“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 10 – “Magnum Opus” – Ichabod and the Headless Horseman

Sleepy Hollow Magnum Opus     “Magnum Opus” is an  episode where things of consequence happen and we get to know Abraham the Headless Horseman and Ichabod better.  At it’s core it is a drama but also gives more with some puzzles too. I’ll get into more of what I mean in the assessment.

The episode was directed by Doug Aarniokoski and written by Donald Todd.

The premise is that Abbie and Ichabod are trying to get the sword that is capable of defeating Moloch but War listens in on their conversation through the mirror Katrina used to reach out to them leading to him sending out the Headless Horseman to deal with them in preparation for Moloch’s rise. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The Monsters – There are some great monster moments in this episode…from the Headless Horseman in the mist, the Gorgon guarding the sword and a fully risen Moloch. All of these moments lend to the supernatural and horror feel that pervades the episode in it’s best moments.

Abbie Mills – Abbie is once again a great driving force as we see her get Ichabod out of his self pity as he regrets the lost friendship with Abraham the Headless Horseman and we see she is the one who figures out the riddle of the sword and how to reach it. I hope to see her do some more great action in the upcoming finale.

Abraham / The Headless Horseman / Horseman of Death – This is a good Abraham episode as we get why he hates Ichabod. Ichabod ended up with the woman (Katrina) he was engaged to, Ichabod became the hero loved by all while Abraham lost everything after he’d been the one to motivate Ichabod to come over to America in the first place. His story is tragic and he is clearly a villain, which is good. I don’t want this character to die as when he is at his best he can be one of the best threats of the show (much of Season 1 for example). If he will have that back again for good will remain to be seen as he’s mostly been War’s agent of destruction.

Ichabod Crane -Ichabod shows he can be cruel when he mocks Abraham and showed he is willing to do what it takes to stop Moloch. I hope this also applies to Henry who is responsible for all the dark stuff that has happened this season. In this episode we see how deep his friendship with Abraham was and that the two honored each other in combat. I liked what we saw of his story in this.

The Puzzles for the Sword – Facing a gorgon, swords that turn to snakes when touched and illuminating a pool of oil for the sword to be found that can kill Moloch. If this is the last season I think they’ll be successful, if not than I’m guessing there are bigger fish than Moloch out there to face. But they have the sword now.

Okay: War / Henry Parish – Reveals the poison Katrina made to kill Moloch and breaks the illusion spell so she can see what she helped create. He wasn’t super memorable in this episode because he wasn’t the plotter and schemer but his hatred for humanity was nice to see again at least.

The Cons: Katrina Crane – She is useless and functions as the damsel in this episode. At this rate the most she could do is sacrifice herself to drive the plot forward since they’ve wasted all her character development and ability to do anything. She has been disappointing so far this season.

This was a really good episode. I enjoyed the drama between Abraham and Ichabod and thought the Gorgon, Moloch and the Headlesss Horseman in action as a threat were some great monsters. Now it’s time to see what  a risen Moloch on Earth entails. I am interested even though I think last season has so far been overall stronger.

Final Score: 8.9 / 10

 

Sleepy Hollow – Season 2, Episode 7 – “Deliverance” – A Lack of Creativity

Sleepy Hollow Deliverance

 

At one point in this episode Ichabod and Abbie have broken into the Hellfire Club to get a Mcguffin Ben Franklin created to stop War and Moloch’s latest plan. Ichabod is trying passwords and Abbie yells at him to use 666 (Since the Hellfire Club is an Apocalyptic organization). It works and Ichabod calls it a lack of creativity. That pretty much sums up this episode. Contrived, lacking creativity and shoe-horning in the Redemption theme when it should not apply to Abraham or Henry at this point. I’ll get into what I mean in the assessment, but this is my least favorite episode so far this season.

The episode was written by Sam Chalsen and Nelson Greaves and directed by Nick Copus.

