The greatest thing about Sleepy Hollow is the fact that while in every episode, it can let loose and embrace the insanity, it never loses sight of the heart of the show: the central Abbie-Ichabod dynamic. Within the first 5 minutes of “This Is War”, we get a very poignant conversation between the two in which they acknowledge their history, acknowledge what they’ve meant to each other since they’ve met, and acknowledge their future together. Of course, this is all happening while the writers are screwing with us.
The first fifteen minutes are a fakeout–Abbie and Ichabod are still in Purgatory, it turns out–but they’re handled fairly nicely for something similar to what’s been done quite often in other shows. The sequence creates a disorienting effect, which is fitting considering the states of entrapment our main characters find themselves in to kick off the season: Ichabod in the coffin, Abbie in Purgatory, Katrina captured by Abraham. The premiere is all about attempting to break free of certain situations, and that’s all included under the thematic umbrella of the past, the idea that the past has a great influence on what transpires in the present and what resentments people may hold.
For example, Abraham and Henry have very personal vendettas to carry out, even though they’re both Moloch agents. It’s not all supernatural here; there are genuine human conflicts that still exist, and people like Henry wind up living through those conflicts by submitting themselves to a greater being (in this case, Moloch). I guess it isn’t all that bad of a idea, considering he’s the second Horseman when all’s said and done. He has the armor and the sword and the awesome.
To get to that point, we’re taken through a thrilling sequence of scenes, all of them brimming with copious kinetic energy and enthusiastically diving into the glorious depths of the show. The proceedings are chaotic, but there’s a purpose to it all, a driving force that prevents it from completely going off the rails. That the show can introduce a naked Benjamin Franklin and re-imagine history without it seeming out of place is a testament to this show’s commitment, its imagination, its brilliance. After all, the way the writers make this work is by tying the storyline in with Ichabod Crane, with his behavior and his mindsets and his smarts.
All in all, the episode moves extremely fast, utilizing the Gehenna Key to help tie off most of the season one cliffhanger in an hour. On another show, this might seem rushed, but on Sleepy Hollow, we just go with the flow.
– “None of that recorded.”
-Fist bump! Also, Abbie using “leftenant” to figure out which Ichabod is fake–followed by decapitation–is a wonderful moment.
-The way the episode reveals that the time jump is just Purgatory is the only way you can do it: with John Noble throwing aside his restraints and intensely monologuing the hell out of that scene.
-Hey, it’s Andy! I like John Cho and Karen Gillan and want them to find success, but at the same time, I want more John Cho in Sleepy Hollow.
-Apparently, other people noticed an Observer-esque figure in one of Abbie’s Purgatory scenes. I’ve never been good at finding Observers, so I wouldn’t know. Now I miss Fringe all over again.
-Regular coverage is a no go, especially considering this isn’t the type of show that fits–in my opinion–very well with week to week coverage. Also, it’s an expanded season this year: 18 episodes.
Photo credit: FOX, Sleepy Hollow