In last week’s “Magnum Opus” we got to see some truly incredible things from everyone involved on the front-face of the show. The acting was superb. The writing was superb. The execution was superb. It was, in many ways, one of most sublime of all episodes on the show so far, possibly rivaling only last year’s season one finale in terms of impact and emotion and tension and everything else. But then, it was also just the beginning of the end too since while Team Witnesses has taken a hell of a lot of knocks this year, they finally had a major weapon against Moloch, and that’s what counts in the end.
This week’s “The Akeda” is the mid-season finale, ending an eleven-week run of what I consider to be awesome. Just as last year, the ramp-up to this major episode was run through with some really game-changing material, such as the Team Witnesses getting some new allies, some new weapons and also some revelations about their history. Now, it all comes together as the team rushes in to take down Moloch for good, though the episode isn’t without its many twists. It is a great episode in most respects and while it is a bit too fast for my liking, it also ends on a very strong note.
A whole lot of different things are happening very quickly now on Sleepy Hollow as Henry aka the Horseman of War, prepares to unleash his master Moloch the Horrid King on the world, and bring about the Apocalypse. In the last few episodes we’ve seen how Henry has brought Moloch into the real world, using Katrina as the unwilling agent of this demonic birth, thereby demoralising the two Witnesses a great deal. But the heroes bounce back from this setback, as they are wont to do and that’s what I love about the series so much, that there’s always hope.
This week’s episode is titled “Magnum Opus” and that’s pretty much true of the story. This really is a magnum opus
kind of episode since this one has the Witnesses searching out a new weapon to fight off Moloch and his agents, the fabled Sword of Methuselah, and everything that happens in this episode is top-notch, without a doubt. With some really intense stories and plenty of flashbacks to happier days, this mid-season penultimate episode pretty much has everything I want in this show, and then some. Can’t argue against that!
Sleepy Hollow‘s season two has tried to go bigger and better with each episode, trying to establish a much stronger story that ties in all the different characters while introducing new ones and also moving the town of Sleepy Hollow one step closer to the Apocalypse with Moloch himself as its initiator. The previous episodes have done much to explore the various mysteries of the town and also show how Henry is an absolutely manipulative bastard and how much he really hates both his parents, not to mention that Hawley really is coming together well for the team and developing into a high-profile asset.
“Heartless” and “Mama” are quite intense episodes, both of them. In the former, we see that Henry conjures a succubus to steal the life-energy of people in Sleepy Hollow and feed it to a child, who we later come to see is Moloch himself, finally given physical form. In the latter, we visit with Abby and Jenny’s mother, and it is a very, very emotional episode. We learn some truths about how and why their mother killed herself and while at the same time, we also learn that Henry and Moloch have grand plans for Katrina, and that these plans are quite nefarious indeed, in one way or another.
The last two episodes of Sleepy Hollow have focused on how our characters have a past that comes back to haunt them in some way, whether it is a jilted lover that Ichabod knew back in the day, or the son of Abby’s mentor who took her in when she was a lost and confused kid. It has certainly been an interesting couple weeks as we saw how Henry is intent on manipulating and corrupting those around the Two Witnesses, especially their staunchest alley Captain Irving. The show has done well in its second season, but I think we can all agree that with a third of the season now over, it is time for things to kick into gear.
This week’s “Deliverance” delivers handily on that last count. At the end of the previous episode we saw that Henry conjured a spider out of the jincan (sp?) that he pretty much stole from the Witnesses and then let it loose on Katrina. The promo for this week’s episode then showed some disturbing things that hinted at how Moloch was growing impatient with Henry’s efforts in the real world and we realized that Henry is a totally insane individual and that he is also pretty damn badass. “Deliverance” really is a magnificent episode that does much to address some recent prominent subplots and also delivers (pun intended) on the promise of grand things happening in this season.
