Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sleepy Hollow, Season 3, Episode 9: One Life

Since we’ve just come off hiatus we, naturally, begin with a bit of a recap of what happened last season. Abbie sacrificed herself to save Jenny from the new big bad – and said new big bad is not happy about that. That leaves Jenny, Ichabod and Corbin to find Abbie

And it’s quickly clear that Ichabod is driving himself to desperation – pushing too hard, taking too many risks and generally going to cause a whole lot of problems (and trying to cook a frozen lasagne in a pan).

We are somewhat focused on Ichabod’s mourning and desperation here, but we also have a nice moment when Jenny makes it very clear that Ichabod isn’t the only one in pain here. It’s a nice slap down and an essential moment in a genre where Manpain tends to eclipse everyone else’s grieving.

Of course, Abbie is also an FBI agent which means there are other people looking for her (another element I like – sometimes people disappear on TV and the real world just doesn’t seem to care). Particularly Agent Dany Reynolds, her boss, is pretty desperate. Only he’s focusing on Ichabod – reasonably, he is a suspicious character, an unexplained part of Abbie’s life and one of the last people to be seen with her.

Agent Foster is the one taking point on investigating Crane – and trying to ensure that Reynolds doesn’t lose his ever loving mind as well since he may be going down the same path as Ichabod.

One of Ichabod’s reckless plans involves a rather dubious magical artefact he hope will summon Abbie from the underworld. It’s poorly researched, hasty and reckless – everything Jenny warned him about. Instead of summoning Abbie, it summons a Japanese vengeance spirit (yes, insert my recurring complaint about Sleepy Hollow is the way it raids supernatural legends from all over the world – but not the culture or the people). That spirit sends lots of cryptic messages – but not just to Ichabod, but also Agent Foster

Agent Foster gets a rapid introduction to the supernatural world – and she accepts this quickly. No, really, we’re spared the whole standard “this can’t be real!” scenes partly because she’s given pretty unequivocal proof of the supernatural almost instantly and she doesn’t doubt her own eyes but also because she’s spent her life studying the supernatural because she’s pretty certain woo-woo was responsible for her parents’ death

She’s an interesting character but I’m torn. I’m torn because Abbie is in the supernatural world, apparently for some time. I’m torn because this episode ends with a rather poignant and powerful flashback to Ichabod and Betsy learning that hard lesson that not all of their partners survive and sometimes there are no miracles. I’m torn because the episode ends with Ichabod learning that his obsession with freeing Abbie is dangerous and distracting him from stopping Pandora. In short, I’m torn because there’s a lot of indications that Abbie won’t be rescued soon – or even at all – and just as she goes onto hiatus we have Agent Foster step into an Abbie shaped hole oh-so-neatly.

In other words, it has a slight whiff of a T-Dog Chain where one Black character disappears to be quickly replaced by another. However, I’m more hopeful because Abbie is still around and clearly the meta plot is rescuing her. Agent Foster and Abbie are also main characters who have either been heavily developed or are being developed – and though they have similarities, they’re definitely very different characters with different views and opinions. Agent Foster looks like a character in her own right, not just Abbie #2. But at the same time will the show be able to support both of them? Basically, I like Agent Foster and would definitely like to see her around – but not if it comes at the cost of Abbie’s prolonged or permanent absence.

With Foster onside she helps deflect some of the suspicion from Ichabod with Danny Reynolds so we don’t or shouldn’t have many episodes of his suspicion.

Meanwhile Jenny and Corbin Junior are looking for Pandora and the new big bad (he who wants to cull humanity for the sake of more nature) which involves lots of crafty shenanigans from Jenny and surprising badassery from Corbin. Along the way Jenny and Corbin confirm what has been on the cards for a while now: they are a couple. And Jenny addresses some of her own major grief and guilt issues about Abbie who, after all, sacrificed herself to save Jenny

We end with a little troubling suggestion that we’re going to get a lot of Monster of the Week episodes – with all kinds of creepy crawlies heading to Sleepy Hollow. I find it troubling because that means we are very likely to have many episodes with Abbie still locked away.