Saturday, January 14, 2017

In Which I Review Sleepy Hollow (4x2)

What made Abbie Mills such a great Witness? Was it her total acceptance of the sudden bizarre turn of events in her life? No, not really. In fact, Abbie remained skeptical for a good part of the first season. Was it because she was "touched" as a young girl by Moloch? No; helpful, maybe, but ultimately her Witnesshood was something deeper and more meaningful. Abbie made such a great Witness because she was not only the supernatural second half of Ichabod, but because she was his emotional, intellectual, and mature equal. Abbie was a bit of a revelation on network TV; a woman of color who was simply not the helpmate of the white male protagonist, but instead, every part his equal. While staring down at the black abyss of nevermore, Abbie stood shoulder to shoulder with a man out of time, looked demons and Purgatory in the eye and did not blink. Abbie was tough, practical, no-nonsense, and even when all felt lost, Abbie kept going. Should the next Witness be a copycat of Abbie Mills? No, absolutely not. That's an insult to Abbie's memory and the audience's patience; but while there is something to be said about subverting the audience's expectations, does anyone really believe that a thirteen year old teenager is really ready to fight the forces of evil and potentially the Apocalypse? Is that what we want this show to become? From a pairing that shouted equality--professionally, personally, and supernaturally--to one that has a centuries old man and a child running around the United States Capital looking for things that go bump in the night? I'm not sure "In Plain Sight" fixed any of the missteps of last week; it might have made them worse. Grab your witch stone and let's go! 

Here's a hard question: what do you want out of Sleepy Hollow? I've always been up front that this show could be as nutty as it wanted--and it often went full on straight-jacket crazy--so long as the core of the show remained the same. Take out the actual characters for a moment, forget Ichabod and Abbie and everything they've done, and the core of Sleep Hollow was really the story of two lost souls who found each other and then managed to find their way through a dark and weird world. Ichabod was the man out of time, a fish out of water; Abbie could neither escape her past nor find her future. But when the two souls met an alliance that went beyond our mortal ken was formed and together each person found what they were searching for. As cliche as it sounds, they found a home together. To be sure, there are some romantic underpinnings to this kind of narrative but it need not be; indeed Sleepy Hollow never went over that particular precipice. Romantic or not, it does not erase the deep loving bond between the two Witnesses. Can anyone imagine Ichabod having that with Molly? Does anyone want him to? There's something a little unsettling--a little squicky--about the loving and platonic romance of Ichabod and Abbie being overtaken by Ichabod and Molly. I know the show won't suddenly turn Ichabod and Molly into some sort of love story--in fact, I can see the show keeping Ichabod and Molly at arms length to drive home the idea that Molly might be the next Witness but she's not Abbie--but even if you take out the core of the two Witnesses and the sort of partnership they are supposed to have, is Molly really capable of stopping whatever evildoer is coming? She's got homework to do and boys (or girls) to flirt with. She can't fire a gun or a crossbow or read Latin or, hell, even stay out late to research big-bads. What use is Molly as a Witness? While I was not thrilled with the idea of Diana being the new Witness, Molly as a Witness is more ridiculous than some of the hair-brained plots Sleepy Hollow has trotted out in the past. So, once again, I ask: what do you want out of Sleepy Hollow?

Miscellaneous Notes on In Plain Sight

--Ichabod, while trying to find the new Witness in a prophetic dream, still calls out for Abbie.

--The three Witches were the very definition of cliche bad women--tight leather clothing and all.

--I can't get any sort of read on Alex and Jake except that one's a skeptic and one's a believer. Those characteristics don't make for very compelling characters.

--Speaking of unreadable, whatever Malcolm Dreyfus is up to is so undeveloped that I'm choosing to refrain from any real commentary. Also, I keep wanting to refer to him as Daniel Faraday.

--"How do you know so much about witches?" "I was married to one."

--Our Ichabod Crane, "the one and only!"

--I did have a moment of sheer joy at seeing the Headless Horseman. No idea how he's there in Washington, but whatever.

--"She's not Abbie." No. No, she's not.

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