Sunday, January 26, 2014

SLEEPY HOLLOW Full Of "Indispensable" "Blood"

Article first published as SLEEPY HOLLOW Full Of "Indispensable" "Blood" on TheTVKing.

FOX's Sleepy Hollow has been an action-packed drama full of twists and turns throughout the course of its thirteen-episode freshman run. Abandoning the police procedural concept entirely, which is a surprise considering the set up of the pilot, instead it focuses on mythology and belief, bringing witches, Revolutionary soldiers, George Washington, the Masons, the Bible, including the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse and Revelations, and more together in a thrilling messy war.

The two-part season finale, "Indispensable Man" and "Bad Blood," tie a lot of the threads from past episodes into a neat bow. Little elements that didn't seem related suddenly are, and both of the main characters, also known as the Witnesses, are forced to confront their pasts. It's terrific character development, but also really cool storytelling that proves the writers had a plan going in for this tale.

Abbie (Nichole Beharie) realizes she's forgotten some of her past with the demon, Moloch (Derek Mears). Trapped in Purgatory, a fulfillment of a prophecy she tried to avoid, she wanders into a dollhouse, a safe haven where she finds her missing childhood experiences. It's clear why Moloch stole that part of Abbie, as it would have ruined one of Moloch's plots. But it's also a lot about Abbie, who turned her back on her sister, Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood), in the woods, and now faces her sins.

Abbie is a hero, one who is willing to sacrifice herself for the greater good. "Bad Blood" is the culmination of this, at least in regards to serving as redemption for the mistakes she has struggled with throughout this freshman year. Abbie will surely survive and emerge back into the real world, but this should make her a much more confident, tough person, helping to erase the self-doubt and regret that plagues her. Which is not to say she hasn't shown strength, but she does have vulnerabilities that this should help heal.

While in Purgatory, Abbie also runs into Andy (John Cho) and Sheriff Corbin (Clancy Brown). For two characters who died in the first part, they sure have been well-used in the past few months, returning again and again. It seems fitting that Abbie confronts them again now, probably the last time we'll see them (assuming Andy is crushed completely in Washington's tomb), at least for awhile. They are likely part of the first chapter, not the whole epic journey.

Ichabod (Tom Milson) also stares down his past in Purgatory when reunited with his father (the amazing Victor Garber, Alias). This is someone that Ichabod is estranged from, but someone whose approval the soldier desperately craves. Ichabod made some tough choices in his life, and when offered the chance to change things, even if it's not real, Ichabod reaffirms his stance, proving his mettle.

It is a tad too easy how Ichabod and Abbie overcome their various obstacles. They are quickly tricked, and just as quickly break the spell. But there's a lot to get through in these two hours, and it's more important that they are shown grappling with a crucial element of their past than exploring a full story on how to escape said element. So it works for the story structure laid out, and it's a minor complaint in an otherwise stellar ending.

Abbie stays stuck in Purgatory, but this allows Ichabod to bring Katrina (Katia Winter) home. The lovers are reunited, and it seems like a happy ending for Ichabod, at least in the romantic department. After all, once Katrina's out, surely they can find some way to keep her out, even while saving Abbie.

There is a scene between Ichabod and Abbie in Purgatory that makes me think Katrina may not be long for this world, despite appearing in the show's opening credits. After all, she's always been a side part. Abbie and Ichabod have a bond that could easily be developed into something more, and even Katrina looks uncomfortable at their long goodbye hug. Might Sleepy Hollow be heading for a hook-up between the unlikely partners? I can't say I saw it coming until now, but it might be a good idea, given their excellent chemistry and total opposites attract mojo.

Ichabod and Katrina's bliss is cut short when Henry Parish (Fringe's John Noble) is revealed to be their lost son, Jeremy, and a servant of Moloch and the second Horseman. It's a deep betrayal, both from Henry, who has become a fast friend and assistant to the Witnesses, and from Jeremy, who will not hear his parents' explanations. It seems especially unfair that Jeremy buried Ichabod in the ground, since Ichabod never even knew of his existence, though it makes total sense when Jeremy hands Katrina over to the Headless Horseman (Richard Cetrone), whom loved her.

Leaving all of these players in a cliffhanger in not exactly welcome, but certainly makes for a tense, exciting ending. Ichabod is buried, Abbie is trapped, Katrina is captive, and Moloch and Jeremy / Henry are free to do their evil, a seal broken. Oh, and supporting player Jenny appears like she might be dead and Captain Irving (Orlando Jones) is arrested protecting his daughter, so there is really no one left to save the day. How will they come back from this?

There aren't really any hints in "Bad Blood" at a resolution, but that's OK. It feels like everything was poured into this finale, playing all the cards they still held at once, all while seamlessly tying it back to what came before. Now, the writers have months to figure out where to go next, and given the skill they've demonstrated thus far, they leave us with confidence that they can solve the puzzle by the time filming resumes.

Sleepy Hollow has been renewed and will return to FOX next fall.

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