“Supernatural” Season 11 – Reminds Us Why We’re Here for the Characters and Chokes at the End

Supernatural Season 11

    Well, I came back to the show. I didn’t watch the non-myth arc episodes unless a friend recommended a certain one, but I came back…and the show got better! The ending still kind of sucked, but the overall story improved a lot! This was the season that payed off on the relationships that have been building up for so long and seeing how those relationships unfolded really lended power to the choices and consequences that happened leading up to the Finale.

      I wish the show had been canceled this season though, so much of what was bad about the Finale could have been avoided if they’d just tied the story together at the end as the Winchesters and their allies live on after their greatest battle..if only we’d been so lucky. Last season was terrible, and here are some of my thoughts on it:https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/supernatural-season-10-retrospect-terrible-writing-pointless-deaths-dropped-arcs-and-codependency-continues/

But this season managed to fix some of those things, and avoiding the “Monster of the Week” episodes made the overall experience better.

    The showrunner for this season was Jeremy Carver, and he actually managed to capture a lot of what made the Lucifer/Apocalypse Arc back during the first 5 seasons (after how bad last season was I wasn’t expecting this).

SPOILERS

    The story involves the Winchesters trying to stop The Darkness after they release into the world after last season when Dean killed Death and the Mark was destroyed. From here they will free Lucifer, find God and create an Alliance to stop the ending of everything.

The Pros: The World – The world of “Supernatural” is fascinating, and we actually get some questions answered as to the nature of the world in this season. Seriously, for a lot of this season it feels like it is trying to everything that went wrong last season.

Metatron – Metatron’s back and actually has a redemption arc! We see Cas about to kill when he’s filming people he’s killing to make money on the street, but when God finds him to write his Memoirs there is a turn around and we see Cas’s mercy actually helped him to grow. In the end he stands against the Darkness/Amara and dies for it.

“Safe House,” The Bobby Episode – More Bobby is great and I like that he was helping the boys through his journal not physically being there. It was tactfully done and showed the cost of being a hunter.

Team Free Will – Team Free Will is the best it has been and now Crowley and Rowina are kind of part of the Team too, as well as Chuck/God (yep, he’s God). They finally take these arcs somewhere interesting.

Castiel – Castiel is the sacrificial lamb this season and becomes Lucifer’s vessel to defeat the Darkness. He is an outsider from Heaven and is full ally of humanity at this point. Misha continues to own this role and his performance as Lucifer is fantastic.

Lucifer – Lucifer possesses Cas to defeat the Darkness and we get to see him try and kill the brothers and eventually resolve things with God as they both resolve how selfish and flawed they both are. He also keeps fighting the Darkness until she kicks him out of Cas and possibly killed him. Misha’s performance here is brilliant.

Dean  – Jensen Ackles continues to be the charisma of this show in regards to why the Winchestsers are still main characters. Here we see him become more of a mentor to countless characters and even help the Darkness and God resolve their issues. This is a character who is tough with a lot of empathy and this season really illustrates that.

Sam – Jared Padalecki does alright. He still doesn’t feel all that different from all his past seasons…but at least he’s given more to do this season. Sam feels like his role has been taken over by Cas and the only way to counter that is to have Cas possessed by Lucifer, so props to the writers for getting that right. He isn’t memorable per usual, but I liked that he at least didn’t bring the show down.

Allies – Rowina and the Witches and Crowley and his demons become allies at one point! This I thought was handled pretty well as we see Crowley getting human blood really did change him a lot and Rowina’s motivation for helping makes sense. The treading water with these folks last season actually goes somewhere.

Rowina – Rowina like Crowley allies with Lucifer and is nearly killed…allies with the Darkness…same thing and finally gets that she needs people who care about her a little and resolves things with Crowley and even makes friends with God in relating to being a parent.

Crowley – Mark Sheppard is one of my favorite actors and he owns the role of the King of Hell. In this he loses it when Lucifer comes back but escapes and later becomes an official part of Team Free Will when he realizes his minions don’t respect him for his humanity and that he is the outsider, just like them. He is Neutral at this point, with leanings to good and it lends power to his role. He ends up embracing that when he can’t win on his terms as the Darkness doesn’t owe him anything and he values having something whether it is respect for relationship. Crowely continues to be one of the best part of this show.

