whole new world for those with Witch Blood. He is still evil and worships power, which I think is why he respects Katrina because she is full blooded witch and one of the best. This leads to their evil coven they want to build and what forces Ichabod and Abbie’s hand to kill him. He has a speech per usual and it is a good ending. I do hope it is the end. I would have preferred this happening next season and Moloch being the end all for this season not mid-season. Still, John Noble did great and his character went out in style.

Abbie Mills – Abbie is the one who kills Henry and ends the threat and goes back in time to stop Katrina. She is one of the most active people in this episode and it is her and Ichabod together who stop the plot of Katrina and Henry’s. When she arrives in the past she is captured but calls on Captain Ichabod Crane with knowledge that could end the war. Curious to see how they explore things from here and glad they didn’t shy away from the racism of that time period.

Okay: Promise – There is promise here. Time travel will allow them to change things and if they are smart they could do an entire season in the past with Katrina as the big bad (and now Moloch too come to think of it). But it would be very easy to mess up. I can see why there is a question in regards to “Sleepy Hollow” getting renewed. I want it too since there are plot threads I want to see resolved first.

The Cons: Dropped Threads – What about the Headless Horseman? What about Orion? These are questions that remain unresolved and were major threads through both this season and last season in regards to Abraham.

If you’ve been watching up to this point, you will probably enjoy this episode. I did, mostly for the promise. The thing is it would be very easy to mess up and if the Finale does mess up, “Sleepy Hollow” should be canceled and the writers must not have known what they were doing…but that is a risk that every show takes. Direction is important, without it the story falls apart.

Final Score: 9 / 10.

Sleepy Hollow – Season 2, Episode 16 – “What Lies Beneath” – Responsibilities of a Witness

Sleepy Hollow What Lies Beneath

This was a very fun “Sleepy Hollow” episode that managed to give us an interesting glimpse into some characters, as well as setting up more of what is to come. We get to know more about Detective Irving’s situation and even hints that the Witnesses still have a greater role to play.

“What Lies Beneath” was directed by  Dwight Little and written by Damian Kindler who also wrote the original story with Philip Iscove.

The premise involves three workers finding a secret room and getting kidnapped by Reavers leading Abbie and Ichabod to mount a rescue while dealing with one of the brothers of the kidnapped who is a journalist seeking the truth. Around the same time Irving asks Jenny for help leading to them breaking into Police Headquarters before he reveals his purpose.

The Pros: Hologram Jefferson – Thomas Jefferson is in this, or at least the echo is any way. He is created by witchcraft and science to hold all of Jefferson’s memories and is there to help guide the Witnesses in what they need to know. Sadly he is also on a Reaver’s nest and the only way to stop the Reaver’s is to destroy his power source, which in the end he does as he apologizes for Ichabod for slighting him and that he consider’s Ichabod a Founding Father.

Detective Irving – Irving get’s a Hellfire charm that helps him become aware enough long enough to get Jenny the data his family needs to get out of town. He has no memory of what his evil side has done but he is aware his soul is broken and corrupted. I think he knows he’ll be fighting Ichabod and co. by the end of the season.

Jenny – Jenny holds Irving accountable and finds him. It’s actually pretty cool that she listens and it makes sense she understands given how often she’s dealt with her own darker side and demons growing up.

Ichabod and Abbie – These two do a great job dealing with the Reavers and manage to save 2 of the workers. Abbie’s arc involves her keeping the work secret but promising the truth eventually to Calvin (whose brother was captured) and they begin to build a respectful relationship. Ichabod and Jefferson heal up their relationship and stop the Reavers as they were always supposed to be about protection and people over knowledge when it came down to action.

Okay: Henry Parish and Katrina – Katrina has a “dream” that the episode implies actually happened where Parish said her and the magic users will get revenge that his purpose is now for their ascension. She’s afraid of him (for good reason) and what he’ll use her blood for remains to be seen. The scene could have been more threatening, it was presented kind of awkwardly.

I enjoyed this episode a lot and would consider it good but not great. The Katrina issue is still an issue in regards to her being the victim more often than not and I hope they don’t mess up the role of Calvin the journalist. There is promise again, lets just hope “Sleepy Hollow” doesn’t mess things up.

Final Score: 8 / 10.

