Saturday, February 25, 2017

In Which I Review Sleepy Hollow (4x8)

Modern technology is one of my favorite Catch-22's. I know that sounds weird but think about it. We do not need modern technology--by which I mean phones, computers, TV, and social media hubs like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, and even my dear precious Blogger--to go about our day to day lives. If I don't get on Facebook, my life is not in peril. And yet, go one day without being connected to billions around the planet by a quick click or finger tap and it certainly feels like your life might be over. You can feel starved for news and information (and forget that the printed words is still very much a thing). Over the course of the last twenty years (and, really, even less) technology and social media have become an integral part to the way we live our lives. There's a darker side to all that interaction, though. Just look at our current political climate; we have a President who tweets his policies and thoughts; rapid up to the minute news that we consume as soon as it crosses our timeline. All of this has led to a divided nation and deep antagonism. This is to say nothing of the way social media becomes a mindless time killer. And that's one of dangers explored in this week's episode "Sick Burn." A funny and creepy video designed as a way to kill thirty seconds that infests the human body until it burns them alive. Something so banal causes so much harm. It's a very literal way of showing how social media can consume the viewer. Grab your mobile device, even if it is a weapon, and let's go!

There's something ironic about the premise of this episode. After all, the writers who run the Sleepy Hollow social accounts are really hoping you are tweeting along, promoting the show, re-tweeting their thoughts and engaging in a conversation all while Ichabod Crane and Diana Thomas try to find a way to turn off the internet. Should we disconnect from all forms of social media? Put aside the fact that jinn are not real (or, at least, not likely to infest a YouTube video) and ponder what the show is trying to say here. I'm honestly not sure how to read the commentary in this week's episode which is a bit strange given that the Trump/Orwellian overtones of Dreyfuss are about as subtle as a two by four. In some ways the message is to steer clear of social media; you never know what may get inside your head and consume you (the conspiracy theory shtick in which you become convinced that the world is run by an oligarchy of Martians). However, at episode's end, it becomes a little more clear: stay engaged even in the face of grave danger. Yes, social media might not be the healthiest of activities and it can cause anxiety, stress, and depression as you scream into the void; but it's better to be engaged; it's better to be informed. Ichabod recognizes that his leadership might lead Jake or Alex or Diana or Jenny to an early grave--just like it led Abbie to an early death--but being informed, being dedicated, and being heroes is more important. Of course, there are vast differences between logging into Twitter versus going to war against a demon (though Twitter can often feel like a forgotten level of Hell) but the common theme is that engagement in the world, making the decision to show up, is the better option. After all, never doubt that a small dedicated group of passionate people can change the world. Why? Because it's the only thing that ever has.

Miscellaneous Notes on Sick Burn

--In case anyone was wondering where this season was going, we had quite a few visions of Ichabod in Dreyfus's America.

--Compare Dreyfus's speech about people being animals in need of shepherd to just about anything Napoleon says in "Animal Farm." Then cross reference all that with recent speeches or press releases from President Trump. Like I said: not subtle.

--Peter Pan continues to be evil no matter what show he's in! Though, it's always nice to see Robbie Kay.

--Of course Uncle Sam, Davy Crockett, and Sacagawea were genie and demon hunters.

--I would probably be more moved by Alex and Jake's blooming romance if they had been developed as characters at all.

--Molly is destined to be an Oracle. Cool.

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