Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sleepy Hollow, Season 3, Episode 10: Incident at Stone Manor

Abbie is back and it is AWESOME

Ok, I’m getting ahead of myself but I am so very very very glad that all of my desperate fears from last week about Abbie being benched and replaced were unfounded and she is back and so very awesome. Did I mention awesome? Because she was supremely awesome (and so is her hair).

She’s stuck in the Catacombs and she’s definitely not hanging around – she’s looking around the vast landscape drawing a map and clearly spending a very long time there. Her acting is perfect – excellently capturing how the monotony and isolation is hurting her without being ridiculously over the top and cartoonish about it.

Naturally the gang is looking for her – which involves Jenny and Joe stealing something of Jenny’s father (and skirting round Jenny’s continued avoidance of him as well as touching on some more of Jenny and Joe’s relationship issues – but done in a really non-melodramatic, mature fashion as Jenny gets used to letting someone close) so they can perform a ritual that will allow Ichabod to astrally project and find Abbie. There is a nice moment when, again, Jenny’s connection is acknowledged before they go with the Witnesses woo-woo – I like that we have Ichabod leading the charge to the rescue but at every stage we are sure to acknowledge Jenny’s loss as well.

Ichabod does make it to Abbie and she absolutely kills this role, she is really excellent at portraying her frazzled nerves, her desperation, her despair and her determination. She is really awesome and her meeting Ichabod again is beautiful. The way she speaks about him, the way she says she can hear his voice just because she knows him so well – it’s perfect and truly excellent. All the fangs for this performance.

Their reunion is cut short by Pandora ghosting in astrally herself. She can show Abbie a way home using the special gem/eye thing she has (which she took with her to the catacombs) but doing that will bring the gem back to The Hidden One who will then be free to complete his nasty/bad/awful plan. To push her even hard, Pandora slashes Ichabod’s astral tether, forcing him to wander and be unable to find his body – unless Pandora helps

Abbie reminds us again that she is beyond awesome – and refuses. She won’t give up their mission to save herself or Ichabod, she won’t risk the world for that. More, she recognises that alone and abandoned she may despair enough to give in, she may one day crack. So she breaks the gem – preventing her from ever changing her mind.

Do I mention again how awesome and resolute and powerful she looks during this? Because I can’t mention it enough. This whole scene is toweringly awesome.

Of course Abbie isn’t defeated there – while Ichabod was there he recognised a blade left behind by Betsy Ross (she gets everywhere that woman) and following logic and investigation she manages to figure out how Betsy escaped and follow in her footsteps, encouraging Ichabod’s spirit to follow her all the way

Yes, Abbie is out, Ichabod is conscience and they’re all back together – and it was all truly awesome. Bonus points as well for Ichabod saying haters going to hate in reference to a scrabble word. So wrong in the best way.

Also, while I have to cheerlead Abbie’s awesome natural hair this episode, it’s sad that she can’t rock that hair the rest of the season and her natural hair is basically used to show she is trapped and isolated – proof she hasn’t been able to properly groom herself in a while. It’s sad that this look is basically being used as an indicator of her being dishevelled. It’s sad that she’s wearing her hair naturally not because of choice, but because she’s literally a dimension away from it hair straightener (even her mother manager to get her hands on a supply in the mental institution).

While Abbie was being toweringly awesome, the B team are investigating another British revolutionary demon, this time a gargoyle (really, the British Isles should be teaming in all kinds of woo-woo given the demons they apparently have in stock to unleash at any time. How all those wars against the French could even have happened is beyond me)

This involves Jenny and Joe helping Sophie find a way to make the gargoyle all stony again. Jenny and Sophie strike sparks which I cringe because, last week, I said Sophie might work where Hawley (who I promise to never mention again) didn’t simply because she didn’t come in dripping in antagonism. I am wary about Sophie striking sparks with someone and use derailing any other plot line to deal with People Not Liking Each Other and being Unable To Deal With It Like Adults. This trope is capitalised because it happens in so many books and TV shows

Thankfully, sense quickly prevails. Not only that but Sophie and Jenny cobble a plan together that works with each bringing their own skills and capabilities. Ok the plan is terrible and would never have worked, but I still appreciate the effort taken to show that both of them are skilled, both of them have important knowledge to add and neither is replacing the other. It’s good

Not good is Pandora and the Hidden One. More and more Pandora is becoming an abused, servile, fawning creature before the power of her “love” the Hidden One. It’s compounded further by her utterly spineless sacrifice to him this episode, giving up her power and the reveal that her power comes from him anyway. This is not only a grossy abusive relationship, but it also carries some really terrible racial tropes – the white lady is being corrupted, controlled and sullied by the aggressive, menacing dark skinned Black man. We really can’t say the casting here doesn’t carry a terrible message – the whole nature of The Hidden One: dark, dangerous, abusive, pre-civilisation, anti-modern world, savage even is a whole mess of nasty racial tropes.