Sleepy Hollow: Pittura Infamante

Posted on January 20, 2015

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Tom Mison and Katia Winter in FOX’s “Sleepy Hollow.”

 

This was a semi-decent episode of a show we have no desire to watch.

We would love nothing more than to make that sentence the entirety of our review but we suspect you’d all call us lazy. But there really were moments that came across enjoyably tense and it had a pretty good bad guy and some genuinely creepy scenes. Unfortunately, it was an episode of Ichabod & Katrina’s Generic Supernatural Adventures and we’re sorry to say, it’s the kind of episode that hints at a direction that makes us think this show actually deserves its dropping ratings. Showrunner Mark Goffman seems to have absolutely no idea why Sleepy Hollow became semi-popular in the first place. It wasn’t because of the hot, whispering white lady, Mark. It was because of the two leads and their insane chemistry with each other.

Abbie is getting sidelined so much that it’s gone past tin-ear writing and started looking like a deliberate downgrade for the character. Her entire appearance this episode was in service to a simmering subplot, while I&K ran around solving the main case and bonding, in front of an audience that couldn’t care less (we’re presuming). So we had a main story that was pretty good, except Katrina was playing the Abbie role and we got a side story where Abbie pretty much played the Jenny role. The lead co-star continues to get sidelined in the story and treated like a supporting character and frankly, it’s starting to get really … we won’t say “offensive,” but problematic. How can it not when you sideline the lead black actress and continually shove a white supporting character the fanbase seems to hate into her role, over and over again?

The only good thing about this episode was the part where Abbie and Jenny admitted they can’t stand Katrina. And when you couple that with Ichabod’s somewhat delicate manner with her at times (even his speech at the end sounded somewhat noncommittal, in a “Maybe we’ll be friends instead of lovers” kind of way), we suspect the show is trying to have its cake and eat it too when it comes to this character. They acknowledge that she’s problematic without doing anything to address the problems. She’s still largely useless as a witch, has way too many secrets to be a reliable or believable character, and is performed through a series of monotonic whispers.

In addition, the rush to put her in hottie 21st Century clothes makes absolutely no sense from a character standpoint. The only reason to have her standing around in tight jeans and cocktail dresses while Ichabod remains in 18th century garb is because she looks hotter wearing those than the gigantic gowns her character would naturally favor. In other words, it’s a characterization trait based solely on how hot she looks, which kind of says it all about this character.

The best-case scenario (from where we’re sitting) is that they’re focusing so much on this character because they have some sort of huge plot point down the line planned for her, like a death or a turn to the dark side (the latter of which they’ve openly hinted at). The problem with that is that an interesting or welcome plot turn needs to not be set up so poorly and in such an un-entertaining way. No one will cheer louder than us if she turns into some sort of Big Bad Villain – or even if they kill her off, but we honestly don’t know if we’re going to stick around through more episodes like these in order to get to that point. If this is all setup and character rehab, and it’s taking this many episodes and sidelining main characters this often, then maybe you’ve got a really poorly designed and rendered character on your hands that isn’t worth all this attention.

It’s now pretty much a show about two time-tossed lovers having adventures in the 21st Century with their cop sidekick. One more episode like this one and we’re out.

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