Awakened from his centuries long sleep, former professor and spy Ichabod Crane must join forces with Sheriff’s Lieutenant Abbie Mills to fight the forces of Evil, because Ichabod is not alone in returning from the dead… The Headless Horseman rides again, and Sleepy Hollow is at the center of the coming Apocalypse.
Dun Dun Dunnnnnnn!!!!!
Yes folks, it’s your Mr. Harvey again, bringing you my thoughts about the second episode of FOX’s Sleepy Hollow, and while the second episode isn’t quite as delightfully crazy as the pilot, this is true, it’s got its fair share of it, that’s for sure. If the Pilot and “Blood Moon” are any indication, our episodes are going to consist of humor based on Crane’s reaction to the modern world mixed with horror elements that work, errrrr, about half the time, and I’m not sure that it all quite works here.
Oh, yes. Here be Spoilers.
OK, look, early episodes of any series are a mixed bag. There is a lot to like here, but it doesn’t have the punch of the pilot, and even though it’s not any shorter, “Blood Moon” feels kind of rushed to me, with our Witch villain being disposed of really easily. There are a lot of the same elements as last week, but somehow it doesn’t gel as well… but I’m getting ahead of myself. And I wish that was a Headless pun, but it’s not, as our Horseman makes only a cameo appearance this week. More’s the pity.
We open with Crane being chased by the Headless Horseman and his three Apocalyptic pals, War, Famine and Pestilence, but it’s only a dream, which means that we get an appearance from Crane’s “dead” Witch wife, Katrina, who will apparently be popping up in his dreams to be cryptic. I like the fact that there is a secondary quest here for Crane aside from saving the world, in his desire to rescue her from whatever limbo-esque realm she is trapped in, but she is awfully good at not being clear, for reasons that aren’t, well, clear. I’m not the only one who noticed that her saying “There isn’t time to explain!” was followed by a lot of talking, some of which could have involved some more explaining than we actually get, and that what she does say is so obvious, that the fact it takes Crane a third of the episode to realize she’s telling him a Bad Witch is coming is a little… disappointing.
And there are some things that happen this episode that kinda don’t make any sense, from no one noticing that there is someone breaking down a wall in the basement (although, considering how sparsely populated the Sheriff’s Office is, I suppose we’ll have to wait till next week for someone to say “Hey, where’d this hole come from?”), the reveal that there are really big tunnels under Sleepy Hollow, that somehow, with the invention of sewer systems, underground phone and electrical lines, no one has noticed until now, and that corpses can just disappear from morgues without anyone noticing.
Ah yes, our Witch. Well… yeah. A little disappointed here, I have to admit. Not with the lead up, no, as I thought the hunting down of the descendants of the magistrate who ordered her burned was alright, but really? We’re just going to blow her up, in what I can only call a really anticlimactic ending? Hmmph. After all the buildup, even a cameo by George Washington, it’s really a let down. Not the most effective of villains, although, fun fact, the burned version of Serilda of Abadon was played by Roxy Olin, daughter of Ken Olin, director of this episode. You may remember him from thirtysomething, but he’s been quite the successful TV director many years. Not entirely sure why unburned Serilda was played by a different actress, but she was, and that would be Monique Ganderton, who is better known for being a stuntwoman, in films like Iron Man 3 and Watchmen, and shows like Continuum and Smallville.
Now. lest you think I didn’t actually like the episode, let me make it clear… I did. We have more of the delightful interplay between Tom Mison’s Ichabod and Nicole Beharie’s Abbie (“No, what’s insane is a 10% levy on baked goods!”; “We weren’t betrothed, there was no betrothing.”; “Mind the rat.”), and some expansion of the show’s larger mythology, which is most welcome. We also have the return of John Cho’s Andy, despite the fact that he most certainly died last week, but as we’ve already learned, death doesn’t mean you stop moving in Sleepy Hollow. Aside from the fun between Crane and Abbie, Andy is the best part of the episode, with there being something tragic in his continued service to the demon who seems to be behind all this. His uncomfortable regret with having to make the soon-to-be victims of the Witch tell him their names is sign that there is something more to the character than just your standard flunky, and I hope that he made it out of the tunnels, well, not quite alive, so we can have some more of him, and his “It’s hard to explain” neck. As long as we don’t have any more of that bizarre neck effect in the morgue, which just didn’t look right at all, and, if my anatomy classes in college aren’t too fuzzy in the old memory, was kinda not the way people are put together, no matter how much your Demon Master tries to make you a Pez Dispenser.
We also got something more on how isolated Abbie and Ichabod are going to be here, with the video footage of Andy’s death clearly showing something not at all murder-by-demon related, and the officers who engaged in the firefight with the Headless Horseman, quite understandably, deciding that they really didn’t get shot at by a guy without a head. Curiously, Orlando Jones’ Captain Irving is still a supporter of the Crane/Mills partnership, though one must wonder what “resources” he’s off to get, but I’m pretty sure that his request to Abbie not to embarrass him is going to lead to disappointment.
And then there’s this guy:
Never enough Clancy Brown. Told you.
I find it rather refreshing that in the midst of demons and witches and Headless types, the strongest parts of this show so far are the relationships. It was obvious in the first episode that there was more than a professional friendship between Brown’s Corbin and Abbie, and here we get to see why. So not only is Corbin part of the team by having collected all those files and unsolved cases, but his death at the hands of the Horseman is personal, taking away the closest thing Abbie has to a father. Between the powerful scene at his funeral and that quite interesting interaction between the two of them at the end, and with Sleepy Hollow‘s rather loose definition of death, we may be seeing more of the departed Corbin. Interesting that both our leads are haunted, literally, by dead loved ones…
So! Not as good as the Pilot, I’m afraid, although there are parts to enjoy, certainly. One hopes that the next episode, so nicely set up in a scene that, if it wasn’t an intentional reference to Terminator 2, I’m not sure what else to call it, will be stronger. It will certainly be interesting, seeing that it seems to be all about Abbie’s sister. You know, the “crazy” one, who probably seems a lot less crazy now…