The episode picks up where were left off with the poison spider  going inside of Katrina and impregnating her. War arrives with the Hellfire Club on orders of Moloch and Abarham the Headless Horseman fights him to protect her. She escapes and meets up with Abbie and Ichabod who rescue her from the hospital and the story unfolds from there as we learn she’s been impregnated with Moloch.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Henry Parish / Horseman of War – He always wins, even when he loses and they better not redeem this character. He chooses Moloch again and again. He impregnated his Mom with Moloch knowing she’d die, he set the Weeping Lady on her and he buried his father alive. This character doesn’t care about redemption, so let him be a villain. We see his power in action as when the pregnancy is stopped by the plot Mcguffin he gets red mist that might be Moloch’s essence. He also has a good moment tormenting Ichabod where he tells him chooses Moloch and care nothing for his parents.

Detective Irving – Small role but he asks to talk to Henry so that Ichabod can talk to him.

Ichabod in the Modern World – Ichabod in the modern world is great…from his anger at low voter turnout to “Wanting to Internet.” His modern antics and phrases make this episode enjoyable, as the character was hit with the stupid stick.

Abbie Mills – Abbie is the one character who gets it and I hope she kills Henry since Katrina and Ichabod are holding out for his redemption. They are so blinded by their love they ignore all the ways he has harmed them and others. Abbie is the only one who gets it because of how Moloch hurt her and Jenny…and Henry serves Moloch. Sadly she is a support character in this episode and Ichabod is the the one who does all the saving. We see her use the Police Force though to take out the Hellfire Club and helps Crane get an identity as as a Criminal Profiler as well as earning Reyes respect for taking out the Hellfire Club.

The Headless Horseman / Horseman of Death / Abraham – This guy is a great villain. He loves Katrina and he fights for her against Henry and the Hellfire Club before Henry finally defeats him with sunlight a few times. He isn’t loyal to Moloch as an end all be all, he cares much more about being with Katrina. This makes him compelling and I’d like to see him more an an enemy and complex antagonist.

The Cons: Moloch the Demon Baby – Really? His plan was to impregnate Katrina to get into the world? What a silly idea. Way to turn Katrina into a plot device (Though she’s been that quite a bit already). Also Ben Franklin defeats him using a device he created that Ichabod uses that recreates the Northern Lights. Yup, what a stupid contrived plot.

Ben Franklin Has All the Answers – This needs to stop. Franklin is all powerful at this point at giving our heroes out against Moloch’s and Henry’s plots. The fact that it was predicted that when he was brought up the baddies would be stopped shows how overused this plot device is now. Purgatory Key, Kindred and now this…Did not like.

No Jenny – Abbie was going to raise an army to fight the Hellfire club and didn’t bring her sister. She should have been around, at least as backup in case Henry pulled something.

Katrina and Ichabod – This episode was all about them, and worse for it. Katrina was in a permanent place of needing to be rescued, Ichabod was angry and jealous of Abraham and they both insist that Henry can be saved, where if he is this season it would kill the show for me. He has no desire to be saved and loves being inhuman. They need to face that given all the crap he’s pulled on them. Both of these two are destroying the plot in their need to redeem Henry and denial of who and what he is.

Final Score: 4 / 10. Looked good but plot issues brought it down a lot. Worst episode of “Sleepy Hollow” so far this season and maybe overall after I rewatch Season 1.

Sleepy Hollow – Season 2, Episode 5 – “The Weeping Lady” – A Matter of Trust

sleepy-hollow-weeping-lady

“Sleepy Hollow” has some of the best monsters and this episode kept up that theme of great enemies such as the Pied Piper with bringing us the The Weeping Lady of this episode. The theme of this episode is also trust and how it is gained and lost in regards to the major players of the series.

The episode was directed by Larry Teng and written by M. Raven Metzner.

The premise is that the Weeping Lady, a ghost legend has been summoned to Sleepy Hollow. Things get more complicated in stopping her as she targets the women closest to Ichabod Crane and may be tied to Ichabod’s past as well as the sins of his wife Katrina. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Caroline – Caroline is a character who appears briefly but very powerfully in a scene where we find she has been making Ichabod’s era clothes as she has a love for colonial times. Ichabod lets her down as a friend and she accepts but she is shortly killed afterward. The thing that is powerful though is you get how powerful their brief friendship was given that was one of the few people who got Ichabod on some level because of his being out of time…which makes her death tragic. It is for this reason I’m glad she got a funeral at the end.