Chuck/God – Chuck is God and how they do it is really cool…what if God were humanesque but alien? The show tackles that as he learns to see the details in the big picture and his overall good intent is explored to the fullest as he seeks out to resolve thing with Amara/The Darkness after she tries to kill him. This reveal was handled amazingly and I like that they made this writing choice.

The Darkness/Amara – I’m glad that the Darkness has a personality. This is a character who I expected to hate after last season but whose performance manages to actually matter thanks to Emily Swallow. You get why she hates what God did, given he imprisoned her forever…Her arc is resolving this as we see at the end of the day she is in everyone, not just Dean which there is romantic tension due to him having the Mark. I got her choices and changes and really , this is where the show had ended. There is nowhere to go after this that doesn’t feel like a cheap encore.

Okay/Con: The Ending – Everything with Amara, Rowina and Crowley, the brothers, Castiel, Heaven and Lucifer…and Chuck is great…but it keeps pulling away from that to set up next season with the London Chapter of the Men of Letters. 

The Cons: The London Chapter of “The Men of Letters”  –  These guys ruin the drama going on between Rowina, Crowley, Lucifer, Castiel, Chuck/God, The Darkness/Amara and the brothers. This only exists because they got renewed and just hurts the plot that I would have at least put at an 8 if not for this crap.

Happy Ending When Show Isn’t Done – The show should have been done…you defeat the thing that was around before God and make it care about what God made. This could have been much more emotionally powerful if it had just been the end, but it wasn’t. London Chapter comes out of nowhere to prosecute the boys and shoot Sam and Dean finds Sam and Dean’s mom…What the hell?

  As you can see there are a lot more pros this season than last season, which felt like it was largely treading water. I think that they were getting ready to end the show but when they were green lit for another season they knew they needed something to keep the cash coming, and it cost them good story in the process, and gave us a Finale that was good when it wasn’t setting up next season.

Final Score: 7 / 10

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The X-Files – Season 10, Episode 4 – “Home Again” – A Voice for the Voiceless

X Files Season 10 ep 4 Home Again

    “Home Again” is another good episode of “The X-Files” that gives us a fascinating “Monster of the Week” while exploring deeper ideas and concepts and further exploring Mulder and Scully’s relationship. It is one of the best of the mini-series thus far.

     The episode was directed and written by Glen Morgan.

     The story begins when a city official dies mysteriously as Scully and Mulder must investigate the existence of “The Trash Man” who keeps showing up in art around the area and explore the homeless crisis in the city.

The Pros: The Artist – The artist is an activist and advocate whose art developed a life of its own. MHes a fascinating guy who seems to a be a little mad or off but is there enough to work with Mulder and Scully to try and write the wrongs of the creature he created, before he leaves his hideout.

The Trash Man – The Trash Man is a great villain as it is a creature that was made from clay that came to life because of the voiceless homeless people who had no advocates and their fear and anger at those who were hurting them became expressed through this monster. The monster is pretty cool.

The Death of Scully’s Mother – Scully’s mother dies this episode and it is rough as we see when Mulder was waiting for Scully recover and fearing for her life and the countless times Scully has lost people finally leading to this. Each of them gets their emotional moment from what happens and you feel for the death of Margaret.

Fox Mulder – Mulder is great in this as both the one who sees why the Trash Man exists and dealing with mortality and death as he remembers Scully being on the bed in a coma. From this he is there for her as we see how close they are after all the loss they have been through.

Dana Scully – This is Scully’s episode as we see her deal with the death of her mother and face loss and mortality. She doesn’t let the loss and what’s going on stop her from working on the case though and we see just how strong she is through all of it and how the past traumas have made her and Mulder close.

   This was the best episode of the mini-series so far and I highly recommend it. The monster is great, the emotion and loss are powerful and our characters feel fully realized. Even the side characters don’t feel like cardboard cutouts. This is an episode worth checking out.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10

The X-Files – Season 10, Episode 3 – “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster” – A Comedic Twist on a Monster Concept

Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster

“The X-Files” is a show that can sometimes do comedy well. This episode was a shiny example as it took a “Monster of the Week” idea and subverted it into something new. If this was an episode of “Supernatural” it would have annoyed me big time, but the genuineness of everyone in this made it feel real and fun rather than cheap.