Sleepy Hollow is a show where the characters’ past often comes back to haunt them. This was a recurring theme of the first season last year and so far it is holding true for the second season as well. Last week’s episode forced Ichabod to confront another unfortunate incident from his past, something deeply personal that ended up affecting his life in the present, his relationship with Katrina. Fascinating really since they are time-crossed lovers who have endured horrors beyond imagining in their time apart, and for whom there is still no reprieve.
In “And The Abyss Gazes Back“, new this week, we see how Abby’s past comes back to haunt her. Joe Corbin, the estranged son of her late mentor Sheriff Corbin, comes back to Sleepy Hollow following an honourable discharge from the army and we get to see his relationship with both her and with Jenny. Very interesting, and fortunately this is also the perfect time for the amazing Clancy Brown to return as the former Sheriff of Sleepy Hollow. This was a really great episode on many levels, and the cliffhanger ending was simply mind-blowing. Last season this was just the halfway mark, but now we are a third of our way into the show, and it looks like things are really kicking up now.
One of the latest shows of the new Fall 2014 anime season, Lord Marksman and Vanadis starts off humbly enough, but it also sets up a grandiose story of kingdoms at war and magically-powered heroes duking it out on massive battlefields. Of course, being a fantasy harem anime, adapted from a seinen manga, it does some things that I’m not quite comfortable with and the focus on the female characters, or rather their T&A, means that I often struggle with the story since a lot of it seems so much fanservice, or what have you. Despite all this, the story is somewhat interesting, which is why I’ve lasted four episodes till now.
Episodes three and four continue the story of Lord Tigrevurmud Vorn, a young nobleman with holdings in the town (doesn’t really look like a city all that much) of Alsace, as he fights against a raiding army of fellow Brune noblemen with the help of the enemy of the Brune, the Warrior-Maiden Ellenora Viltaria of Zhcted. Lots to take in, I know, but the first couple episodes ease you into the world, and thankfully the next two episodes do a lot to expand on the world at large. Some cool battle scenes in episode three and more Warrior-Maidens with cool CGI in episode four are keeping me interested right now, but I suspect that I’m going to tire of this quite soon.
Last week’s episode, “Go Where I Send Thee” was a pretty intense episode, pitting the heroes and their newest ally against the villain of an old folk story, he Pied Piper. Where Sleepy Hollow is concerned, such stories are often all too true, and the Pied Piper was one of the creepiest villains I’ve seen on the show as yet. I loved it quite a bit since I’m really liking the character of Nick Hawley, who is more an anti-hero than a villain or a hero, and also because Henry Parrish really seems to be upping his game in the larger plan to take down the Two Witnesses and bring about the Apocalypse.
The new episode this week, “The Weeping Lady” brings back someone from Ichabod’s past, a jilted lover who bears everyone he loves now a great amount of hate. It is a pretty grand episode though it also feels filler, the writing team using the expanded second season to squeeze in more one-off stories. At the same time though, it also shows that things aren’t going according to he plan for Moloch and Henry, and that they are being forced to make some adjustments. As usual, loved a lot of things about the episode, though I wish that Abraham aka the Headless Horseman aka Death was being given more to do.
With the Fall 2014 Anime season upon us, it is time to get cracking on a whole bunch of new shows. I used to watch a lot of anime in my college days, but then I fell off and only got back to them last year, and it has been a fun ride, with some really good stuff coming out in the last year and a half, and some bad stuff too. But it is definitely a great time to be watching anime I think, given that each season sees upwards of 50 new and/or returning anime series on television. And one of the newest is Lord Marksman and Vanadis aka Madan no Ō to Vanadīsu, based on a Japanese light novel series of the same name.
Despite being a rather odd title, Lord Marksman and Vanadis is a decent enough story about a young noble archer who is taken prisoner before a big battle, and then must confront some of his prejudices and rethink on his loyalties and his ties to his nation. Tigrevurmud Vorn is a decent enough protagonist, if a bit generic, and the female lead Ellenora Viltaria is the same, though she is thankfully quite a bit more of a badass. The first two episodes look very promising, but the animation sure can be quite basic at times and some of the camera angle choices make this an odd uncomfortable experience as well.
