Welcome back, everyone, for another week of Sleepy Hollow. This time around, Hawley is out of town and unable to take up any other character’s screen time, Ichabod and Katrina go on a spooky date, Abbie sees Irving again for the first time since his death, and Jenny goes fishing for bullets in a demonic corpse. All in all, this was a much better episode than some of the previous ones. Hit the jump to find out my thoughts.
“Pittura Infamante” begins with Ichabod and Katrina trying to mend their relationship by going on a date to the historical society, which has a collection of items that used to belong to President John Adams. However, their romantic night out takes a turn for the worse when one of the paintings comes to life and kills an employee, who also happened to be Ichabod’s acquaintance. Ichabod and Katrina figure out very quickly which painting is responsible—it’s a self-portrait of a man painting an inverted cross with blood. The soul trapped within the painting will be freed once he gathers enough blood to complete his work.
Meanwhile, back at the precinct, Irving shows up out of nowhere. Abbie is very much surprised to see him, since, you know, he died. But no one else at the precinct is aware of that, and Abbie is convinced that Irving being resurrected has something to do with his missing soul. Afraid that he is now their enemy the same way Andy Brooks was, she gets Jenny to find something that can potentially put him back down should the need arise. Jenny, despite being unhappy with the possibility of that outcome, does it anyway. After a brief, off-screen conversation with Hawley, she learns about some bullets specially designed to kill demons, which she digs up out of a dead body. By the time she makes it back to the precinct, Jenny and Abbie both learn that Irving is being transferred—and later on, at the end of the episode, they find out that the DA might have enough evidence to vindicate him.
While that’s going on, the painting man has gotten hold of another victim, the curator, and in order to stop him, Katrina and Ichabod follow him through a portal back into the painting. They rescue the curator just in the nick of time, but our ghostly villain now has enough blood to finish the inverted cross. They escape back into the real world with the curator, only to have the painting man follow them. Before he can succeed in killing them, however, Abbie thankfully shows up and shoots his canvas with the magical demon-killing bullets, saving the day.
As I said earlier, this was a much better episode than some of the previous ones, and I found myself enjoying it quite a bit. Not only did we have some interesting disagreements between the Mills sisters about Irving and his resurrection, this episode managed to do Katrina’s character some justice. We find out that Abigail Adams used to be her best friend, and during her date at the historical society, Katrina gets upset about her current predicament. All her friends died back in the 18th century, and yet she still lives on. Ichabod can obviously relate to her feelings of displacement and even offers her some comfort and advice to help her deal with the loss. Throughout the episode, as Katrina moves about the historical society, her witch powers send her visions of her past friendship with Abigail. The two of them had been working on finding and bringing a serial killer to justice—the same one trapped in the painting now—while also bonding over their shared motherhood. Katrina had delivered all five of Abigail’s children and was pregnant with Jeremy while they worked their case together. After Katrina ended up in Purgatory, Abagail found the murderer, and with Katrina’s coven’s help, she was the one who had him bound in a painting.
After episode after episode of Katrina being completely unlikable and underused, I really enjoyed her here. “Pittura Infamante” gave her some much needed screen time and development. Until this point, Katrina’s role in the story has teetered between damsel-in-distress, exposition bombing, and being solely defined by her relationship to both Ichabod and the Headless Horseman. “Pittura Infamante” allowed us to see that there is more to her than what previous episodes have told us. It was also nice that her personal motivations were about her relationship to her friend and wanting to make certain that the killer the two of them tried to find all those years ago continued to face justice for his crimes, rather than about one of the aforementioned guys. And all the while, she had to deal with the grief of losing just about everyone she ever loved and finding herself in a strange new land where couples are actually allowed to kiss and touch each other in public.
It was a little odd seeing Ichabod being the one to explain some of the cultural changes to her, but it was also nice to see Katrina lose her damn corset. Though she hasn’t quite yet learned how to fit in with everyone else, she seems to have a much better grasp of modern clothes than her husband. But that could be problematic in its own regard. Though Ichabod has been in our world for over a year now, one reason modern fashion eludes him is because it’s uncomfortable, and that should also be true for Katrina. She is confused by people showing affection in public, yet she’s perfectly fine wearing clothes that show off her arms and her legs, which would have been considered obscene back in her day. As Luce pointed out to me, the show is potentially running the risk of unnecessarily sexualizing her. This was probably unintended on the writers’ parts, assuming that they thought that the clothes she’s used to may seem weird today—but we do make clothes nowadays that would both fit in and be more in line with what Katrina should be comfortable with. However, outside of that complaint, this episode was still miles better with her character than others.
I also really enjoyed this episode because my inner artist has a soft spot for anything involving art. “Pittura Infamante” was all kinds of creepy and I loved it. It was by no means a perfect episode, but it was a good improvement. It went out of its way to address a lot of problems, especially with Katrina’s character and her relationship with Ichabod, so for that, I’m more than happy and I can only hope Sleepy Hollow will continue to improve. Next week looks like it will be a Hawley-centric episode, and though I enjoy his character much more than Luce or Saika, he really doesn’t have much of a purpose in the story other than taking up space and doing things other characters could just as easily do. But who knows, maybe Sleepy Hollow will do him some justice as well. Though I really doubt it.