Monday, October 14, 2013

REVIEW: 'Sleepy Hollow' - Ichabod Battles Plastic and a Deadly Disease Outbreak in 'John Doe'

FOX's Sleepy Hollow - Episode 1.05 John Doe

When an unidentified boy is discovered in Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod and Abbie speak with him and immediately realize that something sinister and sickly is afoot and the duo go on a hunt to discover his home and origins - and are shocked by what they find.

Strangely, I really liked the story-of-the-week part of "John Doe" even though it offered no discernible reason why I should be enjoying it. There was so much exposition to this plot about a young boy popping up in the middle of town and carrying a very mysterious plague.

I believe it worked so well because it was rooted so much in the characters. After five weeks, we've come to have a basic understanding of who these characters are. Ichabod is slowly adjusting to Sleepy Hollow as his new home - but always commenting on the changing ways of society. His reactions to modern-day ways is still the highlight with every hour. I loved that opening scene with him moving into the Sheriff's cabin and noting how it doesn't feel old or like a fixer-upper. That lighthearted stuff - like Abbie commenting that he looks good for 200 - is what makes this show so easy and fun to watch.

Abbie is reluctant to the things she can't see. She is trying to rationalization everything that is happening. That trait built to a pivotal character beat in "John Doe." She can't comprehend the idea of the colony of Roanoke still existing within Sleepy Hollow nor bringing Thomas back to the town suddenly curing everyone of the outbreak. She needed faith and to believe that her actions are indeed what needed to be done to save the town. In that moment, she gets a realization. That is a key turning point for the character in this arc of becoming the Witness and Nicole Beharie sells it well.

I also liked the idea of setting the people of Roanoke in the modern world. What happened to them was a historical mystery. And Sleepy Hollow gives them a classic, supernatural twist. Thematically, I understood why the series had them disappear at the very end. "John Doe" was their story - with a narrative beginning, middle and end. And yet, I also wouldn't have minded it if the show had kept them as a part of the bigger world and story. This series has an enormously good sense of place and that township of Roanoke feel right into this universe. It would have been easily justifiable in keeping their presence in this narrative. But the show made its choice. So goodbye, people of Roanoke.

Some more thoughts:
  • Ichabod reacts to modern technology: Plastic!
  • I know the stuff with the other detectives is building to something - and after the promo I think I have a good clue - but I just don't care about them or the amount of screentime they are getting.
  • Katrina is back this week. And apparently she's in some Purgatory-like place and has a pretty good idea why.
  • Capt. Irving also had a good character moment where he helped devise the plan for Abbie on how to get Ichabod and Thomas out of the hospital.
  • However, it's not a good thing that I still have to look up Orlando Jones' character's name.
  • But the Horseman of Death is rising again. That can't be good.