October 11, 2013

Sleepy Hollow, episode 4 "The Lesser Key of Solomon"

In this week's Sleepy Hollow, we learn the Boston Tea Party was a ruse so Ichabod and Samuel Adams could recover a book of King Solomon containing spells to summon demons, that the Hessian descendants of the same order the Headless Horseman fought for is still around, living in Sleepy Hollow as a sleeper cell (or as I like to call them, the Sleepy Cell), that Baddie Blur is really the Ammonite demon god Moloch, and that Jenny has had a tough life.

Let's start with Jenny... Her Sarah Connor escape and survivalist mission ends up cut a little short given that she meets up with our heroes half way through the episode, and I'm not really sure where she fits in with the dynamic. Yeah, there's a moment where she moves in to beat a confession out of the captured Hessian, showing she's willing to go farther for answers than Ichabod and Abbie, but she's stopped before getting in a single blow, so it doesn't really sell how dangerous she can be. She and her sister snark a bit, but she seems mostly there to act as a voice for Sheriff Corbin, reciting his research and discoveries instead of just using his notes or recordings like in the first few episodes. Which A) if you have an opportunity to use Clancy Brown's voice for anything, don't stop doing so. And B) all she is is info dump. Once she's found, she isn't driving the plot of the episode anymore as we're instead carrying on the Hessian thread. Her characterization doesn't lead to any significant revelations or twists or anything. I mean, yeah, she kills a dude, but nothing at all is made of it. To sum up, I don't get the point of what they're doing here. If they aren't having her run around on a crazy ruthless mission of her own to reach quest points before Abbie and Ichabod can get to them, then what was the point of her escape? What was the point of them teaming up with her and reconciling things so early? I don't get it. The actress is fine, but I just feel they're going the wrong way with this.

The Hessian angle is interesting, and if they're going to carry these guys on, how much do you want to bet we'll get some Nazi ties before things are through? The idea of a Sleepy Cell in the Hollow is expected but well handled for the moment, I just hope we'll get to see more depictions of the community as a whole, with most trying to come to grips with the increasingly apocalyptic scenario, while being played by a faction of their own trying to further such developments. We aren't really sold that yet, but events are still early. As to the book of Solomon unleashing the demons, I'm genuinely surprised they resolved it so easily. Having 70+ demons be unleashed on the Earth - or even just a dozen or two - would typically be a season 1 setup, laying out a group of baddies our heroes have to defeat in the 7 planned years of the show, so not only the portal closing but the book being destroyed confuses me a bit. On the one hand, kudos for going an unexpected direction. On the other, it's unexpected because it doesn't make any sense. Granted, nonsense is this show's bread and butter, so at least it's fun with some neat effects of the roiling demon placenta waiting to give birth.

As for revealing Baddie Blur is Moloch, sure, that's fine with me. He's always a good go-to for such stories, so I'm glad they're getting that revelation (no pun intended) out of the way early instead of dragging it out or trying to contrive something different.

Other things I like about the episode are the hilarious OnStar bit at the beginning, Irving and his team holding their own admirably early in the story, the revelation of how close Jenny and Corbin were, the final scene between Jenny and Abbie, Ichabod remembering the map, catching new characters up with 5 second summaries, Abbie sticking it to the awful foster parent, and the use of William Blake's The Great Red Dragon painting as a representation of Moloch. Hopefully that triggers a Twitter feud between the Sleepy Hollow writers and those of Hannibal as entertaining as the one they just had with Elementary. Other things I don't like are Irving and his team disappearing in the second half (honestly expected them to burst into the church while shit was going down), the Boston Tea Party being brushed off as a diversion tactic instead of doing something more with it, Jenny's predictably disposable friend, the fact that there's an entire book of spells but they only have to read from the two pages directly in the center of it, and that's a horrible place for people to cut themselves on the hand why do films and TV keep doing that!

Overall, a good, silly, entertaining episode.

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