Advent Review #2: Sleepy Hollow Season 2 Ep 11 (TV Show Review)

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.

For a mid-season finale, the episode does almost everything right. It brings together all the different characters and positions all the pieces for a definite end-game. It introduces some new mysteries while others are solved. It ends on a strong note. The only thing that I feel it doesn’t do properly is the pacing, which is too fast. In effect, it was as if the writers had to cram in almost two episodes into one. Truth be told, I think that given the material that needed to be covered and the way the story was structured, it could have used a bit more room, and been stretched out to about an hour and ten or fifteen minutes. Some of the sub-arcs needed room to breathe and there needed to be more tension since as well since the high pace meant we didn’t get to properly spend time with some of the characters.

But put all that aside and the randomly-titled “The Akeda” is a near-relentless action movie spectacle of the kind that only Sleepy Hollow can do so well. It features lots of great fights, particularly as Ichabod goes toe-to-toe once again with his arch-nemesis Abraham aka Horseman of Death. The sword/axe-fight between them last week was absolutely magnificent, and this time we see them both being even matches for the other, though Ichabod does have a nice advantage that his nemesis doesn’t.

And the thing is that with so much going on in this episode, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture, especially given the jaw-dropping ending, but at the same time, it is the small arcs that really matter. They all contribute to a greater whole most certainly and the sum is indeed greater than the parts, but at the same time, each sub-arc matters on its own. Frank Irving’s redemption. The broken relationship between Ichabod and Katrina. The four white trees that have haunted Abby and Jenny all their lives. Hawley getting in on the whole Apocalypse action. Henry’s own supposedly-possible redemption. Moloch’s rise.

My thinking is that what happens in this episode is also a bait-and-switch. Writer Mark Goffman and director Dwight Little tease us with everything that happens, and that ending (man, that ending!), and it is all a setup for a bigger twist in the back-end of the season once it gets underway next month. There has to be a reason why Moloch’s rise on Earth should happen in the middle of the season rather than at the end. Not to mention that we have still not seen the other two Horsemen of the Apocalypse in this season. There’s a rather chilling line by Moloch in the pre-climax in the second-half to Henry, that there have been many Horsemen before him and that there will be yet more once his time is done. That implies that the Horrid King has a very long plan in place, and that his manifestation right now is merely one of many over the long years, and that there will be others too.

Still, I loved that all the major sub-arcs of the season got addressed, though Frank Irving still got the short-end of the stick as far as his story is concerned. Him being left to the sidelines in this season hasn’t sat well with me, and his arc in this episode, while being very awesome, still doesn’t make up for that fact. He was one of the most interesting and nuanced characters on the show in the debut season and this season has seen him getting the short shrift again and again. If I have one complain about Sleepy Hollow this year, it is that Frank Irving has been wasted as a character.

Sleepy Hollow Cast 00002

Looking past that though, I like that the show attempts to toy with the idea of redemption for the villains, particularly Henry and Abraham. Team Witnesses has a single goal in this episode: to kill Moloch and prevent him from establishing a new Hell on Earth. But at the same time, the heroes have to go through Moloch’s two important lieutenants, and that is certainly no easy task. In fact, Henry kicks the team’s ass in the pre-climax, after suffering a major defeat himself. And that’s what so good about “The Akeda” you see, there is a certain flip-flop of who is going to win out at the end, and as a viewer you are in for the ride of your life to see how it is all going to go down.

However, one last criticism I’d make is that towards the end, Henry’s fight against the heroes just doesn’t satisfy as much as it should. It is something I’ve been expecting since the first episode of the new season and the execution is lacking. And that’s the fault of the relentless pacing that Goffman off-loaded on this episode. Had there been more minute-miles here, things would have been so much better, and I could actually think of Team Witnesses as being really smart and capable individuals once they come together as a team. Sadly not.

But, still a good mid-season finale that has me stoked for the mid-season premiere next month!

More Sleepy Hollow: (Season 2) Ep 1, Ep 2, Eps 3-4, Ep 5, Ep 6, Ep 7, Eps 8-9, Ep 10.

More Sleepy Hollow: Season 1.

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Posted on December 2, 2014, in Review Central, Sleepy Hollow, TV Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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