Sleepy Hollow Review: Fear, Paranoia and a Little Romance in “This Red Lady From Caribee”
By Jennie Bragg
In “This Red Lady from Caribee,” Pandora distracts our heroes one last time with a monster of the week.
This time, Sleepy Hollow reaches into Trinidadian legend for the baddie: a soucouyant (some day I won’t have to google the spelling of the Sleepy Hollow bad guy) who takes shape from a swarm of nasty red insects whose bite turns their victims paranoid and eventually kills them.
While Ichabod and Abbie are busy dealing with this latest menace to Sleepy Hollow, Pandora is getting dressed up for her big debut… as something, we don’t know quite what yet. Meanwhile, Jenny and Joe find Atticus Nevins and perhaps unwittingly the significance of the shard of Acubus, which may now have a grip on Jenny’s soul. No biggie.
This week’s episode began tying together the major plot developments brewing over the season to date: Pandora, Jenny and Joe’s separate mission, and even Agent Reynolds’s feelings toward Abbie. (The only thing missing was Papa Mills.) But the overall effect wasn’t as suspenseful as I might have expected. I think it’s because this episode really was just scene setting for the final two episodes before the mid-season break. Kind of like how Back to the Future 2 was just a scene setter for Back to the Future 3. Let’s see how the set up is going.
Fear, Paranoia and a Little Romance
So Pandora’s motive in bringing fear to Sleepy Hollow every week has been pretty murky but what’s become very clear is that she needs that tree of fear blossoms to bloom. This week she conjures her final blossom, a flavor of fear of fear both “bitter and sweet”: paranoia. The Red Lady is a shape shifter made up of Jack Spaniard wasps. One bite and the victims succumb to madness marked by paranoia, and then death. The twist is, the Red Lady only targets authority figures. This angle seems mostly contrived to give us a flashback of poor General Washington in the grip of madness. And, in a much better tie-in, to infect Abbie’s boss, Reynolds. The effect on him is apparently not too different from downing too many tequila shots, as he is overcome by the need to tell Abbie that he’s still hung up on her. Also like the effects of too much tequila, he doesn’t remember anything the day after and Abbie doesn’t tell him what she now knows.
This episode spent a lot of time on romantic innuendo in between the action. Besides Abbie and Danny, we had Ichabod on the corniest first date ever with Zoe, and a dealer of rare herbs and spices who confuses Joe for Jenny’s boyfriend. This same dealer friend foretells that Jenny’s soul will be possessed by evil. So his radar is pretty good. The only one of these romantic stories that might get tied up neatly before the mid-season break would be Zoe – is she really just a nice way for Ichabod to get over Katrina or is she going to turn out to be part of whatever evil Pandora plans to unleash before we all head off for Thanksgiving? Abbie and Reynolds’ story is likely to continue to develop – especially if Abbie and Daniel keep working late at the office dressed like they’re ready to go on a date. And Joe and Jenny are getting closer and closer – whether it’s romantic or not. But it probably is.
In spite of Abbie calling her off, Jenny continued to pursue Atticus Nevins alongside Joe, who really wants to know what other secrets his father was keeping. In his showdown with Nevins (Bill Irwin brings the same level of gravitas and charisma that John Noble brought to the show) Nevins reveals that Corbin has a few hidden Swiss bank accounts – and that his “Mayberry sheriff” vibe wasn’t the real Corbin. Before we have time to send off angry tweets to FOX about that revelation, Jenny ambushes Nevin and retrieves the real item of value from the shard: a glowing red disk about the size of a quarter. Except – it’s absorbed into her hand and that really isn’t good.
Are we back to the Red Lady yet? We are, with Ichabod and Abbie discovering that the way to defeat her is to destroy her hive. A few fancy GIS tricks later, and Abbie and Ichabod have realized that the cluster of attacks reveals her lair – and coincidentally resembles a tree with six blossoms — an image that Ichabod recalls is on the back of the tablets he brought back from Scotland. They also realize that location of the hive is probably Pandora’s lair. It’s all coming together. Sort of.
Ichabod and Abbie dispatch the Red Lady without too much difficulty once they’re in the lair. But it’s Pandora they’re really after, and we finally get to see Ichabod face off with her. Pandora reminds us what type of fear the blossoms represent – secrets, chaos, loneliness, innocence lost and death – and thanks the Witnesses for helping her clean up after each monster she created. Pointing his crossbow at her, Ichabod tells her, this ends now. Which is something he always promises but it never happens. She’s able to catch arrows with her hand, and eventually, escapes into her magic tree. It’s a little anti-climactic, but like I said, this is scene setting. All we know at the end of this episode is that the tree might be pathway to the underworld. Not sure what the underworld looks like in this new Sleepy Hollow. I miss Purgatory – where is that creepy dollhouse set? – but I am guessing, like so many things this season, Purgatory has gone to, well, purgatory. But whatever it is, Abbie and Ichabod say they’re ready.