Sleepy Hollow Review by Henry Tran

Sleepy Hollow 2.13: Pittura Infamante

Sleepy Hollow 2.13: Pittura Infamante

Written By:
Melissa Blake
Directed By:
John Leonetti

So this is what a standalone episode of Sleepy Hollow looks like. It is, unfortunately, not as cohesive as it should be. The ideas for a good start are there. It's the separation of the main characters that keeps the episode from achieving true greatness. Not that I'm growing tired of the Abbie-Crane pairing that is the base of the show, but there is a pairing off here that leaves out the connective tissue altogether.

Abbie is left to deal with a subplot that doesn't have much of interest occurring. Captain Irving's return poses many more questions for both the characters as well as the show's audience. All of those questions weren't really answered in the episode. It functions here as more notification for the captain's wife and little else. The main characters nicely acknowledge the show's internal history by comparing Irving's current status to that of Andy Brooks.

Meanwhile, Ichabod and Katrina are paired off on a "date night," which in this century means spending the evening at an event for the local John Adams Historical Society. On paper, it sounds rather dry. But the plot dives into one of the aspects that makes this show fun, namely the Cranes' connection to every one of the Founding Fathers. The difference here is that Katrina has a deep friendship with Abigail Adams (Michelle Trachtenberg, held to what amounds to a cameo appearance in flashbacks). At least here, the show arguably uses Katrina in the best way since she was introduced. Not only do the flashbacks properly fill some of Katrina's backstory, but both she and Ichabod spend extended time in each other's company without discussing the somewhat perilous state of their marriage. 

The show has already established the chemistry between Ichabod and Abbie. They should rightly move on to develop the same kind of thing with Katrina. The date night doesn't last very long before the episode's villain rears his ugly head, but for that brief time, Katrina's character had something resembling a purpose beyond a third wheel. The case they both take on here brings back the truly frightening aspect that hasn't been seen on the show in a while. It's also something of a blessing that Colby has nothing to do with the serialized story of Moloch and Henry Parish. That belongs to the subplot with Captain Irving's return.

The concept of a killer trapped in a painting via a hex from Katrina's coven is not a novel one from the horror genre. That doesn't diminish its effectiveness, especially when this show comes up with some really scary imagery and great uses of tilted camera angles. Colby only threatens and kills the people close to Ichabod, which has actually become such a common occurrence that anyone who becomes friendly with our beloved professor should be marked for death immediately upon appearance. Again, the expedited nature of the story all but demands that there be no character development with the minor characters. Also slightly irritating is the resolution of the plot devolving into the Cranes spewing purely expositional dialogue to explain exactly what they intend to do. It's like reading a mystery novel with a narrator right beside you, taking you through each step in how the mystery unfolds. 

What saves the whole thing for me is that the resolution appears rather neat. Katrina isn't going to trump Abbie as Ichabod's partner, but she's taking a more proactive approach to fighting supernatural forces by going along with Ichabod to fight Colby inside the painting. In fact, Katrina is actually instrumental to their eventual escape from the painting and Colby's defeat. The latter is physically accomplished by Abbie showing up at the last minute, but Katrina proved here that she has the capacity to go beyond being a liability to the group.

I worry that the show will go back and forth between the serialized and standalone elements now that a retooling has been announced. The announcement gives off the feeling of desperation, a last-ditch effort near the end to find out what keeps ailing this season. If episodes like this are the result of that retooling, then there may be few problems for the series ahead. Of course, the possibility of ineffectiveness also looms. We'll have to wait and see.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Possibly Katrina's best showing to date
  • Nice blend of episodic and serialized elements
The Bad:
  • This retooling news could be very, very bad

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 - 1/22/2015 6:37 AM159 views

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