Last night’s Sleepy Hollow was heavy on the women and the Ichabod backstory, and I loved every minute of it. Except for, you know, that whole part with the ridiculous villain. Seriously, Sleepy Hollow would be killing it lately, except why did they have this villain? Why would they ruin their excellent track record at female characters for this?
Spoilers after the jump.
Henry, as usual, summons our monster of the week, a variant of the White Lady often found in folkore. Sleepy Hollow’s version of her, the Weeping Lady, appears as a woman in all black who can pull you through a watery portal and drown you. The Lady quickly starts attacking the women Ichabod cares about most. First, the creature targets and kills Caroline, Ichabod’s Colonial-reenacting buddy who’s been keeping his wardrobe stocked. Next, the creature targets Abbie, and is unsuccessful—she’s pulled through the portal, but she fights the Lady off and Ichabod manages to pull her out. Then he turns into a tragically distraught Regency hero, weeping to an inexplicably-present Hawley that “she’s drowned!” while Hawley is all like “Dude, why aren’t you doing CPR? You’re fucking useless!” I half expected Ichabod to get up in Hawley’s face about how very improper it would be, but thankfully that doesn’t happen and Abbie is revived.
Hawley wanders off, saying that his debt to Abbie is paid, and Abbie shows Ichabod a piece of the Lady’s shawl that she tore off in the battle. Ichabod examines it, and, I suppose thanks to his eidetic memory, immediately recognizes it as belonging to a Scottish lady, Mary, with whom he was once betrothed. He hastens to assure Abbie, however, that the engagement had been done as children; he had told Mary he was no longer interested, and Mary had gone back to London. (This is why no one believes you when you tell everyone that you are not going out with Abbie, Ichabod.)
While Abbie and Ichabod are looking at ways to kill or trap Mary, Mary goes after Katrina and takes her from the Horseman’s evil lair via portal magic. Katrina, too, manages to escape, and runs into the woods. Abbie and Ichabod find her, and Ichabod, armed with one of Hawley’s weapons, distracts Mary while Katrina and Abbie recite a magic incantation that sends Mary (presumably) to rest. However, before Mary closes her eyes, she points to Katrina as the reason why she’s here. Ichabod confronts his wife, who reveals that Mary apparently tripped over a tree root while yelling at her about Ichabod, fell over a convenient cliff, and died. As Abbie and Ichabod (and the audience) reel in disbelief, the Headless Horseman comes by and sweeps Katrina back to his lair.
There were a lot of things that I loved about this episode, not least of which was that even though this was clearly an Ichabod episode, Abbie was at no point told to stay in the car. As Ichabod keeps reminding us, as Witnesses, they must rely on each other. I’m glad the writers have finally gotten the message. Number two on the list was definitely the writers playing the fish-out-of-water trope for the serious. Ichabod doesn’t know about plastic, ha ha, Ichabod doesn’t know about driving, lololol, Ichabod doesn’t know CPR—shit. It was amazingly realistic and hilarious, all at the same time. Even Caroline’s death didn’t sit that badly with me—although I’d obviously have liked it more if she lived, someone usually dies in cases-of-the-week, and even though she was a redshirt, she was given a name, interests, hobbies, and skills outside her relationship with a man. Ichabod and Caroline met through Colonial reenactment as we saw in the Season 1 finale; she didn’t take it up because of him.
Really, the one thing that I disliked was the Weeping Lady, Mary. For a show that has such an excellent female protagonist in Abbie and excellent supporting characters in Jenny and Sheriff Reyes, I don’t understand why the writers thought Mary was the way to go with the White Lady folk tale. It’s not that women like Mary don’t exist, because obviously they do; it’s that for a very long time women like Mary were the only women to exist on screen—women who hung off a man’s every word, who killed themselves when the man eventually tired of her antics and left her. Women whom the audience should pity because they suffered the misfortune of not being loved by a man. And Sleepy Hollow actually made the trope worse by making Mary an obsessive, jealous, spiteful woman with absolutely no redeeming characteristics.
Also, although Mary arrived from London, she was wearing Scottish clothing and the actress had a Scottish accent (or a very poor attempt at a posh English one) so I’m assuming she’s Scottish—and despite this, Katrina at some point said Mary was from England. I’m pretty sure Malcolm Tucker would have some choice words to say about that.
Now, while I have been part of the LGG contingent loudly calling for more character development for Katrina, all the new information in this episode wasn’t exactly what I meant. I wanted to know why she decided to side for the revolution, more about her family and her witch clan (especially as Henry is a witch too, I mean come on, more info about witches can only be helpful at this point), her magic, etc. I didn’t want to see Katrina send Ichabod a borderline-useless piece of spy information (hint: it just said “I love you!” *heart emoji*) and I definitely did not want to know about her entanglement with Ichabod’s spurned ex-suitor. And breaking up the Ichabod and Katrina relationship would have had much more of an impact if they had, you know, expanded on the relationship between Ichabod and Katrina in the past, so that I could care about the strain it’s been put under in the present. Instead, since we have never really been given any reason for why Katrina and Ichabod love each other, I’m just thinking “cool, he can go be with Abbie now! Do it for Team Witness!”
However, all that aside. This is not something I saw coming, like, at all. From the very first episode of Sleepy Hollow up until now, I’ve only thought of Katrina as a criminally underused sketch of a character. She’s a witch, sure; she’s Ichabod’s wife, sure. That’s all we really know about her even after all these episodes. In this episode, though, her secrets are thrust into the spotlight, and we confront a different side of Katrina: the idea that she might be a liar. Even when she was explaining what had happened with Mary to Ichabod, I kept thinking, I almost don’t believe her. What if she’s lying to us right now? This is certainly one way to make Katrina more interesting, even if it wasn’t the way I personally would have chosen. She’s not evil Katrina, which to be honest is something I considered and dismissed because Katrina never got any fucking character development, but turning evil Katrina. She’s already been shown to keep secrets if she considers it to be for the greater good, she’s conflicted about her relationship with Ichabod, and she’s shown to be at least a little more open about the idea of being in a relationship with a guy with no head. This could finally make her a character worth watching.
In other news, Hawley continues to be pushed on us at the expense of Jenny and Irving, and, even though the preview tells me differently, I hope he is not in the next episode at all. If we see more of Hawley, I want it to be in a glorious flashback titled Nick and Jenny’s Excellent Adventure, in which Hawley and Jenny kick ass and take names (and make out). It at least looks like Jenny will be better integrated with the team next episode. So, let’s hope for that! See you all then.