Last night’s Sleepy Hollow reminded me of this bit from Family Guy (second season, according to this clip) in which Stephen King has run out of ideas for horror novels. “Okay, for my 307th book, uh … this couple is attacked by a, uh … a lamp monster!” King lamely pitches his editor at Doubleday, who begrudgingly replies, “You’re not even trying anymore, are you? ... When can I have it?”
Sleepyheads, I do think our beloved show is still trying — in fact, the more we get into this revamped season, the more I’m intrigued by Pandora’s indoor koi pond of fear and whatever the shard is up with Jenny’s wadded-up ball of carbonite — but I must admit, I snarfed at this notion that the monster of the week was … a knife? (Sorry, Crane: A “Byzantine parang.”) But seriously, a knife unleashed at Pandora’s will that fuses itself onto people’s paws? So that every office dweeb’s unrequited crush can be upgraded to murderous crime of passion and then Jack the Ripper–like slashing spree? Because Jack the Ripper wasn’t just one dude in London in the 1880s, but several unwitting killers dating all the way back to 1066?
On the one hand, this was easily SH’s most laughable MOTW concept since last year, when that one murderer hid out in a painting for centuries or whatever. (To mention another piece of pop-culture flotsam I couldn’t help recalling: Death Bed: The Bed That Eats People!) But on the other, I am an implacable jerkwad, because one of the things I’ve always said I love about this show is the way it plays with history, broaching cockamamie alterna-theories about all the wars, generals, documents, etc. we forgot about learning about in high school.
So why wasn’t I more delighted by Jack the Ripper’s revisionist scenario? I’m guessing the sentient-knife antagonist bothered me not because of the idea of it, but the execution (as it were). The A story lines in this procedural are a tad too procedural for me. We all know how things go down: Crane spouts relevant ancient verbiage he just happens to know and suddenly and conveniently recalls key details from his past (he just now realized that he and Abbie share an evil-plagued childhood?); Abbie or Jenny (this week it was Abbie) digs up arcane bits of essential historical information online in exactly three keystrokes. Why invent such a deliciously outlandish theory and not have more fun exploring it? I would’ve loved to see some kind of Ripper flashback/reenactment that showed me how all of mankind managed to miss the historical killing pattern that Crane was able to figure out in a hot second, rather than just being told the bare minimum required to push the plot along. (I mean, jeez, we were once treated to Victor Garber as Crane Sr. Can a girl get a flashback with some dramatic meat on its bones?) As an SH viewer, there’s often no compelling reason for me to ruminate or contemplate on what the hell’s happening, or how or why. I just have to enjoy sitting back and letting IchAbbie explain it all to me ... which, by the way, I almost always do. In fact, in my mind, I’ve taken to referencing the tiny delights of Sleepy Hollow as “juicy bits.” As in, I could seriously watch Crane voraciously inspect book spines or Abbie kinda-sorta flirt with Danny for hours. In fact, let me jump ahead and throw in here what was obviously the best juicy bit of the episode: Abbie’s “Damn ... Ohhh, damn.” Who else squeed?
Having said all that, I did recover from last night’s “big bad” misstep of Death Knife: The Knife That Knives Knifing Victims faster than Crane bounces back after a self-injected bout of malaria — because otherwise, “Fear and Blood” kept me easily entertained. Which brings me to this: Can we admit that the subplots on Sleepy Hollow are becoming more engrossing than Abbie and Crane’s weekly endeavors? Who would’ve thought that Jenny and Joe would instantly become such a potent onscreen combo? I am really loving this sleuthing duo; it’s so nice to see Jenny unleashed from her sidekick role and used as something more than expository window dressing for Crane or Abbie or Hawley. [Pours out splash of beer onto floor of Ye Olde Sleepy Hollow Tavern for Hawley.] Her badassery was in full effect during that diner scene, when she coolly informed her nemesis/sort-of doppelgänger (more of that one, please!!) about the restaurant’s best lookout spot and how she located the shard in the chick’s car battery. I honestly have no frigging idea what is up with this shard story line, although I’m really into this notion that it all somehow ties back to August Corbin. Meanwhile, I would really like to know where in the Westchester County area I can find the midcentury modern motels and 1970s muscle cars that apparently populate Jenny’s retro-trendy world right now. Design within reach!
And then there’s Pandora. I was thrilled that Shannyn Sossamon got to interact more with actual people this week, rather than mostly spouting her lines to a pond or a tree. Loved her delivery, loved her Alias/Single White Female/Girl With the Dragon Tattoo clubbing wig, and I really am wondering what’s up with her black blooming roses. I must admit, I’m a tad fearful of letting myself get too invested in these teasing, multi-episode plotlines — what the tree means, what the shard means, etc. — because Sleepy Hollow doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to delivering a big payout. But let’s focus on the positive; tell me your cuckoo theories for this season — and your fave juicy bits from last night — in the comments.
The Daddy Mills story line was kept afloat this week when Crane espied a pic of Abbie’s pa on her smartphone. Very Important Question: Who will be cast as Abbie and Jenny’s father when the time comes???
Abbie: And here comes the Jefferson.
Crane: Quoth Jefferson! “We have more machinery of government than is necessary.”
Crane: Do you think there could be, as they say, an upside to this?
Crane: What brings you to this ... abyss of red tape and apathy?
Miss Corinth: My brother-in-law is a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration.
Crane: I would be honored to accept your assistance.
Crane: Thomas Jefferson would have railed against the “coffee break” to his dying breath.
Crane: Oh, please! As if Adams would have done any different!
Abbie: Damn ... Ohh, damn. [The GIF of the night, right?]
Crane: We are, after all, the witnesses. [Offers fist to bump, mimics explosion sound quietly.]