Sleepy Hollow's A Work In Progress
'Sleepy Hollow' still needs work, but it grows on you. As I mentioned in my pilot review, it overdoes the fast and furious cinematic pace, despite appropriating a colonial American gothic text with a slow, steady beat. While the sophomore episode, "Blood Moon," repeats the pilot's directorial mistakes, the second half slows enough to re-visit the pilot's strengths.
This week, in "Blood Moon," Ichabod (Tom Mison) continues re-adjusting to the 21st century while the Headless Horseman (or his demon god) resurrect an evil witch who hunts the descendents of her former attackers. If she finds their ashes by the blood moon (aka the Hunter's Moon aka the Full Moon in October), she'll regain human form and, wait for it .... wreak havoc on the earth. Of course, it's up to Ichabod and Abbie (Nicole Behaire) to save the day.
I want ''Sleepy Hollow'' to work, I really, really do. Tom Mison's so pretty I could spend all day staring at his sky blue eyes. And, Nicole Beharie's so ridiculously pretty that I'm surprised she doesn't have several internet stalkers. However, my biggest complaint STILL surrounds the show's rushed pacing and lack of feeling. This is a TV show, not a film. While the filmic genre fits within a concentrated time period; TV's episodic bent enables writers to relay narratives without overtly condensing them. Film assaults your senses with sound and visuals to convey its point within the allotted one-to-two hours. But, TV doesn't need that, because TV's all about the story and the people with ten-to-twenty hours to tell it. However, Sleephy Hollow's triple-headed production deity keeps forgetting that. The fist half of this week's episode maintained the pilot's breakneck speed, pressing an overabundance of information and scary visuals into a limited space. But, after watching scary witch wife, scary witch, scary horseman, scary horsemen, and scary vines within a sixty-second cycle in the opening, I felt so overwhelmed I was no longer scared.
Luckily, the second episode's second half slows down and revisits the pilot's best parts. We see the return of Abbie's mentor and the warmth of their connection. While the show's strongest part surrounds Mison and Beharie's interactions, I still feel the show's pushing their buddy connection too soon. While Ichabod comes alive when charming Abbie into staying, Plus, this dude is seriously alone. But, he still uses the "we're witnesses" rhetoric on Abbie over the "I'm alone and you're the only one I know" mentality.I loved Ichabod's donut hole rant (agreed, 10% taxation is ridiculous) and I'm glad Abbie pushed him to discuss his wife. It's official. Ichabod makes the best gay boyfriend and I loved watching Abbie mock his overtly dramatic "blood moon" language. All the same, And, I still want to see emotion from them. Yes, Abbie cries when watching her father figure's burial; but, when she hallucinated his return; I wanted ugly crying and intense anger/betrayal. Intead, the emotions ripple under the surface and quickly disappears. The same with Ichabod and his wife. Couldn't Ichabod at least flinch when Abbie mentions her name? Plus, there's still too much acceptance on his side that their fates are intertwined.
Outside pacing and overly subdued acting, the show continued to improve on humor. The lead actors are funny enough without overemphasizing the jokes. Luckily, the second episode rolled the jokes out casually. I loved the raw awkwardness of Ichabod's inability to shower. We need more truthful moments such as that, and less of his glib adjustment. Plus, in the second act, the show slowed down enough to scare us. Gothic horror, like the sublime, is all about simplicity. It's the minor, subtle detail that overwhelms and frightens. John Cho creepily pulling over a man and then apologizing to a child. No violence happens. No soundtrack blasts. No horseman hovers. But, the simple image of an undead man apologizing to a potential victim creeped me the eff out. And, that's how you do gothic.
So, while 'Sleepy Hollow''s still terrible with pacing, at least it's getting better. Here's hoping that remains next week.
- What's up with continuity? In one shot, Abbie's hair is loose; in the next, a ponytail and, in the next it's loose again. Plus, when in the allegedly abandoned tunnels (although Abbie and Ichabod allegedly held the only flashlights) I noticed a tunnel LED light.
- What's up with Abbie's official clothes? She alternates between wearing her uniform and wearing plainclothes with a badge.
- Did anyone ever notice/announce the missing corpse or police car?
- This is the creepiest police department ever. Who keeps candles and covers old files with white
- For an ancient tunnel, it's pretty clean.
- Ichabod Crane is the best gay boyfriend ever.
- How can the show have time for repetitious dialogue but not to establish the characters further.
- Does Abbie really have time to run around with Ichabod in plain clothes? Is it her day off?
- Why would the other cops allow Ichabod close enough to touch the corpse?
- For someone from the colonial period, he isn't very chivalrous. He takes partner equality for granted. All the same, I'm glad he isn't. It would've annoyed me otherwise.
- Seriously, Abbie's sister is Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2? And, seriously, the nurse doesn't check uner the tongue?
- What is up with female cops giving their guns to male civilians? First Beckett on Castle and now this?!
- Did the evil witch look like walking bones or a skinny woman in blackish green paint? My money's on the latter.
- Why kill John Cho's character if he's ressurrected five seconds later?
- I've been to the 'Sleepy Hollow'/Tarrytown area. That is a tiny town. You can drive around it in 5 minutes. There is no way the amount of bodies dropping wouldn't affect the surrounding populace.
- How did Ichabod understand what the term 'cover' meant? Considering he told people he was a professor from the past, can he really "cover that up."?
- In the original tale, Ichabod was a totally greedy coward. This Ichabod is anything but.