Monday, November 25, 2013

REVIEW: 'Sleepy Hollow' Traps Ichabod & Abbie and Gives Irving & Ichabod a Family in 'Sanctuary'

FOX's Sleepy Hollow - Episode 1.09 Sanctuary

When Ichabod and Abbie investigate a missing persons case, the search leads to a colonial-era house which holds secrets from Ichabod's past and unleashes a long-dormant evil.

Sleepy Hollow has been the biggest surprise of the fall season by far. It really felt like the show hit a big turning point creatively in the last two episodes. So, that makes it feel odd when it sudden turns into a slasher horror in "Sanctuary." It was well executed slasher horror but slasher horror nevertheless.

"Sanctuary" started off feeling like it would devote its entire running time to Ichabod and Abbie being trapped in the mansion. I sorta wish they did. They are trapped in that building. So if we never leave that setting, it really helps add to the atmospheric tone of the story. That house and the wooded creature were creepy. I don't know if the plot had enough material to be elongated to a full hour but I think it would have been interesting to see them try. Even if it didn't work, I would have had respect for what the show was trying to do.

Another source of trepidation also was likely the fear of over-relying on Ichabod and Abbie - especially at this point in the season. Sure, those two characters are the biggest reasons to watch the show. But the past two episodes actually made great use out of Irving and Jenny. They carried a solid B-story last week. But I love those characters when they are in action and directly related to the main story. On the list of things I want to see, Irving's family problems are pretty low. Jill Marie Jones and Amandla Stenberg are fine actresses. But introducing that subplot in this episode was distracting and too disconnected from the main story.

But with Tom Mison swinging an ax to take down the wooded creature and having lots of fun yelling at it, how can you not enjoy "Sanctuary"?

Some more thoughts:
  • Ichabod Reacts to Modern Things: Food from McDonald's; the traditional servings at Thanksgiving dinner; and the concept of a billionaire.
  • Abbie draws the line at haunted houses. That is very odd and didn't really fit in but Nicole Beharie does sell it.
  • But Irving's family stuff is still better than that other detective pinning after Abbie. 
  • Ichabod: "Give Moloch my regards."
  • How soon until we meet Ichabod's modern-day descendant? I'll say in the next episode.
  • In two weeks (boo!), John Noble returns (Yay!)