Monday, April 3, 2017

Sleepy Hollow, Season 4, Episode 13: Freedom

Thanks to a vision, Ichabod and co are now all aware that Henry is back and is now War. en

Using woo-woo and technology they realise Malcolm is ready to make his move – by having the 4 Horseman attack Camp David and take the President prisoner. The guards and soldiers can do absolutely nothing against the horsemen – they walk right in, cut down all the soldiers and, inevitably, Malcolm kidnaps the president

It’s all very… simple and anti-climactic.

From there he makes a public address of, basically, “I’ve got your POTUS come and get me!” Team Witness realise what he’s doing – the US military will hit the 4 horseman and then be slaughtered proving Malcolm’s might

Y’know what… nah. I mean if they’d made an effort to show that, for example, Death could kill people en masse or War could sap their strength or Famine could make legions fall hungrily or Pestilence could unleash plague – or something other than these horsemen being more than indestructible medieval knights. I don’t care if they’re indestructible, the US has enough soldiers under arms to simply pin each horsemen under mountains of bodies. Or bury them in tanks, plans, bombs. Or just be so many people that the horsemen simply cannot stab everyone to death at sufficient rates. They really failed to establish the fearsome power of these horsemen –immortality is not enough

Also, can I ask again where all the supernatural knowledge went? Washington knew all about the supernatural. Absolutely ever famous figure in American history knew about it. Magic itself doesn’t appear to be that rare. This isn’t like other supernatural worlds where we have shadowy mystical organisations fighting to keep the mystical secret. There’s no cover up here. Everyone just forgot? Nah

Anyway Team Witness needs some mystical horsemen slaying weapons so time to conveniently find a hidden book with some clues to a hidden stash of special weapons

Oh hey let’s throw in a whole segment about the founding of the archive where Banneker tells Washington he’s not happy with him for the way he used Ichabod (but totally silent about slavery) and Washington wants to make up to Banneker about that (but not about slavery) and how Banneker is wary of government officials running the archive because Ichabod (not slavery)

Yeah Sleepy Hollow don’t introduce Banneker as a belated attempt to address racism in all your preciously pedestalled founding fathers and then have his main beef with the founding fathers be how he sacrificed one white man during a way. Throwing in Banneker so he can advocate for justice for ICHABOD is nauseating.

In the present the gang now has the special rusty weapons and a big speech from Ichabod because they had some seconds to fill.

But they have to destroy the horsemen and since they’re linked to Malcolm that means they have to de-immortal him. Who knows how to do that?

That would be Jobe. In the future Lara knows that Jobe was totally screwed over and isolated by Malcolm who basically turned him into her babysitter. So all they have to do is summon him and ask his help.

Which they do… and… this works? I mean, seriously “I’m Lara, I’m future Molly. Malcolm’s totally going to screw you so you should help me”. And he runs with this? That’s all it takes to convince him? Really? That’s some hella lazy writing,

He gives them a clue – go to hell and get the key to killing Malcolm from the devil.

So they get on with that, cast a quick hell transport spell and see Hell – which is really well done in how personalised it is. And then it’s kind of ruined by the devil:


 Ok he has some fiery Two-Face thing going. I would like to say that this is a comment on the evil of Southern Plantation owners –but this is Sleepy Hollow

He does his best to intimidate them which… well:

Only intimidating to your arteries
He can’t just throw out his deal because hell has rules. He also can’t kill them because of said rules. But he can make a deal

So up we go to Earth again and the gang moves out. Jake, Alex Jenny and Lara take on 3 of the horsemen with the new magic weapons stopping them running off to… what? Find the US army? Wasn’t the army coming to them?

Anyway, Ichabod takes on War by basically appealing to Henry’s sense of freedom. Yes Ichabod just defeated the Horseman of war and the man who hates him beyond measure with rhetoric about freedom. And I’m sure some writer thinks this was wonderfully symbolic. I think it’s complete bullshit since when does Henry care about lofty ideals? And is he even going to exist when Malcolm is defeated?

