Sleepy Hollow: Freedom – Highway to Hell (Review)

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The season four finale of Sleepy Hollow (titled “Freedom”) could have been called “Highway to Hell” with its connection to the devil and the bartering of souls as its centerpiece. It was a wrapping up of all the new characters introduced in this season and the possibility of a return of the grown up Molly if the series returns.

Sleepy Hollow saw the death of Crane’s fellow witness at the end of last season and this year Ichabod moved from his old stomping grounds to the country’s capital. Lt. Abbie Mills bid the show adieu and a new witness was introduced; Molly Thomas.

The change of partner and locale did not bode overly well for the series as its viewing figures dropped from just over 3 million to 1.92 million. The season average for the show’s targeted demographic also dropped from .83 to .50 this year.

Once again, the show’s overall storyline dealt with an impending apocalyptic event, referred to as “the Apocalypse” which implies that the end of the world really applies only to America and the United States. (Or at  the very least that the end of days will start there.) This gives the US a rather imperious significance in the world of the supernatural.

Since the script for Sleepy Hollow was written before the advent of November 8 and the election of the newest POTUS, it seems almost prophetic that this season’s storyline deals with an egotistical madman who becomes the newest leader of the “free world.”

(All the season four bogeyman lacks is a bad orange hairdo and the advanced age of the current POTUS.)

The season has faltered however. Despite bringing back the brilliant John Noble, who never really had the chance to chew up great bits of the scenery as he did in earlier seasons, and introducing the delightfully talented Seychelle Gabriel as the grown up Molly, Sleepy Hollow has lost its spark.

SLEEPY HOLLOW: L-R: Guest star Seychelle Gabriel and Tom Mison in the ÒFreedomÓ episode of SLEEPY HOLLOW airing Friday, March 31 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2017 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Tina Rowden/FOX

The last episode of season four has Malcolm Dreyfuss (a rather impressive baddie who manages to cheat the devil out of his due) taking over the White House and holding the real president hostage.  He has raised the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and is ready to bring things to a nasty end.

Henry Parrish is the God of War and he is persuaded by his father, Ichabod to lay down his fiery sword. Crane reminds his son that freedom, the title of the episode, is more important than revenge or selling one’s soul to a tyrant. This, more than anything else, helps to save the day and allows the rest of Team Crane to stop the Horsemen.

Crane and Diana defeat Malcolm, much to the satisfaction of Jobe who immediately collects the megalomaniac’s soul. Ichabod defeats Dreyfuss because he placed a “lien” on his soul in exchange for the Philosopher’s Stone. This made Malcolm’s immortality vulnerable for a moment, long enough for the two to kill him.

By the end of the episode, Alex shows Jake just how much she cares for him, Lara/Molly decides to go walkabout and get her head straight and Crane has gotten a new partner in Agent Thomas. Jenny and Ichabod are also made part of Thomas’ new team.

The move to bring things to full circle, having a supernatural task force that reports directly to the president (just as George Washington had his own task force) was a nice touch. (Although it does feel a bit “Agent X.”)

Sleepy Hollow finishes with a kraken and a new bond between Thomas and Crane. It also sees the present day Molly released from her role as witness. If the show does somehow manage to be given another season it will be interesting to see what direction it takes.

With such low viewing figures, however, it seems that another season may not be in the cards. If you missed the season four finale head over to Hulu to catch up on all the episodes.

Cast:

Guest starring Seychelle Gabriel as Lara/Molly, Edwin Hodge as Benjamin Banneker and Terrence Mann as the Devil and John Noble as Henry Parrish.

Sleepy Hollow: The Way of the Gun – War (Review)

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Perhaps one of the best episodes of Sleepy Hollow this season, “The Way of the Gun” offers a lot in terms of time travel and there is a slight nod to “The Terminator” with a plot twist that surprised and entertained.  This season of the show has made mention of time manipulation before and it has been used to good effect in this episode.

An earlier episode featured witches who had lived for centuries and made themselves appear younger, which is a sort of allusion to time travel as well. Another “repeat” feature was Crane’s old buddy Benjamin Banneker who appeared with more magical items in his goody bag.

Dreyfuss is raising the four horsemen and not only are Crane and his team trying to stop the immortal but a mysterious young woman who wears Malcolm’s symbol is also working against Dreyfuss. She retrieves the “gun of war” (which will be used to summon the last horseman) and the young woman attempts to destroy the powerful totem.

This episode begins with Molly, Diana and Crane all interacting after the youngest witness’ Valley Forge play. It is a precursor, or a portent, of the show’s end scene.  The stranger, who tricks Ichabod and Diana by stealing the gun, turns out to be the grown up Molly.

She is now a young woman who carries and uses powerful magic. Molly  returns from the future with the aid of “a very different Ichabod Crane” to save Diana. Her mother is meant to be the horseman of war and she tries to keep Agent Thomas from dying “again.”

Before the climatic end scene, where Crane mutters (in an apt demon voice) “I am become war,” Wells and Alex are captured by Malcolm’s right hand demon Jobe. The entity tortures Jake and kills Alex, except it not real. The exhibition serves to completely un-nerve Wells and he tells Dreyfuss what he needs to know.

