Saturday, February 13, 2016

In Which I Review Sleepy Hollow (3x10)

Abbie Mills is a pillar of strength and I adore her. There, I said it. I feel better about the world. Abbie Mills is made of metal and iron and steel. She can cross deserts and wastelands; she can traverse Purgatory, the 1700s, some sort of hellscape and come out with her wits, her intellect, and her sense of self. Why? Because Abbie Mills is an empowered, strong woman and, honey, you should hear her roar. This, though, is not to say that she doesn't need support, love, family, friends, and even a partner. Oh no. Strong women need all that, but they also know how to direct the course of their own life. They know how to map out the terrain of the physical and the mental and soldier on even when it seems better to give up and given in. I kinda love Abbie, guys, in case that wasn't abundantly clear. This week's episode, "Incident at Stone Manner," is all about what has been going on with Abbie since she exploded in a tree, about her resilience, and about her ever evolving partnership with her fellow Witness. Sleepy Hollow always does a great job of letting the Man out of Time and his Leftenant take turns saving each other. While Abbie is holding her own in a strange mythical land, Crane goes in search for his better half. To seek, to discover, to find. But of course, Abbie doesn't need anyone to save her. With her own spirit and ingenuity, our girl has come home. Welcome back, Abbie Mills. We missed you.

There was a ton of plot going on this week. We had gargoyles that came alive, astral projections, Pandora and the Hidden doing whatever they are doing, and a brief aside of Betsy Ross (of course) playing some sort of role with a Frenchman. As per usual, it was all rather spaghetti-to-the-wall, but, at the same time, it was so much fun that I care not for the over abundance of plot lines. This episode really had one focus--something that is pretty much true of any outstanding Sleepy Hollow piece--which was Ichabod going to save Abbie from The Catacombs. This netherworld in an isolated landscape where you may not need to eat, drink, or sleep, but the boredom and the lack of human contact will kill you before malnutrition. Not a very happy place, in other words. And yet, there's Abbie playing chess to keep from going crazy and making hourglasses to figure out how her new world operates. The reason behind this is not only Abbie's own spine of steel, but also the fact that she is never alone. Not really. As she explains to Ichabod's astral projection (gosh, what a sentence) Abbie carries him with her, hears his voice, sees his point of view on anything that is going on. Separated not only by time but by existence, Abbie survives with Crane's help. And here's the truly beautiful thing, when Abbie explains this to Ichabod, he acknowledges that this is how he would have survived too, with Abbie's voice rattling around inside his head, being a helpmate in the dark. Even when Ichabod's astral projection is "cut" by Pandora, Abbie refuses to give in to saving herself and handing the magical Eye over to Pandora; she'd rather face potential madness and lose herself than let evil win. Why? Is she self-destructive? No; rather Abbie knows that she'll never be alone so Pandora's threats of madness mean nothing to her. It's called a heroic sacrifice and it's exactly what both halves of Team Witnesses would do. I know I say this a lot, but the relationship between Abbie and Ichabod is the central focus of the show, even with all the monsters and the doom and the death, it's about these two souls who are, as Abbie says, "as different as two people can be. But we work things out together. Always." Abbie has always been the pragmatist; she sees the world in black and white and puts her duty before everything. Ichabod romanticizes and questions his role in the world and cosmos. His duty is foremost but it's always more emotionally felt, more personal. I suppose that is what happens when your head is almost lopped off by the Horseman of Death.

Different though they may be, it's their combined strength that always saves the day. Ichabod came to rescue Abbie, but it is Abbie who carries Ichabod's soul across time, space, and astral planes because they are always together. Wither one goes, there too goes the other. Abbie isn't just getting out of Purgatory, she's taking Ichabod with her. It all leads to a truly beautiful moment when Ichabod comes back to his body and tells Abbie "I heard your voice. I followed it." There are, I believe, two dynamics being compared and contrasted to this Witness relationship in our other more-romantic pairings. Joe and Jenny are still figuring things out. Jenny has a hard time letting people in because of her Emma Swan-esque walls and it prevents her from letting Joe be a support system when she needs it. Joe and Jenny are more or less a human (read: less cosmic and fated) version of Ichabod and Abbie. While Joe and Jenny are trying to learn how to be partners, they look to the best example they can find: Ichabbie, of course, working together and being each others backbone. It's really nice to see Ichabbie be such a positive role model and influence for these two. However, on the other end of the spectrum, are the Hidden One and Pandora, a seriously messed up and perverted relationship with a horrible power dynamic. Pandora believes herself inferior to her "god" lover. The fact that he hasn't returned to full power is her fault and one blame she is willing to shoulder. In an effort to appease him, Pandora lets the Hidden One take her own life force after he has a fit of man pain. It's the exact opposite of Ichabod and Abbie. Ichabod and Abbie work together so that the partnership is mutually beneficial. The Hidden One takes what is important to him and lets Pandora suffer the consequences. Can you ever imagine Ichabod agreeing to take Abbie's life force just so that he can feel virulent and powerful? Certainly not. It's a really nice contrast between the human-cosmic team and the divine-cosmic team. Because I could never believe that Sleepy Hollow would have Ichabbie lose in a cosmic good versus evil battle, it will be very highly enjoyable to see a manipulative and damaging relationship squashed and shown for the failure that it is while affirming that a respectful, considerate, and equally balanced relationship like Ichabbie is held up on a pedestal.

Miscellaneous Notes on Incident at Stone Manor

--As usual, the makeup and graphics team deserve a round of applause for the gargoyle.

--While I like how the writers are contrasting Hidden One/Pandora with Ichabbie, the former are really ineffectual villains. They haven't done anything overtly threatening to the town as of yet except planning some sort of Demon Conclave? Pandora is more threatening than her male counterpart, who simply broods and speaks with a deep voice thus far, but that's mostly down to her doing more to our regular cast of heroes.

--I hope we haven't seen the last of Ezra Mills. It would be a shame if Abbie and Jenny's father was introduced on screen just for this one scene.

--Ichabod is able to manifest in the Catacombs because Abbie focuses on their bond and holds it tight in her mind. These two, I'm telling ya.

--Betsy Ross was also once stuck in the Catacombs. The writers are trying to give her more flavor and make her seem interesting, but she remains as dull as dishwater because she's had absolutely no role outside of the plucky ye old girl who helps out Crane.

--"If this is the way out, then you're coming with me."

No comments:

Post a Comment