Sleepy Hollow: Root of All Evil Review

Compelling subplots trump solid but kitschy conflict-of-the week in this episode of Sleepy Hollow. Here’s our review.

I’ll admit, they had me worried. Sleepy Hollow has been treading a fine line between the cliché and the ridiculous, and the show still has healthy helpings of each. But what keeps the show going is the strength of its protagonists and their dialogue, as well as the underlying mythology of Moloch and his minions trying to release chaos upon the world. As long as that storyline continues to move forward week to week, many faults with the magical historic artifact of the week can be forgiven.

I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a corrupting force being passed from person to person. I mean, didn’t we just do that last season with the demon who jumped here and yon with a simple touch? Similarly to last week, when the key to Purgatory was suddenly pursued with no previous mention (shouldn’t that have been higher on the priority list?), I have to wonder how each new strategy finds its particular place and time in Moloch’s overall plan. Why, for example, did Henry decide to wreak havoc with the coin from Judas’ purse of 30 silver at this exact moment? Obviously, it’s narratively convenient to have one conflict to overcome at a time, but it also makes the antagonists seem like very poor planners.

I also sometimes find myself wondering why certain people are aware of the supernatural side of the town and others are not. Case in point: the new character introduced this week, bounty hunter, Nick Hawley. He knows all about artifacts and how to protect oneself from Jesus-betraying silver using stained glass. Ichabod Crane finds Hawley “far too attractive,” which means I’m sure we’ll see more of him. I did enjoy the interplay between the two, and I’m sure there’s fodder for the ‘shippers in the audience as well.

Meanwhile, the new sheriff continues to throw roadblocks in the team’s way, and purports to know nothing of the spooky happenings in town. I think there’s something she’s not telling us, though, and her occasionally assistance and sympathy towards Abbie makes it hard to totally hate her. Expanding upon the idea that she assisted with the girls’ mother was a nice touch, and this furthers the idea Reyes knows more than she’s letting on.

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As clumsy as the Judas coin plot was, however, this episode snuck in a couple of tidbits that I was quite fond of and hope to see developed further. The first is the imperfect nature of those inhabiting the aspects of Death and War. While the horsemen are faceless supervillains, Henry and Abraham are flawed human beings. Katrina obviously seeks to play on Abraham’s jealousy and blind devotion, and she correctly sees Henry’s choice of abode as a sign of weakness.

The second compelling glimpse we got this week was of Irving in prison. Now that he is aware of his lawyer’s evil nature, will he follow Crane’s advice and stay in Tarrytown despite Reyes’ inexplicable desire to see him suffer? Will he follow Katrina’s example and act upon his secret knowledge without Henry finding out, somehow working it to the team’s advantage?

These little questions in the background are what keep me coming back for more Sleepy Hollow. The creature-of-the-week, episodic plots aside, I like the direction this season has taken with a growing team of heroes and a pair of antagonists that is much less ephemeral than Moloch and the headless horsemen were last season. As long as the artifacts, historical magic, and mysterious creatures don’t become too ridiculous, I’ll keep tuning in.

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3.5 out of 5