The Weeping Lady – This monster looks awesome! Summoned by Henry from Katrina’s past she is there to get revenge on all those closest to Ichabod eventually targeting Katrina herself like she did initially before her death. As a monster she is fantastic and she is tragic though not as complex as she could have been. I’ll get into the character of Mary who became the Weeping Lady further down.

Abbie – Abbie continues to rock and is the one doubting that Katrina is entirely honest with Ichabod, which ends up being true. We see her cynicism rub off a bit on Ichabod at the end and their bond grow stronger. It’s a great scene and she really is part of what makes the show so amazing to watch.

The Headless Horseman / Abraham / Horseman of Death – Abraham makes a brief appearance here and is shown to not be an entirely bad guy when he spares Ichabod’s wife after Katrina tells him about Ichabod saving them. He also confesses he never took pleasure from her pain and only ever wanted her happiness. It shows that though he is a damned headless, horseman of death…the guy still has soul on some level and is complicated.

Katrina – Katrina thanks the Headless Horseman for trying to rescue her! Its a touching scene and where you see she does have or had some feelings there for him. I like this given she sees Ichabod mourn a woman who tried to kill her (Mary) and his close connection to Abbie at times being more important than their marriage. She’s got to be conflicted, just like he is over her staying with Abraham. That moment she thanks him was perfect given the episode begins with her sending a letter of her love secretly to Ichabod that leads to the Weeping Lady targeting her in the first place. Curious to see how her arc plays out since Moloch wants her as a vessel.

Ichabod – Ichabod finally has to deal with all the times Katrina has lied to him…from the existence of Henry, to her being a witch and her covering up Mary’s death and claiming Mary went home. He has a speech about trust which is the major theme of the episode and how he feels it has been lost after today. His laying Mary to rest in peace was a touching scene though as well as the funeral for Caroline.

Horesman of War / Henry Parish – Henry takes the initiative and drives a wedge between the couple by summoning the Weeping Lady and he pays a price for it. Moloch gets pissed off since it wasn’t part of the plan and we see victorious Henry weeping at the end. He may have drove a wedge between his parents, but he did between the Headless Horseman and himself and Moloch and himself leaving him isolated and alone…which given that his loneliness was part of the reason he made the deal with Moloch in the first place, must be a living hell. He’s by far one of my favorite characters on the show, though I’d say Abraham is too along with Abbie and Ichabod.

Okay: Mary – Mary’s backstory isn’t great. She was betrothed to Ichabod as a kid, they broke it off but she thought it was for real still and tried to bring him back to England so their families would be happy. When she saw Katrina she got jealous, tried to get Katrina out of the picture and fell to to her death in the process. I hope we meet her parents since she could easily be a victim of of them, hopefully…and not crazy stalker. Her becoming the Weeping Lady is still a tragedy though.

Nick – Why is this guy still around? He saves Abbie from the Weeping Lady when she attacks in the library and gives them a holy weapon to try out but that’s about it. I don’t get why he’s kept around since he is a mercenary and seems to function more as a plot device. I don’t dislike the guy but there are so many more interesting characters to explore.

This was a good but not great episode. It was good in that the Weeping Lady was a great threat and the themes of trust in regards to Ichabod and Katrina were finally brought up as a major issue…and also trust between Moloch and Henry. We saw falling outs this episode and with it the promise for more.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10

Sleepy Hollow – Season 1, Episode 3 – “The Root of All Evil” – War the Strategist

Sleepy-Hollow-Root-of-all-evil-01

We continue our review of “Sleepy Hollow,” with the third episode of the season, “The Root of All Evil.” This episode is great at showing us more how War’s mind works and how he seeks to isolate Abbie and Ichabod from their allies while causing turmoil in Sleepy Hollow.

The episode was written by Melissa Blake and Donald Todd and directed by Jeffrey Hunt.

The premise is that War has brought a coin that can cause people to betray their cause and family. It is a coin that turned Judas and the coin that turned Benedict Arnold and now it’s in Sleepy Hollow. It is here we see him first try it out and later use it to hurt Sleepy Hollow at the core when it is given to Jenny after we find out that the new sheriff put her and Abbie’s mother in the mental institute. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Katrina – We only see her for a little while but she is using her position to turn the Horsemen against one another as Death feels angry at having to stay hidden and has to be told to “Take it up with Moloch.” As to why he’s not being used. We see that she is still torn over her feelings over Henry though and points out to the Headless Horseman that Henry is still connected to her since he chose to stay at the home he was born in.