Sleepy Hollow – Season 2, Episode 15 – “Spellcaster” – Welcome to the Dark Side

Sleepy Hollow Spellcaster

Henry Parish is back and awesome again! For this reason alone (and seeing Detective Irving in action finally) are what really made this episode great and a favorite. It starts out as an enemy of the week type episode, but becomes something more…much like the first half of the season was, or all of season 1.

“Spellcaster” was written by Albert Kim.

The premise begins with a Warlock named Solomon Kent (who lead the Salemites in killing Katrina’s grandmother for being a witch to hide his own work with dark magic) stealing the magical Grand Grimoire in order to return to the woman he loves. Team Sleepy Hollow works to stop him as now Detective Irving is working with them, but may have his own purposes. Henry Parish is also in hiding thinking about his future and where he goes next.

The Pros: The humor – There are some great moments of comedy in this! Whether it is Abbie teaching Ichabod how to teach Realtor when he’s house hunting or Henry Parish taking out a bunch of punks when he realizes he’s the bigger wolf to their dogs.

Solomon Kent – I actually didn’t mind this guy as a villain of the week. He plants the seed of dark magic in Katrina and shows her that it is the most powerful of the magics which furthers her corruption that was already prone too, and it takes three people each time to take him out. His use of blood magic is pretty cool too.

Katrina Crane – I’m actually putting her as a pro here! I think her going dark could be the best thing as she loves her child so much to the point of stupidity and if she realizes she could be his partner in conquest I think she’d take it as she probably feels shafted by Abbie’s and Ichabod’s deep friendship.

Ichabod and Abbie – We see them working together in this and taking out Solomon Kent through trickery as they know his magic is vulnerable to lightning so electrocute him and also pump him full of drugs that he is using for his magic. It’s brilliant and what I always liked about season 1. No Hawley or Katrina magic artifact outs…just brains.

Henry Parish – Henry is no longer the Horseman of War, though does own Detective Irving’s soul as we see Irving is serving him now and brings him the Grand Grimoire so that he can work on shaping the world to his will. I like Parish as the big bad as he was always so much more compelling than Moloch and he could corrupt his parents if it came down to it. He knows people in ways Moloch and the other Supernatural threats never have.

Detective Irving – Tricked Katrina to be seen as a good guy and is serving Parish in his goal of conquest. We see what he gets out of this too as Irving kills Kent and takes enjoyment from it. He clearly lost part of himself when he died and Parish having his soul is probably part of it.

I really liked this episode and it reminded me of why I still watch this show. Hopefully Abraham gets the same treatment and exploration that these guys have. I’m hoping we don’t see an evil league of evil (Orion and Hawley’s Aunt are still out there) but I wouldn’t mind see Henry crush those other threats or make them servants if he can. The guy is a major reason I watch this show and now he’s working with my other favorite character whose soul he owns. Here is to the possibility. I hope the writers don’t mess it up.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10.

Sleepy Hollow – Season 2, Episode 14 – “Kali Yuga” – Trying to Get Back on Track

Sleepy Hollow Kali Yuga    “Sleepy Hollow” is trying to get back on track again, it really is…and it does do some great things this episode! Almost no Katrina, Hawley leaves and we get sometime with Jenny as a major player. This is what I like about “Sleepy Hollow” when it focuses on the Millses (who tend avoid stupid good unlike Ichabod) and of course Ichabod growing a little.

“Kali Yuga” was directed by Doug Aarniokoski and written by Sam Chalsen and Nelson Greaves with the story by Heather Regnier.

The premise is that Hawley plans to steal something for the Knox estate to bring his Godmother back to mortal since she was turned into a monster. Irving is also dealing with his relationship with his wife and being brought back to life and Abbie and Ichabod work through distrust. These are the main plot elements of the episode.

The Pros: Jaime Murray – Jaime Murray (H.G. Wells of “Warehouse 13”) Is in this as Hawley’s Godmother and is the main baddie. In the end she isn’t given much complexity sadly, but Murray elevates a very standard monster of the week who is trying to turn other and Hawley into what she is with the power of Kali (The Hindu Goddess Kali is always the villain in shows like this, I’d like to see that change). She is good, even if her character is weak and sadly one-dimensional power hungry. She deserved better after her masterful role as H.G. Wells in “Warehouse 13.”

