Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sleepy Hollow, Season 2, Episode 18: Tempus Fugit

So time travel… this could be so messy

And we open with a fight, Ichabod fighting in the Revolutionary war, doing lots of killing and leading his men and looking for magical Hessians when he gets a report that the imprisoned Abbie wants to speak to him. She’s been smart enough to seed her demand with some clues on his mission so he would know it’s important.

Awkward meeting time in which Abbie confuses Crane with slang and tries to convince him she’s right (see, a little time travel doesn’t change that much!) She wants to get out, he quotes the law at him to which she snaps back that she’s been held without any legal principles because, at this time, she has no legal rights. Crane starts to leave so Abbie adds that the Horseman has an ally – and predicts a note that he was just handed

Meanwhile evil Katrina is in the infirmary looking for Ichabod – when she hears that Abbie has called him away from the battle.

Ichabod takes Abbie to the aftermath where Abbie continues to tell him all about the obvious signs of the horseman (in between handing out some basic medical knowledge). She continues to slam him with knowledge and then hits him with the time travel whammy and realising that, by taking Ichabod from the battlefield and his confrontation with the horseman, she’s just changed history.

Of course, Ichabod can’t just abandon the battlefield on his own whim and is duly dressed down for it. Ichabod wonders what will happen to Abbie and is told to “buy” her, Abbie’s expressive eyes speak volumes. Ichabod suggests he can interrogate her, inferring she’s an enemy agent - but his commanding officer wants to throw her in an encampment for runaway slaves and has Ichabod escort her. Ichabod also gets a warning that he’ll be shot next time he deserts. I don’t think his commander likes him much

To the carriage (which Abbie does not approve of) and Abbie thanking Ichabod for going out on a limb for her with wants-to-shoot-him commander. Time for Ichabod to ask questions and see if Abbie can prove she’s from 2015, alas she tells the story of Ichabod and Katrina. Bah. She finally decides she needs back up of people who know more about the infernal forces – the founding fathers. The only one nearby is Franklin. Ichabod has never liked Franklin

Over to evil Katrina finding the not-yet-headless horseman who is looking for Ichabod to slice and dice. She wants to recruit him in her quest to kill Ichabod and Abbie, yes she’s gone full on evil. I do hope Abbie kills her. She kills a random soldier with magic to ensure they’re not overheard. Yes she has competent magic while evil too; if she were still good that much power would make her faint and Abbie eye-roll at least once.

Back to our protagonists with Abbie pointing out which historic buildings will become Starbucks (all of them). And she scandalises the locals by wearing trousers.

Thankfully, Franklin is very eager to receive them – as Ichabod said before, he’s a shameless self-promoter and horribly vain and Abbie can tell him lots of things about how remembered he is and how many of his ideas are implemented. It also helps that he has heard of the grand grimoire and the power it had, including time travel.

When she and Franklin are alone, she reveals that the witch out to kill them is Katrina and Franklin reveals the plan they must have – reverse the time travel spell which, in turn, will reverse everything Abbie did. For that they need to consult an expert; Grace Dixon, Abbie’s ancestor.  She also wants to tell Ichabod the truth, because she and Ichabod have learned the cost of secrets, but Franklin vetoes it.

Before they can set off the Horseman arrives – and beheads Franklin. Now they have to change the timeline back, they just got a founding father killed. At least he dropped a bomb first

In the aftermath of the exploded building dead founding father and lots of fire, Abbie is back in a jail cell. Ichabod is also blaming Abbie, horrified with what Franklin’s death would mean and seeing her as an enemy agent again. She appeals to him, insist they’re partners – but he challenges her about planning with Franklin in secret. So Abbie tells him the truth about Katrina

It doesn’t go down well. He walks away and Abbie remembers her phone – Ichabod has to look through the photos in it (also the password to Abbie’s phone is Ichabod’s birthday?) Shooty-Commander is also blaming everything on Ichabod and relieves him of duty. Which, I guess, isn’t exactly unreasonable given the givens and the dead founding father

Ichabod goes home to his wife who greets him with smiles and telekinesis knives. Oh and an open magic book on the table. He’s saved from being stabbed (Katrina has forgotten her death bolts, apparently) by troops arriving to summon him to see Washington.

Before going to Washington he checks through Abbie’s things (the quality of the printing on her cards alone should have raised eyebrows) and finds her phone. Revolutionary Ichabod and a phone will never not be hilarious. He finds his way to Abbie’s pictures and a video of himself with her.