It works and I refuse to spend more time on this ridiculouslness or the using of Henry and while the gang fights the other three horsemen (in melee combat, Seriously these guys have no special powers at all!) Diana and Ichabod make it to the president and Malcolm. Jobe who has just changed sides entirely apparently and just watches them

Ichabod got a shard of the philosopher’s stone from Kentucky Fried Devil so Diana shoots Malcolm

And he dies and goes to hell. All finished.

Done. Yes that is so ludicrously anticlimactic that I’m not going to spend more time on it because it would be more than the writers did.

So that’s the end of the season. Lara is now official the Witness, not Molly, because Reasons and they knows this because… uh… More Reasons. She wants to see the world that she’s saved and because everything is just really kind of awkward

Molly is now off the hook for her future (does she feel robbed of that?) but Diana is still on side because she wants to be and she’s found her calling

Oh and Ichabod is now a citizen of the US because the President said so and she’s now hiring them all to be chief supernatural dealer-people. Given the givens she might want to expand their staff or pay them or something. But then Ichabod never seems to be hurting for money

Oh and Alex and Jake are now in a relationship for the 3 people in the back who have actually invested in this.

Hey is Jenny still going to run off or does the President personally giving you a job kibosh that?

Of course Ichabod made a deal with Kentucky Fried Devil – who now has a lien on Ichabod’s soul. So that’s a hook for next season. If this is renewed.

Ok, I say nope to this season. And not just this episode with it's horrible lazy writing for the finale (really Jobe just changes sides? Henry is moved by freedom? Hell is that easy to visit? The horsemen that easily killed?)

Obviously I say nope to this season because of the unthinkable loss of Abbie which we will never be over. I have said why for this many many many many times

I also think exactly what we predictable has come to pass – neither Diana nor Molly nor Lara nor anyone else has really stepped into Abbie’s spot: obviously Abbie is irreplaceable, but this has left Ichabod as the sole protagonist. No-one can reasonably call this show an ensemble cast of co-protagonists like The Librarians or a show with a co-protagonist like Supernatural. This is Ichabod Crane’s show

Which really puts a pall over the racial diversity of this show - and let’s not hesitate to say, the racial diversity is noteworthy. Except for Ichabod, every regular member of team witness is a POC and/or a woman. The diversity percentage is definitely high – but without Abbie we end up with the white man leading a squad of POC + Alex. They become his sidekicks, his supporting cast. It’s a problem.

There’s also a problem with the pacing of this season. This season was so eager to get with the reboot that it fast forwarded through a lot and was quick to create a new epic meta plot to get us on to the new status quo.

This was a mistake – we launched into Malcolm as the new big bad but if there was ever a time to have a monster of the week season then this was it. A chance to build a relationship with Diana and Molly. To develop Jake and Alex. To find Jenny a place

And to mourn Abbey! For five minutes mourn her! Acknowledge what she was lost. Acknowledge what has happened. Acknowledge how important she was. Honour that. Honour that legacy.

But instead we’ve run past it at a ridiculous rate. They’ve plunged so far into this season that they’ve completely fail to acknowledge what Abbie’s loss meant. And also failed to build the foundation for the new team. We have Diana actually declaring Ichabod to be family. Family?! Since when? Where did this come from? We have Lara and Ichabod declaring some kind of epic, powerful bond with each other when they’ve known each other for what, a week? And she’s dropped in with no change to develop her, establish bonds, a personality develop a rapport – anything!

The horsemen – why was there no attempt to develop who these people were? Actually link their powers to famine and pestilence? And you bring back Henry for 2 episodes and what does it mean?!

And why did we even introduce the concept of a previous squad of agents – Davy Crocket et al – and not actually use them at all? It’s like there were lots of tiny storyettes here and none of them were actually developed into anything because we crammed in this fast-forwarded metaplot complete with terrible anti-climax ending instead.

The potential is there. We will always be bitter about Abbey, but this cast, these relationships – Ichabod, Diana, Molly, Lara, Jenny, Alex and Jake? The potential IS THERE. But it needs to be developed.