Sleepy Hollow Season 1 Eps 4-6 (TV Show Review)
Last time I mentioned that Sleepy Hollow had become a surprise hit for me after watching the first few episodes. I’m not a big fan of the horror/supernatural genre, but I’ve seen a few shows and movies over the years that I’ve liked, and a few that I haven’t. If done right, they can be quite good. If handled badly, they can be really terrible. Sleepy Hollow is a straight up horror show that works because first and foremost the characters are excellent and second, the stories are all engaging and brilliantly told with a clear overall narrative. The last of those two is quite important for any show, more so for one that really depends so much on the audience’s suspension of disbelief.
The first three episodes of the show really hooked me in right from the start. I’d started watching the show on a whim because of a passing interest at best but after that pilot and then the next few episodes, I couldn’t get enough of the show. As of writing this review, I’ve caught up with all nine episodes of the show so far (the tenth airs tomorrow) and its great to see that the writers have kept the overall story on track despite taking an occasional detour to tell some side stories that build on the overall narrative. These three episodes, they did a great job of building on the overall mythology of Sleepy Hollow and giving some new perspectives on all the events that have been going on in the town.
Leading up to the fourth episode, we had seen at the end of the third that Abby’s sister Jenny had escaped from the mental institution where she was kept. It was all a result of Ichabod sharing the recent goings-on with her in an attempt to get her side of the story and to find out what she knew, and the fourth episode took that directly in stride. The late Sheriff had always been investigating and reading up on the strange cases that happened in Sleepy Hollow and the first episode showed that he had a veritable library of reference material and case notes. It turns out that when she grew older, Jenny had often worked for him, following up leads and everything even as she traveled all over the world, picking up skills and knowledge from pretty much everywhere.
This subplot is teased out throughout the episode and what I loved was how different Abby and Jenny are from each other, despite all the obvious stuff. The episode’s premise is that the demon who infests Sleepy Hollow has tasked his Hessian, 18th century German mercenaries who have survived the last two centuries and continue to carry out his bidding, to open a gateway to hell in the town and releases some of the other lesser demons to wreak havoc and mayhem. Naturally, this involves the trio of Ichabod, Abby and Jenny. This episode marked a significant shift in the characters’ knowledge of who is that dark and mysterious demon who was responsible for setting the Headless Horseman. We had only seen him in brief flashes here and there, but this time, we learn his identity, and none of it is pretty to say the least.
The Hessians make for some natural enemies and perfect foils for the good guys, especially given how extensive their network is throughout town and I found myself really intrigued with where it was all going. The Hessians show up now and then as part of a larger plan devised by their demon master and given how action-packed those particular episodes are, including the fourth, the show is doing well to balance the character drama against that.
Some good twists here and there as they involve some more revelations about Ichabod’s past and his time during the Revolutionary War and we see how far and wide the demon’s influence extends, and how entwined the demon’s plans have been with Ichabod, since the latter has thwarted him again and again.
Nicole Beharie as Abby Mills and Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane continued their excellent team chemistry in this show and I have to say that I am a complete fan of both. They are an extremely natural pair and they complement each other quite well. When Lyndie Greenwood’s Jenny Mills enters the equation, she too slots in perfectly given her experienced perspective in dealing with modern supernatural events and in this she does a lot to bridge the differences between Abby and Ichabod. All the characters are brilliant performers and the writers do well by giving them all some time to shine throughout.
The fifth episode goes off on a significant tangent from the main story and in this one we see a boy from the past come into the present of Sleepy Hollow, although none of it is without consequences since he also happens to bring some kind of a supernatural disease with him. Nothing here is directly tied into the demon’s plans or with the Headless Horseman per se but we do get to briefly see another Horseman of the Apocalypse, Pestilence. As with the previous episode, this one too is a ticking clock episode, counting down the moments to a big tragedy in the town that Abby and Ichabod have to stop at all costs.
I didn’t enjoy the story as much this time around since it was a little too out there but what I did enjoy was seeing glimpses of another Horseman. The Headless Horseman has naturally been one of the best elements of the show thus far and we have known from the first episode that he is just the first and that his… brothers are waiting in the wings to themselves manifest in the mortal world and bring about the Apocalypse. And seeing Pestilence in the brief cameo in this episode was quite a joy in that regard.
