I went into this week’s episode pretty much expecting not to like it (thanks, terrible preview), and while the main plot was just as bad as I thought it would be, there was still something very enjoyable about the characters. I’m not sure why Sleepy Hollow doesn’t want to advance its overarching plot at all, but it really, really doesn’t. Either way, let’s talk about our characters’ attempts at dealing with
Frankenstein the Kindred and his search for a bride. Spoilers below the cut!
The Kindred, for those of you who don’t remember, is a thing that Ben Franklin made way back in Season 2 that was supposed to be an undead warrior. However, Franklin could never get it to come to life because he didn’t have a piece of the Horseman of Death. Ichabod and Abbie, in the present day, did have a piece of the Horseman, and they put his head on the Kindred so that the Kindred would fight ol’ Headless for them. After the battle, the Kindred went… somewhere. Team Witness was perfectly fine with it disappearing. But now it’s back thanks to the call of the Hidden One, and it’s ready to mate. No, really. It wants a mate. Franklin apparently made a female counterpart, a Kindress, to serve as the “one true moderating influence” on the Kindred.
Anyway, Hetero Zombie Kindred goes off on a rampage, killing couples because he’s Toxic Masculinity Angry that he can’t have the same thing, and Abbie and Ichabod try their best to contain him. When they find out about the Kindress, they unearth her and Ichabod does a spell to wake her up (I guess she doesn’t need to have a piece of the Horseman to live) and she and the Kindred go off hand in hand. Then the Hidden One, angry about the true power of hetero love flaunting his plans, waves his hand and blasts them to smithereens.
So pretty much everything about the Kindred was unnecessarily sexist and heteronormative. The Kindred can apparently only be calmed by a woman, the Kindress only exists to serve as a calming influence on her man, etc etc. But my question is: why did they need to have the Kindred at all? I’m sure pretty much everyone has forgotten that the Kindred just wandered off on his own in Season 2, because we’d all like to forget that Season 2 was a thing that existed. Why not focus on Pandora and the Hidden One and tell us more about how they plan to take over the world (and why)? Are they just going to sit in their lair and keep sending monsters-of-the-week at Team Witness? Because that seems like a plan with a very low success rate, and it’s too boring for sweeps.
What’s frustrating about the show is that aside from its monster-of-the-week shtick, it does actually seem like it’s trying to move forward. Ichabod’s erstwhile beau, Miss Zoe Corinth, put in an appearance this week, and while I was afraid she would be yet another cockblock in the eventual Ichabbie road, she was actually there to break things off with Ichabod. Too involved in his quest to find Abbie, he had apparently never called or texted her since their last date. Similarly, Abbie’s finding it hard to readjust to our world after her adventure in the catacombs, and tells Reynolds that she won’t be coming back to the FBI for a while. (She still works the case, though.) When she finally does go back, it’s clear that she’s still having trouble with flashbacks and it sets the stage for a later problem.
Jenny and Joe get far less play than they deserved (I was really hoping they’d have to pose as a quarreling and/or nauseatingly romantic couple for great justice), but they also set the stage for later character issues. Jenny’s still carrying around and using the lighter she stole from her dad last episode, and Joe calls her out on it. Refreshingly, both Joe and Ichabod play the nurturing roles in this show, encouraging their respective Mills sisters to open up about their emotions. Joe even shares his regrets about never making amends with August Corbin before his death, prompting Jenny to at least think about giving her deadbeat dad another chance. Honestly, the only character I was disappointed with was Sophie, who ended up being Abbie Lite despite potential to be interesting of her own accord. (Oh, and Reynolds, but he’s pretty much never gotten off the ground.) Sleepy Hollow can steer itself away from imminent cancellation if it just tries to be a little bit better—it’s 90% banter and emotions right now, and if it can get just like 10% plot instead of bullshit I would take it. I have a pretty low bar for this show, but it remains to be seen if Sleepy Hollow is going to change anything for the rest of Season 3.
Next week sees the return of Atticus Nevins, and with it, maybe, finally, some insight into our two-dimensional villains. Check back to see what we think of it then!