The episode was written and directed by Darin Morgan.

The story involves a mystery surrounding a reptilian creature who Mulder and Scully are tracking for the murder of a bunch of people around town. During this time Mulder is dealing with his skepticism and trying and find other explanations for events.

The Pros: Guy Mann – Guy is the monster who is turned into a man after the killer bites him. He’s a lot of fun as he gains anxiety, intelligence and even gets a job working at a shop because he is so good at bsing. He was a fun character.

Scully – Scully is the one who is more open to the stories being true (another subversion as she’s usually the skeptical one) and in the end she finds the actual human killer and is the one who finishes the case while Mulder is tracking Mann. We see at the end this was purposeful to help Mulder with his doubt.

Mulder – Mulder is skeptical in this and isn’t all together there this episode. It isn’t until the end when he shakes Mann’s hand before Mann goes into hibernation that he is back to a full believer again and in awe of the mysteries that are still out there as he had just befriended the monster of the week.

Subverting “Monster of the Week” – In this the whole idea is that we are the monster as it is a normal human sociopath who is the killer versus the Reptile-like monster who is a guy just trying to live as a human when he is turned into one against his will. He even befriends Mulder eventually and he is the normal guy in the episode, which is a great subversion. The monster is normal and just trying to live.

The Cons: Side Characters – Episode starts out with a few people huffing paint and the killer is just a dog catcher. They are flat characters and easily the weakest part of the episode.

This was an enjoyable and good episode. The subverting of concepts and X-Files tropes was handled intelligently and the show was strong, outside of the side characters who were very poorly written. Guy Mann was the best part and I really liked how they handled his story this episode.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10

The X-Files – Season 10, Episode 2 – “Founder’s Mutation” – Experiments and Loss

Founder's_Mutation

     We return to “The X-Files” with an actual X-File, though still connected to the overall mystery too, which is great. This is a episode that could have been so much more, but for what it is manages to be enjoyable. There were a few different ways things could have been taken and rather than getting questions answered we are shown more of what Sculley and Mulder are feeling, which was needed but overshadowed everything else sadly.

    The episode was written and directed by James Wong, who wrote some of the best early “X-Files” episodes.

      The story involves a Sculley and Mulder investigating a scientist who went mad and tried to export files from his company. They soon discover a darker plot as the FBI and company attempt to uncover up what drove the scientist mad.

The Pros: An X-File – It is great having a standard X-File as it truly shows they are looking into all the unknowns again! I liked that it is connected to the overall myth arc too.

Walter Skinner – Skinner is the disproving boss once again, but after so long he does have their back and supports them as he can, even with his hands being tied by the conspiracy.

Fox Mulder – In this we see how much Mulder misses his son as kids are who the organization is experimenting on. It is great seeing that tender side of him as this and last episode he’s just been tired and stressed. It humanized the character a lot and I felt for his loss. He has dreams of being with son that end with his son being abducted the same way his sister was.

Dana Scully – Like Mulder’s humanity I felt Scully’s too. We see her in the mother role in this in how she is able to take care of relate to the interviewee who had a lost a child and how she reached out to the kids who were the experiments.

Okay: The Experiments – We meet the kids who are experiments but nothing substantial is done with them. We never get their stories and thoughts and they exist more as a plot device for Scully and Mulder to miss their child.

The Cons: The Antagonists – The antagonists are just bland. Whether it’s the government or the company their idealistic reasons didn’t fit because the actors gave them mean looking faces. They weren’t complicated, just greedy and that is a waste in any show. The mysterious owner of the organization was completely forgettable too.

   This episode was not as good as the pilot of Season 10 but is still worth checking out. It has some great personal moments for our main characters, even if the overall mystery arc doesn’t quite work. Still worth checking out though.

7 / 10

“Gravity Falls” Season 1 – Mystery, Relationships and one of the Best Animated Show Introductions

Gravity Falls Season 1

Disney X.D. has really done a great job in putting out quality shows. Whether it is “Star Wars Rebels” or “Gravity Falls” Disney like Marvel is telling stories that are powerful, fun and manage to capture what it means to be human so well. “Gravity Falls” is one of the best executions of this.

The series was created by Alex Hirsch and inspired by summer vacations spent with his twin sister.

