Sleepy Hollow RECAP: Excuse me while I eat this guy... (S2:E6)
This week highlights the problem with the Sleepy Hollow formula. It desperately wants to have that central narrative strung throughout all of its stories, with the war being this looming disaster on the horizon that seeps into all the little cracks throughout the season. The mistake is when it becomes too crazy, even by Sleepy Hollow standards.
For example, we have more than one personal connection to large portions of the plot in this episode. Abbie Mills is directly connected to Joe Corbin, the late Sheriff Corbin’s son and war vet, while Crane is directly connected to Corbin’s curse and the legend of his curse.
That curse is also known as the Wendigo or Skinwalker, a Native American beastie that feasts on the innards of those unfortunate enough to cross its path. In this case, all of Joe Corbin’s platoon in Afghanistan and a few Sleepy Hollow residents fell victim to Corbin in his Wendigo form. Not only is Crane familiar with the curse, familiar with the Shawnee Indians, and familiar with Daniel Boone (connected to the legend in this story), he’s also the reason for it happening in the first place. That’s right, Henry Parrish is behind it all.
Hawley is to blame too, seeing as the bone flute from episode three is the spark behind the Wendigo curse. He just had to sell it like a proper scumbag instead of locking it away.
The web being weaved along this narrative just seems too coincidental at this point and it always ends up leading to the next threat, which then ends up being nullified by our heroes or replaced by the NEXT thing. It’s fine TV writing to keep people “hooked,” I guess. There’s enough cool stuff here to make me want to watch and the Wendigo is badass. I guess I just think that every little piece being connected to Parrish, Moloch and the larger story is tiring. If we just got a Wendigo or other monsters popping up from week to week because the spirits are restless or some shit, I’d be content. It’s a simple throwaway explanation to account for what’s happening AND you can even keep Crane’s insane connections to the events from the Revolutionary War.
My other problem this episode is the character of Joe Corbin. He’s built up as a contentious character at the start of the episode and doesn’t have a good relationship with Mills. She’s an interloper in his life, and he expresses that pretty clearly on multiple occasions. Then by the end of the episode, all is well; he’s finished in the story and now wants to have a good relationship with Abbie. Why? Does lifting this curse automatically make everything spic-and-span in his life? He was pissed that she got his father killed at the start of the episode and then decided to suck it up by the end. Bullshit.
That’s all the troubling stuff, unless you want to count my growing hatred of Katrina and whatever her role is in this whole saga. She’s got Crane all flustered after last week and not even some yoga can unwind his nerves on the matter. That’s where our episode begins before heading out to the bar and our eventual hunt for the Wendigo.
It’s here that they meet Corbin, find that he is connected to the creature in some manner, and devise a plan to capture it while they find a cure. You can’t knowingly allow a guy you know to change into a gut-devouring monster without feeling some guilt, so they lock him up in the hex enchanted prison that lies far below the police station. It made its first appearance as a prison for The Headless Horseman in season one and now just seems to be a catch-all, Ghostbusters-type containment unit.
The Wendigo looks amazing. He’s a mix between the Faun from Pan’s Labyrinth and Krampus, and it’s an example of what this series does best. There has been no shortage of awesome-looking bad guys since season one, but this season is certainly bumping up the bar a bit. Even Moloch looks cooler this season, I assume from expanded budgets and story needs.
Hawley becomes involved in the story by chance because he’s also hunting the Wendigo. He has no clue that the creature is the result of his sale of the bone flute, so he’s just popping up once again to randomly help out. Where was he in season one? Sleeping in his open air dock apartment? What does he do in the winter? Is Sleepy Hollow, New York, somehow tropical all year-round?
I’m being really negative this episode, aren’t I? If it makes it any better, Hawley is central to the plot because he leads Crane to the local Shawnee tribesmen. Instead of living in tipis and smoking peace pipes though, these Natives are bikers and badasses. But they still hold tight to the old traditions, even keeping a shaman around for these extra demonic problems that pop up. The shaman looks like a rejected stunt man for Tommy Chong, of course, but he seems to get the job done.
My problem here is that the Shawnee aren’t given anything but some passing screen time. When Crane and Hawley meet them, they’re about to head out on a Wendigo hunt. They try to hide the fact, but Crane sniffs it out. They pop up in his flashbacks a bit and in this small scene at the garage, but then disappear. Crane has attained a special item from them to break the Wendigo curse, and I guess their job is finished. It’s disappointing.
Now before Crane can return with this new item, Parrish shows up with his Hessian minions to bust out Corbin, turn him into the Wendigo for his final time (he gets four transformations before he’s stuck as the monster), and steal the item that he created this curse to get in the first place: a vial with these Chinese poison worms inside. It was Sheriff Corbin’s “gift” to his son when he passed, and I guess it counts as a valuable. To me, it’s just another thing to arbitrarily motor the story along.
I also don’t know where Parrish finds the time to hunt down Corbin and do all this evil stuff. He’s been manipulating Irving all episode and taunting him with the ownership of his soul. He offers Irving a chance to earn his soul back by taking the life of another and replacing his soul with that soul. None of it makes any sense, but you do remember what show you’re watching. I haven’t forgotten, even with all my complaining here. It’s still the same crazy show from before, I’m just wishing it would stop piling things on haphazardly.
The Mills sisters, Crane, and Hawley all head out to try and stop Corbin from killing someone and locking himself as the Wendigo forever. It’s really quite the easy task once you get down to the brass tacks, but they make it seem terrifying given the creature’s looks and actions. At the end of the day, all it took was a slight cut from an obsidian blade and a short chant to remove the curse and make everything all right once again.
Our heroes are content with their actions, Irving is confusing as hell, Corbin is asking for letters of recommendation, and Parrish is off being evil again. He’s taking the poison worms out of their jar and using them to create an evil demonic spider.
He then sends it to jump into Katrina’s sleeping mouth, creating our problem for next week’s episode. What that problem is, I have no clue. It’s just going to happen and I’m going to watch it anyway. The sad bit is there won’t be any cool monsters to hold my attention. I think I get why this episode was called, “The abyss gazes back.”