Saturday, February 27, 2016

In Which I Review Sleepy Hollow (3x12)

Fathers, fathers, fathers. Their ghosts return to haunt us, don't they? In a great many ways, this week's episode of Sleepy Hollow, "Sins of the Father" is a "wrap up loose ends" type. There were certain threads hanging from the first half of the arc--like Nevins and Ezra Mills--that needed to be resolved before the bigger pieces of the story can really lift off--like whatever is going on with Abbie Mills. I have to be a little blunt this week; while treading water episodes are expected in shows that have to wrestle character development and an overarching mythology, this week's episode was entirely underwhelming in many ways. It's treading water in the worst way: when the story focuses on characters and threads that don't necessarily resonate with the audience because the focal points were never given space to becomce overly interesting. However, there were a few beats that do bear mentioning, so grab a beetle from inside your body cavity and lets go!

Now as you might imagine, this episode review is going to be fairly brief in scope. There is something I'm starting to fear but haven't bothered to voice until tonight. I am starting to wonder if there is still a conversation to be had about Sleepy Hollow in general. Fear not, I shall continue to blog each episode for as long as this show is on air, but Sleepy Hollow used to take great pleasure in subverting traditional hero stories while playing with religion, iconography, and genre. It was kitchy, but meaningful, and with more charm than you could shake a stick at. However, at this point, the conversation is starting to feel stilted. There are only so many times I can wax on and on about Ichabod and Abbie's bond and how deep it runs before I run the risk of parroting myself. In much the same fashion, Sleepy Hollow is starting to hit the same beats and themes over and over again without either pushing them forward to the next logical place or upending our expectations to go a totally different route. It's nothing to be too alarmist about, but it bears mentioning. Tonight's installment puts the focus on fathers, both the bad (Nevins), the good (Corbin) and the recovering (Ezra). It's interesting that Ichabod has very little to do given that his status for the first two seasons was a father trying to reach his son, Henry. Instead this week is very much an Abbie and Jenny centric (nothing wrong with that) and how their collective fathers have shaped their lives. At the risk of repeating myself, Abbie's tell-tale line "I have people for that now" is all we need to know about how the fathers affected our characters; they hurt them, yes, but the community formed between the Mills/Crane/Corbin gang sustains and endures. The episode isn't bad per se, it just has little conversation outside of plot points (symbol is what? Abbie is praying to whom now?) which I try to avoid. In that regards, I think we'll close by saying that while the loose ends may not have needed dealing with, the important factors--Ichabod and Abbie's bond, the teamwork feelings, and slow development of mythology--are all here. They just don't warrant a total analysis.

Miscellaneous Notes on Sins of the Father

--Of course the Hidden One sleeps on gold satin sheets. And of course he thinks Pandora should be as weak as him because that's "equality."

--Ichabod singing opera and cooking. Really all you need in life, right?

--Abbie is a diva with a gun.

--RIP Nevins? But now we have a new contender and some new McGuffins to chase; what are the 9 sacred sites?

--Fido. Credit where credit is to due Nevins. That was cute/clever.

--Really nice gender swap with Abbie being the moody sullen one and Ichabod doing the pampering with food and entertainment. The show doesn't comment on it, which is to its credit, but it's still there.

--Glad to see Abbie acknowledge that Ichabod gets what she is going through, something I wrote about last week.

--Yeah, I have no idea what that ending was.

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