Monday, February 27, 2017

Sleepy Hollow, Season 4, Episode 8: Sick Burn

Let’s cover the predictions first – Malcolm has dreams of a terribad future in which democracy is suspended and he is the supreme tyrant of the US while Ichabod is his prisoner. Equally Molly using her witness abilities (she sees Jenny who does a ritual of finding your path – and Molly is a prophet which is a convenient role for a child since it’s nicely behind the scenes and out of combat).

I’m really trying not to make Trump comments here. Really trying. Especially with Ichabod extorting how wonderful it would be if a leader used social media to spread empowering messages

The monster of the week involves people catching a disease and then bursting into flame. The first victim is a guy called Logan, a social media celebrity who Molly is a big fan of – and it completely ruins the fun and really cute outing Ichabod, Diana and Molly are having (trying to give Molly some sense of morality after the revelation and actions of the last few episodes)

Alex and Jake also see this with Alex’s tinder date catching the same ominous burning disease – but at least the date was terrible and over anyway (Jake was there for a bad date-rescue which wasn’t needed).

They follow this up and find the cause – a symbol people read and when they do they catch the death burny flu. And it’s being spread by social media which is terrifying

Ichabod has a cringeworthy moment which is ridiculous. Season 1, yes, he could have done something as ridiculous as ranting incoherently in the middle of a city. But now? Nah, he knows better than this

To the surprise of just about no-one, it turns out the bury plague thing is another monster from the revolutionary war – really, did any humans actually fight in this war? The monster is a djinn so we’re doing the typical Sleepy Hollow think of grabbing random monsters from foreign cultures, thrusting them inelegantly into the Revolutionary War and ignoring all culture or context behind them

Speaking of – we also have a new dream team from way back when set up by George Washington who were a special agency set up to fight whatever and apparently no-one felt the need to mention them in the last 4 seasons for reasons. I mean, we spent half a season on Betsy Ross, but these guys didn’t deserve a mention?

They were Paul Jennings (a whitehouse slave – Ichabod calls him a servant and Jake excellently corrects him), Davy Crockett, Samuel Wilson and Sacagawea. They formed an early anti-supernatural super hero team and I’m leery. This show loves to name drop and while it’s nice they took the chance this season to name drop people other than the white folks of the time (though I still question how every single person of note from the era could know about the supernatural and it be so thoroughly forgotten) and that we have more historical and noteworthy POC’s names being dropped – especially if they are names that are not well known. At the same time building up a large false woo-woo history for POC which risks rewriting what they actually did (unlike the notable white people mentioned who don’t need to worry about what they did being forgotten or altered because of how well known they were) or brushing quickly over the oppression and bigotry they faced.

It has an extra problem of really putting the very prejudiced founding fathers on a pedestal – the idea that Slave owning Washington et al would embrace and respect POC to add them to these teams is, frankly, dubious. It creates an idea that Washington et al were amazingly inclusive and would have trusted POC with this vital role when it’s highly unlikely they would have regarded any of these with anything resembling respect as human beings.

I hope that Jake with his willingness to speak in and over Ichabod (despite his hero worship) whenever Ichabod tries to gloss over the racism of the time will help a lot with that. But I’m wary – this old timey agency had 2 POC in it, I want to see how they are treated and referred to. I think Jake’s intervention is far too little to counter the shiny impression of the founders that Ichabod gives.

Especially since Ichabod has always been a walking anachronism who has views highly divergent from the views he was likely to have given his era and heroes

The djinn is, as well, treated as random fire monster.

Molly is infected by the disease and quickly leaves to try and protect everyone – especially Jake – from her burning up. She leaves, locking the door behind her and Jake is pretty devastated. We’re clearly building a very strong bond between them

They follow the example of the agency before them and decide to infect someone else and follow them to where the djinn is lying. Ichabod volunteers but Jake has beat him to it because of this growing connection between him and Alex

After that it’s a fairly standard monster masher – with Ichabod apparently cluing enough to the modern age to actually electrocute the djinn while everyone is saved and Alex and Jake reflect on their new closeness

Ichabod has angst though since he’s checked some convenient belated messages and found he was expected to lead the old team before the headless horseman hit: now he’s worried he may be leading people who will die. As Diana points out, this is leadership

On the other leader side, wannabe dictator Malcolm has achieved what he wanted: the whole plague was apparently a way to recruit Logan, the social media celebrity, to his side for nefarious dark purposes. I think Ichabod is getting an official team so so is Malcolm