Sleepy Hollow S2E2 review: “The Kindred”

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A New Sheriff And Monster Are In Town (and don’t mess with her/him)

While Sleepy Hollow settles into its procedural formula of consulting old texts for clues, flash backs and Abbie telling Ichabod something witty/funny about this wacky modern world, the show also surprises us with nice tidbits like prophetic nightmares, a new monster and the introduction of a woman as the new sheriff in town.  Sheriff Leena Reyes. Latina, thank you very much, and played by Sakina Jaffrey (from House of Cards). Here is one of the many ways Sleepy Hollow excels: it gives you one of the most diverse casts on television and allows them to be complex, vulnerable, tough, smart, faulty and funny. While the writers don’t shy away from dealing with race, they don’t let it define the characters. After my own heart.

This episode draws us deeper into Moloch’s plot to scorch the world. He’s got a plan that even Ichabod’s turned son doesn’t fully understand yet. As we descend deeper into more evil characters, The Kindred’s creature of parts, and War’s golem-like incarnation, we start to get some humanity on the part of the Headless Horseman.  He’s head over heels in love, and the writers wisely (and conveniently) allow him to transform into a deceptive human form as handsome Abraham, so that he can woo his true obsession, Katrina Crane.  You can see her resistance beginning to flag in tiny increments. It should be interesting to see where that goes.

Two black people are in jail in this episode. Hmmm.  But not for long and both went willingly, with ulterior motives to help others (Jenny aids Abbie, and Captain Frank Irving went behind bars for his daughter).

Raising The Kindred is a nice addition to the chess board. And I need to start keeping a running list of all the things that Ben Franklin(stein) is capable of!

A key recurring element on the show is Truth vs. Lies, often embodied as Good People vs. Evil Monsters.  We see it throughout this episode: Jenny fully admits she got caught with a gun. Capt. Franklin takes a lie detector test and tells the whole truth. Abraham lays it on the table. Uncovering The Truth Underneath It All is ostensibly what the show has been about, from the first moments of the unearthed truth of Ichabod Crane himself. But what happens when the people lie (What Katrina says to trick Abraham) and the Monsters are honest (Abraham letting Katrina come to him of her own free will)? When the lines begin to blur, things can become very interesting indeed. Also, we’re never quite sure what is true on this show.   Sheriff Leena Reyes might have known Abbie’s crazy mother. But is that all to the story? What part of the truth have we not learned yet?

My Favorite Moments:

Ichabod’s attack on U.S. Banks’ creation of a Credit Nation aka “An Insolvent Flock of Debtors” (could he lead another revolution?)

Abbie: “Shouldn’t we light candles or something?”   Ichabod:  “Only if you want to set a mood.”  The hallmark use of sharp humor during tense scenes.

Monster vs. Monster vs. Monster

The fact that Abbie and Ichabod both plan AND improvise.

One white man cogently arguing with two strong, sensible black women over an important plot point.

That fire in the eyes and snout of War’s horse

Katrina’s self sacrifice (so much is getting set up for some surprises there)

The mention of Dobbs Ferry. I happen to live in the Rivertowns and when towns like neighboring Dobbs Ferry get mentioned, I do a little happy dance.

My Pet Peeves:

How blase and jokey Ichabod was at the end after that last scene with Katrina. He only conveyed mini sorrow. I know the show is doing a balancing act between his obvious affection and attraction to Abbie, but it makes it SO much more compelling if his agony over his wife and his connection to her stays deep, and his leaving her is a lot more torturous. It reveals the depth of his honor and the level of his commitment, which is a true and sexy thing.

I’ll reserve full judgement until I see how it pans out, but usually you have to voluntarily sign things  away to Evil Forces (like your soul), usually because you want something bad enough and don’t fully realize the true consequences. Being tricked into it? Hmmmm.

Sleepy Hollow continues to take us on a merry ride, and with 16 more episodes to go, there’s lots of ground to cover and truths to reveal.

Sleepy Hollow S2E1 review “This is War”

Sleepy-Hollow-War-is-Coming

Welcome Back, Baby: Sneaky, Clever, Fun, Familiar.

Have you missed hearing a sexy male voice intone “Leftenant” in a British accent? Lament no more. Sleepy Hollow is back. It’s a little slicker (more makeup and some cool SFX), but the writing is still sharp and the outrageous skew on history is still galloping along. I played Sleepy Hollow Bingo while watching and had 9 boxes filled before the opening credits! (Decapitation! Supernatural Baddie for the Evening Shows Up! Abbie is Skeptical!)

Sleepy Hollow Bingo

The beauty of the second season’s first episode is that you keep checking yourself: “What? Wait a minute. I don’t remember that.” “Did I miss an episode last season?” “Maybe I shoulda watched the last ep of Season 1 again.” Brilliant. The reveal is nice. After all, we horror fans have seen it all and love to be surprised.

I’m not so into blow by blow reviews, since you’ve either seen it already or will see it, and highly detailed spoilers suck. Basically, the War is on. Moloch is trying to raise an army to bring into our world and tries to trick Abbie and Ichabod into fetching him the means to get out of Purgatory.

The pacing is great, we’re thrown into the story, peril is at every turn. We get what we came for: Abbie explains it all to Ichabod, the requisite old documents, Ben Franklin (naked!), a dead old flame returns, rescues, bondage, a clutch of a hug, evil kid, Moloch grumbling on horseback, Headless Horseman trying to flirt. All of it leaves us wanting more.

Our dynamic duo works that Open Carry semi-automatic and crossbow moment in the beginning of the episode like the superheroes of the supernatural that they are.

That hug in Purgatory though…Okay? Impassioned, long, sweet. (Sigh)

My pet peeves:

Pull your hair back, ladies. You’re running and fighting. If Ichabod can do it, you can too.

The directing and acting style is slightly on the arch side, which usually works. I’m all for fun, but it’s a fine line, and I want them to keep it real this season. We want to watch real emotions, real reactions to high stakes, stay engaged with the characters, and not ever suffer through ultra pithy delivery, overused familiar phrases and facial mugging. A very little of that goes a long way. Buffy did it right (albeit with more comedy). Let’s hope Sleepy Hollow stays on track.

And oh my living God, if Ichabod does not lose that jacket and shirt this season there will be a collective fan cry of rage. I know it’s a running joke, but really…

The eeriest moment: When the incarnation of the Horseman of War stepped out and its sword lit afire at just about the exact same moment that the U.S. was bombing ISIS in Syria. Scary, kids. Scary.