Jenny – This is a great Jenny episode! We see her hatred towards War and the Sheriff for how she put their mother into an asylum. War as Henry takes advantage of this and gets her the coin and it is only through her friend Nick Hawley, Abbie talking her down and Ichabod that prevent her from shooting the sheriff.

Ichabod Crane – From his friendship with Benedict Arnold and us learning through him that Benedict was a victim of dark magic, his issues with Nick Hawley whose ego is just as great as Ichabod’s and the Sheriff asking him for evidence of his existence…Ichabod has a lot going on as well as Abbie bringing up that Katrina chose to stay with the Horseman of Death and that she is the wife of the Horseman of War so she doesn’t trust Katrina for when it comes down to having to face War. Ichabod still has all this sinking in, but it’s new information…and he’s called out “letting” Katrina stay with the Horseman of Death. We see him visit Detective Irving secretly in the asylum too and warn him that the safest place for him may be staying if War is his lawyer trying to get him out. Leaving Detective Irving once more with a dilemma.

Abbie – Abbie is fantastic in this episode! We see her call Ichabod out on his bias towards his wife, we see her talk Jenny down on killing the sheriff so they can find the truth and she is active throughout the entire episode, eventually getting her mother’s file and finding out demons were haunting her mother and that she always regretted not being able to raise Abbie and Jenny.

Detective Reyes – We see more complexity in her character when she gives Abbie the file on her mother after she asks Abbie why Abbie hacked her account. We see that she does care a lot for them and is in  difficult situation. It is great seeing her by the book approach cause trouble though since Ichabod has no files of his existence and Henry is active in Sleepy Hollow.

Detective Irving – Is secretly visited by Ichabod who tells him of War keeping Abbie and him from the Detective and that he best stay in there if he wants to stay safe since War can’t have good designs on him. We see him left conflicted after since he’s been a prisoner for a while now and wants to live again, even if he desires to protect Sleepy Hollow.

The Horseman of War / Henry Parish – Henry is a lawyer and we see him using that to get the coin to turn Jenny against the sheriff and use his position as a lawyer to play with Ichabod. “Aren’t you proud your son became a lawyer father?” He has great designs and we see he’s designed a board of Sleepy Hollow where he marks the bombing by one of the people who the coin changed. It is for this reason and the fact that he won at the end of Season 1 that he is the one to be most feared at this point. Death is a warrior and Moloch is a force of nature kept beyond the vale…War is a complex reality.

Okay: Nick Hawley – Not a bad guest star and character, but he vanishes after he catches the coin in Holy Glass, so we still don’t know where his allegiance is and he was most wit, not so much character there. We never got his motivation beyond money. Wasn’t bad, just wasn’t given much.

This was a solidly great episode and one of my favorites. I’d highly recommend it for how it explores War, Abbie and Jenny and that it makes Detective Reyes more than just an antagonist. She is one of the good guys shown by War trying to get Jenny to kill her. This gives me hope for what is it come, though I would not mind her or Irving become one of the other 2 Horsemen.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10. Not perfect because Nick Hawley wasn’t fully explored as a character.

Sleepy Hollow – Season 2, Episode 1 – “This is War” – Coming Together Again and War’s Manipulations

This is War Sleepy Hollow

“Sleepy Hollow,” is one of the better television shows released in recent years. It takes the premise of the horror tale Sleepy Hollow and mixes with Biblical mythology (Demons, the Four Horsemen, etc.) while giving us the man out of time (Ichabod Crane) attempting to fight to prevent the apocalypse with his partner on the police force (Lt. Abbie Mills). Season 1 had amazing character development and exploration of the mythology which lead to “Sleepy Hollow” becoming one of my new favorite shows on television. I’ll do a review of Season 1, later…for now focus will be on Season 2.

“This is War,” was written by Mark Goffman and directed by Ken Olin.

