I’m trying to play catch-up with Sleepy Hollow because of Christmas and not having time to watch stuff on my DVR, so I’m a couple weeks behind but I’m getting there. Once I get through these four episodes of Sleepy Hollow, my portion of DEADtime TV will be all caught up and we can celebrate with cake and ice cream.
In Sleepy Hollow’s first season, the show got 13 episodes, which is a pretty normal season for a new hour-long series. It’s what I expected, because 26-episode runs are pretty difficult for horror shows to pull off. It’s better if they stop and take a break, revise their ideas on season-long arcs, and then come back fresh next year. In season 2, though, Sleepy Hollow is getting an 18-episode run with an order of five extra episodes, and when you watch “Magnum Opus” and “The Akeda”, you can tell that the writers built up the plot thinking that “The Akeda” would be their season finale. Surprise!
“Magnum Opus” is not a particularly good episode because it rushes the plot quite a bit. This season has spent more time on building Hawley into the cast than it has preparing for the big battle between Henry, Moloch, and the Crane Gang. “Magnum Opus” really suffers from that, because all of the sudden Methuselah’s sword becomes the main item needed to vanquish the rising powers of Moloch, and Crane and Abbie need it before the apocalypse hits. It’s a jump from the past few episodes, where bad stuff has been happening but hasn’t become imminent yet – now, however, Moloch is ready to rise, and Sleepy Hollow throws a lot of magicks at the audience hoping that all of this exposition will make sense and stick.
The show has always flown by the seat of its pants, relying on its fun, quirky style instead of a solid storyline about how Moloch and his empire of the undead can come through a portal from Purgatory. But “Magnum Opus” takes it one step further; I’m not quite sure that I understand all of the lore behind Moloch’s rise, nor does the show try to make it understandable. Instead, all of the stuff is force-fed to the viewer by Ichabod’s exposition as he and Abbie piece it together.
Though that stuff isn’t the best, the Gorgon that they fight is pretty cool. It’s not Medusa, but it’s in the same style. Along with that, there’s an underground set with a bunch of different swords that mimics the story of the Sword in the Stone along with something out of Indiana Jones. It’s a cool idea, and I like the mythology behind Methuselah’s sword, but at the same time the episode doesn’t implement it very well, and that’s partly because the show has not done a lot to lead up to this semi-conclusion.
“The Akeda” suffers from the same sort of things, although after “Magnum Opus” there’s a clearer definition of what’s happening. Henry and Moloch have formed a pentagram of sorts over Sleepy Hollow, and they’re going to use that to raise Moloch. In so doing, they’ve started a terrible red lightning storm, as well as putting everyone in danger; but Methuselah’s sword should help, since it can vanquish demons magically, as long as the user gives his soul. Thankfully, Captain Irving has already kindly donated his soul to Henry, so he can use the blade without worrying about dying, as Katrina says. Oh yeah, did I mention Katrina’s back?
Katrina and Irving (and Jenny too) get a lot more time in this episode. For one, they manage to rescue Katrina from the Headless Horseman thanks to threatening from Methuselah’s sword, so she joins with the group to help them thwart the apocalypse. When she’s back, though, she and Crane have a falling-out: Crane thinks she’s too close to Abraham van Brunt, and in truth she is, and Katrina makes the argument that she has to be in order to get information from him.
At the same time, Irving is called into action. Since he’s met Crane, his life has gone through a series of obstacles, from being admitted to an insane asylum to losing his soul to Henry. Now, he also loses his life trying to fight the Horseman of War, which he vanquishes in a pile of red molten lava. It’s a sad ending to the man’s life, but they give him a fitting send-off. Who knows – we might see him back since his soul is bound to Henry.
The finale 20 minutes of “The Akeda”, though, are intense and just as fast-paced as season 1’s finale. Crane, Abbie, Jenny, and Katrina are strung up to a tree just as Moloch prepares the final sacrifice to allow Purgatory to merge with the living world, and with a thrust of his sword, Henry turns on Moloch to stab him into oblivion. This has been coming – Henry has hinted that he might just forgive Crane and Katrina despite the way they left him – but it’s still kind of a shock considering how despicably evil Henry is. I don’t think it’s really earned, but the conclusion is still all kinds of awesome, the kind of thing that got me into Sleepy Hollow in the first place.
Rightfully, this should be the season finale to season 2. I don’t know how the show will come back for five more episodes after this to end on an even bigger note, but there’s still more hours of the show to come. Will Henry die now that he used the sword? Will we see Irving again? Will Hawley flaunt his shit and toss his bangs back with a marginally funny joke? I’ll have the next two episodes’ reviews up soon, so stay tuned to DEADtime TV.