Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sleepy Hollow, Season One, Episode Four: The Lesser Key of Solomon

The episode begins with  flashback to Boston Harbour December 16, 1773. That's right, crates of tea are being dumped into the harbour.  Ichabod is told to step aside because not only did Washington demand the return of  a crate but Ichabod as well. The redcoats enter and one begins a prayer before a huge explosion goes off. In the present, Ichabod is telling his story to Onstar, which he contacted because he was locked in the car.  A van hustles out of the parking lot and Ichabod hops out of the car.  Abbie approaches and informs Ichabod that Jenny has escaped.

Abbie then asks Frank to call off the dogs, so that she can quietly look for her sister.  Frank is not immediately agreeable to this but Abbie points out that Jenny was due to be released in six months and suggests that there had to be good reason for her sister to try and escape now.  Abbie adds that Jenny does not do random.  Frank asks what Ichabod and Abbie said to Jenny when they visited her.  Ichabod replies that Jenny is a brilliant woman, who is haunted by a past she cannot understand.  Frank wants to know how the recent murder spree relates to Jenny's escape and while Abbie cannot explain, she is firm in the belief that Jenny will have the answers, if she can just get to her.  Frank concedes and gives Abbie 12 hours but promises that after that time he will issue a nation wide warrant for Jenny. Wait a nation wide warrant? Wasn't Abbie just in for some petty theft? Why are they making her out to be this massive threat if that is the worst that she has done?

In the meant time, Jenny is at a bar and tells Randall the bartender that she needs her things.  Jenny tells Randall that the town is going straight to hell.

A music teacher is giving a piano lesson when his phone rings.  He learns that Jenny has escaped and the ominous voice warns they have reason to believe that Jenny knows where item 37 is.  He is told that  a cleanup crew will arrive to help him. The teacher then heads to the bar where Jenny picked up her things. Randall claims not to know Jenny and suggests that they leave.  The teacher replies that lies require commitment.  Randall grabs a shot gun but it is quickly taken from his hand and he is pulled over the bar, landing on the floor.  Randall then admits that Jenny was there and they begin to torture him.

Abbie is on the phone as Ichabod looks over Jenny's record.  He learns that Jenny was busy traveling when she wasn't incarcerated. When Ichabod mentions Somalia, Abbie says that Jenny would fit right in because Somalia is not known for law and order.  Ichabod questions why Jenny would travel to exotic locals and then return to Sleepy Hollow, if all that awaited her was more incarceration.  Ichabod then asks where Jenny's family was while this was going on.  Abbie tells him that their father left while they were kids and a few years later, their mother had a nervous breakdown.  Her mother was hospitalized, so the state placed them in foster care.  Ichabod questions why Abbie had one foster home and Jenny 7 after the age of 12.  Ichabod thinks that they should visit Jenny's last foster family because she stayed with them for a year.

Jenny is in a bathroom and she looks at  newspaper clipping about Abbie, before loading her gun.

The cops are now at the bar where Jenny visited to pick up her things and find a headless Randall hanging from the bar.  Frank points out that Randall's wounds are not cauterized, meaning that they are not dealing with another attack from the headless horseman. Frank advises that they are to stay off the radio on this one.

Abbie is talking to Jenny's last foster mother and she claims that Jenny had a quick temper and always got into trouble.  When Jenny brings up that the government pays a stipend for every child she takes in, the foster mother replies that it is not nearly enough. Abbie points out that a little girl is sleeping on the floor, and looks malnourished - yet the woman has enough money to put a new car into the driveway. The foster mother points out that she put a roof over Jenny's head when no one else would and adds no one wanted Jenny. Abbie informs the woman that if she doesn't supply her with information that leads to Jenny, she will rain legal brimstone upon her.  The woman pauses and says that Jenny used to go to a cabin at trout lake.  Abbie tells the woman to expect a call from family services and she and Ichabod leave.  Is it me or did that poor starving child just get reduced to a tool so Abbie could get the information she wanted?

Ichabod and Jenny head out to the cabin and Abbie picks the lock.  Ichabod pauses at the mantle and discovers pictures of Jenny and Sheriff Corbin.  Jenny enters the room and points a gun at them.  The two sisters start to argue and Ichabod slams the table in frustration, then tells both women off.  Abbie and Jenny lower their guns and Ichabod reintroduces himself to Jenny.  Abbie questions how long Corbin was in Jenny's life. It seems not only did they know each other, Corbin sent her traveling to acquire different objects. Jenny says that Corbin visited her terribly upset the night before he died. Corbin instructed her to come to the cabin if he died and pick a device for mapping sea travel.  Ichabod picks up a cloth with markings and says that he has seen them before in Boston. Apparently, they had received word that the red coats had acquired a device - a weapon to turn the tide of the war in favor of the British.  Jenny is shocked so Abbie gives her the 5 second recap on Ichabod the time traveler. Ichabod then brings up the tea party and it seems that it was merely a distraction so that they could steal something from the British.

We get a flashback and Ichabod says that his plan to acquire the weapon ran into trouble.  The soldier guarding the weapon was a Hessian and Jenny points out that this is just like the horseman.  Ichabod says that the Hessian took his own life to protect the weapon. Ichabod is the only one who made it out alive and he discovered a chest made of stone covering in markings.  He had the chest sent to Washington and that was the last he had ever seen it.  Abbie questions why the Hessian was guarding the chest and Ichabod replies that it must be more than it appears, as he searches the cabin.  It turns out that the device is also a projector and Ichabod makes a map appear on the wall. It's an old survey map of Sleepy Hollow which pinpoints the whereabouts of the chest.