Ichabod and Abbie – There is some conflict here! It’s contrived but it’s trying to develop their relationship at least. Ichabod finds Orion’s charm and calls Abbie out and after working things out they work there way out of Knox’s vault that Hawley put them in to save their life. They also do Karaoke, and it’s awesome. Ichabod still has issues with accountability and is way too stupid good in regards to Henry but he can still make that choice.

Jenny Mills – Still don’t get why she likes Hawley, but she does get development, even if it’s just her losing Hawley as he runs off to go take out his Godmother. She is the one driving the story for a lot of it, though she gets a lot of stupid good in the process due to her attachment to Hawley and not stopping him when she had the chance earlier in the episode and preventing the Godmother’s plan of turning others into monsters from happening.

Hawley leaves – I hate Hawley, this is a pro. He is a useless character who lends nothing but contrived drama. Finally he’s gone.

Okay: Detective Irving – The writers don’t really know what to do with him yet, which is a shame as Orlando Jones is amazingly talented. He visits Katrina and we get the implication she’s evil out of it (which would explain her inaction with the Horseman of Death”) but it’s mostly lags. He also doesn’t have a shadow, what this means is another unanswered question, Katrina was mostly there to look evil and hint at her maybe joining with Henry or Abraham I think.

The Cons: Dialogue – A lot of the dialogue felt contrived and not that well written and it was only the chemistry and talent of the actors carrying the scene. Specifically the scene where Ichabod and Abbie were trapped and the leadup to it with the discovery of the pendant.

Villain Kali – I get Kali is the destroyer but can we stop going with that cliche in fiction? It’s like having demons as only bad or Hades always be the villain. We’re so obsessed with dichotomy and we get cliche storytelling in the process rather than creative takes on mythological beings who in their mythos are more complex than they are given credit for.

This episode is trying to get on track again, we see lots more of Jenny, Abbie and Ichabod and maybe something being done with Katrina and explaining Detective Irving? I’m not going to pass judgement yet as the season is not over, but I’m worried given how the last few episodes that didn’t involve Orion went.

Final Score: 7.5 / 10. Potential. What will they do with it?

Sleepy Hollow – Season 2, Episode 13 – “Pittura Infamante” – Interesting Idea, Boringly Executed

sleepyhollowpittura

 

I guess every season has their duds, but if there are more episodes like this I think the premise of “Sleepy Hollow” with the past giving us the answers to the premise (particularly the early Revolution Era in the United States) but in most instances it turns the Founding Fathers into Mary Sues where they are untouchable and perfect and their flaws are ignored. They cease to be human and instead become plot devices.  Also, Katrina is also a very flat character and this episode made it very obvious. But I’ll go into more details in the assessment.

The episode was directed by John Leonetti and written by Melissa Blake.

The premise of the episode begins with Katina and Ichabod going on a date to the historical society where an old picture the Adams’s owns is getting unveiled. Supernatural events occur and the man who is cleaning the painting is murdered in the Sign of the Hangman. Around the same time Detective Irving is being questioned by Abbie who is trying to find out if he is good or bad since he’s alive and what it means in regards to War.

The Pros: Premise – A killer trapped in a painting and a painting being a portal between worlds is absolutely wonderful. It’s a shame the characters who drive the plot (Abigail Adams, Katrina, The Killer).

Detective Irving – Glad he’s back, wish it had been slower though. He’s still the same Irving though. He’s strong and has integrity, and at the end their is a twist of evidence being presented that he wasn’t guilty for the acts War did.

Abbie Mills – Abbie is skeptical of Detective Irving but wants to give him a chance. She also saves Ichabod and Katrina. She is firm and is good on being a bit distressful, especially given what happened last episode. There is also a bit of romantic tension with Ichabod which I found to be a nice touch in this instance. She also tells the truth to Irving’s wife in regards to the Supernatural and her suspicions.

Jenny Mills – Jenny is on top of things again. She gets the Hell Bullets to take out the Killer and tells Irving to persevere since she is there for him.

Ichabod – Ichabod has a few quips and is mostly the man from the past adapted to the present. He also has great moments with all characters who aren’t Katrina or the Killer.

The Cons: The Villain – Crazy painter attempting to summon himself back in the world.

Abigail Adams – She has all the answers and is annoying in the same way Benjamin Franklin is. There aren’t any flaws they are just plot devices.

Katrina – She is super flat, I don’t see any of her affection for Ichabod as being real at this point and she didn’t have chemistry with anyone, not even Abigail in the flashbacks. It was like watching a flat painting.