The story involves the Mabel and Dipper Pines being sent to Gravity Falls to spend the summer with their Grunkle Stan. All is not as it appears to be though as Dipper discovers a mysterious journal as together they experience and seek out the mysteries of Gravity Falls.

The Pros: Gravity Falls – Gravity Falls is a fun town with colorful characters. Everyone there is a bit strange in different ways and it makes the town a lot of fun. Hell, this would be a fun town even if there were no supernatural elements in it. It is this location that gives us all our stories and it’s importance cannot be stated enough.

The Animation – The animation is stunning and has a charm to it. It works for the world and there is depth to the world that the animation portrays. The animation team also gets really creative too with bringing a videogame character to life at one point and all of Mabel’s 80’s colorful visions.

The Soundtrack – Brad Breeck created an amazing soundtrack with this! It’s like X-Files meets an Indie Band which captures the feel of Oregon and Gravity Falls really well. The theme song is probably my favorite for any animated show.

The Comedy – The comedy is some of the best. A lot of it comes from who are characters naturally are, like Dipper being OCD, Mabel being crazy about glitter and shiny things, Soos and his good nature but also not being very bright and Grunkle Stan and his hustling and money making schemes. The comedy flows naturally from the world and how the many members of Gravity Falls interact with one another or what they discover in regards to the Supernatural.

The Creatures – We meet the hyper-masculine Manataurs, Gnomes, living Wax figures, a vidoegame character brought to life, Mermando, the Summerween Trickster and more and each is more than what they appear to be. The creatures aren’t all that simple are given moments of depth in what drives them. It’s really cool and part of what gives the show it’s charm.

The Characters – The characters are the strongest part and they have arcs they go through over the course of the Season. I’m covering the main characters here as a lot of the other members of Gravity Falls don’t get full exploration until Season 2.

Wendy – Wendy is the apathetic teen who works at the Mystery Shack and is always down for breaking the rules. Over the course of Season 1 we see her break up with Robbie when she learns he was hypnotizing her and from there her going of her own way. She’s a fantastic character and easily the toughest character on the show.

Grunkle Stan – Grunkle Stan is a hustler who cares about his kids. Most of what he does is illegal but he’s a good manager as we see he knows what it takes to make the Mystery Shack successful. His arc is being more open with his feelings even though he is hiding a portal he is building in the basement so he isn’t honest with Mabel and Dipper yet. He’s probably my favorite character on the show in Season 1. Also he looks a lot like Wario.

Soos – Soos is a great guy who really doesn’t have an arc but is a good character. He lives with his Grandmother and is the fix it guy around the Mystery Shack. He is the glue of the show as he is always down for an adventure and is great friends with both Mabel and Dipper and helps them in their adventures from Day 1.

Mabel – Mabel is a fantastic character! She is into glitter and has so much energy. She has some of the best jokes and humor. Much of her adventures involve her many crushes, whether it is a boy band who she learns are grown in a lab, Mermando the Merman and countless others. It is these romantic misadventures and adventures that set up a lot of the humor. She takes it in stride though and learns to let and not take it personally. She is all about helping others too and helps Stan and Dipper on multiple occasions.

Dipper – Dipper is the anxious 12 year old boy who spends his time at Gravity Falls pining after Wendy and seeking to solve the mysteries of the town when he discovers a mysterious journal. He’s the closest thing the show has to a protagonist and his arc involves him being more aware of Mabel and in doing so becoming a better brother and realizing the ways he’s been a jerk and selfish and realizing that Stan really does care about him and discovering he is more than the journal and is strong on his own. He really is a good protagonist.

The Ending – The ending involves facing Lil’Gideon who was a fake psychic in a prior episode (was using a device to read people’s minds and later video) and the final fight is awesome as Dipper takes Gideon out in his robot and after we see Grunkle Stan has all the journals and activates a mysterious portal. It’s really cool and sets up Season 2 really well.

Bill Cipher – Bill Cipher is the one really threatening villain who doesn’t need motivation as he’s a chaos demon. I can’t wait to see what is done with him as he is fought in the Dreamscape at one point when our characters are protecting the numbers to the safe that hold Stan’s will to the Mystery Shack. He has a great design and does feel like an inter-dimensional being.

