Sleepy Hollow Review by Henry Tran

Sleepy Hollow 2.11: The Akeda

Sleepy Hollow 2.11: The Akeda

Written By:
Mark Goffman
Directed By:
Dwight Little

It's troubling that the events considered here to be "shocking" developments in the main storyline of the show elicited little more than a shrug. Part of it is the insufficient impact of those developments and a part indifference due to the increasing lack of focus. Sleepy Hollow isn't drifting all over the place in the narrative; It seems more like everyone involved with the show is unsure of where the story is going.

The impression that stuck with me throughout the episode's running time was that the bulk of it was spent regurgitating nearly all of the major events that have occurred this season. This is the kind of thing that stops an episode in its tracks. The show was known in the first season for its sense of momentum, where the events of one episode would spill over into the next, keeping everything from stagnating. There has been strangely none of that present in the past few episodes, and that leaves little to be impressed by with this midseason finale.

Mainly, this is summed up in the scene where Katrina and Ichabod take "stock" of their marital status. Once again, Ichabod is unable to get past all of the secrets that Katrina withheld from him through their time together. It's part and parcel of Katrina's main purpose on the show, which is to be the eternal prize that Ichabod and Abraham are constantly fighting over. He can't be happy that his wife is no longer in the clutches of Henry and Moloch. The same issues just keep replaying over in his mind. This isn't character development. It's narrative stalling by way of keeping the characters in the same place until the writers choose to move forward.

By and large, Katrina is a problem that the writers can't seem to be able to solve in a manner that makes her fit in the fabric of the show. She claims that her powers are getting weaker because purgatory and the real world are slowly merging together, but this isn't shown onscreen. Rather, she seems to hold her own in dealing with the extraction of key information from Abraham as well as the subsequent battle with Henry, Moloch, and their army of undead monsters. 

Both she and Ichabod constantly want to "save their son" but the show takes a wonky approach to try and get to that point. Henry does save himself by thrusting the sword into Moloch instead of one of his parents, but it's largely of his own doing. His parents had little effect on that decision. Henry turning on Moloch suddenly is a rather abrupt change in the direction of the narrative, though. This may mean that Henry is no longer the villain and eliminates Moloch from the larger picture as well. A redemption arc seems to have been set up as a result of his decision to kill Moloch with the Methuselah sword.

The sword actually felt more like a character of its own in this episode. It came with built-in rules that just conveniently prevent the main characters from carrying out the action that the entire show is built on. If anyone kills with the sword, the sword takes their soul. Honestly, Abbie and Ichabod should not have missed that little tidbit about the sword in their research. That fact reduces their collective intelligence on the matter.

It leads to the really obvious contrivance of having Irving wield the sword during the final battle. It does pay off Henry's possession of Irving's soul from prior in the season, but like everything Katrina-related, the show really labored to get to that point. Irving sacrifices his life for somewhat unclear purposes. Before that, he showed some surprising skill with a broad sword. There should have been more of that sort of action.

His death carried little weight because Irving's character and arc have been unsubstantial up until then. It only allowed for Henry to wield the sword and get the episode to its proper end. And really, there isn't much else to say beyond that. The show has a myriad of issues that this episode solved somewhat, and yet, I'm left with more questions than answers that would leave me satisfied. Perhaps it's because these should be interesting characters who are somehow stuck in a rather mechanical plot. They keep saying that the end of the world is coming. What is shown just doesn't give off that particular impression.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Shifting adversaries might be a good thing
The Bad:
  • Katrina remains a weak link in the show's narrative
  • Irving's fate doesn't feel earned
  • It's unclear where exactly this show is going

Henry Tran is a regular contributor of review for Critical Myth; The Critical Myth Show is heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @HenYay

Sleepy Hollow by - 12/8/2014 7:25 AM185 views

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