Meanwhile Ichabod’s commander interrupts Abbie’s picking her cell lock and decides to beat her. Abbie decides to demonstrate modern combat techniques. Ichabod arrives after the commander is unconscious to save her – which is almost as funny as Ichabod and a phone

They travel to Abbie’s ancestor while on the way Abbie is nice enough to say that Katrina was once a good person (and she resists SO MUCH SNARK) but new Katrina is evil.

Speaking of, Katrina uses magic to track where Abbie and Ichabod are going, then kills the commander.

To Frederick’s Manor and Abbie greeting her ancestor with lots of nerves and a little awe. Grace recognises Abbie as a Witness. She does have a spell to reverse the time travel – but it will take down the wards that protect the house at the same time. They cast it while Abbie praises her ancestor for the legacy she left for them.

Katrina and the Horseman arrive and Ichabod goes to delay them – reasoning if they reset time it won’t matter if he dies. After hugging Abbie which Ichabod finds most odd. Grace also takes the chance before spell casting to show Abbie the empty pages in her journal – and urge Abbie to fill them

The horseman almost beheads Ichabod – as Abbie finishes the spell (which is glorious – even evil and powerful Katrina is out-magicked by Abbie)

They return to before the portal opened. Katrina rants and raves and magically attacks Abbie. Ichabod fights her and her magic, knocking her book aside and stabbing her

Ichabod kills Katrina to save Abbie.

Of course, Ichabod still tearfully holds her dying body as Henry’s ghost arrives to collect her (and take them both to purgatory I hope). When she dies, Katrina dissolves to ash.

They’re joined by Jenny and Frank – and Frank isn’t evil any more after Henry’s death. Our main four characters are back. Abbie adds that Grace told her that major battles are still ahead – and again makes a pledge of unity of the four of them.

Ichabod kills Katrina to save Abbie. I think an entire season of Abbie being sidelined and Katrina being so endlessly annoying and Ichabod constantly being out into a position to choose and so often choosing Katrina just led up to this moment and made it so much more powerful

That was an epic finale and it really pressed home the unity of Abbie and Ichabod and did so much to repair the

Time travel, especially with marginalised people was always fraught. Abbie faced racism and assumptions of her being a slave which I would expect from the time but it did feel very… sanitised. The most overt racists were also cast as villains, but Franklin and Ichabod didn’t even pause nor take any issue to how she spoke.

This is a season finale and it is no secret that we don’t think this has been great for Sleepy Hollow. As we’ve discussed, the treatment of the POC on this show has gone so downhill in a way that would be questionable on any show, but is downright tragic on a show that established itself by having so many prominent POC leads in the first season. It is a #cranewreck and it is damn sad – the only heartening moment was the ferocious reaction of fandom. The more recent attempts to try and pull that back were just… far too little, far too late.

On top of that we had Katrina… a character so awful her name may actually become a new curse word. We have spoken at length and with great fury about this character, inept, weak, constantly forcing ridiculous decisions on the rest of the cast and generally being almost comically awful. Her prominence, coupled with the reduction of the presence of Abbie and Jenny meant this season wasn’t great for female characters either.

The season did introduce the show’s very first gay character – a nameless lesbian who died minutes after her arrival. Ok, back to erasure, please. Macey, a disabled character, has also been absent.

The one shining light is that the season finale seems to have out us back on track

Even aside from the terrible inclusion of this series, the plot has been bad even by Sleepy Hollow’s genuinely ridiculous plot line. It has been overwhelmed by ridiculous amount of Crane romance drama that torpedoed any attempt at plot. But there wasn’t much attempt. We started with Henry as the horseman of war, but while he threw random things at the Witnesses they didn’t do a whole lot to stop him, just reacting and, in the end, Henry wasn’t defeated by them but by his own epic daddy issues which was singularly unsatisfactory. After that we’ve had a series of just plain odd plotettes – and what’s most frustrating about them is some of them could have developed into some serious storylines or good new characters (as opposed to Hawley). Disgruntled hot angel who was going to judge everyone for not reaching his hot high standards while also being exceedingly hot (not that I’m shallow)? Yes, go with that… but no it ended. Or the reported who was trying to find the truth? Nope, all done. The secret library of hidden knowledge and holographic founding fathers? Nope, exploded. Why are we scattering these little plot hooks all over the place without following any of them up? Even the escaping horseman of death just went on holiday or something!

Please let this season finale be a sign that this show is going to turn around again.,