Last week’s Sleepy Hollow, which Michael Ahr graciously covered in my absence, was a terrific hour of world-building with Ichabod squaring off with a son that’s become the devil’s advocate, and the curious inclusion of Nick Hawley, a sort of supernatural Indiana Jones (in theory).
Unfortunately, I have come back just in time for a far less capable episode about the not so sleepy village in Upstate New York. Rather, “Go Where I Send Thee…” mostly dances around its one truly great storyline development, which includes Frank Irving learning the depths of his nightmare, in favor of a Monster of the Week subplot. The result? A middling episode that coasted on the goodwill of Ichabod and Abbie’s charms.
We see those beguilements early when Ichabod is having Abbie teach him how to drive. Since we’ve previously seen the 18th century warrior behind the wheel of vehicles, it’s not that startling to see he knows how to tame that “power of 300 horses,” albeit it sets up for some banter. But that is all they have; they’ll defeat evil with the power of friendship, and they are never going to give up on one another.
It’s touching but redundant after all their pep talk scenes so far in season two. Nonetheless, it plays out better than the introduction of the Pied Piper. Yep, the Monster of the Week™ is the trickster and disgruntled contract worker of folklore—now as a demon with a tricorne hat. Not Sleepy Hollow’s most interesting menace, his flute of deadly seduction at least has a grisly new detail since it is made from the bones of 10-year-old children he murders.
We meet one of them in the episode’s prologue as she is lured in a creepy gaze—and we know it’s creepy since anytime there is a young girl all in white in a horror series, it’s not going to end well—thus the plot is put in motion with Ichabod and Abbie needing to find the child before she becomes another instrument for the fiend.
To achieve this noble task, as promised by Abbie to an apprehensive mother, they end up enlisting Hawley. The thing about Hawley’s laid back bravado (which is how I imagine Josh Holloway might have played Ichabod once upon a time) is that it while it was amusing when he was a guest character last week, it shows a potential landmine as an ongoing and recurring supporting player. I too enjoy when he calls Ichabod such varying putdowns as “Pride and Prejudice” and “Shakespeare,” however his cutesy Alabama Jones attitude is just a too grating with the show’s tone in this episode, especially after Abbie has to beg for his help in confronting a monster. This is a member of the Westchester Sheriff’s Department, and she relies on the guy who stole the Judas Coin from them last week as her back-up? As opposed to, I don’t know, actual back-up? Plus, his tactical support only goes as how far she can bribe him.
If Hawley is going to be a weekly presence, they need to find better ways to ingratiate him into the narrative before we decide he’s as off-putting as Ichabod has.
However, he is not the main focus of the night, instead it is saving the child from the Pied Piper in the second act, only for it to be revealed that she was meant to be sacrificed by the mama in order to protect the rest of her family. And I thought Claire Danes’ Carrie was bad on Homeland this season. Sorry Sleepy Hollow, however you attempt to spin it, this mother is beyond help when she has a gun being held at Abbie so she can feed her child to a demon. Good luck with the decades of therapy ahead of you, kiddo.
Luckily, the whole episode was not a wash. Because as Orlando Jones and Len Wiseman told me at New York Comic-Con yesterday, this is the night that Capt. Frank Irving learns that he made a deal with the Devil. And it has its perks too.
After envisioning himself as the right arm of the Horseman of War (i.e. a glorified sword-wielding zombie), Frank confronts Henry Parrish only to have his worst fears confirmed: he signed his soul away to a demonic force.
However, Henry sees it as a potentially great business relationship. When War truly comes, Frank can have justice for all his bad days at work, and there might be some premium parking that Henry can hook him up with too! Besides, it’s not like he has to worry about those pesky demons possessing his daughter anymore…
Is it me, or does this sound like a mob shakedown? “Hey, if you accept your soul is mine and Moloch’s, then his demons won’t be wearing your daughter like a new suit! Now go home and get your fudgin’ shinebox.”
I’m not sure it’s the most appealing enticement Frank could be offered, but it’s not like they really need to worry at the moment about him breaking his contract.
So, overall it was a fairly middling episode of Sleepy Hollow, but it had one terrific payoff for another dangling story thread. I am genuinely curious and unsure what Frank will do, meanwhile the idea that Henry Parrish has the remains of a bone that can cause hypnosis is about as unsettling as anything else that gets John Noble smiling. Then again, it has me pretty jazzed too since Henry Parrish is quickly becoming the best thing about an already awesome show. So hopefully, next week they’ll also get something worthwhile to do.