Okay: The Villains – In Season 1 the villains are largely played for comedy so a lot of them never get the chance to be humanized. This is a shame as the show is so good at humanizing the other characters. Having watched ahead I know this gets fixed but at least for Season 1, this was a con. I wanted to know why Gideon and Pacifica. This is the only downside though as the humor and situations make this secondary to the overarching plot of the Pines Family and their friends.

This is the best american animated tv show I have watched since “Batman: The Animated Series,” and the best thing to come out of Disney’s animated television team since “Gargoyles” it is well worth checking out has so much depth in the characters and relationships and gives some hilarious situations too. All our characters learn about themselves and we are still left with mysteries to explore in Season 2. This is a show that treats the audience and it’s characters and world with respect.

Final Score: 9.7 / 10

Gravity Falls Characters

“Supernatural” Season 10 Retrospect – Terrible Writing, Pointless Deaths, Dropped Arcs and Codependency Continues

Supernatural_Season_10_Poster_HD

    First I have to admit that “Supernatural” has always been a schlocky show, most of what has elevated has been ideas in fan fiction or fan induced subtext to relationships. Beyond that it is really a show that has depended far too much on the charisma of Jensen Ackles (Dean), Misha Collins (Castiel) and Mark Sheppard (Crowley) to carry it, and it shows. So often this show retreads old ground and doesn’t go anywhere new or when it does go somewhere new it doesn’t give any leadup so it feels like an idea that was pulled out on the spot in a list minute writers meeting (Leviathans, Souls as Energy Power, The Mother of Monsters, Demons as ex-humans, etc.).

        Honestly the show should have ended at the end of Season 5, I watched the Apocalypse arc (the filler annoys me most of the time) and that brought what had started in Season 2 or 3 to a close really well. It was complete and there wasn’t anything else that had to be done. At that point the show had gotten so popular though, and this is the CW we are talking about…so they kept it going and now we are where we are now with a Season 11 on the way.

SPOILERS AHEAD

      The series has been through a few showrunners with Eric Kripke in charge up until Season 5 followed by Sera Gamble for Seasons 6 and 7 and ending with Jeremy Carver who has headed the show to current day.

       The story of this season has been that Dean was turned into a Demon since he received the Mark of Cain and was killed and the Mark brought him back to life. This season has been dealing with the consequences of this, as well as how the human blood has affected Crowley in his becoming more human (and the arrival of his mother Rowena) and Sam and Castiel (mostly Sam) going to any means to get rid of Mark of Cain as they watch as it continues to make Dean more unhinged and violent.

The Pros: Dean and Crowley – The Season kicks off with Dean and Crowley having a roadtrip hitting up all the dive bars and drinking and talking while Dean usually gets laid or gets in fights and sometimes Crowley is a part of them. It’s a lot of fun and we see after that there is a friendship and respect there that wasn’t before. Even at the end of the Season, Crowley will always come through to help Dean because of that time they shared together and what they risked prior in getting the Blade to get there.

Castiel and Claire – This relationship is great as Claire and Castiel come to respect and enjoy being with another. Claire even goes into the Hunter business and forgives Castiel for taking over her Father and being his Vessel. These episodes had some really wonderful moments versus the Hannah moments which were okay, but seemed to be trying to hard to force a romance.

Dean and Charlie – Dean and Charlie are bros and it’s wonderful when they nerd out, talk women and life. Charlie has also become a Hunter like Claire and I get why her death would set Dean off. She was the one holding him accountable and holding onto hope, it’s one reason I didn’t believe that she would have backed Sam’s stupid “Book of the Damned” plan. R.I.P. Charlie, like Kevin and Ruby before you…the writers didn’t know how to write you and wasted what you brought to the show.

Dean and Castiel – I am a Destiel shipper and would love a romantic arc with these due to the sexual and romantic tension that often happens between these two. Sadly I don’t see the writers doing that. This season saw more of that with Castiel calling Dean out on his recklessness and how Dean embracing the mark is going to leave Castiel to deal with it for an eternity and Dean wails on him contrasted with Dean helping him out with Claire and being a good guardian to her.

Dean and Death – In the finale Dean and Death talk and they are in agreement that Sam needs to die. Death tells Dean the Mark is holding back the Darkness and that Lucifer gave it to Cain and that’s what corrupted Lucifer and that it is needed to prevent the end. Dean was okay with it until his codependency kicked in and the problems of “Supernatural” came out in full force.

