Sleepy Hollow: “What Lies Beneath” Review

sleepy hollow season 2 bannerLast night Sleepy Hollow introduced yet another Founding Father, who was not Ichabod’s bro but who nevertheless venerated Ichabod for being just as good as a Founding Father. Also, there was some cannibalism and some new characters. So maybe it wasn’t a bad episode, per se, but for an episode this far in the season, it wasn’t good enough. Spoilers after the jump!

This week, a three-man survey team venture into the sewers of Sleepy Hollow and discover some Reavers. (Like the Firefly Reavers, but presumably less problematic.) When the Sleepy Hollow police department call them in, Abbie and Ichabod soon discover that the Reavers in the tunnels are meant to be guarding a secret underground room called Fenestella. This room was built by none other than… Thomas Jefferson.

sleepy hollow thomas jefferson ichabodSurprise of surprises, though, Jefferson wasn’t a particular friend of Ichabod’s from back in the day. Ichabod says Jefferson “unfriended” him and has no clue as to why Jefferson acted the way he did. When Abbie and Ichabod find their way into Fenestella in search of the missing men, though, all is revealed. Jefferson’s hologram (yes, really) projects itself into the main chamber and tells them that the Fenestella is full of knowledge about the Witnesses and their mission, and that the only reason he unfriended Ichabod was because he was told not to interfere with the Witness until the second Witness had appeared. (For a super-old hologram, he showed absolutely no racism when confronted with the idea that one of the people who was going to save the world was Black. Come on, writers, Jefferson wasn’t perfect and it’s okay to show that on TV!) Jefferson tells Team Witness that the men in the sewers must die, because destroying the Reavers would mean destroying his little treasure trove of Witness memorabilia, too. But Abbie won’t have that, and Ichabod follows her lead. They get everyone out safely, and Ichabod stays back to blow up Fenestella.

Though the episode was a lot of fun to watch, its stakes felt horribly contrived. First of all, we don’t even really know what was in Jefferson’s Fenestella other than “knowledge” and thus it was hard to care when it all got blown up. Knowledge about what? Did it include a way to defeat Henry? Things they could have used on Moloch? Did it have information on Purgatory or spells for witches? And for that matter, why did they have to blow it up? It looks like Fenestella had a good system of locks in place to keep the Reavers out of the main chamber—why couldn’t Abbie and Ichabod have gotten some, if not all, of the books out first, and then blown the place up? Who knows.

You know what I am upset about, though? Why did they have to blow up Jefferson? That's a historian's dream right there!

You know what I am upset about, though? Why did they have to blow up Jefferson? That’s a historian’s dream source right there!

For the second episode in a row the writers gave us a main storyline that had nothing to do with the overarching season’s plot, and Frank, Jenny, and Katrina were left with a couple side plots (and a couple minutes of screentime each) to further the actual plot. Frank convinces Jenny to sneak him into the Sleepy Hollow police department, presumably so he can get his wedding ring back from evidence lockup, but Jenny’s got his number: when Frank goes for the information on the Hellfire Club, Jenny attacks him. Frank tells her that he’s just trying to get some financial information to save his family, and that he’s only “good” for a short amount of time because of some rune he found that could grant him “Temporary Salvation”. Without having seen this before it just adds another confusing element to Frank’s already confusing storyline. When was he good Frank and when was he evil Frank, and will that even end up having an effect on anything in the finale?

Katrina has a dream about Henry coming to her in the night (the two of them just get more and more Oedipal and it’s super freaking me out) and saying that he attacked Moloch for her. He wraps her hand around a black rose and she cuts herself on the thorns. Then she wakes up and finds that her hand is bleeding, and the rose is on her bedside table. So we are going to get Dark Side Katrina, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. We already got Broni Friendzoni the blood mage as an example of what this kind of mage can do, and it’ll be cool to see Katrina take a level in badass. Hopefully the writers don’t neglect to show us her motivations and thoughts in the upcoming finale episodes, though—Katrina doesn’t need any more shoddy writing, and if she just goes dark side with no explanation, it will be shoddy writing.

calvin riggsThe one thing I’m a little conflicted on about this episode is the new character, Calvin Riggs. Now here’s a character I’d like to see come back for future episodes. He had some good chemistry with Abbie and he’s a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist. With his media contacts, he could definitely fill a role that no one else on the team could; Frank and Jenny are on the outs with the law, Abbie’s too much of a cop to think that the press are anything but a bother, and Ichabod and Katrina are a little out of touch with the times. Also, media shenanigans are, like, my favorite thing ever. So, pros of Calvin joining the team: more media shenanigans, more outraged whining from Ichabod. Cons: why would they introduce a new character now, when we’ve got one foot into the finale already? Why couldn’t they have introduced him at the start of this season (surely all the weird stuff coming out of Sleepy Hollow and the apocalypse warrant some investigation?) or at the start of next season? And why couldn’t they have introduced him instead of Hawley or Orion? Sleepy Hollow now has a trend of new characters being poorly integrated with the plot, so if they pursue Calvin as an option, I hope they do a better job this time.

Next episode, Katrina looks to be attacking Abbie, and I hope against hope that the writers have something in mind re: where they’re going with her. See you all next week for the first of the finale episodes.

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1 thought on “Sleepy Hollow: “What Lies Beneath” Review

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