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SLEEPY HOLLOW Review: Fear is Stalking Sleepy Hollow

BY The Screen Spy Team

Published 7 years ago

SLEEPY HOLLOW Review: Fear is Stalking Sleepy Hollow

By Jennie Bragg

This week Sleepy Hollow episode, "Blood and Fear," pretty much gives us exactly that.

It opens with Pandora asking her box to reveal the Witnesses’ fear – and out of the box rises a dagger with an elaborately-carved handle... and the ability to possess its possessor. Pandora needs to find a willing host for this possession, someone just sad and dejected enough to be susceptible to any female attention. Naturally she goes to a nightclub.

She lures Nelson, a nondescript office drone who has been rejected by his office crush, into a night of dancing and drinking. He wakes up with the knife on his bedside table and next thing you know, the jerk that Nelson’s crush spent the evening with is dead in an elevator. This leads to revelations about Ichabod’s teenage years at Eton and the true origins of one of the most famous, and compelling, villains in history, Jack the Ripper.

The mousy geek with a futile crush on the popular girl, who naturally is attracted to the good-looking jerk, is an admittedly lazy trope, but it picked up steam when Nelson turned into a knife fetishist with the ability to repel bullets. Ok, having the knife forged onto his hand made him seem like the next laboratory-accident villain for the Spiderman franchise, but he was effectively scary.

Meanwhile, Jenny, with Joe’s assistance, is still tracking down that shard. Which is wildly in demand but who knows why. Ichabod is still trying to save the Archives, the futility of which leads to an important personal decision. And Abbie still hasn’t told Jenny about her father. That family meeting is going to be awkward.

Pandora’s Longer Game

Overall, this week was a big improvement over last week’s episode, which was overstuffed with character and plot introductions and tonally was all over the place. It helped that this episode was blissfully free of the wacky sitcom-style shenanigans of last week’s opening scene. Here the living together concept was used to better effect: subtly and not to generate domestic sitcom site gags, but just to allow Ichabod and Abbie some time to be together, away from work or a crowded bar.

The groundwork laid last week did begin to pay off, though, with some nice moments between Abbie and her new boss, Joe and Jenny, and hints of something brewing regarding Papa Mills. Although it was nice to see that flashbacks won’t be exclusively about Betsy Ross, and I enjoyed seeing the teenage version of Crane, it really feels like the show’s heart, and probably budget, just aren’t in it this year with the flashbacks. They were always a fun element, and helped give the show some greater heft beyond just, hey there’s a bad guy this week, so I’m hoping they’ll get better over the season. Speaking of heft, the biggest thing still missing is a sense that the threats facing Abbie and Crane are grounded in some bigger and, well, Apocalyptic, mythology.

There were good performances all the way around this week too. Tom Mison toned down Crane’s mannerisms from last week. He’s clearly presenting a more relaxed Crane this season, one who smiles more and doesn’t feel the need to keep a stiff upper lip at all times. Nicole Beharie is really making the most of Abbie’s story so far this season too, with all of the micro-expressions she’s so good at. And as expected, it’s a pleasure to see more Jenny, who still gets some of the best lines. Like, telling Reynolds and Abbie, “You two have a great day agenting” delivered with a knowing look to a very uncomfortable looking Abbie. More sister interaction like this will be fun to see – don’t we all love to tease our siblings no matter how old we get?

Pandora is still a cipher. Which is obviously intentional, but right now she has a bit of a Henry/Jeremy thing going on, where she just throws some newly conjured baddie at the Witnesses every week and Voila! there’s your plot. She even has the plant obsession that calls back to Henry – but I’m still in the dark about what those creepy flowers mean. One big difference is, Henry’s weekly motivation was to stop the Witnesses. And since that clearly wasn’t going to happen, he started to look more like Wile E Coyote than a Horseman of the Apocalypse. Pandora has a longer game in mind here, but I’ll be darned if I know what it is yet. Ichabod and Abbie are starting to hone in on it with the realization that she is creating fear, not just in Sleepy Hollow but in them. The two Witnesses are getting back to their old closeness, where they look out for each other, understand each other’s quirks and know what the other is thinking without it being said. That is still the best part of watching this show.

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