Monday, October 13, 2014

REVIEW: 'Sleepy Hollow' - Ichabod and Abbie Battle a Pied Piper While Irving Argues with Henry in 'Go Where I Send Thee...'

FOX's Sleepy Hollow - Episode 2.04 "Go Where I Send Thee..."

Abbie and Crane's search for a missing Sleepy Hollow child reveals a creature akin to the Pied Piper, whose legacy with the child's family extends back to a centuries-old curse.

I have always loved Sleepy Hollow's creature work. They manage to routinely create these creepy and deadly villains that Ichabod and Abbie have to face on a weekly basis. The Pied Piper is very cool to look at but the story that goes along with his presence is horrifying. For centuries now, he has taken the life of the eldest daughter from the same family when she becomes 10 years old. If his needs are not met every child in the family will be killed. It adds such a strong complication to your average Amber Alert child abduction. The mother isn't relieved when her daughter is returned to her. She is terrified by what that means for her other three children. That leads her to do something truly terrifying - attempt to return the girl to the Pied Piper.

Abbie and Ichabod are on the case however. They are determined to keep this family together. The mother also happens to be the social worker that took Abbie and Jenny in after her mother was committed to the psych ward. Meanwhile, the family also happens to be descendants of a man Ichabod fought alongside - and didn't much care for because of his shifty alliances - during the Revolutionary War. None of that particularly impacts the urgency they feel to save the family but it adds nice texture to the proceedings. And also this case is just a lot of fun. It takes up the majority of the hour - with just a few cutaways to Irving in the mental hospital. But it's a scary creature who is entertaining. That is this show's specialty and it is executed remarkably well here.

It's also worth noting just how strong the cinematic production values look throughout this episode. It's haunting whenever Ichabod puts Abbie in the Pied Piper's trance when he starts playing the bone flute. It was also epic and different in Irving's vision of war descending upon the town. He got to be just as bad a badass as Ichabod and Abbie. But he's completely clueless to what his purpose is in this ongoing struggle now that he is aware that his lawyer is actually the Horseman of War.

Lastly, there were the two separate battles with the Pied Piper as Ichabod, Abbie and Hawley try to rescue the girl and kill this beast before doing any further harm. The quickness of the cutaways to this beast are wonderfully effective. It is dangerous and we do get to see our heroes lose the upper hand to it a handful of times. They come into its lair well-prepared (to some degree). And yet, they still manage to fall victim to its skill set. It makes sound into a weapon - which eventually leads to a horrifying shot of Ichabod almost dying from blood pouring out of his ear. Fortunately though, our heroes prevail and it is wonderfully exciting. "Go Where I Send Thee..." feels especially like a bottle episode. But because it is entertaining, I'm willing to embrace it.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Go Where I Send Thee..." was written by Damian Kindler and directed by Doug Aarniokoski.
  • Still don't have quite a good read on how useful Hawley is to the ongoing narrative. He doesn't believe in the supernatural happenings until he sees them firsthand. But he is still only motivated by how much money he can collect for artifact retrieval. That leaves him in a precarious position. Ichabod and Abbie need his help but they can't just hand over the flute. It ultimately ends up in Henry's hands and that is very ominous - even though it has been broken and crushed.
  • Also, Irving may be unwittingly forced into serving as a member of Henry's army because of that blood contract he signed earlier. That fortunately seems like a great use of Orlando Jones because it further embraces him into the ongoing supernatural world.
  • Ichabod also gets to drive and it is wonderful. He has learned a lot since his first outing at the start of the season. Also, he now sees why overpriced coffee is so popular.