Okay: Metatron’s Potential – Metatron becomes human and is human right now since Castiel took his grace, he brings Castiel back to his grace and is on the run with the Demon Tablet. Metatron has always been fun, I just hope he isn’t wasted and them keeping him around goes somewhere. Right now he is just potential.

Crowley’s Potential – Crowley has put himself out there but still hasn’t fully gone “good” or as much as he can. I’d like to see this happen, even if this ends in death. Mark Sheppard owns this role and he needs better writing as his arc with Rowena was wasted as she is just a terribly written character, doesn’t matter if she’s his mother.

The Cons: Filler – Too many episodes of pointless filler that does nothing for character relationships or growth or even compelling monsters. It is one thing that’s been killing the show for me for years and I’ve rarely been impressed.

Lack of Focus for an Antagonist – Rowena was an antagonist for a while but never felt like a threat, she was only a threat in how she could get Crowley to act stupid. She gets magic at the end but by then her potential was wasted as she had no real motivation. Metatron was an antagonist for a while but forgotten about, Dean was the antagonist for a while too and arguably should have been the antagonist this season, but they un-Demoned him and from there it was just him wrestling with anger. What a waste. Cain also could have fulfilled this role but they turned his potentially Season rampage into an episode where he rampages against his line and gets killed. Again, waste.

Killing Off Characters Pointlessly – This season we saw Cain and Charlie killed off, and with no point in their deaths either. Charlie didn’t die a hero and Cain could have been the main antagonist as his arc with him killing those descendant from him was interesting and compelling. He drove the story far more than any person this season did as an antagonist. Charlie was killed by the Stynes (Descendants of Frankenstein and into dark magic and using body parts to become stronger) they were in it for no point than to push Dean further to the edge by Fridging Charlie, when he already was on the edge. Her death was pointless and Felicia Day deserved a better exit, just like Cain.

   This has been a problem in the show too, with the death of Kevin, Jo, Ruby and countless other characters who are in most cases far more interesting than Sam and Dean.

Sam and Dean’s Codependency Dance – Dean kills Death because once again his brother is more important than the safety of the Universe. They’ve done this so many times that I’m not even going to list them here. If you’ve watched the show you’ve seen every little and big (killing Death) moment of this. It’s tired and old and way overdone. Character means change and these two don’t in regards to one another and dealing with the Apocalypse. Season 5 worked because Dean let Sam go and moved on and had a family. All of that was wasted when he came back and we had soulless Sam. Enough with this, just get rid of Sam and end this dance.

Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner – These two writers are terrible. At one point there was an Angel Civil War going on, they didn’t flesh out any of the players and just did random acts of stuff. They also were the ones who fridged Kevin and Charlie…they are not good writers and taking them out of the show as writers would vastly improve the writing and character arcs.

The Ending – The Darkness is like Leviathans all over again. Leviathans were so dangerous and predated God that he created Purgatory to trap them, the Darkness was around in the beginning and the Mark was created on Lucifer to keep them from destroying the Universe. Purgatory is opened after Castiel devours all the souls of Purgatory and they destroy him to be in the world…the Darkness breaks out when Rowena, Castiel, Crowley and Sam’s plan comes true and destroys the Mark letting The Darkness into the world and it devours everything with horrible CGI…episode ends, and this after Sam and Dean’s codependency dance where Dean spares Sam because baby pictures (really?) and he kills Death.

  Early in the Finale episode Dean talked about how trouble follows them and they cause trouble and maybe them leaving will make things easier. I agree, everything they’ve done has just made problems worse and they don’t have the maturity to admit that because self-righteousness. Dean even goes back for whatever reason and we see the same story that has played out since Season 6 (and earlier ones) played out again. There is no growth, no change…I was only watching for the side characters of Castiel, Crowley and Charlie in the end just like Kevin was a major reason I’d watched when he was still around. The brothers can’t carry this show as their dynamic doesn’t change. I don’t have hope for Season 11, I might watch sometimes for Crowley and Castiel but this season was just terrible and I can’t recommend it. It is more lost potential than can be fully quantified since it has been 10 years.

Final Score: 3 / 10.

“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.