Last week, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow did something rather daring that I didn’t expect, twice. Not only was Henry killed off in the penultimate episode of the second season, but we also had Katrina travel back in the past to change history because of the circumstances of Henry’s death. What should have been a really emotional episode was perhaps less so, but I think the daring aspect of it kept me hooked. And it did have a sense of impending finality to it, so in retrospect it was kind of clear the route that the writers might take, but it was still pretty surprising.
This week’s episode “Tempus Fugit“, the second season finale, shows what Katrina hopes to achieve in the past, what particular outcome she wants to change so that she can have a life with Jeremy (Henry) that she’s always wanted and the lack of which turned him to his dark past. In terms of action, the episode definitely packs a big punch, but in terms of character development, it isn’t anywhere as impressive, and a particular decision of the writers in the final few minutes definitely did not work for me either.
Fox’s Sleepy Hollow’s has been trying some interesting things of late, especially given the fact that the show has now moved beyond the threat of the demon Moloch, the Horrid King, unleashing the foretold Apocalypse, with Ichabod and Katrina’s son’s Henry/James being the instrument of this release. The show has focused much more on the character relationships now and while it has had some success in some areas, it has also been a bit weak when it comes to certain characters, especially Captain Frank Irving and Katrina herself.
The recent three episodes of the show, “Spellcaster“, “What Lies Beneath“, and “Awakening” are very much focused on bringing Henry back into the fold. He disappeared at the end of the mid-season premiere, having turned on Moloch and killing him instead of Katrina and Ichabod, but now we learn that he is very much alive and is indeed planning something, though he is no longer beholden to Moloch. Quite different times in fact, and along the way, we also get to see some really dubious characterisation of Katrina, the most troubled character on the show, and also get to see that many of the recent things happening in Sleepy Hollow aren’t as isolated as we thought they were.
Sleepy Hollow’s mid-season premiere got off to a rocky but interesting start about 3 weeks back or so, though I find that with Moloch gone and done with, the show has lost a little bit of its appeal as well since things aren’t so “2 minutes to midnight” anymore. There’s a lack of urgency to things, and though the mid-season premiere did well by further exploring the weirdly fun world of the town of Sleepy Hollow by introducing angels into the mix, I also find that the show is kind of plodding along now, with little thought to a longer story.
The recent two episodes, “Pittura Infamante” and “Kali Yuga” do one thing well: they take the rocky relationship between Ichabod and Katrina and then try to smooth over their many differences while also showing more cracks between Ichabod and Abby. Both are reflective of the loss of a common enemy that brought the three of them together, and that’s where the episodes really focus. However, it is all far too… mundane and the clear lack of an over-arching plot for the tail end of the second season is really hurting the show, as far as I can tell, since the characters and stories are just plodding along, doing the basics necessary of them.
The mid-season finale last month proved to be a major game-changer. The show had been building up to this one big epic confrontation between the heroes and the villains and it all finally happened as Moloch succeeded in manifesting himself on Earth and began to bring about a merging of Earth with Purgatory, over which he held dominion. But then, something really incredible happened, and it was all for naught because the great demon overlooked something quite… human, which proved to be his terrible downfall.
And that brings us to this week’s episode, “Paradise Lost“, the mid-season premiere of a great show. In this new episode, we find out what happened to the heroes after their big confrontation with Moloch, and how the span of time since then has changed them all. Moloch is gone, good and proper, and so a semblance of normality is returning to their lives, but an evil like Moloch doesn’t go out all the way and Team Witness’ bad time is about to get a whole lot worse because there are many more dangers out there now, now that many of the denizens of Purgatory have fled to Earth and have begun to cause mayhem.
Note: This review contains spoilers for the mid-season finale, episode 11.
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.