As many of you probably noticed, tonight’s episode of Sleepy Hollow kicks off with a “previously on” montage. We haven’t had one of those in a while, which made me instantly wonder how deep into the show’s backstory we’d be delving this week. Was this setting up the return of the Headless Horseman? Orion? Henry?
Nope — and, to my mind, a good thing. Turns out, all that backstory was to prepare us for an episode full of The Feels, one that examines how much our characters owe one another and can truly rely on each other. What does it really take to bridge the disconnects that form even among close friends? (Answer: spiky wallpaper, but we’ll get to that later on.)
“Seems you two have been spending a lot less time together lately,” Jenny says to Abbie while they’re out on what is definitely not a double date (right?) doing karaoke with Hawley and Crane. This little bit of dialogue gave me a squee! because it sets up what turns out to be quite the meta-sode (which is a word I just made up for when the characters in an episode give voice to what the show’s fans actually think about said show).
We all did notice, in fact, that last week’s episode was structured to keep Abbie and Crane apart from one another, but I wouldn’t have chalked that up to all the tension that’s been brewing between our protagonists this season. Really, I just thought last week was about the SH writers trying to ‘ship Katrina and Crane, or at least prove to us that Katrina is not a useless hag. Anyway, I appreciated the multi-episode buildup to a rather subtle and delicate story line (certainly more subtle than monsters and the apocalypse) and the way those trust issues between Crane and Abbie really come to the surface this week. On one hand, Abbie says that Katrina was right to free Abraham when she did (a decision Abbie initially opposed and Crane supported); on the other, there’s this exchange a few minutes later between Abbie and Crane, upon discovering that the security alarm’s been set off at Corbin’s lair:
Crane: I didn’t know we had an alarm.
Abbie: I installed one when you moved out.
Meanwhile, the tension is equally thick between the apparently on-again pairing of Jenny and Hawley. (The show has been unforgivably careless in how it’s portrayed Hawley’s flip-flopping affections for Jenny and Abbie, but I’m thinking at this point we just have to let that slide.) “Want some company?” Jenny asks when he says he’s gotta go make a delivery. “Nah, it’s a short hop,” Hawley replies, thus embodying every douchebag who was only hanging out with a girl for nookie but never bothered to tell her so. Having said that, I must admit that when he arrives at the junkyard (a junkyard! At night! What a fine locale for an exchange of goods and payment!) and comes face to face with those sinister-looking henchmen types, I was all, “Please Hawley, don’t die!”
But Hawley dying is apparently exactly what Undead Lady With Sharp-Pointed Stiletto Heels and Manicured Fingernails wants. Look, I don’t want to be a traitor to my gender here, but for two weeks in a row now, Sleepy Hollow has featured a female guest star who was woefully miscast and/or kinda terribly written. Other than her name, there was nothing entertaining, worthwhile, or engaging about Carmilla, the woman who apparently spent six years raising Hawley after his parents died in a car accident. First, she looks too young to be his caretaker. Maybe this is just one of those Hollywood things where women’s faces are so professionally preserved that it’s impossible to get a sense of their actual ages, but I found it highly disturbing to regard her as a mother figure to Hawley. Second, for a mother figure, she sure has no hang-ups about pawing at him like some kind of feral cougar. And third, I’m sorry, but the acting is … not good. At one point, when Carmilla says to Hawley, “Look at me. Help me,” my husband added, “ ... Learn how to act.” While I’ve liked Hawley almost from the beginning despite his lack of a personal history (because I think Matt Barr’s take on a rough-hewn drifter is good enough to stand on its own), Carmilla was given a ton of backstory for a guest character, and none of it made me give a hoot about her.
Let’s get back to Abbie and Crane. I loved their two-characters-in-search-of-an-exit scene toward the end in Knox’s secret booby-trapped room. Crane has a way of intoning the fundamentals of a situation, like when he says, “I have felt our bond sorely tested,” and, “We are far greater than the sum of our parts, but we can’t expect our bond to last unless we tend to it.” Is that this meta-sode’s way of telling us that our heroes will be back to their old selves next week — and just as important, do we want them back to their old selves, or are they more interesting with the tensions between them?
Speaking of tension, I'm glad this episode ends with a little romantic tension between Jenny and Hawley. Not sexual tension, mind you, but romantic. When Hawley says, “You know I’d ask you to come with me,” and Jenny tartly replies, “Except you know what I’d say,” I thought for a moment that Sleepy Hollow had just found its Bogart and Bacall.
I’m putting all my thoughts on the Frank Irving B-story here in the Questions section this week, because what intrigues me most about Frank’s scenes (which are, on the surface, slightly humdrum) is all the stuff that goes unsaid. For example: Is anyone else curious as to why the state declined to pursue charges against Irving? Surely Henry is somehow pulling the strings behind that decision, no? Unless there's some bit of dialogue to explain the reason behind the prosecution’s decision that I didn’t catch? Please let the show have a long game in mind for this curious choice, is what I’m saying.
When Katrina puts her spell on Irving, he has one of those quick-montage flashbacks that includes some of his Rambo-fied slaying footage, and then we see a shot of Henry seemingly “waking up” Irving. So do you think that while he was dead, Irving really did do all that slaying he’d been foreshadowing earlier in the season? And then we'll find out later that, for some reasons or another, Henry decided to then turn him loose in the mortal world again?
What exactly were we looking at during that final shot with Irving? Do his eyes go all white and/or roll back into his head, in addition to having no reflection in that door’s window pane? Wasn’t quite sure what I saw there.
Crane: Star Wars, what did they use?
Abbie: They had a robot.
Crane: Women swoon at the sound of their warbling.
Abbie: We seriously named Fort Knox after a guy that died in debt.
Crane: Well, he had other redeeming qualities.
Crane: She sings, she cleans, she travels by parasol … Miss Poppins seems quite fulfilled.
Abbie: Thank you, yoga class.
Crane: I’m still not going back.
Crane: “Pumped a lot of tane down in New Orleans.” That makes no sense.
Abbie: Witch wife. (There was more to that sentence, but I just thought Abbie referring to Katrina as “witch wife” was the ultimate shade-throw.)