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Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust: Sleepy Hollow “Blood Moon” Review

By on September 24, 2013

© 2013 Fox Broadcasting Co.

Ring-a-ring-a-roses, a pocket full of posies. Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down.

In “Blood Moon,” the follow up to Sleepy Hollow‘s explosive premiere, Ichabod receives a dream message from Katrina about the coming of more monsters. He and Abbie then set out to learn how to stop it, which includes exploring Sleepy Hollow’s literal underbelly. They then make semi-haste in unraveling evil witch Serilda of Abbadon’s plans to rejoin the living and bring about the end of days. In the meantime, Andy Brooks has a chance to screw his head back on (courtesy of the goat-demon) and aids in the rebirth of the dark witch.

I. Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Burned

Despite its heavy myth and serialized relationship plot lines, the rest of the show unfolds like a police procedural. This was the first episode with the “monster of the week” storytelling in action, and for the most part it delivered. We learn more about the light and dark witch battle that occurred during the Revolutionary war, lending us insight into some universe lore, Katrina’s role, what Ichabod was doing for General Washington, and just how deep this battle of good v. evil goes.

It was to the dismay of many when Officer Brooks seemingly died last week, but perhaps that was the better of his two fates. When brought back (pretty awkwardly from the morgue table), he was tasked with finding the descendants of Serilda’s murderers. At one point that very much looked like a kid and Andy went about his business almost bringing an end to the kid’s life. In Andy we perhaps find the internal battle of good versus evil, offering the character some necessary depth. We want to root for Andy, but if he can’t find some way to free himself from the demon’s grasp, he may in fact find himself with no redeeming qualities left.

II. American Woman, Listen What I Say

Abbie was back to walking the line of acknowledging the truth and denying it to keep her job. She didn’t, however, become a pushover. Throughout the episode we watched her stand her ground with both Ichabod and Captain Irving. She knows what’s real, despite what the “evidence” may say. On the flip-side, she has fought hard to get to where she is, to leave the “crazy” label behind and to be proud of her accomplishments. No biblical prophecy is going to muck that up for her. Quite frankly, playing her any other way would seem like a severe injustice to the character.

Through Abbie we received the most touching moments of the episode as we learned more about her relationship with August Corbin (Clancy Brown). Corbin wasn’t just her boss, but a mentor and the closest thing she had to a father. Beharie and Brown’s acting came across as truly heartfelt and as a result the emotional weight of Corbin’s death resonated. Through her action and the exploration of her backstory, Abbie proved this episode that she is truly our heroine, and an extremely empathetic one at that. This is important groundwork for the character as she potentially has the most to fear and lose. Yes, Ichabod is a hero and has lost a lot – an entire world to be exact. This, however, is Abbie’s world and time. She will have to watch everything she knows crumble if this doesn’t work out. She will also have to watch those she loves die. That’s a mighty cross to bear and we’re only in our second week.

Pictured: Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane -- Photo by: Brownie Harris/FOX

Pictured: Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane — Photo by: Brownie Harris/FOX

III. Strange Things Are Happening To Me

Ichabod begins the episode running from the four horsemen through the woods, eventually landing in an underground cavern. Here Katrina is there to meet him and lay out the rules of the game. Basically, don’t expect the headless horseman to keep coming back every week. In his place we’ll find evil demons and creatures of myth that our leading duo will have to systemically study and then defeat. One of the main issues with the show’s set up was this idea that we’d have to fight the headless horseman over and over again. Realistically this would get kind of boring (no matter how many machine guns he has) and odds would be in his favor for winning out. So while the serial elements of the show have proven to be its most engaging, the procedural elements set up in this episode will keep things fresh week in and week out.

Crane gives us quite a few capitalism jokes (those will never get old), in addition to a few scenes acquainting himself with modern technology. The writers managed to keep this all at a sprinkle, which makes their drop that much more effective comically. It’s unclear whether Ichabod will act as the main “storyteller” of sorts, but from him we received most of our backstory and lore information. Despite how much one loves hearing Mison’s accent, it got a little exposition heavy. We could have very clearly (and possibly better) learned about the witch’s “evilness” directly from her instead of constantly watching Ichabod have some kind of convenient revelation.

The pacing of the show slowed down a bit, but the overall execution was on point. The scare factor remained and the ending action was exquisitely cinematic. The show wasted no time with the cutesy banter between Ichabod and Abbie which was only intensified by the introduction of Abbie’s ex, officer Luke Morales (Nicholas Gonzalez). Crane and Morales’ discussion also set up for some nice romantic storyline exploration for Abbie. Overall, “Blood Moon” gave viewers a wonderful balance between character development, action, and universe exploration. If they keep this up, Sleepy Hollow may turn into the best new thing on television.

What did you think about “Blood Moon”? Share your thoughts, questions, and favorite moments in the comments below.

Catch Sleepy Hollow Mondays at 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT on FOX.

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