We learn, as a result of this almost execution, that Alex Norwood cares much more for Jake than he realizes. Although before she can confess her true feelings, Jenny arrives to save them both.

The final moments of the episode sees Molly succeed in saving her mother but Ichabod takes the bullet meant for Diana and he “dies” instead. While it seems that Crane is now doomed to be the very thing he has been fighting against, it is not too farfetched to think that the very powerful Molly will able to switch things about.

Dreyfuss has indeed started the ball rolling toward his future as a tyrant who tortures Crane on a regular basis. The introduction of the grown Molly, which was  a brilliant touch, has insured that however things turn out, there is at least one very powerful character who has the magic necessary to save the day.

The casting of Seychelle Gabriel as the grown Molly was spot on. She resembles the young Oona Yaffe enough that it is not a stretch to believe that she is the same character as a grown up.

Apart from the whole time travel storyline, there is the parallel plot line of Jenny’s going back into the relic business. It seems certain that both she and Molly, along with the newly saved Agent Thomas, will help to save Ichabod from a fate worse than death.

Sleepy Hollow airs Fridays on FOX.

Cast:

Guest starring Seychelle Gabriel as Lara/Molly and Edwin Hodge as Benjamin Banneker.

Sleepy Hollow: Loco Parentis – Little Red Molly Hood (Review)

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Taking a page from The Brothers Grimm Sleepy Hollow presents the tale of Little Red Riding Hood but with Molly in the starring role. Jenny captures Jobe and keeps him prisoner while trying to figure out how to kill the demon.

Molly father gets a visit from her father; a Marine, and Diana, her mother is somewhat ambiguous about his unannounced appearance. Jenny learns that Jobe believes that Malcolm is alive and she attempts to make him tell her where Dreyfuss is.

Meanwhile a large wolf-like creature is attacking pre-pubescent girls and eating their hearts. It is called, Ichabod informs us helpfully, a Barghest. He also explains that Little Red Riding Hood was inspired by this Germanic wolf beast that takes on the form of those we love. “What big teeth you have, grandma…”

In this instance, it takes on the form of Mitch who is still off fighting in the war, and takes Molly off into the woods. The goal is not to attend a teddy bear picnic but to have a real “heart-to-heart” with the new witness the moment she turns 11.

Luckily, the kid is pretty canny about not only staying away from the monster but she susses out pretty quickly that Mitch is not the real deal. She mentions a bike that her father got her the year before for her birthday and when Mitch responds incorrectly, she tells “daddy” that she needs to pee…now.

Overall the episode was interesting and had a number of things going on. Diana finally admits that she has been attempting to witness for Molly. Jenny proves that while she may be  pretty good demon hunter she is not all knowing and has to work at finding what will kill Jobe.

Apparently Malcolm’s becoming immortal has made him a bit mad and Crane obviously has no idea how to talk to 11 year-old girls. He tells the curly-headed moppets that King George was driven mad by syphilis and then hesitates when they ask for a definition.

Initially, when Diana brings Crane in on the Barghest case, they both believe that Malcolm is the werewolf clone that is attacking young girls in the park. It is only when Ichabod relates the origins of the beast, that Thomas makes the Mitch connection.

According to Crane, the Barghest came from Europe where it terrorized the locals. The creature came over on the Mayflower and its soul purpose in life is to eat the hearts of witnesses. (If one Googles the name “Barghest” it refers to a large black dog with big teeth from the north of England.)

Part of the Mayflower lore espoused by Crane includes the mention that Plymouth Rock was used to trap the original beast. They then use stone crossbow bolts, made from the rock, to kill the nasty thing.

Jobe helps them find Molly and Jenny allows him to leave her circle of salt. The demon gets back with Malcolm and the immortal billionaire tells him demon buddy that he will change the world.

Molly survives to celebrate her birthday with friends and cake and Diana realizes that she needs to let her witness daughter carry on with little interference.

Tom Mison got the funniest line of the entire episode with his heartfelt tale of a wooden hoop and a stick (apparently it was a woeful event if that stick broke…).

While the episode was a nice riff on the old Little Red Riding Hood tale it also lacked a little in the humor department. Mison did all the comedic bits in this one, the birthday party, the shopping for gifts and the hiding of presents made for some chuckle-worthy moments.

Sleepy Hollow airs Fridays on FOX. Tune in and see just how season four of this fantasy series plays out.

Cast:

Guest starring Bill Heck as Mitch Talbot

Agents of SHIELD: The Man Behind the Shield – LMD Invasion (Review)

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The big payoff of Agents of SHIELD this week in “The Man Behind the Curtain” was four of the team being replaced with LMD replicas by Radcliffe, via Aida after a trio of agents go in and pull Mace out of The Superior’s clutches. There was a somewhat satisfactory fight sequence between the Russian baddie and Quake which ends, somewhat predictably, with the delusional chap losing.