Fox’s horror hit, Sleepy Hollow, had a great first year and so far it has also had a great second year, though we are only four episodes into the new season, which is said to be half again as long as the previous season. That in itself is excellent news since while the short first season was excellent, the second season gets even bigger in scope this year. With Sleepy Hollow itself, we’ve seen the war between the good guys and the bad guys intensify as the “End of Days” continue to march on Sleepy Hollow, and lines between the two sides are even more sharply drawn.
Last week’s episode, “Root of All Evil“, and this week’s episode, “Go Where I Send Thee“, are really intense episodes that mix in a lot of different things. We see how the new Sheriff Reyes has a history with Abby and Jenny. We see the many ways that Henry intends to bring destruction to Sleepy Hollow and the rest of the world. We see how Abby and Ichabod gain a new ally in treasure procurer Nick Hawley in some of the best scenes of this season. And more, so much more. I really loved what writers Melissa Blake/Donald Todd and Damian Kindler did here, building on some great mythology and providing some new villains as well.
Sleepy Hollow‘s season 2 debuted last week with a solid season premiere that promised lots of different things. With Abby stuck in Purgatory, Ichabod buried alive in a coffin, Katrina in Abraham’s custody, Irving arrested and Jenny in a car crash, things looked pretty bleak, but the characters managed to bounce back handsomely enough that they are still a major threat to Moloch and his minions. Many of the plot-threads from the previous season’s finale were continued on and it ended on a great note, setting a great tone for the second season.
This week’s episode, “The Kindred“, does something that we haven’t seen on the show yet. We get some more on Benjamin Franklin this time around, and see how contingency plans to fight the Headless Horseman were being put together two hundred years back. Some of it comes to bloom in this episode in the form of the Kindred, and I think that Team Sleepy Hollow just got a huge boost in firepower, and with the increased activity from Henry, Abraham and their master Moloch, the team is going to need everything that they can get, even as they get taken out one by one, or so it seems.
Last year, Sleepy Hollow ended up being one of the best shows I’ve seen to date, especially for horror. It was a rather short debut season at just 13 episodes (the last two episodes were broadcast as a single long episode). One of the best things about the show was the relationship, both personal and professional, between the show’s two major leads, Abby Mills and Ichabod Crane. They were such opposites, and yet they bonded so well and they became the life of the show. The stories were awesome of course, but the characters were always front and center, which is what matters most I think.
Last night Fox premiered the second season of Sleepy Hollow. At the end of season one, all the major characters, whether Abby or Jenny or Ichabod or Frank Irving were in a really bad place. They had been betrayed and played for fools by the demonlord Moloch, and in many ways the season finale was about the bad guys winning their first major fight. Now, in the second season’s premiere, we see how things carry on from there, and how Moloch and Death and War are planning to proceed with the next phase of their plan to invade the mortal realm and destroy the world.
I started off my review last week by talking about the show’s preference for shock and awe with respect to violence against and the sexualisation of women. Game of Thrones does not have a good track record of that at all, and this season has shown that the showrunners are definitely not going to shy away from that. In fact, they are going to double down. This is quite puzzling indeed and one of the reasons why I’m never able to enjoy an episode as much as I want. That was true for this week’s episode as well, and I’m afraid that I don’t see this improving in the near future.
This week’s episode “Oathkeeper” is basically the calm before the storm. It lacks any significant OMFG moments right up until the final seconds and even then it isn’t really enough. Basically many of the different stories are moving forward and we suffer them all in silence. There were some good bits such as the emotional scenes between Brienne and Jamie, and some not-so-good bits such as Daenarys once again basking in the adoration of slaves, playing into the whole “white savour of coloured people” trope. All I felt after the end of the episode was “meh, next”.