Sleepy Hollow: Mama

Posted on November 18, 2014

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Nicole Beharie, Lyndie Greenwood and Matt Barr in FOX’s “Sleepy Hollow”

 

Katrina Crane! She is utterly the most fascinating character of 2014, don’t you find? The world just can’t get enough of Katrina! Crane! First she runs off with the Headless Horseman for … reasons! Then she escapes the Headless Horseman for … other reasons! Then she goes back! And falls in love with her demon baby! Who she then tries to kill! But now he’s a little boy so WHO KNOWS WHAT KATRINA CRANE WILL DO NEXT!?! IT IS A MYSTERY WRAPPED INSIDE AN ENIGMA AND SHOVED INTO SKINNY JEANS, YOU GUYS.

Sorry. It has to be said: Katrina Crane is kind of an asshole. Maybe Katia Winters is a lovely woman and maybe the character of Katrina has the best of intentions, but she’s the biggest narrative drag and pain in the ass since Cousin Oliver. And here’s what frustrates us the most: if the goal with Katrina’s character this season was to sow some dissent between Abbie and Ichabod, and to plant the seed of doubt in Ichabod’s mind as to whether he can trust her, then why didn’t the story simply have her get knocked up without ever escaping that house and going back to it? In other words, Ichabod finds out that Katrina, who has been shacked up with the Headless Horseman, who is in love with her, got pregnant and had a baby while in that house, wouldn’t that have served the same narrative purposes in a much more economical and straightforward manner without all the running back and forth and rapid shifts in goals and plans? Why have her escape, go through a mystical abortion, then go back, only to find out her baby survived? What did that serve except to take time away from more interesting characters and plot developments?

And we’re to sorry to say it, because we love John Noble, but Henry is as muddled a character as Katrina is. We’ve reached the point – right around the time he insisted his mother hold her demon baby and then acted hurt when she did so – where every time he opens his mouth or reveals a plan, we just roll our eyes and think “Oh, what are you going on about now, Henry?” Get over your goddamn mommy issues, Horseman of the Apocalypse. You’re starting to bore us.

But enough ranting. Let’s look at the main plot of this episode, which finally had the Mills sisters working together to address their own history and their mother’s life and death. It was … okay. For some reason, Ichabod was sidelined from most of the story, which was frustrating and seemed kind of pointless to us, although we suspect Tom Mison just wanted a couple of days off. The killer demon nurse thing didn’t quite come together as the creepy/campy concept it could have been, though. And the actress portraying Lori Miller was perhaps not up to the task of playing someone being tormented by demons, which made the emotional payoff at the end not quite work as well as it should have.

 

Similarly, we got some emotional stuff with Abbie and Jenny, although none of it felt as developed as it could have been. The fact that one sister spent significant time in a mental hospital while the other sister pretty much denied her should have factored into this story a little more. Sure, it gets referenced and the sisters will talk about the differences in their perspectives, as they did in this episode, but it all seems curiously emotionless and flat. There should be a whole hell of a lot of resentment and even denial in a family dynamic like that. Then again, we’re comparing the Mills family to real-world families with histories of mental illness. That’s never going to work because they live in a world where mental illness is caused by demons. Still, some greater emotional depth than the rather shallow puddles displayed here would have been welcome. “Mom tried to kill me, I wound up in a mental institution and you didn’t speak to me for a decade, but let’s hug it out, sis. It was all the demon’s fault.”

It’s so frustrating how the show keeps setting up these amazingly complex relationships – Henry to his parents, Ichabod to Katrina, Abby to Jenny – LOADED with betrayal, disappointment and lies, and yet they always seem to shy away from truly exploring the ramifications. Katrina is going to go bad at some point, but we’ll be told it was because of a spell or something. Just as Henry will probably have some sort of emotional and moral turning point where the multiple murders under his belt will be handwaved away or quickly forgotten. We could be wrong about those predictions, but everything sure points to them at the moment. It’s like the show has spent most of season two running away from all the promise shown in season one. This wasn’t a terrible episode, but given what it was trying to do, it wasn’t nearly as good as it should have been. The only good thing that came out of it was Frank’s escape and the implication that Jenny is a witch of no small talent.

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