Sleepy Hollow: Magnum Opus Review

Sleepy Hollow has its penultimate episode to the fall finale, and heads are rolling with the Horseman riding again.

Now, that is the kind of Sleepy Hollow that I’ve been missing in recent weeks! Tonight’s episode, amusingly titled “Magnum Opus,” is the gonzo gothic Tarantino-lite nuttiness that the last several episodes of filler, including a dreadfully dull hour last week, have been missing. This show works best as an ensemble where the supernatural is just as super-weird in its kitchiness. We want pentagrams, not love pentagons between two Mills sisters, the Cranes, and the frequent party crasher Hawley.

Tonight, Sleepy Hollow is also is a blessed distraction of entertainment on a night filled with horrors far more insidious than a Headless Horseman with a shotgun—even as they crept into the show before the hour ended tonight with unbelievable headlines. This is Sleepy Hollow at its silliest best, with all the Horsemen, demon babies, and stray Gorgons that could include.

The hour begins briskly by setting Ichabbie on a quest for Methuselah’s sword. For those who didn’t attend Sunday School, you probably at best know about Methuselah from the crazy old guy Anthony Hopkins played in Noah, and we’re guessing that about extends to the writers of Sleepy Hollow too. In a strange little quirk, it is apparently the Arthurian-esque quest for his blade that the entire discovery of the New World may be really based upon, and it is also a wonderful set up for Abbie and Ichabod to have their Clash of the Titans moment (or God of War for the more gaming-inclined Perseus scholars) when they run into Medusa.

The Gorgon snake-haired lady is apparently protecting the sword that is the only tool capable of striking down an adult Moloch walking the Earth, and it creates a wonderful crisis of conscience for our heroes. For whatever reason, Ichabod realizes that he only came to the New World at Abraham’s insistence, and he likewise only met Katrina due to Abraham’s ill-fated politeness.

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Why Ichabod needs to start considering the merits of free will when the proverbial Anti-Christ is hours away from implementing the Armageddon remains to be seen. Also, his solution that since he chose to be a patriot, and Abraham a Horseman of the Apocalypse, seems a bit rushed at best. Nonetheless, it is all in service of the Headless Horseman making a much welcome appearance again as a big bad.

Yes, Heady rides again, and now he has a shotgun too, just like in the pilot. Sadly, all this backstory has done for the Horseman what origins do for so many other great villains (ask Anakin Skywalker and Maleficent for more), but at least he still looks cool. And whenever it is the Horseman going head to head with our heroes, the stakes are naturally higher.

As a whole, the first 10 episodes of season two have had too much padding, which is not necessarily a surprise given the elongated season-order. Perhaps having more episodes of Sleepy Hollow isn’t necessarily a good thing if it means we have to wait this long for things to come to a head (pardon the pun). But now that they have, and the Monster of the Week trope is tentatively in the rearview, the show is firing on all cylinders. There is a tangible energy to Mison and Beharie’s performance when they’re fighting Gorgons with smartphone cameras—Abbie gets the line of the night about “are you going to take a Gorgon-selfie?!”—and even more when they are fighting the Horseman. This is where Sleepy Hollow’s energy began, and this where it could end. Maybe.

While Abbie has her Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade moment during her selection of swords (she chose…poorly, but then her second guess was on fire), Katrina learned the belated fact that she should have known weeks ago: Moloch is just not a kid to keep around the house. Fully grown into his true demon self, his half-brother decides to end the charade and grants viewers the mercy of knowing that things are actually happening. Moloch is about to usher in an Apocalypse, our heroes have the sword to stop him, and Frank Irving is just waiting to pop up as a potential spoiler for either side (remember that he is supposed to be a minion of Henry).

Overall, it was a terrific episode that ends on a cliffhanger promising a midseason finale that could be a series finale in theory. Moloch is here; the battle between good and evil is about to be waged between the Witnesses and Hell. Let the true cause of this series’ Revolutionary War be felt.

My guesses for next week are that Frank will be forced to do Henry’s bidding for at least part of the episode, however Katrina will convince Henry to have a change of heart. He will die saving her, or she will die saving him (or both!). Either way, the Family Crane will be shrinking until at least the actual season two finale. I also suspect it’s about time Franklinstein charges back into battle with the Horseman. Oh, and speaking of which, Abraham will have the perfect opportunity to kill Ichabod again…and then walk off.

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But this isn’t a time for quibbles. This is a time to be thankful for holidays, and their liberating effect on a Sleepy Hollow ready to play for keeps.

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4.5 out of 5