The inhuman SHIELD agent does take it for granted that The Superior was killed with her final action which leaves the barely living Watch Dog leader to Aida’s devices. (On a sidenote, the actions of Aida, “Even filth has a purpose” in terms of very human delight at enacting revenge on the idiot leader was just brilliant.)

The Superior managed to prove that he had no real idea or understanding of his place in this verse. His statement to Quake before having his arse handed to him an a plate (that he had been training for this event) showed how little he really understood about the whole issue of inhumans.

Backstory wise, the Phil and May relationship was looked at in more detail with emphasis on their “almost romance.” That they were attracted to one another has always been a constant but it turns out that May’s “civilian number 14” (Andrew Garner) was the one who stopped them from consummating their attraction.

It explained much but the portrayal of Phil Coulson as a somewhat nebbish agent that May poked good natured fun at was, to a degree, misplaced. In the overall scheme of things, one feels that this may have been an attempt to make Coulson less capable whereas in the verse itself the head of SHIELD has always felt completely on top of everything.

(With the exception of his death by Loki’s hand earlier.  Even then, however, Coulson was pretty much unflappable. When he fires the weapon at Loki his throw-away remark of “so that’s what it does,” showed the real essence of Phil. Just as his last words to Nick  Fury revealed his true thought process.)

Regardless of the “manufactured” feel of the flashback, which managed to tie in The Superior with Coulson and May, it served to show just why Phil was so ready to accept the LMD version of Agent May.

Mace has, seemingly, been rescued just in the nick of time but, especially after Aida’s whispered comments to the barely alive Superior, he could have died and still had his consciousness imprinted onto the LMD that Fitzsimmons spot in the corridor at the show’s end.

The episode ends with LMD Phil reviving LMD May and saying that they have waited forever. Clearly things will be taking a downward turn before the season finale. So far it looks like the only two members of SHIELD on Phil’s team who are not Radcliffe replicants are the two scientists.

It will be interesting to see if The Superior becomes a more interesting character once he has been turned into a LMD. Up to this point he was all empty posturing, with Aida at least who could have kicked the Russian’s arse seven ways to Sunday with little effort, and pointless threats.

The big question at the end of this episode of Agents of SHIELD is whether  Mace actually survived his session with The Superior’s goons and just what purpose Radcliffe has in mind for the fallen Watch Dog leader.

On yet another sidenote, the whole Framework exercise at the start and later with Mack, was brilliant. While we see none of what transpires during Mack’s session the Oculus Rift line was priceless. The earlier sparring match between Phil and Daisy was also great to watch. One can only presume that many things will be sorted out in this Matrix type world in the series.

Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays on ABC. Tune in and see where the season heads next in this alternative LMD world.

CAST:

Sleepy Hollow: Homecoming – Team Witness (Review)

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Sleepy Hollow “Homecoming” pits Team Witness against Malcolm Dreyfuss and his pet demon Jobe.  By the end of the episode it appears that  Crane and his posse have defeated the man who sold his soul to the devil. However, Dreyfuss crawls out of the wreckage and appears to be pretty much indestructible.

Oops.

Jobe, we learn, was not despatched permanently by Ansel last week and the demon is in on Malcolm’s little plan to cheat the devil out of his due. A bit more Crane backstory is trotted out by Dreyfuss.

Ichabod learns that his friend and mentor sacrificed him to the Philosophers Stone back in the day. It also turns out that his other pal, Benjamin Banneker knew about it and fought for Crane’s corner. Washington won out and later, Crane tells Diana that it was the right choice at the time.

These last few episodes of Sleepy Hollow have worked to bring the new members to Crane’s world together as a more effective team. Alex, Jake and Jennifer do very well as a trio of defenders against evil and Diana fills in for her witness daughter as Crane’s partner.

There was one plot hole in this episode. Crane tells everyone that if Malcolm uses the Philosophers Stone to become immortal then everyone in Sleepy Hollow will perish. However, as we learn at the stone’s site, both Crane and the horseman became immortal because of the stone over 250 years earlier.

Clearly the denizens of Sleepy Hollow are still very much alive even though two immortals are still walking the Earth. At the end of the episode, where a smoke blackened and bedraggled Malcolm Dreyfuss crawls from the rubble, a new immortal has been created and the town’s people are still, presumably, alive and well.

On a sidenote: Jobe might just pop back up since that lantern was blasted from Jenny’s grasp, as Crane tells Abigail later.

One thing to look out for is the possibility that young Molly’s life will be in danger very soon. Crane’s repeated promises to save the young witness from harm is most likely a portent that she will be targeted this season.

The introduction of the Anubis-type guardian looks to be a sign that Egyptian Gods may well play a part in this season which should make things interesting if not a bit off point.

Word on the net is that Sleepy Hollow is falling in the ratings game. The show’s creators (Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman) need to pull something out of their collective hats to keep the show on the air.  Losing Abbie Mills and bringing in a new team has shaken things up a bit but it may not be enough to keep viewers interested. 

Sleepy Hollow airs Fridays on FOX.

 

Cast:

Guest starring Edwin Hodge as Benjamin Banneker and Mark Campbell as George Washington.