I’m going to be honest with you all right now—over the break, I kinda forgot this show existed. After I remembered that yes, Sleepy Hollow is a thing, I then spent another hour trying to remember what had even happened in the first half of the season. While I have enjoyed Season 3 thus far—“One Life” included—its overall plot has been really slow from the get go. I still don’t know what Pandora hopes to gain from everything she’s doing, and antagonists without clear motivations always bore me.
All that aside, “One Life” got me right back into the Sleepy Hollow spirit. While the episode was certainly not Sleepy Hollow’s best, it still was both fun and creepy. Hit the jump to find out my thoughts.
It’s been over a month since Abbie disappeared into the tree, and Ichabod and Jenny are desperate to find her. Without Abbie around, Sleepy Hollow lost out on some of its upbeat, more funny moments—Abbie’s almost always the one commenting on Ichabod’s inability to grasp simple 21st century things, such as cooking microwavable lasagna in a skillet. However, at the same time, “One Life” gave us a glimpse of how the other characters function without her. Ichabod becomes reckless in his search to get Abbie back. First, he steals an urn and almost dies in the process. The urn is supposed to be able to find someone who has been lost. Instead, with it, he accidentally summons a mirror demon.
The mirror demon leaves both Ichabod and Agent Foster messages saying “help me Crane” on their mirrors and carved into their floor. Foster takes the existence of the supernatural surprisingly well, all things considered. It turns out that her parents were murdered by demons—Wow! What a crazy random happenstance, Sleepy Hollow. That’s not cheesy and convenient at all! All the same, Foster readily helps Ichabod, who is convinced the mirror demon is actually Abbie, and together they summon it out of the mirror and then get to spend the rest of the episode hunting it down.
While Ichabod and Foster do manage to kill the mirror monster, I question its use in the show. The monster goes after people who are desperate, so you would think that Ichabod and Jenny—who are desperate to get Abbie back—would be its prime targets. Instead, it goes after Abbie’s boss Reynolds. Like, why? Why, Sleepy Hollow? Reynolds may have a history with Abbie, but Jenny’s her sister and Ichabod is destined by God to fight a holy war with her. Out of every character the monster would want to kill, Reynolds shouldn’t have been one of them. Even Joe would have made more sense as the potential victim.
Speaking of Joe, while all this is going on, he and Jenny go about their own way of finding Abbie. They steal a map that can track the supernatural, but instead of showing them where Abbie went, the map shows them that all the demons currently walking the Earth are headed to Sleepy Hollow.
All in all, I liked this episode. It had its fun moments and still managed to get us a really creepy demon. The episode was also packed with Jenny and Joe scenes. While Ichabod is being reckless, Jenny is emotionally hurt. Everyone in her life has left her, including Abbie, and now Abbie’s gone again after they finally reconciled. Part of what Jenny feels seems to be misplaced guilt on herself, but part of it is also just her being sad and angry that she’s alone. She finally blows up after Joe is almost killed while stealing the map. She confesses to Joe that he’s someone else she loves and she didn’t want to lose him too. Then they kiss. The shipper inside me screamed for joy, since the two of them have been working together constantly up to this point, and I was wondering when this was going to finally happen. To be fair, they did kiss in an earlier episode, but it was nowhere near as emotional and meaningful.
I also like that Foster is now part of Team Witness, and hopefully we’ll get to learn more about her past and who she is in the future. I can’t say “One Life” really did the best job with her character. She really didn’t have that strong a reaction to discovering proof of the supernatural—sure, she seemed scared a bit, but that was it. Was she also happy that what she knew concerning her parents’ deaths was validated? Was she horrified for what this meant for her and her job? Her entire life literally just changed.
But as much as I liked this episode, I really could have done without the cultural appropriation. Sleepy Hollow has proved time and time again that it cannot handle other cultures well, and yet it keeps borrowing from them. The mirror demon is called an onryou, an angry Japanese spirit that seeks revenge on living people due to its rage. In the show, it now kills people who feel desperation, for some reason. Also, for another inexplicable reason, the onryou marks both Ichabod and Foster was burns that look like a torii, the entrance gate to a shrine. Torii represent gateways from the normal world to the divine or holy place. Normally, they’re found outside inari shrines. Inari are fox spirits. They do not represent onryou, which I should point out have nothing to do with mirrors. It was also kind of hard to even look up what an onryou actually is for the purposes of this post, because Ichabod couldn’t pronounce it correctly.
This all makes me a little apprehensive about future episodes, since demons from all over the world are now traveling to Sleepy Hollow. This may unfortunately mean that more cultural appropriation will also be coming with them. I really hope Sleepy Hollow does better in the future. And hopefully soon, we’ll learn more about Pandora and her boyfriend. They don’t do much this episode at all. Well, Pandora’s the one summoning the demons, but her boyfriend spends the episode moping about not having all his powers. He also blames Pandora for his state and threatens her, because he’s also an abusive dick. I really don’t care about either of them at all, and I don’t foresee that changing any time soon.
Next episode, we’re going to find out more about where Abbie is and what happened to her. The whole “Abbie trapped in another dimension” plotline has been done before unfortunately, so it’ll be interesting to see if Sleepy Hollow can manage to do something new with it. I sincerely hope it won’t just be a rehashing of earlier episodes. Tune in again next week to see what we think of it.