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What Happened, Sleepy Hollow?

I used to be so excited for the Monday night block of shows. But Gotham has been... somewhat uneven (another entry for another time) and Sleepy Hollow has become even uneven-er. This used to be a show that I would unreservedly recommend to all and sundry because it was so much fun. Somewhere along the line this season, though, that fun just drained away, and last night's mid-season finale clinched it for me.

Uhm... where to start? Let's start with Irving's death. This should have meant a lot--Irving's a major character with a lot of backstory. When he died, I thought, "I bet that being so badass will have a price--welp, I was right." Nothing else. Even the slow-mo of Abbie overlaid with tragic music did nothing, because it was sort of... there. It didn't have the ring of truth at all. Orlando Jones (whose Twitter feed is pretty amazing) snarked at one point that you wouldn't know that Irving had a wife and daughter from this season, and I think the problem is right there: Irving had nothing to do this season, at all, except be Henry's pawn, and then a semi-agent of destruction, and there's no emotional core to that. I think his death would have been far more meaningful if we'd seen his daughter visiting him at Tarrytown, or even cut to a picture of her, anywhere, to remind us of what she looks like. After all, he lied to protect her--hell, he lost everything: job, career, soul. Just reminding Jenny to take care of her if he dies isn't enough.

This leads to my other major problem: Katrina, and her relationship with Ichabod. As I've said before, I really have no ship in this show; that's not why I'm watching. I can't tell if the writers do, either: it's like they want Abbie and Crane to get together, but then they remember that Katrina is around, and they're scared to do anything with her. And this is a real shame because Katrina has the potential to be an amazing character. Here is a woman with tremendous power, who defied social convention of her time to perform an act that had far-reaching implications, because, let's face it, placing Crane into a magical sleep is Merlin-level power stuff. She *finally* gets out of purgatory and does... almost nothing. Yes, spying on behalf of our heroes is a gutsy move, but it effectively neutered her magical powers because she couldn't show them off. Imagine how the season would have gone if she'd not gone the spy route. The three of them would have dispatched Moloch even faster, and I'm betting that there wouldn't have been this nonsense with Henry if she and Crane could have just gotten on the same page from the first moment this problem presented itself. The fight they had during the finale last night was really disappointing, not just because it was sad, but also because it rang false: when two people are headed into an apocalyptic battle during which they may very well die, generally, petty arguments melt away in face of potential death. (I mean, seriously, do you really want the last thing you said to your husband to be, "Let us be like soldiers together"? Really?) The whole plotline of "our son is evil, no our son is redeemable!" got old five seconds after it was trotted out.

And, OMG, Henry... John Noble, you are a fine actor, and I love how you chew up the scenery and weave beautiful, dripping sarcasm into your voice, but the character of Henry does nothing for me, and I really kind of hate that he got all that screen time at the expense of our heroes. I also really hate that he got so much time in that finale, and that any horror of finally seeing Moloch (who wasn't all that menacing after all that buildup, and damn but he just stood around a lot) was negated by some very predictable villainous behavior.

Oh, and speaking of predictable villainous behavior, Headless, what happened? You used to be in pictures! You used to be big! You used to be an unstoppable killing machine who was really, really scary! Last night... you got chumped out in the first few minutes! I guess his usefulness in the romantic triangle department outweighed his role in the horror portion of the show, and the writers didn't know what to do. (Hawley's sole contribution to the episode was actually pretty funny; I don't know if I'd do much better if I was presented with a supposedly mythological, headless monster to guard from some unknown magical force of apocalyptic evil.)

I do love this show. I love Abbie Mills, and the Mills sisters working together (and the episode with them last week was the strongest all season long). I love Crane vs. 2014. I loved Abbie's speech in last night's episode about how she wasn't going to let Moloch take away any more people--that's the core of part of the reason I love the show right there: it's a story about a strong woman, who is surrounded by other strong women (because in the scene in the church before Henry showed up was Abbie, Jenny, and Katrina vowing to shop evil, with Crane chiming in, a rarity for a mainstream network show.) Most of the men on the show (when a romantic subplot isn't ruining everything) are compelling characters in their own right, and I want to know their stories, too, but the most interesting thing about the story remains Abbie, and her facing down evil with a platonic partner. I want the show to go back to that, and stop shoe-horning in people I don't care about, and subplots that go nowhere. I'd like it to be funny again, too. Basically, I want to go back to that feeling of recommending it to all and sundry, not the way I feel right now which is, "It's OK, but..."

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
ladybird97
Dec. 2nd, 2014 11:12 pm (UTC)
This is one of those many times when I wish we lived closer so that we could rant about this in person to each other. Because WHAT THE HECK, Sleepy Hollow??

The more I think about Frank's death, the more it pisses me off. His death was TOTALLY WORTHLESS. He didn't kill Henry or Moloch; he just held them off for a little while.

He was a fabulous character, but this season he was consistently pushed aside and ignored. Just when it looked like he was going to join the Scooby Gang, he decides to run off by himself...and just when they get him back, he dies. Not only that, but we didn't get to see what his soullessness really meant. It didn't affect his love for his family or friends; it didn't prevent him from feeling emotion or wanting to do the right thing. So what did it mean?

