Saturday, February 18, 2017

In Which I Review Sleepy Hollow (4x7)

Is it fair of me to compare and contrast Abbie and Molly as Witnesses? On the one hand, Molly is a totally new character who should be allowed to develop and thrive (or falter) on her own merits on this almost totally new show. On the other hand, the comparisons are ripe for the picking and to think the audience wouldn't be looking at both characters in tandem is equally unfair and a bit naive. There are a lot of differences between Abigail Mills and Molly Thomas, not the least of which is their age and situation in life. It's those two differences that are highlighted in this week's episode "Loco Parentis." If some beastie or creature of the night had Abigail Mills captive she could find her way out, Ichabod or no. Abbie would never need a parent to come save her from the big bad. In other words, her status as a grown woman lent her an independence that enhanced her abilities as a Witness that Molly, through no fault nor character flaw of her own, does not possess. In fact, since her introduction, Molly has stayed out of the fray while mother Diana takes the wheel dealing with the monsters of the week. However, instead of looking at Molly vis a vis Abbie, let's leave our Leftenant in her grave and look at Molly as her own character. How does the youngin' fair on her own as both character and mythological construct? Grab your red jacket and let's go!

Diana's concern for her daughter Molly is understandable; Diana has seen the sort of terror monsters can cause. To some extent it's hard to argue against her logic that thus far she and Ichabod have made a perfectly adequate team, taking down the various monsters that haunt Columbia. However, on the eve of Molly's birthday, it is obvious that the larger story at play this year is Molly's own bildungsroman, her spiritual education and journey into adulthood. Surely it's no coincidence that her first encounter with the supernatural occurs as she enters her next year of life, a milestone as a woman and, as it turns out, a Witness. Molly, then, is what we might charitably call a young lady and when one enters that phase, one usually begins to fight ones own battles. Okay, to be fair those battles are mundane things like homework and cooties, but Molly ain't living a normal life anymore and if there was any doubt to that, the Big Bad Wolf taking the form of her father in order to eat her heart certainly settles the debate. So, how did Miss Molly fair against a very literal Big Bad? I'd say rather poorly; Molly had a few good moments with the pointed questions about the bicycle and the fake out with the red hood, but on the whole Molly simply hid, ran, and waited for Diana and Ichabod to show up and shoot the monster. I understand that Molly is 11 and Witnesses are not blessed with innate magical abilities, but if ever there was a time to make Molly feel more real and show her true abilities as a Witness, this would be it. What I think bothers me more, however, is not Molly's lack of agency in the story but what it means for Ichabod Crane. In this episode, Ichabod has a duel role--Witness and father figure to Molly. The writers could have made the Big Bad into any figure from Diana and Molly's life but they chose to make it Molly's long estranged and distant father in order to draw the parallel between the bad father (Mitch) and the good father figure (Ichabod). It casts Ichabod into a role that I don't believe he needs--the paternalistic savior of the fair maiden. It makes Ichabod appear like the real hero of the story while the other Witness is the submissive victim or sidekick, despite Ichabod's protestations that Ichabod and Molly are "in this together." And here's where my question at the start of this review comes back into play. It might be unfair to compare Molly and Abbie but when it came to the Witness relationship, Abbie and Ichabod were equals. The Leftenant saved Crane as many times as he saved her. Partners, true mythological and cosmological partners. Are Molly and Ichabod capable of that same partnership? The show has yet to prove it so; it's proving it has the ability to show it with Diana and Ichabod but Mama Thomas isn't the Witness. Molly is. I wonder if the writers realize this rather vital plot point.

Miscellaneous Notes on Loco Parentis 

--Honestly, who goes into a church graveyard in the middle of the night? You're obviously going to die.

--Ichabod is in awe of "dolls that talk, robots that transform. Putty that is silly..." This is because "all I had in my day was a hoop and a stick and woe the day the stick broke."

--So, Jenny spent the entire episode hanging out with a half naked demon. No judgement; Joeb looked good.

--I didn't even notice Alex and Jake were missing from this episode until someone pointed it out in the show.

--Dreyfus wants to help the world be reborn. I'm sure that will go well for all of us.

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