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Sandman, Bring Me A Dream: Sleepy Hollow “For The Triumph of Evil” Review

By on October 1, 2013
Featured: Tom Mison (Ichabod Crane), Nicole Beharie (Abbie Mills) -- Photo by: Brownie Harris/FOX

Featured: Tom Mison (Ichabod Crane), Nicole Beharie (Abbie Mills) -- Photo by: Brownie Harris/FOX

Sleepy Hollow stepped up its writing game this week with “The Triumph of Evil.” The end result? A nice middle ground between the intense action of the pilot and the careful myth development of “Blood Moon.”

When Abbie is called to a scene she learns that a jumper, Dr. Maura Vega, has requested her presence. As Vega talks we learn that it is Mills’ sister, Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood), who has brought her to the ledge. Before she can get anything sensical out of doctor, the woman leaps to her death.

Ichabod puts two and two together and determines the act is related to a dream Abbie had the night before. With this the duo venture off to learn more about what they are up against. After Ichabod shows off more of that innate apocalypse monster knowledge at the underground “cave of oddly useful trinkets,” their next move is one of great reluctance for Abbie. Jenny is a part of what’s happening, so necessity requires they make a stop at the local sanatorium despite their less than genial relationship. Jenny won’t see Abbie, but Crane weasels his way up to her room where he questions her about the apocalypse and the demon running a muck. During their short but intense conversation, Jenny offers a hint at how the monster may operate. Her conscience is clear, but Abbie — and the others the Sandman is presumably after — may not able to say the same.

The creature strikes again shortly after, this time targeting the man who found both Abbie and Jenny in the woods when they were younger. Abbie, Crane and the Sleepy Hollow Police Department are called to the man’s house and Abbie enters to find him armed and holding his wife hostage. It is from him that she learns the Sandman’s next target: her. Making their way back to the archive underground, they do more research and discover that the Sandman is a monster from a Native American (Mohawk tribe) myth. As the story goes the dark spirit will come for those who don’t do right by their neighbors. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together, Abbie and Ichabod discern that everyone who has — and may still — die lied or denied what they knew about the monster in the Mills sisters saw. It appeared as if Jenny was the only one who had a clear conscience.

Abbie and Ichabod ultimately enter a dreamworld in an effort to face the Sandman. They employ the help of Seamus (Matt Medrano), a car salesman and Mohawk, to help them cross over and defeat the monster. But before Abbie faces her demons and the Sandman meets his fate, we’re lucky enough to get a shirtless scene from the duo. Unlucky for them, it involved placing scorpions on their bare midsections.

A decent amount of screen time was spent painting a (broad) picture of the Mills sisters’ relationship. In both the flashback and Ichabod’s visit with Jenny we see that Jenny is as deeply wounded as her older sister. Inspite of this there remains an innocence and resolve to her spirit. This character introduction added a wonderful developmental layer for Abbie. We get to see this when Nicole Beharie nails her scene with Tom Mison during which Ichabod urges Abbie to take them to her sister. We watch Abbie’s eyes well up as she responds defiantly. In those few seconds Beharie shows us a side of humanity (guilt, anger, and hurt) that many of us know too well, but we rarely see from a character like this.

Jenny appears to be vital to the duo’s fight against the end of days. And now that Jenny has fled the hospital,  a future meet up between the sisters is sure. It will be exciting to see their interactions and evolution as Jenny is quite the compelling character. The presence and future development for Abbie’s ex-boyfriend Luke, however, remains unclear. In this episode he has a single moment during which he and Captain Irving bond over an initiation joke. It presumably confirms that Luke will be a stalwart force acting in opposition of Ichabod (a.k.a he’s that macho cop). If he gets more involved in the monster battles, we can hopefully expect some delectably tense scenes between him, Abbie, and Ichabod.

As for Ichabod, his strong intuition about all of these monsters is quite the oddity. Yes, he was married to Katrina, a powerful (good) witch. But he only found this out in the pilot on top of maybe a few months (or weeks) of knowledge about an impending battle for earth. The guy just seems pretty confident in his suppositions. Ichabod is working quite wonderfully — and no doubt humorously — though as a character who acknowledges what the audience is thinking. An example of this is when he notes while talking with Abbie that our conceptions of what is possible should have by this point expanded. His drive to tackle whatever demons they face also works as an artful plot pusher, keeping the pace of the show up without it being overt or leaving us feeling out of breath.

Crane’s visit with Jenny was probably the biggest treat of the episode. As previously mentioned, Crane is driven but prior to this his intensity remained softer around the edges in an effort to carefully goad Abbie into accepting her fate. He doesn’t have to convince Jenny of anything, however, and so their scene carried a particular dramatic energy that the show had yet to showcase.

"The Sandman" -- © 2013 Fox. Broadcasting Co.

“The Sandman” — © 2013 Fox. Broadcasting Co.

This week’s monster makes Serilda look like a lightweight. This Sandman is a creature lithe in stature, planted firmly on the ground and more than willing to push us over the edge of sleep… to our death. The effects and makeup were a step up from last week as was the accompanying myth. The Sandman was also an adequate source of scare, and when Vega’s eye exploded as her lifeless body lay on a gurney, it became increasingly clear that we shouldn’t get too comfortable.

Finally, we are only three episodes in and the “Ichabod learns about modernity” jokes have remained tactful. This week Ichabod had to tackle a VCR, a scene played rather adorably by Tom Mison. Oddly enough it’s not far off to assume there are quite a few members of our younger generation who don’t know how to use one either. Delightfully, the more humor we see, the more our initial fear about its overuse subsides.

What did you think of  this week’s episode? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Then catch Sleepy Hollow Mondays at 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT on FOX.