Saturday, March 11, 2017

In Which I Review Sleepy Hollow (4x10)

What are you hungry for?Perhaps your answer is pizza but I was speaking in a more metaphorical manner. What do you crave? I personally desire a show with a cohesive narrative, interesting characters, and an overarching and involved mythology. It's a tall order but not impossible. This week's episode, "Insatiable," is all about cravings, the sort that feel like they can never be fulfilled. Sleepy Hollow produces a bunch of Tantaluss' and asks us to watch as the water continually recedes back and back and back. Whether those cravings are safety, catching the bad guy, harmony, love, a place to belong, or the flesh of the human sitting next to you on the Subway, Sleepy Hollow wants us to know that sometimes, you can't what you most want. Grab your steak knife and let's go!

First, a bit of a confession. I am finding it more and more difficult to review Sleepy Hollow. Lately my reviews read (to me) as lackluster, short, and without any real analysis. It's not lack of understanding but instead it comes from a rather by-the-book narrative that employs the same motifs, themes, and symbols it has always used. The monsters are less effective, the chemistry between the parties is less compelling, and the overall narrative is less gripping. This isn't to say that there aren't things to discuss but rather discussing them seems a chore instead of a pleasure. If season four is a reboot (which is absolutely is) then the reboot is failing to captivate its audience and provide reason to tune in week after week. With that out of the way, this episode did have a solid theme (if a bit rote) that was demonstrated across many of our characters. Several of our characters are desiring something that seems just out of reach; a hairsbreadth away from being attainable, these desires can drive people mad. Imagine seeing your goal, knowing it is right in front of you and not being able to reach it. For Alex, it's another person. Obviously Sleepy Hollow has decided that Alex's other trait--besides scientific skeptic--is liking Jake. It's not the strongest storyline and I wish Sleepy Hollow could have figured out a way to make Alex more likable and approachable without saddling her with an unrequited love story, but at least her story fits with the theme of the week. Jake, for his part, is oblivious, but that's Jake's other hallmark trait, isn't it? While he might be bookish and intelligent, he's unwise in the ways of people and picking up on interpersonal signs. Diana's story this week is both understandable but also grating (which might be another theme across the board this week). Of course Diana wants to protect her daughter; of course Molly is her first concern but her zealous "get Dreyfus at all costs" mentality costs her team. As Ichabod says, "we must always stay on the same page." Diana can't beat Dreyfus without the team and as much as she desires ending the threat to her daughter, it doesn't do to ignore the proper way to go about these matters, as a team with Ichabod, Jenny, and the two superfluous others. It's Jenny's story this week that has the most impact and that's largely thanks to our emotional connection to this Miss Mills. We already know that Jenny is a wanderer; she roams hither and tither and settling down in Sleepy Hollow was only because of Abbie and the mission there. Without those two things Miss Jenny is left adrift, craving her old life, a life of adventure in far off places, never having to settle down and get involved in the mundane life. Watching Jenny struggle between these two options--the settled and the floating--is far more compelling than the others this week because I'm invested in Jenny's decision. The show already lost one Mills; can it really lose another? The other question that naturally occurs with that one is whether or not Ichabod can survive the loss of another Mills. With all the desiring going on this week, it's rather telling that Ichabod has a full life. He has a team, a home, a mission, and is recovering from Abbie's loss. For Ichabod, "D.C. is shaping up to be home." If the reboot is sincerely working for anyone, it's Ichabod.

Miscellaneous Notes on Insatiable 

--Another point of criticism, but I remember when the monsters of the week had interesting and almost human backstories instead of just being drawn from obscure mythologies.

--A woman goes nuts and starts chowing down on passersby. This is witnessed by several D.C. residents yet is not commented upon or makes any sort of news. I know that D.C. is a dog-eat-dog world but surely even the most Frank Underwood-esque of politicians would note when one of their own eats another person.

--Dreyfus is creating new Horseman. That's actually quite cool given the past mythology of the show. Might Henry Parrish show back up? After all, he's the only Horseman of War I'd ever want to see.

--"Actually I'd go with smashing success."

--"I was a master at Rubik's Cube." "I have no idea what you just said"


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