Season 2 picked up where Season 1 ended with Ichabod buried alive, Abbie trapped in purgatory with the Demon who masterminded it all Moloch while Ichabod’s wife Katrina Crane is now prisoner of the Headless Horseman (the Horseman of Death), while War (Abraham, Ichabod’s son) is manipulating them to get the key to open Purgatory to let Moloch’s armies be released upon the world and start the Apocalypse. It is from here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The Music – The music has a gothic, 17th Century feel to it intermixed with modern which fits the feel of the show. It also is good at going quiet when it needs to (like in Purgatory) to create tension and raise the stakes.

The Cinematography – Sleepy Hollow the town, and Purgatory are usually always dark and covered in mist creating a feel of the unknown about the place, which is perfect as we have a manipulated situation very early on in the episode showing that the characters and us need to be careful about believing what we see since it might be a lie.

The Characters – The Characters have always been the strongest part of the show, and that stays true in the Season 2 premiere.

Katrina Crane – Prisoner of the Headless Horseman who uses a necklace  he gave her in life when hew as Abraham to give the illusion of a head so he can communicate with her is powerful. He doesn’t love her since he doesn’t respect her love for Ichabod but it is complicated as you can see he has affection for her and she realizes that. She resists at first but in the end realizes just how trapped she is as the Horseman is undead.

The Headless Horseman / Horsemen of Death – We see how complicated and dangerous he is as he is more focused on getting Katrina than fulfilling Moloch’s wishes. I suspect that will cause problems for him later as he sold his soul to Moloch. Fascinated to see what they do with this character and his relationship to Katrina and to War.

Jeremy Crane / Horseman of War – Ichabod’s son who is also the Horseman of War manipulates Abbie and Ichabod to believe a year has passed and he’s a prisoner. He than gets them to reveal a key that Benjamin Franklin tried to destroy that can open Purgatory and that Jenny Mills knows where it is. He seeks her out and finds out where to find it. He nearly succeeds to but doesn’t due to Abbie and Ichabod managing to out maneuver him. The episode ends with him getting a gift from Moloch, a living embodiment of War, armor with a burning sword that he can control with his soul. Leaving his future plans to have more certainty for fulfilling Moloch’s will. He was the best reveal of last season and is still a much more interesting than Moloch. Love John Noble in this role.

Andy Brooks – John Cho’s character is once again seeking redemption as he uses what little of his free will he has to help Abbie contact Ichabod.

Jenny Mills – Is taken prisoner by War but manages to escape. Lyndie Greenwood is great in the role and we see her working with Ichabod to save her sister from Purgatory and stop War and his men from summoning Moloch’s army.

Abbie Mills – Abbie is top of her game in this episode as she finds out from Andy Brooks how to contact Ichabod which in turn leads to him finding her and them getting out of Purgatory, which destroyed the Key that Moloch and War were seeking. We have some great character moments too as she figures out the false Ichabod since he doesn’t say Left Tenant and instead says Lieutenant. It ends with her plotting with Ichabod and Jenny how to bring war to War and Moloch. Nicole Beharie is once again showing us why she she deserves this part and is one of the protagonists in television.

Ichabod Crane – We learn that he was mentored by Benjamin Franklin and despised him and we see him escape from being buried alive when he figures out he’s buried in sulfur and sets it off like a bomb to break out. After we see his loyalty to Abbie as he refuses to leave her in Purgatory as he and Jenny work to save her from Moloch. Tom Mison is once again great and it was wonderful seeing more of Ichabod’s backstory.

The Cons: No Captain Frank Irving – He turned himself in for the killings that the Headless Horseman did to protect his daughter, but we don’t see or hear from him. Given how great Orlando Jones is, I’d have preferred even a small scene with him and what he’s going through.

This was a solid episode and a great start to the new season. It makes me excited for what is to come…especially as I hope this season ends with the reveal of the next Horsemen and that we get 5 seasons so each Horsemen can be accurately explored…and maybe we can find Moloch is smaller compared to who is paying his checks. This show has so much it can do and I can’t wait to see what it does as it explores the mythology and universe that it is a part of.

Final Score: 9 / 10. Solidly great, just missing Orlando Jones.