SLEEPY HOLLOW 1.12 & 1.13 Review
Episode Title: “The Indispensable Man”
Story by: Sam Chalsen
Teleplay by: Damian Kindler & Heather V. Regnier
Director: Adam Kane
Episode Title: “Bad Blood”
Writers: Alex Kurtzman & Mark Goffman
Director: Ken Olin
Previously on “Sleepy Hollow”
I’ve had some problems with “Sleepy Hollow” largely over some poor writing choices and a few occasional performances that fell short. But there’s something to admire when a show can introduce a zombie George Washington… and it’s not even the craziest thing in these final two episodes of the season!
Plus, a good cliffhanger is always fun. But “Sleepy Hollow” went even further than it had to and it delivered a great cliffhanger that had a legitimately shocking reveal to close out the season.
That’s right, the “Sleepy Hollow” creative team has pulled a fast one on us. One of the main villains of the season has been hiding in plain sight for some time now, even before we had any clue about their identity. Now I have to rewatch the first season to see if there were any real hints that set this up.
Before we go any further, you should know that there are full spoilers ahead for “The Indispensable Man” and “Bad Blood,” so if you missed last night’s season finale of “Sleepy Hollow” then you should probably skip this review or else Dead Andy will switch sides again before the end of this sentence.
After a few episodes with weaker comedy scenes for Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison), both of last night’s installments had genuinely funny moments. The callback to Yolanda from the OnStar parody was great, as was Crane’s visit to a renaissance fair and his sudden desire for a better smartphone. Whatever happens to “Sleepy Hollow” in the years ahead, Mison has a bright future in action comedies.
Following up on last week’s reveal, “The Indispensable Man” finds Crane and Abbie (Nicole Beharie) wondering how the hell George Washington could have written a date into his Bible four days after he died. And the answer is… zombie George Washington! I loved that and I wish that more had been done with it. But apparently, Washington only arranged for his resurrection so he could make a map that leads to Purgatory using information that he learned while he was dead the first time.
Meanwhile, Dead Andy Dunn (John Cho) appears to Abbie and he tries to get her to switch sides to save her from Moloch’s plans. When that doesn’t work, Andy pleads with Moloch to make him into a weapon and he becomes… Demon Mutant Andy!
Seeing John Cho in that demon makeup was inherently hilarious. Before his transformation, Andy was too inept to be taken seriously as a villain. After the change… Andy was still pathetic as he manages to die on his first time out as a demon. Although Andy did ask Abbie to kill him (before he resurrected again and became trapped) and his plea to burn Washington’s map was actually good advice. In retrospect, a lot of Crane and Abbie’s problems would have been lessened if they taken it.
You see, Crane did burn the map… after he had already memorized it with his conveniently perfect memory. My own memory is imperfect, so I can’t remember if that was something invented for this episode or if Crane’s super memory had been previously established. Either way, it still felt like a cheat.
“The Indispensable Man” attempts to play up the idea that Abbie is losing her trust in Crane because she thinks that he might turn against her because of Moloch’s prophecy. I never really bought into that despite someone very obviously (in hindsight) fanning the flames of Abbie’s doubts.
Another subplot in the penultimate episode seemingly sidelined Captain Frank Irving (Orlando Jones), as he takes the fall for the murders that his teenage daughter committed while she was possessed. Honestly, that was just silly without the benefit of the humor found in the other parts of the episode.
It was really hard to buy into the idea that the cops were investigating Irving’s daughter as one of the murder suspects. Irving’s sacrifice is meant to be a powerful moment in which he reaffirms his commitment to his family… but it just seems like one more excuse to shuffle Orlando Jones off screen. Irving had only a few episodes where he was integral to the story this season. Outside of that mid-season arc, Irving had a tendency to disappear. Note that Irving was also completely absent from the season finale.
The second part of the finale, “Bad Blood” had the best reveal (and the biggest surprise) of the season. The great John Noble’s Henry Parrish isn’t who he said he was. He’s Jeremy, the long lost son of Crane and Katrina (Katia Winter) who was raised from his living death to become the Horseman known as War.
Initially, I was against turning Henry/Jeremy into one of the villains. But the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. “Fringe” fans should recall that Noble also played the alternate Walter Bishop (aka Walternate) as one of the most compelling and frightening villains on TV. “Sleepy Hollow” could really use a villain like that and Noble may be the perfect choice. Noble’s presence alone makes “Sleepy Hollow” into a much better show.
If you look back at the first episode of the night, there were some clues that Jeremy was evil. The “cursed” beads repelled him, but the beads were used by a priest to extend his life… so why would they react so strongly to Jeremy unless he wasn’t the good man that he pretended to be? Also, Jeremy did his best to undermine Abbie’s faith in Crane by suggesting that he could turn on her based on an unused Bible prophecy. The third hint was that Jeremy went out of his way to introduce himself to Katrina when she was freed from Purgatory.
As for Purgatory, it was very Silent Hill. To get Katrina out of Purgatory, Abbie volunteered to take her place (temporarily) and she made Moloch’s prophecy come true in the process. It seems like the writers went out of their way to avoid making Crane’s so-called betrayal into something that could make him look bad. The only thing that Crane does to harm Abbie in any way is that he recreates the map to Purgatory without her knowledge. But that potential threat to their relationship was quickly undercut when Crane relented and revealed that he had lied.
By the way, did anyone notice that the demons in the graveyard seemed a lot like the easily disposable threats on Power Rangers? Talk about some easy to kill demons.
Getting back to Jeremy, nobody monologues quite like John Noble and his performance gave that scene some real power. Jeremy resents his parents so much that he embraces Moloch as his true father, condemns Katrina to the custody of the Headless Horseman and buries Crane alive in the grave where Jeremy was forced to spend over 200 years. The only one who could possibly save Team Crane is Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood)… but she’s not looking too good herself by the end of the episode.
I had Jenny pegged as the expendable character in this group, but that turns out to have been Captain Irving all along. Irving’s absence was barely felt in this final episode. Greenwood isn’t a regular cast member on this show, so unless she receives a promotion in season 2 then Jenny’s days on “Sleepy Hollow” will always be numbered. But Greenwood has earned her place on this show and she’s often a stronger performer than Beharie is.
“Sleepy Hollow” still has its flaws, but that was an undeniably entertaining season finale. The hard part for “Sleepy Hollow” fans will probably be the nine month wait for new episodes. However, the pieces are in place for a solid second season. “Sleepy Hollow” just has to build on what it started here.
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