Like Pandora, I’ve been cataloging a lot of my fears as this season of Sleepy Hollow wears on. There was the fear of death (how the hell would this show move forward after killing or otherwise offing three of last year’s main characters?), fear of chaos (without a Moloch or an apocalypse, what’s our heroes’ shared purpose?), innocence lost 'memba kind-hearted Corbin? sweet Andy?), and fear of loneliness (would there be enough SH die-hards willing to stick around for a third season?). And let’s not forget Pandora’s JFK-inspired fear of fear itself. For the purposes of my wonky allegory, we’ll say that one translates to: Would I be able to let my anxieties surrounding this show, and my concerns about what it could be, subside enough to just let me enjoy the dang thing for what it is?
So last night, I asked not what Sleepy Hollow could do for me, but what I could do for Sleepy Hollow. Rather than throwing a mental tizzy every time someone instantly recalled a historical tidbit he or she had once read in a dusty book (and even remembered exactly where they last left the book lying about! In a room filled with nothing but books!), I made like Betsy Ross the other week (and Zoe last night; more on that in a sec) and just went with it. Instead of eye-rolling because of course Jenny knew exactly where to find Trinidadian wasp repellent, I simply went along for the ride. And “This Red Lady From Caribee” turned out to be a pretty fun ride. Certainly a hell of a lot better than riding shotgun with Daniel.
This week’s monster is a lady who is also a swarm of red wasps. Pandora chants a nursery-rhyme-like spell to summon her (credit to Shannyn Sossamon for doing so much line delivery to empty rooms, and carrying it off with panache) and tasks the demon with bringing her the final bloom she needs for the world’s most evil topiary. (Side note: The cinematography in Pandora’s lair, with its bluish filters, started reminding me last night of the video for “November Rain.”) Pre-Bones crossover, the most recent big bad we had was the Tooth Fairy, and while this week’s lady in red (or lady in insect mask in red?) didn’t do much for me when she assumed a mortal form, in general I think it’s wise for the show to introduce as many of these more-relatable evil forces as they can come up with. I hate mosquitoes and spiders and bees, and a wasp once attacked me when I was like 9, so in this case, I can supply some of the squeamishness on the show’s behalf. (I repeat: Ask what you can do for your Sleepy Hollow.)
The wasps also came with a good backstory: Grace Dixon–Betsy Ross face-off! Although Dixon is one of the best characters on this show (seriously), let me walk back a comment I made recently about Nikki Reed as Betsy: She was good last night. Granted, she didn’t have much to do or say, but she conveyed the proper gravitas — which is easier said than done when you’re acting opposite a weirdly dough-faced George Washington while wearing Mira Sorvino’s pants from The Replacement Killers. I don’t fault Reed for Betsy’s shortcomings, is what I’m saying. Or maybe what I’m saying is that Reed is like Heather Graham; she’s an actress who’s only as good as the material she gets to work with.
Here’s a good example of what I’m talking about: In the hibachi-restaurant scene, Zoe responds to an apology from Crane by insisting, “None needed.” That’s a line that, to me, has a slightly colonial air to it and would serve Betsy well. Of course, it also serves Zoe well, because her fuddy-duddyness is what Crane likes about her, but what I’m saying is, why can’t the writers come up with lines like that for Betsy, thereby giving Reed a fighting chance? Instead, a couple weeks ago, Betsy told Crane in a flashback to “just go with it.” And funny enough, Zoe used that exact line at the end of last night’s episode on her constitutional date with Crane. So I guess what I’m saying is, either the SH writers are lazy or they’re brilliant. (Just go with it.)
Anyway, enough about all that, because once again, the juiciest parts of the episode were found not in Pandora’s evil-doings, but in Jenny and Joe’s secondary story line. First off, I can’t believe I waited this long to type these words: BILL! IRWIN! Now that, my friends, is an inspired casting choice. He was just perfect as the charming-yet-sinister-yet-mysterious-yet-powerful, real-life big bad Atticus Nevins. After hearing about this oddly named dude for so long, there was no letdown once we got to see him in the flesh. And once again, the Jenny-Joe subplot kept us on our toes (as opposed to the Ichabbie flat-footed story lines, which are laid out plainly and that I therefore tend to just amble along with). Joe looks at the old photo of August and Atticus: What do the codes on the back mean? Joe tells someone on the phone, “We need to finish this.” Who is he talking to? Joe gives up the shard; it’s a trap, there’s Jenny! She takes the red-gem thingie that was inside the shard (which, it turns out, was just some fake-rock, hide-a-key contraption like you’d hide in a flower bed?); she’s burning up inside! Will her story line turn out like Frank’s? Will she be the next to turn evil? Will Joe profess his obvious feelings for her before he has to drive a stake through her heart or find her hive or whatever? More questions below!
- Were you able to deduce that the knives and fire meant Crane was at a hibachi restaurant before you saw him lift his frou-frou cocktail to his lips? A pat on the back if so!
- Okay, I know I said I’d just go with things, but here’s a little story-propelling blip that I just couldn’t abide by. Daniel walks into Abbie’s office and she instantly compliments his tie. But did you see his tie? It was super-blah. I get that they needed a reason to prompt Daniel to confess he was attending a special function that night, but in that case, couldn’t wardrobe just get him a snazzier piece of neckwear?
Crane, to Zoe: I see we both walk the same internet paths. [This quote is actually extra-cute after watching the final Crane-Zoe going-on-a-walk scene!]
Crane: General Washington? Paranoid? No.
Abbie: Yes. [But like, “yes” in an exasperated-hiss way that only Abbie could say it.]
Crane: I assume this call does not bode well. [This will be replacing my usual phone greeting, which is, “Hello, you’ve reached the winter of our discontent,” and which I stole from Reality Bites.]
Nevins: You’re making a big mistake.
Jenny: That’s my specialty.