Monday, October 27, 2014

REVIEW: 'Sleepy Hollow' - Ichabod and Abbie Try to Help Joe Corbin and the Monster Existing Within Him in 'And The Abyss Gazes Back'

FOX's Sleepy Hollow - Episode 2.06 "And the Abyss Gazes Back"

Sheriff Corbin's son returns from war, but his strange behavior leads Abbie and Ichabod to question his intentions.

"And the Abyss Gazes Back" is just a ridiculously fun and epic episode of Sleepy Hollow. It would be easy to say that every week with this show. It just feels particularly exciting watching Ichabod and Abbie run for their lives as they try to evade a very hungry Wendigo - who also happens to be the son of the late Sheriff Corbin. The personal stakes of the story this week are very clear from the very beginning. Abbie has a history with Joe Corbin and the audience has a connection with the supernatural world as it pertained to the Corbin family. The stakes are simple and easy to follow but also very evocative of the themes the season has been building on.

Sleepy Hollow asks the question of how far do people have to go before they are gone for good? In the climax of the episode, Ichabod has the cure for destroying this curse effecting Joe and Abbie is the only one willing to believe that it can still help after all hope is seemingly lost. She believes in Joe and his ability to return to this world as himself. Henry put this curse on him in order to get an important artifact his father had hidden. Joe turns into this beast after someone cuts him or herself and blood starts pouring out. After four transformations he is fully turned into this beast and will ravish the land as a minion of war - Henry and Moloch's war to be exact. Joe puts his faith in Henry's hands in order to save Abbie and Jenny. It's ultimately his relationship with Abbie that saves him. Ichabod recites the chant and Abbie pleads for him to fight. The team is successful and Joe returns with a newfound respect for the woman he previously hated because she drew his father's attention away from him.

And quite frankly, I would much rather have Joe continue to appear this season on a recurring basis than Nick Hawley. His character offers up an important connection between the other characters and the audience. It's an understood connection too. We know what Sheriff Corbin meant in the supernatural war of it all as well as in the lives of Abbie and Jenny Mills. Having his son present only keeps that on the forefront of everyone's memories. He's well trained too so he would seem well-equipped to join Ichabod and Abbie on their mission to defeat Henry and Moloch. Hawley continues to exist for no real purpose. The only thing he offers to the story this week is he knows the people who might have a cure to what's happening to Joe. Hawley is just a weird energy on the show right now that doesn't really fit in with everything else. His motivations aren't that clear and his characteristics are paper-thin. He basically pops up just to flirt and stare at the Mills sisters. And that is something we really don't need.

With that issue aside though, the show is now prepared to ask the questions pertaining to Ichabod's relationship with Henry. He is Henry's father and on some fundamental level he still has immense love for him. Despite every evil thing that Henry does, Ichabod still loves him. When the time comes, will he attempt to save his son? Is Henry still redeemable? Katrina has been operating under that assumption all season long. She will use him to manipulate her dynamic with Abraham but she also knows that Henry is her son and deserves some compassion. But is Henry already too far into the abyss? Is he a monster now? He is the Horseman of War after all! He is hellbent on causing destruction in this town and is manipulating everyone to his benefit. He's trying to twist and turn Irving into the soldier he needs in this war. That is devastating. And yet, he's aware that all of these urges are a part of who these people were already. They can fight as long as they want but Henry is hoping that soon they will crack and their souls will be completely under his control. Ichabod and Abbie will do their best to stop him from destroying any more lives while also trying to rescue his own. That is incredibly compelling as the season is set to ramp up on the action.

Some more thoughts:
  • "And the Abyss Gazes Back" was written by Heather V. Regnier and directed by Doug Aarniokoski.
  • This week in Ichabod reacts to the modern world - yoga and video games. Both of which were incredibly hilarious. The running gag about buns was particularly well-earned.
  • Ichabod was also friends with Daniel Boone - but more importantly knew the story of his brother Squire Boone who suffered from a similar affection as Joe.
  • Joe was pleasantly surprised to see Jenny - and then nothing ever came from it! What was with that then?
  • The creature design on this show is just fantastic.
  • And now, Henry has sent the poison to Katrina. That sets up a very immediate conflict in the next episode. I can't wait!