Friday, November 6, 2015

In Which I Review Sleepy Hollow (3x6)

Women are dangerous; or, at least, that is the main thrust of this week's episode "The Red Lady From Caribee." Whether it's a bug spirit from Trinidad who infects you with literal fear and paranoia or it's a mystery lady who seems intent on taking down God's chosen Witnesses or even if it's just the gal you're taking out on a first date, women can be totally scary. I have to be somewhat honest here; Sleepy Hollow was feeling a little more than directionless before this episode. Filler or bridge episodes are perfectly fine when the rest of the episodes are trying to set the story down its straight and narrow path, but while each episode of Sleepy Hollow has the same beats and pattern, we are getting nowhere fast. I find myself asking more and more often what Pandora's endgame is with little result at the end of each episode. Even when the show did the big crossover last week, it was essentially the same pattern: Pandora sends a monster; we learn a bit of mythology; Witnesses defeat monster, and Pandora is inexplicably unbothered by the plans that never succeed. So, hey, isn't it nice that the show decided to push their narrative to the next level! The first 45 minutes were set up like past episodes (see the above pattern) but the last 10 minutes opened up the story (or tree) and pushed us into the next phase: Pandora's part one of her plan is completed, it's time to "Bear Witness" to the fruits of her labor. Watch out for wasp stings and let's go!

I have to hand it to Sleepy Hollow; it takes both guts and writing chops to have your thesis of an episode be that women are dangerous, scary, and just as villainous as men all while you build sympathetic characters out of them. Zoe, for example, is only scary to Ichabod. She's not a villain; she's not out to ruin his life or disrupt his mission to fight evil (she, of course, knows nothing about that). Zoe just wants to go for some Hibachi and wine and get to know Ichabod, a guy who is quirky, sexy, funny, sweet and, yes, a little socially awkward. But through the eyes of Ichabod, Zoe is part of uncharted territory. She's new. Too new. Too modern and the times are not a'changing but rather changed long ago while Ichabod slumbered. And, really, I think the true fear here is that Ichabod has never felt more out of time than when he's trying to transverse the dating world. Starbucks on every corner? Manageable. Having a nice meal with a pretty lady? Terrifying. Zoe isn't the only one who makes Ichabod quake, though. As our villain of the week, we have the titular Red Lady who is really a giant wasp that stings you and turns you into a paranoid and terrified mess. Good times. But really, the main scary ladies are Pandora and the Sisters Mills. First, Pandora continues to be a worthwhile villain with her cold demeanor and deeply laid plans. It's not romantic with Ichabod in any sense but there is a sort of flirty quality to Pandora and Ichabod interaction this week. They could probably go several rounds bickering and it would be both intensely scary and intensely hot. Pandora does not appear to have any fear of Ichabod; she's self assured and self confident in her plan--whatever it may be. After all, Pandora expertly played Ichabod and Abbie by simply letting them do their job. All she needed them to do was be Witnesses and well...Witnesses Represent. That's the real fear with Pandora; even when Team Witnesses were trying to stop her, they actually brought her plan to fruition. Finally, we have the Sisters Mills, both of whom scare their romantic interests (much like Zoe with Ichabod) and one sister who should be scaring everyone with her change of fate.

What's going on with Abbie and Daniel? If I didn't know better (and to be honest, I don't know, I'm just reading the scenes between the two as romantic) I would say that the constant beating around the bush and never stating outright that Abbie and Daniel were a couple was deliberate. Think about it. Every scene between the two about how they pushed each other and were there for each other is incredibly vague, as if there is some secret; the writers want us to think A but really they are going for B. I do believe that Daniel and Abbie were romantic (if only because that's how TV narrative works when the single leading lady suddenly has an old male friend with whom she was recently parted come to town) but for Daniel, Abbie's decision to move on and just push past what happened at Quanitco is scary because he can't move past it. Abbie, the woman who moves with time, and Daniel, the man who feels out of time and doesn't enjoy it. Sounds somewhat familiar, no? I don't know where Abbie and Daniel are headed, narratively speaking, and to be honest it's not something I'm interested in, at least not overly. What makes Abbie shine is that her story arc has nothing to do with romance. Yes, she and Ichabod have undeniable chemistry and there is some desire to see them be more than best friends, but she is not defined by wanting a romantic relationship. Her concerns are Sleepy Hollow, Jenny, and her co-Witness. Abbie Mills ain't got time for a man; she's busy saving the world! And then there's Jenny who, like Abbie, does not have time for a man (in the form of Joe Corbin, with whom some sparks were finally flying this week) but now I don't think she's going to even have a choice of exploring it. I have zero idea what happened with Jenny at the end of this week's episode, but her fate just changed and if I had to guess, I'd say that it's for the worse. You don't start seeing skulls and have glowing green eyes for the betterment of mankind. As the prophet said, Jenny will be claimed and we can go ahead and lay down some money that the claimer will not be holding a bouquet of flowers. With Pandora vanishing into a tree (what is with my shows and their mythic trees?) I have to wonder if Jenny and Pandora are about to team up as an unstoppable force for evil against Ichabod and Abbie. Phase one: complete. Phase two: coming soon!

Miscellaneous Notes on The Red Lady From Caribee

--Ichabod with a fruity drink and pink umbrella. How cute is he!

--I'm glad Ichabod and Zoe got a proper date that fits his and her aesthetics and did not try to be more than either of them are.

--I will refrain from spewing more negativity against Betsy Ross except to say that, once again, her insertion into this story was utterly pointless. Why couldn't Grace Dixon heal George Washington without Betsy being there to say a few lines while flashing her corseted boobs?

--I want a tree that grows earrings!

--Some truly lovely stills of Ichabod's face this week. Tom Mison continues to be one of the best things about this show. 

--Pandora went into the tree. If she comes out as Merlin, I'm done.

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