This also precipitated a major shift in the status quo of the show however since this marked Captain Irving, Abby’s superior, to finally acknowledge that everything going on in the town is really messed up and that despite all his cynicism and objections, he is better off listening to Abby and Ichabod in these matters and going along with what they suggest, within reason. There have been some rumblings of this in the previous episodes, but this is the one where there is an acknowledged shift. It isn’t a full shift (that comes later), but it was a significant event in an otherwise decent episode.
The entire mystery of the disappearance of the Roanoke Colony was handled well, I thought, and it certainly made for some interesting moments, and the tension was always there in how the members of the colony would react to the presence of Ichabod and Crane. Right up until the end, you are never sure if they are the good guys or bad guys, and that was expertly handled by the writers. They maintained a high level of tension and they kept me interested in the story.
The sixth episode proved to be alarmingly great. In this one, Ichabod ends up being kidnapped by some mysterious people who have taken an interest in his work in Sleepy Hollow and they ask him to prove who he is and even what he is. We learn early on that these are Freemasons, that they are descendants of the Freemasons from Ichabod’s time and that Ichabod himself was/is a member of the Order. Naturally, since he is inexplicably back from the dead, they want to know what he is doing, why he is doing, and they also come up with a plan to stop the Headless Horseman that is quite simple in its particulars.
Given all that I’ve seen in the show by this point, I wasn’t surprised by any of it really, but what I liked was that we got to see some extensive scenes from Ichabod’s time back in England when he was a young soldier of the English army and when he first met his wife Katrina. There are some great scenes set in Ichabod’s past and I loved all of it. They fleshed out more of Ichabod’s character, we learned more about Katrina, and even got to learn more about the demon and his ilk, especially how they are prevalent all over the world and how far-ranging their influence is.
But that’s not all that this episode is about. In those flashbacks, we see that Ichabod committed a sin and that because of that sin and because of the mingling of his blood and the Headless Horseman at the moment of their deaths, the first Rider of the Apocalypse is tied to Ichabod’s future and that he is always there with him to magnify his sins. This then plays back into what the Freemasons of today want him for and the resulting conclusion is quite obvious.
On the trail to find out what happened to Ichabod, Abby brings in Jenny as help and they track down a method by which it is possible to “cure” Ichabod’s scenes and these brought in John Noble in one of his most delightful performances to date. He of course starred in the Lord of the Rings movies as the father of Boromir and Faramir and was the Steward of Gondor. he played an anti-hero/villain of sorts and he was great in that, just as he was in the first season of Fringe, an FBI procedural involving some really weird stuff, the SF version of supernatural as it were. Its always great to see John Noble and in this episode he was fantastic.
One thing I really enjoyed about this episode was how it tied everything together that’s come this far and how it sets the stage for the return of the Horseman, someone that we’ve only seen in a few key sequences and who is one of the central mysteries of the show. All the character drama between the three heroes (Abby, Jenny and Ichabod) comes to the fore here and we get some really touching moments between all of them, just as we did at the end of the fourth episode between Abby and Jenny when they finally bury the hatchet between them.
So yeah, I’ll say that the show has continued quite strongly across these three episodes and that I’m thoroughly enjoying this. Its a procedural show in its own right with the “problem of the week” method, but that’s to be expected and to be honest it doesn’t bother me at all because the writing is brilliant in most respects. There’s not been a moment where I think, this is so damn boring, or, this is so stupid. This is a well-told, well-acted mature show and I love it for that.
More Sleepy Hollow Season 1: Eps 1-3.
Posted on December 8, 2013, in Review Central, Sleepy Hollow, TV Show Reviews and tagged Abby Mills, Christian Mythology, Creepy, Demons, Headless Horseman, Horror, Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Ichabod Crane, Lyndie Greenwood, magic, Moloch, Nicole Beharie, Religion, Review Central, Riders of the Apocalypse, Sin Eater, Sleepy Hollow, Sleepy Hollow Season 1, Sleepy Hollow Season 1 Ep 4, Sleepy Hollow Season 1 EP 5, Sleepy Hollow Season 1 EP 6, Supernatural, Tom Mison, TV Show, TV Show Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.