Monday, November 3, 2014

REVIEW: 'Sleepy Hollow' - Ichabod Pleads for Henry to Save Katrina's Life While Abbie Gets Help From Reyes in 'Deliverance'

FOX's Sleepy Hollow - Episode 2.07 "Deliverance"

Abbie and Ichabod learn that Katrina is in imminent danger and race against the clock to help her.

The second season of Sleepy Hollow got off to a strong start with two immensely enjoyable episodes. Since then, the show has fallen into a pattern of Ichabod and Abbie dealing with a creature every week. The show became a bit too procedural. That quality has always been a part of the show. The creature design remained remarkably strong. And yet, it didn't feel like enough was happening with the ongoing war against Henry, Abraham and Moloch. The cases were somewhat interconnected. And yet, the show was enjoying spending time with Ichabod and Abbie but wasn't quite pushing the emotional dynamics as severely as they could. It was a potential hassle that everyone figured would happen with the episode order being upped to 18 episodes this year.

It's important to note that Sleepy Hollow hasn't done a bad episode this year. Some elements have been non-starters. Nick Hawley is a big dud and it seems like forever since Jenny got something to actually do. But the overall show was good enough to overcome all of these minor issues. "Deliverance" offers a return of sorts to the emotionally complicated mythology that the show fantastically lives in. Yes, it's another episode where a problem is introduced and then resolved by hour's end. But it also comes with shading of the overall dynamics between Ichabod & Katrina and Ichabod & Henry.

In "Deliverance," Henry has delivered the poison - in the form of a spider - into Katrina which then takes the form of a demon growing inside of her. That demon will then come bursting into this world in just a handful of hours thusly killing its host. Oh, and that demon also happens to be Moloch. If this plan goes off as planned, Katrina will serve as a vessel bringing Moloch from purgatory to our world. That is just strong emotional stakes for the regular characters.

Ichabod has grown a little distrustful of Katrina as of late by the sheer volume of secrets she had kept from him in order to protect his mission as a Witness. And yet, when he learns what is happening to her, he frantically does whatever he needs to do in order to save her life. He is in love with this woman. He needs to find a way to save her while also keeping Moloch away from this world. That's a very daunting task. Just like always though, Ichabod and Abbie do some research and find artifacts that help save Katrina's life. It's very important in the moment - but also for us to remember possibly for later - that Aurora Borealis (or the Northern Lights) can be used as a weapon to destroy demons.

Before the show gets to that revelation in the nick of time though, Ichabod arranges a meeting with Henry to appeal to his human nature and to save his mother from this horrible and painful death. Henry has sold his soul to Moloch in order to become the Horseman of War and punish his parents for all the pain they inadvertently caused on him. He despises them. And yet, both Ichabod and Katrina think that Jeremy, their son, is still in there somewhere. A human who desperately wants his parents' love. Henry has been alone his entire life. And then, Moloch gave him a reason to live. Now, he is a faithful servant unwilling to be swayed from this path. Ichabod pleads but can't get through to his son. One touch and Ichabod gets a glimpse into the pain that Henry suffered as a child. That pain is still all too apparent in the man standing before him. He and Katrina will have to rectify that if there is any hope at all in bringing Jeremy back to life.

So Henry's humanity may not be changing any time soon. However, the various plot threads of the season so far are starting to change in an overarching way. Sheriff Reyes was introduced as a new thorn in Ichabod and Abbie's side. She offered a glimpse into the Mills sisters' past but didn't offer much to the narrative other than Ichabod and Abbie needing to go about things slightly differently. And now, Abbie has found a way to use Reyes' desire to bring law back to this city into her favor. A lot of unlawful stuff is happening in this town. Abbie just has to present a little proof and a tactical team is assembled in order to help Ichabod and Abbie achieve the Aurora Borealis device Benjamin Franklin created. This takedown is enough for Reyes to see some value out of Abbie's partnership with Ichabod. The waters are thawing in this dynamic. And that will likely be very important in the future. The evil forces are still conspiring and attacking. Now that Katrina is safely with Ichabod and Abbie (and reacting to the modern world as well), Abraham has reason to attack as the Headless Horseman again. This change-up to the core dynamics could be exactly what this season needed.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Deliverance" was written by Sam Chalsen & Nelson Greaves and directed by Nick Copus.
  • In a timely bit, Ichabod accompanies Abbie to the voting booth. She smartly notes just how much things have changed since the founding of the country. He agrees that the discrimination in regards to who could vote wasn't right. But he doesn't quite understand why you can't campaign at the polling center.
  • Ichabod and Katrina haven't spent a lot of time together. However, him pleading for her to still be alive after they stopped Moloch from killing her was a really effective moment. As was their kiss after she returns to life.
  • Henry traps lightning in a bottle. That will likely mean something important in the next episode. Just as Ichabod and Abbie foil one of Moloch's plans, a new one emerges.