Since Sleepy Hollow has gotten away from its plot about Moloch, things have changed considerably in the Crane Camp. For one, Ichabod, Abbie, and Katrina have taken some steps away from each other, at least in these two episodes of the show. That’s been in the works for some time, especially with Crane and Katrina; the two haven’t seen each other much at all, but more than that, Katrina seems to undermine all of Abbie and Crane’s decisions based on her own wishes – and worse for Crane, it often includes some sort of emotional feelings for Abraham, AKA the Headless Horseman, AKA the Horseman of Death.
It’s never more apparent than in “Paradise Lost,” where the trio are forced to make a decision whether to help save the Headless Horseman or kill him when an angel named Orion touches down bent on destroying evil. Though the angel is the epitome of corniness (especially when flying, because the effects aren’t that good), his presence does force the group to make choices, splintering Abbie and Ichabod at least for a time.
This is where Sleepy Hollow does its best work; when members of the group don’t trust each other, everything is affected. “Paradise Lost” clears that up by episode’s end, when Orion shows his true nature and Abbie sees his intentions; still, Katrina and Ichabod’s marriage woes are not resolved, and it’s nice to see the show continuing the character developments even after the Moloch storyline has gone by the wayside.
The thing with this new arc for Sleepy Hollow is that it doesn’t rely on Moloch anymore. He’s not attempting to break through Purgatory; instead, the quake caused from Moloch’s death opened up a rift from Purgatory to the living world, causing a bunch of baddies to spew out in the process. It’s a better plot and less confusing too, so the show has that going for it right now.
“Pittura Infamante” doesn’t follow this arc; it’s more of a stand-alone episode, though it does deal with Captain Irving’s return to the land of the living. Ichabod and Katrina attempt a date night, heading out to a historical society party where a painting of a man painting an inverted cross is the focal point. It turns out the Cranes remember this quite well; it was an obsession with Abigail Adams, whom Katrina used to visit, and they were linked to some serial murders. After a restorer disturbs the painting and winds up dead, the duo attempt to figure out what happened.
As procedurals go, this episode of Sleepy Hollow is quite fun. It reminds of an Agatha Christie story, of a stuffy party where a murder occurs and the people, stuck at the scene of the crime, are the next victims. This one has a supernatural twist to it – the painting is the secret portal where the killer’s soul was trapped – and it’s got a creepy atmosphere to it, especially because of the way the painting changes depending on what the killer is doing.
Better than that, though, “Pittura Infamante” finally allows Katrina and Crane to work together, alone. They’re a good team, albeit one that has had some mishaps along the way. Still, I like how Sleepy Hollow is moving Katrina to team player, and this episode is a nice example of how the show can use procedural episodes for character-building.
The same is true for Captain Irving; with his return, he’s immediately detained by the police because of the prior murder of a cop, and Abbie’s not sure if she can trust him or if she’ll have to put him down with some handy enchanted bullets that Jenny pulls out of a dead demon. His soul, tied to Henry, might not be clean, and it might be another way to bring Moloch through to the world.
“Pittura Infamante” is another good episode in this second half of Sleepy Hollow’s season, and the direction the show is moving toward is a good one. It’s less messy than the first part, and if these two episodes are any indication, the show has more big things in store for the viewer without needing to worry about Moloch. But John Noble is still in the credits, so I wouldn’t count Henry out yet. I just hope we get more seasons after this one, since Sleepy Hollow hasn’t been doing so hot in the ratings.