Tuesday, February 24, 2015

In Which I Review Sleepy Hollow (2x18)

The title of the season two finale, "Tempus Fugit," is apt for several reasons. From an outside viewing perspective, time really has flown since we all sat down many months ago to watch Ichabod claw his way out of a grave (again) and go after Abbie in Purgatory. There have been hits (namely the first half of this season) and misses (namely the second half which was truly just treading water until this finale) but overall I feel like Sleepy Hollow has become comfortable enough in its wheelhouse to continually produce quality TV for another season or two. As for the finale itself? Well, there we are back to the title. Time flies once more as we watch modern Abbie and ye olde Ichabod navigate the American Revolution as strangers instead of as friends, trying to get back to where they belong: with each other, staring into the abyss. Overall impression of the finale, you might ask yourself? It was a fast paced and witty episode that was solely driven by Ichabod and Abbie but could have used some focusing and perhaps a different ending. But, then again, Benjamin Franklin got his head chopped off. One more time this season, with feeling! 

This episode operates under the broad heading of trust. Ichabod is just another soldier in the American Revolution; he has a secret mission but he is not the loveable, out of time man we've come to know and adore over the past two years. He is rigid and formal and errs on the side of distrust as opposed to trust, especially when it comes to one Abigail Mills. It's a unique, and let's face it, totally fun change in fortune for our Captain and his Leftenant. Instead of Abbie suppressing her giggles watching Ichabod try to learn the ways of the 21st century, Ichabod continuously gives Abbie the side eye as she fusses with the 18th century, seemingly out of her element and faced with a level of prejudice that we haven't seen her tackle in her own present day. But here she is, in her trousers and leather, telling Ichabod that she is from the future, that they are friends and partners, and that his wife is a witch who is trying to kill him. Is it any wonder that Ichabod does not jump and down with joy and trust her instantly? Trust between these two is built as slowly as a show can in which the two leads, who have excelled over two seasons at demonstrating a tight knit bond, have only an hour to build trust between themselves once more. It's done the old fashioned way--conversation--and the new fashioned way--a selfie--though the new fashioned way was the more jovial approach. But when it does work, when Ichabod realizes that Abbie is telling him the truth, hair brained and mad cap though it may be, they fall back in line as we've seen them before. Abbie trusts that Ichabod can hold of the Headless Horseman (welcome back Headless. I've missed you) and Ichabod trusts that Abbie (and some supernatural help) can reverse the spell and put the world back in order.

Compounding this exercise in trust building (free falls not included) is that trusting Abbie means, ipso facto, not trusting Katrina. Remember, Ichabod doesn't know that his wife is a witch and certainly not that she's from the future and evil and desiring to kill him. The moment when Ichabod realizes that this Katrina is not the woman he married is quite heart breaking and I love that Abbie is there to comfort him with kind words about how the woman he married really was a good woman that loved him. I do ship Ichabbie, but I ship it in all the ways you can ship this pair--friends, romance, Team Witnesses. Katrina is less a hindrance to Ichabbie and more of a foil to what Ichabbie stands for, which is trust and shared interests, passions and goals. I would have been perfectly fine for Ichabod and Katrina to renew their love for one another (even if I think Ichabod becomes quite dull around Katrina). The problem very quickly became that Katrina was never written as being able to adapt the same way as Ichabod, and I've touched on this quite a bit in previous reviews. Katrina is simply unable to move into the world of modern day Sleepy Hollow as Ichabod did. Now, that could be because unlike Ichabod, Katrina did not have a helpmate but it's also because she quite simply did not want to. Instead, she cut herself off, focused on remaining insular and opposed to entering the world. The one time she did try, the murder mystery dinner party (still the worst episode of the season), all she did was lament that she was forced into modern day surroundings. Yet contrast this to Abbie who is also out of her time in this finale, yet finds a way to make it her own. She uses knowledge of the future but she also uses her own impressive personal skills--like kicking the crap out of a soldier who is threatening her, thus eschewing Ichabod's own attempt at heroism. Abbie doesn't need to be rescued; she's not a wilting flower like Katrina and when the going got tough, Abbie got tougher. She really is very admirable. Which brings us back to Karina and the inevitable end which I suspected was coming, though I don't think it will stick. Self defense is the best way to put it, I suppose, or an accident. I don't think Ichabod intended to kill Katrina. The knife was there, it was a tussle, Katrina was trying to kill Abbie. I will say this, though, the emotional upheaval it should have wrought was not played out to its fullest extent, which is a shame. I have no doubt that Sleepy Hollow will milk the murder of Katrina and Ichabod's own guilt for all they are worth next season, but until then I am left hanging and likely to be detached from this emotional moment by the time it returns next season (if, indeed, it does at all). I will say, though, that I doubt Katrina is done. Is she dead? Yes. But do I think we've seen the last of her? Heavens no. I sincerely hope that Sleepy Hollow gets renewed and that the writers have learned from this second half of this season. When Sleepy Hollow gets it right, in all its campy goodness, it shines.

Miscellaneous Notes on Tempus Fugit

--Ok, the hard question. Was Katrina killed for Ichabbie? While watching with my friends, one of them pointed out that this felt very "Neal" to them. I disagree. First, Katrina never had the narrative pull that she should have had. She was uninteresting until she went evil; she was exasperatingly useless at times, a damsel in distress whose sole contribution (magic) was shaky at best and down right unreliable most of the time. Is there an unbelievable chemistry between Ichabod and Abbie? Yes. And it does not exist between Katrina and Ichabod. Every conversation between Katrina and Ichabod felt soapy and melodramatic. It was never light. You'd never have a moment of them snapping a selfie, for instance. Everything with those two is doom and gloom and magic. Yes, there is doom and gloom and magic with Abbie and Ichabod, but the writers also take care to show Ichabbie as playful and friendly. You'd never know that Katrina and Ichabod were agreeably married by the way they acted half the time. It reeked of a forced, unromantic marriage but the narrative was written that this was a love story of the ages. The disconnect between what is playing out on screen and the way it was written and conceived only fueled the need to do something "other" with Katrina, which resulted in her evil turn here the past few episodes, and then ultimately her death. So, no, Katrina was not killed for Ichabbie in the same manner that Neal was killed for Captain Swan on ONCE, but rather because Katrina doesn't fit in the world and her inclusion weighed down the entire show.

--I love how many call backs there were to the Pilot in this episode. The reference to the many Starbucks, the look on Abbie's face when she had to ride in a carriage for the first time. Adorable.

--"That's what we do."
"Yes. We. We seek out the impossible."

--They decapitated Benjamin Franklin. I actually yelled "OMG."

--Ichabod with the cell phone was pure Sleepy Hollow joy. Utterly classic and adorable.

--"What would you prefer?"

--I will never not love an Ichabbie hug. 


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