Tuesday, March 15, 2016

In Which I Review Sleepy Hollow (3x14)

Raise your hand if you think Abigail Mills is missing love in her life. None of you should be raising your hand right now, just by the way. This week's episode "Into the Wild" is a unique blend of fascinating and frustrating because on the surface, it's exactly what Sleepy Hollow shouldn't be. You would think that an episode that keeps our charming Witnesses apart for 90% of the time would have me rending my garments and gnashing my teeth and yes--to an extent--it does have me doing just that. Sleepy Hollow is strongest when its two leads are moving through the scenes effortlessly playing off one another like they were born to play Ichabod Crane and Abbie Mills. However, in spite of the separation, some answers were finally had (at long last) and the plot ball (something akin to a football, I guess) was moved several feet down the field and closer to the goal line after weeks of piddling around and stalling. However, Abigail Mills dismissing the love of friends and family and telling Daniel Reynolds that she doesn't have "what we had" and how that's apparently a bad thing makes my insides twitch. Grab some modern medicine and let's go! 

A lot of this weeks episode is about survival and how we need not only our own special skill set--like being able to concoct medicine from various flora--but how we also need each other, if only for moral support (or to fire a gun while we stab the crazy creature with a pointy stick). Abbie can climbs walls and make demon-killing drugs, but she needs Sophie's competence, Danny's determination, and Ichabod's know-how to win the day. Teamwork was a rather big part of this episode, you see. Abbie can't do it alone and that's a great message and one that Sleepy Hollow has always driven home, especially with Team Witnesses. In the past few weeks, I've lamented a bit that the show often gets too caught up in driving home the same beats over and over, particularly about the bond between Ichabod and Abbie. They don't need to say it on screen anymore, if indeed they ever did need to say it. It's apparent every single week when Ichabod and Abbie have each other's back fighting the good cosmic fight or even battling the smaller day-to-day ones, like forging "a diet of the mind." Their bond is as solid as rock and everyone knows it. While Abbie might think that her entrance into the world of the supernatural has brought her nothing but bad luck and heartache (trips to Purgatory, the past, and the Catacombs being part of this package deal), it takes Sophie to point out that it also brought her Ichabod Crane, someone with whom she has a "natural bond." The metaphor of the not-so-evil-symbol being two parts bonded together like magnets is a good one for our little team, but not one that needs philosophizing on; it's understood that it relates to Abbie and Ichabod. The problem comes when the episode ends with Abbie dismissing this bond (along with the bond with her sister, old friend Joe, and new friend Sophie) to emphasize a romantic bond, presumably with Danny.

This isn't to say that Abbie can't have romantic love. That's all well and good but in the past her reasons for not pursuing romantic love were not fear; it was because there are demons running around Sleepy Hollow! And, more to the point, her lack of a romantic love life wasn't bothersome to her. It wasn't something that Abbie thought about; her pragmatism always came first and she was fine with that. Abbie needed to save the world first, then there could potentially be romantic love, and even if there wasn't, Abbie didn't feel like less of a person, or more scared of the world and her experiences in that world, because of the lack of romance. Abbie is the woman who is always presented as being able to have it all--the brains, the brawn, the ability, the drive, the best friend and sister, the cosmic significance, and the deep meaningful relationships that in no way take away her agency or make her less Abbie Mills-like if those relationships only ever stay platonic. She's the definition of "know thyself." It's a truly bizarre disconnect for me that in one scene the bond between Ichabod and Abbie is given symbolic weight through an actual symbol, while simultaneously revealing that this bond creates energy (and I'm sure that is going to be given more importance near the season finale), followed by a smaller more intimate scene with Sophie in which Abbie acknowledges that the new Federal Agent brings something to the team, to the next scene in which Abbie says that there are things missing in her life, specifically romantic love, and casually dismisses "friends and family" as if they aren't enough. That's not Abbie Mills. At least, it's not the Abbie Mills I know and love. Abbie and Daniel can have a present tense if they so desire, but if the show begins to make Abbie's present (and incredibly under developed and frankly pretty dull) romantic love story with Danny the center of Abbie's world, we're gonna have a serious problem.

Miscellaneous Notes on Into the Wild 

--Just in case it's not apparent, but my bafflement over the sudden about face from Abbie with regards to the Daniel situation is not because I want Abbie with Ichabod in the romantic sense. They are going to be together--as Team Witnesses--no matter what. That's the power of their bond. While there is a great spark between the two, the show does not need to turn it into romantic love for that bond to have more weight. In fact, you could argue it'd be more meaningful if they were never together romantically.

--Some very sweet and lovely Joenny moments this week. Starting to really dig those two crazy kids. Too bad Joe's probably about to go full on Windigo.

--And on the flip side, some really not great Hidden One and Pandora moments. Where exactly did he go? Did we know he could evaporate into a ball of light?

--The Dutch virus monster was one of the creepiest looking creatures we've had in a good long while.

--Magical symbol and demon map notwithstanding, that was a total Crane ex Machina in the woods.

--Abbie suggests we all "find our inner Spiderman real fast."

--Abbie got Ichabod a Netflix subscription. Bless.

--Apologies for the lateness of this review! I was out of town for the airing of 3x14 and then had to focus on my OUAT review before SH could be typed up. We now return to your regularly scheduled reviews.

No comments:

Post a Comment