(Is it too much to hope that his death while soulless will mean that we'll have Zombie Orlando Jones, like we had Zombie John Cho? If so, that would rock.)

It was awesome to see him charging in with a sword and being super badass, but it was too little too late.

And then there was the whole excess of Katrina, mopy Abraham, and excess of Henry. sigh. I totally agree with you about the uselessness of Katrina and the writers' failure to actually deal with her.

This episode would have worked if the season had been about Henry's internal struggle - if we'd seen any indication that Henry wanted to go back to his parents, that he believed them when they said they loved him and was starting to waver in his commitment to Moloch. If we'd had that kind of buildup, then his last-minute turn would have been meaningful and interesting! The rest of the season would have been more interesting too, because we'd have gotten to see Henry do something more than chew scenery and hatch villainous plots. But, no.

And I absolutely agree with you that the best thing about this show has always been the Ichabod-Abbie friendship, and the way that foregrounds so many women and POC characters. I wish that they had just either let that friendship be the center of the show, or done something to disrupt it to create meaningful emotional tension - keeping them separated, turning them against each other - rather than introducing all kinds of other plots that most people didn't care about.

Edited at 2014-12-02 11:13 pm (UTC)
retsuko
Dec. 3rd, 2014 12:24 am (UTC)
OMG, if I could teleported to you, or had you teleported over to me, I totally would have done it! *sighs* Dammit, geography, still our mortal enemy, after all this time!

Yup, basically, Frank Irving died for nothing. It's cool that he went out in a blaze of glory, but even that meant very little in the grand scheme of the story. I wonder what he'd got up to for the few days he was missing? Snuck back and saw his family one last time? Hung out in that crypt? Badass action montage? The world will never know.

I'm sure we haven't seen the last of him. Since death hasn't really been a deterrent for anyone else, I don't see why it would hinder him from coming back, either. After all, he was pretty close to getting named as a Horseman of ... something, and I'm sure (as Moloch told Henry) that Horsemen come and Horsemen go, so there's probably another job opening somewhere. Perhaps as a villain? I think Orlando Jones would love that.

And, yeah, we had no inkling what the hell was going on with Henry, other than Sith-esque HATE MY PARENTS HATE HATE. I would have been more on board with him if he'd wavered earlier, or Moloch had been a bastard earlier, causing Henry to think, "oh yeah, maybe I chose the wrong side... OR DID I."

(Also, during that scene where Moloch finally betrays him, I tweeted that his facial expression reminded me of an employee who's resolved not to take any more of his crazy boss's bullshit and is gonna sic HR on him. What, me, do the comic or Tumblr blog about the universal HR department that all evil beings and corporations share? NEVER.)

I have a lot of hopes for the show when it returns... so, so many hopes... >_>
apintrix
Dec. 3rd, 2014 03:47 pm (UTC)
Didn't Irving banish the "War" demon from Henry's body, thus making Henry more human, causing Moloch to betray him, which in turn made Henry make the choice to destroy Moloch?

I did appreciate the badassery, too. Orlando Jones rules and should get All The Work. (Also, the fact that it was he and Abbie who wound up the main sword-wielders here, not Ichabod, I thought was a nice surprise.)

So here's the thing, which Mark pointed out as I was going "no, don't kill Orlando! I *like* Orlando!" : his soul still belongs to Moloch. And the devil needs new horsemen. So, we suspect we may see him again, in more demonic guise. And if we don't, well... big raspberries at the show runners!

I also liked how anti-God the climactic moment was. Henry basically destroyed Moloch because Moloch was too similar to the biblical god. That made me somewhat gleeful.

Edited at 2014-12-03 03:48 pm (UTC)
lady_of_mists
Dec. 3rd, 2014 04:49 pm (UTC)
I kind of thought that might be what they were going for with the swordfight -- Irving taking down part of one of the Horsemen so that Henry could be reasoned with.

I will miss Irving and we will have to wonder if maybe his soul was returned at the end -- depending on whether the contract was with Henry or Moloch.

I also thought that it was interesting that Moloch (who had children sacrificed to him -- i.e. passed through the fire by their parents) was now asking a child to sacrifice his parents... and subsequently was sacrificed by his "son" Henry.
anagramofbrat
Dec. 3rd, 2014 11:26 pm (UTC)
Yep. with you 100%.

Irving's death did nothing for me because I 100% expect him to show back up.

Katrina... Writing's failing her, story's failing her, her hair is failing her, WARDROBE is failing her. Let her be interesting! Let her be badass! and give her something besides that awful Hot Topic corset to wear!

None of these villains have any teeth anymore. I remember Headless when he was rampaging through Tarrytown on his horse with a PUMP ACTION SHOTGUN and it was amazing. Once they gave him a head, though... I need him to be scary again and stop moping over Katrina.

I liked Henry before the reveal that he was the source of the #Cranepain. Maybe now that he seems to have done a face turn he can do somethinggood with the fact that he owns Irving's soul and bring him back?

ARGH THIS SEASON WHY HAS IT BEEN SO FRUSTRATING FLAIL
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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