Suddenly someone starts shooting into the cabin.  They manage to steal the device but Jenny captures one of them.  They start to question him about what's in the chest.  Jenny and Abbie bicker about how to question their captive when he isn't immediately forthcoming with information. Ichabod separates them and pushes the man's shirt aside where he finds a tattoo. Ichabod begins to speak in German and we get a flashback to Ichabod battling with the horseman.  Ichabod declares their captive a Hessian and questions what is in the box.  The man answers that the box is a doorway to the seventh circle of hell where 72 condemn souls wait upon flaming sand. He adds that the book of Revelations is dramatic for the two witnesses and so is what is to come. Jenny says that he is talking about the key of Solomon - a book about dark magic written by King Solomon about 72 demons he trapped in hell. Ichabod asks if the book is a key capable of unleashing these demons into the world.  Jenny says that it was found my the Knights Templar and hidden away somewhere. The Hessian says that thanks to their efforts it's in their grasp.  Apparently, they have been waiting, hiding in plain sight while waiting for this day.  While he is talking, Frank has tracked him to his home.  The Hessian says that they are getting stronger knowing that their cause is just.  Abbie points out that sleeper cells always have someone at the top.  The Hessian says that they have all met the leader.  Apparently, he has been with Jenny and Abbie since he appeared to Jenny and Abbie that day in the forest.  Abbie demands  a name and the Hessian says Malach shall rise in German and then bites down on a cyanide pill and promptly dies.

Abbie picks up her cell phone to call Frank and Jenny grabs it calling her crazy.  Abbie points out that this is  crime scene, as Ichabod continues his search of the cabin. Jenny says that they cannot trust anyone but Abbie believes that they cannot do this by themselves.  The sisters start to bicker once again and Ichabod asks for silence so that he can think.  He starts to draw and recreates the map, saying that once he has seen an image, recalling it is simple. Thank goodness for magical memory y'all.

The men who stole the device arrive at what looks to be an abandoned church. They break down a brick wall, as Abbie, Ichabod, and Jenny head to the location.  Ichabod asks where Jenny learned her skills and she says that if you don't fight for things you stand for, you don't stand for anything. The Hessians find the box and retrieve the book.  One man uses a ceremonial knife to slice his hand open, dropping blood on the open pages, which makes words appear. He reads the spell and a cauldron bursts into flames while it oozes what looks like blood.

Ichabod, Abbey and Jenny arrive just in time to see the demons swirling in the muck.  A gun fight ensues and Ichabod saves Jenny from being throw into the cauldron. Abbie grabs the book but one of the men grabs Jenny and orders her to drop it. Abbie then tosses the book into swirling mass of demons.  They manage to fight off their attackers and the demons disappear.

Jenny is in an interrogation room and Abbie undoes her handcuffs.  Jenny asks what's up with Abbie and Prince William.  Abbie does not answer but asks how much Jenny remembers about Revelations.  Jenny realises that Abbie and Ichabod are the two witnesses.  Jenny is not pleased that Abbie turned her back on everything and is now chosen to fight the good fight.  Abbie says that this is her punishment for turning her back on Jenny and adds that they lost everything in the forest that day - including each other.  Abbie tells Jenny that she sees who she really is and is proud of her. Abbie adds that they are all the family that they have left and pulls out paper work granting her control over Jenny and her legal affairs.  Abbie promises to get Jenny out of the psychiatric hospital in less than six months. Abbie tells Jenny that they can work together and get some real answers for once.  Jenny shakes her head yes and says that Corbin told her to forgive Abbie when she made her way back. Abbie apologizes and leaves the room.

Ichabod stops Abbie and tells her that the Hessian's last words were, "Malok shall rise," which has been referenced in several theological texts, most notably Milton's Paradise Lost.  Apparently, Malok led a rebellion against heaven and he is the demon who guards Katrina and is the same demon the Mills sisters saw in the forest.

Well that's it for another week.  I don't know why but I am still not sold on this show.  It just feels absolutely ridiculous to me.  The very idea that there were mystical forces in the Revolutionary War and that the Boston tea party was simply a cover to get to a magical book, just doesn't hold any water.  I know that we are supposed to suspend belief when watching these types of shows, but Sleepy Hollow simply has me rolling my eyes.  Maybe it's because it takes itself rather too seriously.

This week we learned more about Abbie and Jenny's background.  Of course it was tragic, they're women in urban fantasy.  I was troubled by the trip to the foster home.  Yes, there are terrible foster parents who abuse children and keep the money for themselves but there are also good ones who do it because they love kids and believe that everyone should have a good home.  I am sick of the constant evil foster mother trope on television. 

Abbie and Jenny spent the entire episode bickering.  Yes, they have issues which they needed to settle but would it have been so hard not to constantly have them at each other's throats when they were both on the same damn side? It made Ichabod look like the logical man who must deal with two out of control bickering women not capable of common sense.

Ichabod continued on his role as expert.  It was somewhat alleviated by Jenny showing that she knew things as well.  The whole magical memory came into play again this week, which was another reminder of just how special Ichabod is and that these women couldn't do this without him. He is obviously the leader and with Jenny on the team now, Ichabod has two Black women as sidekicks. I want more from the characters of Jenny and Abbie than their tragic backstory.  I want them to lead rather than follow or runaway.