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SLEEPY HOLLOW “In Plain Sight” Recap

BY The Screen Spy Team

Published 6 years ago


By Clara Pullman

This second episode of Sleepy Hollow built on a few things that are working well, highlighted a few things that still aren’t, and made some real emotional connections.  The big story for the week wasn’t the baddie or the monster of the week, it’s Crane and Jenny’s discovery of the new Witness.

We start out with a call back to the old world of Sleepy Hollow. Crane is in the Archives while a mysterious presence skitters across the floor. And it’s hard not to get a catch in your throat when he calls out “Leftenant.”  But it isn’t Abbie in the Archives in Crane’s vision – it’s Molly.  He and Jenny have been performing a Tibetan ritual designed to guide them in finding the next Witness. But she’s a stranger to them, so Jenny vows to research interpretations of trance visions, while Crane runs off to the Not the Archives to do his own research.

Meanwhile Malcolm is Getting Things Done in Washington. We see him talking to Craven Politician Stereotype who weakly threatens to stop supporting Malcolm’s “green energy projects,”, whatever they may be.  Malcolm warns that he’d better get on board or Senator Craven’s body might end up in one of those green development projects. Which, as a lifelong resident of D.C., I can tell you is TOTALLY how lobbying works.

His next stop is a coven of witches who were mercenaries in the war against evil, rooting out traitors for George Washington and then watching over an important mysterious witchy artifact for two hundred years. Except one of them was lying about it in a way that I didn’t really understand and it turns out Malcolm really wants the mysterious thing. Then two of the witches turn on the other one, kill her and head out to party, snark about people, and kill anyone who annoys them.  Sort of like Supernatural Heathers. My Sleepy Hollow viewing friend wondered why all witches are required to wear corsets. Which is a good question. Maybe they’d be less murdery if they didn’t have to wear such restrictive undergarments?

All this makes up the monster of the week that Diana, Crane and Jenny must battle with help from Jake who is all in on the supernatural thing. Jerry Mackinnon is a charmer, and Jake’s enthusiasm is fun to watch, as is Alex’s snarkiness. While everyone else has jumped on board the supernatural crazy train pretty quick,ly she knows Crane is hiding something besides a closet full of Revolutionary reenactment clothes.

Diana is assigned to the solve the witch’s murder and brings in Crane to help her. And that’s when we get to the real story: the revelation of the next Witness. Crane sees a picture of Molly on Diana’s phone and recognizes her as the girl in his vision. While Diana is investigating the witches’ next crime – murdering all the patrons of a bar – Crane calls Jenny who tells him the Tibetan ritual isn’t just guiding him to the next Witness. The girl IS the Witness.

By the way, the things that happen without causing mass panic in this show…an entire BAR FULL OF PEOPLE are dead. And last week, Malcolm Dreyfuss blew up the head of Lincoln’s statue. Blew it up. I know we’re a little preoccupied here with the Inaugural plans but I think we’d notice if the Lincoln Memorial was permanently decapitated. But I digress.

The revelation of the Witness happened so fast that it almost seemed anti-climatic. Almost, except…the revelation is clearly spurring so many emotions for Crane and Jenny. “She’s not Abbie,” he tells Jenny, and he means it to remind her that they can’t get Abbie back through this girl.  His reaction to Molly is so heavy and complicated, and Tom Mison manages to show all of it in one 20-second close up as he walks toward Molly for the first time and they share a moment of recognition that only the two of them can register.

That scene could have been really corny: Girl sees our hero walking toward her in slow motion. But instead Crane’s face is a mix of emotions so complex I’m not even sure I get it yet. It’s the reminder that Abbie really is gone. It’s bewilderment at fate choosing a 10 year old child to carry this burden of being a Witness. It’s an instant feeling of protectiveness toward her.

If this scene points to where they’ll take the new Witness’s relationship to Crane, it could give Crane, and the show, the emotional grounding needed.

As for the girl herself….I’m going to out myself as someone who doesn’t usually like TV kids. American TV kids. They’re usually too cute, too precocious, always outsmarting the grownups and generally not acting like kids. And their hair is too long. Why is all TV kid hair so long? Anyway….can I say, this kid is being used to good effect.

Not just with Crane but with Diana. Molly is the vessel for showing Diana’s vulnerability. She IS Diana’s vulnerability. It keeps Diana from being just another sassy skeptic/badass crimefighter. And credit to Janina Gavankar for making her interactions with her daughter feel real and not just a TV simulacrum of “fiercely protective mom.”

And the reboot needs to feel emotionally real because the supernatural / baddie parts of it aren’t fully baked yet. The cranky witches didn’t amount to much in the end, and were mostly there to give Diana a reason to contact Crane. And to hand over yet another thing that Dreyfuss apparently needs. I’m still not getting what he’s doing and it’s shades of Pandora from last season. He’s collecting the things and we don’t really know why but clearly he’s really got it in for humankind.  C’mon guys. I hope you’ve got something really cool up your sleeve on this baddie.

But overall, after a premiere that was more promising than could have been expected (but by no means good enough to silence worries about the season), this episode was another positive step forward. Last week, I wrote that what the show really needs is the emotional connection, the bond between he characters. And that’s exactly what we got. Diana’s bond with her daughter, Jenny and Crane’s bond over Abbie, and the for now the shared secret between Crane and Molly, the new Witness.

Fingers crossed that the next episode keeps it up.

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