Tuesday, October 28, 2014

In Which I Review Sleepy Hollow (2x6)

And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you
--Fredrich Nietzsche

Well, that's terrifying. Are these creatures running around the wilds of America? I mean, the Winchester's have met them and now Ichabod and Abbie go up against one? In other words, run for your lives, the Windigos are coming. This weeks episode, "And The Abyss Gazes Back" (fantastic title) touched on something that I made a point of a few weeks back (go me): be careful not to turn into monsters when you yourself are fighting monsters. Sleepy Hollow went a step further than I did and actually made someone turn into a literal monster to prove their point, but one, I don't have that kind of superpower and two, it all worked out in the end. As it so often does on Sleepy Hollow. The major theme of this weeks episode, though, is really about staring into the abyss and seeing what kind of person you are. Did you inadvertently ruin someone's life? Are you a good man? Is there a monster lurking just beneath your breast? And if you gaze too long, do you risk losing your self to the darkness? 

Ok, prepare yourselves, folks. We are going to get deep. I mean, this next sentence is going to be so deeply philosophical it will make Mr. Nietzsche weep. Dear GOD, Ichabod Crane looks good with his hair down. I mean, damn son.  Is he speaking? Is there action? Is there something plot or mythic happening of which I should be aware? I honestly have no idea because Ichabod Crane looks like a delicious nighttime snack and I'm a glutton. Yes, I am objectifying him right now but the writers and costumers and hair stylists did this for a reason. Lead actor Tom Milson looks damn fine in period drag and then they went and did this thing with his hair and...I am supposed to be reviewing, aren't I? Deep thoughts on an otherwise somewhat silly show. With yoga having failed to relax Ichabod, Abbie and the man-of-gorgeous-hair set off to a tavern to partake of ale--please tell me it's Sam Addams ale. While there, they run into an old friend of Abbie's--one Joe Corbin, son of the late Sheriff Corbin. Do you remember him? It's been awhile, I know. Corbin was Abbie's former partner who taught her everything she knows after he took her in as a charity case when she lost her mom. He was killed in the pilot by the Horseman and knew a great deal about the secret goings on of Sleepy Hollow and most of the information gleaned about local mythology comes from his extensive records and notes. I enjoyed that the show brought something up from the past. It shows that they remember their own mythology and history and aren't afraid to remind their audiences. Viewers aren't stupid; we are capable of remembering quite a bit. Back to Joe and Abbie; short version, they used to get along and now no longer do. He blames her for the death of his father because there was so much Abbie couldn't talk about that night. After a Headless Corpse on a horse chops off your father-figure's head, would you talk about it? Nope. Joe's got a bit of a problem, you see. He's...cursed. Not always, of course. It's a recent curse. You see, poor tortured and sad Joe Corbin is a Winidgo.

Poor Joe. How he became a monster is fairly plot heavy but I think, for now, it's sufficient to say that Henry did it. He used the bone flute from a few episodes ago and with some magic something-or-other cursed Joe into the creature he is now. This is one of the things that Sleepy Hollow does quiet well this season: it's trying to keep their monsters focused on the larger mythos. So the Windigo is part of Henry's plan; last week's Weeping Lady was part of Henry's plan. They haven't taken too much away from the ensuing battle of good vs evil, the Witnesses vs Moloch. There are some filler type episodes like the non-German folk tale of the Pied Piper--and that eventually came back to the larger story--but by and large, this show is running a tight and cohesive ship. The question is why did Henry do this? To turn Joe into a creature of war. Is that Henry's overall agenda? To make men and women into instruments of war? It is certainly what he is doing with Frank Irving. Even though Captain Irving continues to be kept away from the majority of the action, I actually thought his B-plot was quite interesting and very relevant to this week's theme of the abyss, perhaps even more so that Abbie, Ichabod, Joe-the-Windigo. If your soul was in mortal danger, what would you do? Would you take drastic action to save it? Even if it meant the metaphorical losing of your soul? Henry has Frank's soul and when Frank dies, he shall become another instrument of war--the leading instrument if his visions prove prophetic. But Irving can get out of this jam by killing another soul--in this case, the man who put his daughter into a wheelchair for the rest of her life. That's a tempting offer, no? Now, Frank does not do it in the end; he resists the Abyss, just like Joe becomes a man again, through both magical and human means. The resistance to the Abyss is going to be a major theme moving forward this season, I believe. Someone is going to fall into it: Katrina or Frank? Katrina is already moving a bit too close to the forces of darkness (if she wasn't already there) because some part of her wants to rescue her son. Frank is still teeter-tottering, hanging by a moral thread. There is something to be said about the nature of drama being conflicts of the heart, and that's where we are headed. Katrina: husband or son? Frank: morality or his self preservation? And where do Ichabod and Abbie stand at all this? The same place they've always stood: at the Crossroads of Fate, holding hands.

 Miscellaneous Notes on And the Abyss Gazes Back

--Some truly hilarious moments between Ichabod and Abbie this week. Yoga does not work for Ichabod, but that hair surely does.


--Of the world's many monsters that lurk in the dark woods, Ichabod now counts Smokey the Bear amongst them. Bless.

--Daniel Boone shall now and forever be, "the man with the raccoon on his head."

--Ichabod playing video games. Oh ye gods, I needed that. 

--We've got ourselves a love triangle, don't we? Ugh. Abby doesn't like Hawly but Hawly likes her and Jenny likes Hawly. And Ichabod...he grows to dislike Hawly with each passing episode.

--Katrina swallowed a creepy spider. Eeek. 

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