Monday, November 10, 2014

REVIEW: 'Sleepy Hollow' - Katrina Makes Herself a Part of the Team While A Succubus Attacks Ichabod and Hawley in 'Heartless'

FOX's Sleepy Hollow - Episode 2.08 "Heartless"

Crane and Abbie set out to take down a succubus whom Henry has sent out to drain the life forces out of its victim.

"Heartless" is the first complete dud of the season. Last week, I wrote how this season has had some dud moments while embracing a more episodic narrative. Eight episodes in, the episodic stuff has felt redundant and inconsequential. Every week it seems Henry and Moloch have formulated a new plan to bring Moloch into this world. Ichabod and Abbie research how to stop them and are then successful in doing so. Followed by a tease at episode's end about the next grand plan of evil. The show has lost a bit of its emotional heart this season. Ichabod and Abbie's interactions continue to be exciting. Their bit about "getting lucky" and "macking" was great. But most of the characters don't feel like they have a purpose anymore. It seems like the show is just hitting the same beats week in and week out. This is about the fourth or fifth time an episode has opened with a closeup on Ichabod with a monologue of double entendres only for it to become his reaction to an element of the modern world.

Sleepy Hollow has made an extreme miscalculation on how much the audience cares about Nick Hawley or the potential of a Hawley and Abbie relationship. In case the subtle looks at each other in previous episodes weren't enough, Ichabod actually asks both of them about it this week - in the middle of trying to stop a succubus from stealing any more souls by posing as the victims deepest desires. By presenting a succubus as the creature of the week, it was a way to bring some subtextual details into textual focus. And yet, this creature fails on almost level because I didn't get a sense of urgency and didn't think the episode would end in any other way than Ichabod and Abbie stopping her.

What's a bigger problem is that when the succubus had Hawley in her grasp, I was rooting for him to perish like the rest of her victims. It would give me hope that the show realized this idea they had wasn't really working and were eliminating it. Seriously are we suppose to care about Hawley's soul almost being taken as much as we are when the same is happening to Ichabod? Even when it was happening to Ichabod, I wasn't worried that it would have any kind of lasting consequences. The connections between each of these episodes has been severely lacking this season.

In the end, it seems like the whole purpose of "Heartless" was getting Katrina back into Henry and Abraham's world. She escaped from them in the last episode and was given the threat of death. That brought the emotional stakes to the forefront in a wonderful way. And now, the show had to figure out how Katrina works in this world if she's not a prisoner of sorts to Abraham and Henry. Her addition to the team serves its purpose in this episode. Her supernatural powers help Ichabod and Abbie stop the succubus. And yet, that gets shoved to the background a little bit so that she can come in between the rapport Ichabod and Abbie have built over the two seasons. That partnership deserves to be tested in strong and rewarding ways. This feels more like a distraction than a strong characterization for any of the characters involved. Ultimately, Katrina realizes she needs to be a spy in this war and Ichabod accepts that. The show simply realized that she functions better as a character when interacting with Abraham and Henry - who now have a little baby Moloch. It's all very weird and the emotions and clear character goals aren't as strong as they once were.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Heartless" was written by Albert Kim and directed by David Boyd.
  • What is up with Jenny or Irving? They are important characters in this universe. And yet, they seem like they are in a holding pattern of nothingness. Neither appear at all in this episode.
  • I found all the stuff with Ichabod reacting to a modern day night club to be a bit lazy. It was not one of the funniest bits about him reacting to stuff.
  • On the other hand, Katrina enjoying reality television and him being against it was pretty enjoyable. At least she has loads she could get caught up on.
  • And now, Katrina's necklace which allows her to see Abraham has a double purpose. I'm betting it's a way to connect her with the baby which can't be good at all.