Episode Execution – The episode was structurally weird. The pacing was all over the place and the music came in at odd times.

I wouldn’t recommend this episode. It is the worst kind of Monster of the Week type episodes and doesn’t give anything to the plot beyond the Irving Arc. I still worry about the direction of the show…and wonder if the writers know where they are going.

Final Score: 4 / 10. Not even the good characters can save this episode.

 

Sleepy Hollow – Season 2, Episode 12 – “Paradise Lost” – The Angel of Death

Sleepy Hollow Paradise Lost

“Sleepy Hollow” returns and at this point I’m not sure what to think about it. Suffice to say, I was impressed with most of the character beats this episode though, which I think is something “Sleepy Hollow” has always excelled at. Now the question is if they know what they’re doing since they ended part of the reason for the show’s existence last episode (preventing Moloch’s Apocalypse). I like the new character introduced though, and I’ll get into him later in the review.

“Paradise Lost” was directed by Russell Fine and written by M. Raven Metzner.

The premise of the episode is that we pick up where we left off. Henry Parish, the Horseman of War is missing and the Apocalypse has been averted. We skip forward 6 weeks to see that Katrina and the Headless Horseman Abraham are developing their relationship as she tries to save him and a new character arrives, Orion who was trapped in purgatory and is hunting down demons like Ichabod and Abbie. But all is not as it appears to be as we soon learn he holds other purposes for his vendetta against the Horseman of Death.

The Pros: Jenny Mills – She has a small role in this as helping find the demons and where they are located as well as organizing a night on the town, which is all wasted as we have Nick Hawley arrive and try to get back with her. I hate that this guy is still around on the show.

Ichabod Crane – Ichabod is great again as usual as Abbie is trying to help him integrate into a world where he no longer has to be a hunter. We see that hunting is his escape from not having to deal with his relationship with Katrina who is spending lots of time with Abraham and they both realize that they need to redefine their relationship in the end when Katrina saving Abraham is shown to be the right thing when Orion wants only destruction of all evil in humanity by any means necessary. He grows a lot in this episode.

Abbie Mills – Abbie is taken in by Orion when he appears and he gives her a charm in which she can use to call on him. They are both soldiers who have lost people to the war against Evil but Abbie soon learns that she is no zealot and works with Ichabod to save Abraham when she learns of Orion’s plans.

Orion – This angel is awesome and I hope we see more of him. He is the Angel of Death and whenever a city was destroyed in the past for being “sinful” he was the angel to do it. This is why he was locked in purgatory. He loses his weapon but is still a threat as gunshots and spirit weapons had no effect on him. Can’t wait to see where they take this character and explore Angels. Angels were one of the few good things about “Supernatural” and “Sleepy Hollow” generally has better writers.

Abraham / The Headless Horseman / The Horseman of Death – This guy is still just as prideful and angry, but like Illidan in Warcraft III he seems to genuinely love Katrina so much so that he will wait until she finds a way to make him human again and no longer the Horseman of Death. This shows depth but I still hope he stays bad, just like Henry Parish. War and Death are the best parts of this show since Moloch was shown to be a waste and I hope they aren’t wasted in turn. Also it was great that he killed Orion the first time around and almost did so again. This guy is someone you don’t mess with in a fight.

Okay: Katrina Crane – Katrina isn’t bad in this and we can see that guilt motivates her relationship with Abraham. She actually had a little depth this episode but I don’t really consider her good and she and Ichabod are still a bit naive when it comes to the Horsemen.

Detective Irving – Is alive? Maybe it was from Death’s power being released when Orion’s weapon got destroyed. Curious where this will go. I’m glad he’s back but that was sudden. God, Moloch was useless as a baddie.

The Cons: Nick Hawley – Guy is like nails on the chalkboard in every scene he is in. Can one of the demons or creatures out there just kill him already? He lends nothing to the script and is a contrived romantic interest.

This was a good start, and I’m hoping we see things get big again. I would not mine seeing more Heavenly Hosts and the Devil and have them go “Supernatural” in “Sleepy Hollow” fashion. I just don’t want them bogged down in Monster of the Week and trying to redeem everyone. Part of what makes Henry Parish and Abraham great is that they are complex villains, but still villains. If that is lost I doubt I will watch onward. This show needs good antagonists of which they are.

Final Score: 9 / 10. Solid start.