Sleepy Hollow: Freedom – Highway to Hell (Review)

 Sleepy-413_SCN9_TR0014_f_hires1

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: Homecoming – Team Witness (Review)

 Sleepy-406_SCN11_TR0014_f_hires1

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.

Sleepy Hollow: Blood From a Stone – Acceptance (Recap/Review)

Sleepy-405_SCN39_41_TR0155_f_hires1

Last week’s episode had Molly stepping in to save Ichabod from his overwhelming despair, and a noose, while this episode of Sleepy Hollow “Blood From a Stone” gets back to the main storyline in this season. Malcolm Dreyfuss and his search for those artifacts is the focus in this segment.

Peripherally, we have Diana accepting that Molly is the new witness after learning that her little one may not have to battle the evil demons at all. The path that Abbie Mills’ replacement takes is still all up to her.

Jobe, the demon who struck fear into the hearts of Jake and Alex, is not the big bad everyone assumed he was. Early in this episode, after the demon kills the conman preacher and takes his stone, another more powerful creature turns up and takes Jobe out with minimal effort.

Speaking a bit of latin defeats Malcolm’s buddy easily and the artifact now belongs to Ansel. “Blood From a Stone” gives us a bit of backstory on Dreyfuss and his obsession with collecting all the stones.

It seems that Ansel, Malcolm’s old business partner was “the face” of the company that Dreyfuss created. People ignored the shy genius with the bad haircut and instead gave all the credit to his partner.

Malcolm struck a drunken deal with Jobe; send Ansel to hell in return for all the credit and Dreyfuss’ soul.  Malcolm’s collection of the stones was all about cheating Jobe out of collecting on their deal. When the last artifact is collected Dreyfuss will become immortal.

Ansel spent in time in Hell working on a way out. He arrives to exact revenge on his former business partner by killing him and destroying their old company.

Apart from this demon heavy tale, there is a peripheral plot line which features Jake and his massive crush on Jennifer Mills. He actually “pays” Alex to put in a good word with their new team member.

The big reveal in this episode is that the broken bit of rock that Malcolm, and now Ansel, want to put back together is the Philosophers Stone. Ansel wants to erase his pain and become immortal while a terrified Malcolm is also after the everlasting life carrot so he can cheat on selling his soul.

There is one piece missing and that can be found back at Crane’s old stomping grounds; Sleepy Hollow.

Ansel is defeated as part of a team effort. Alex and Jake help Jenny to find a latin spell which will counteract the pissed of business partner’s magic. Mills arrives in the nick of time and neutralizes Ansel.

His reaction is to grab a tube of greek fire in order to burn everyone to a cinder. Crane throws a knife into the new demon and kills him. Ansel drops the tube of fire and Diana leaps into action and catches the glass full of internal fire before it breaks.

In all the confusion, Dreyfuss escapes. Later, Diana explains to Molly about being a witness and Mills, Alex and Jake realize that the last bit of the Philosophers Stone is in Sleepy Hollow.

It looks like the series will be shifting back to where things all began for Crane and his cronies.  It will be interesting to see if this move will bring Molly closer to being a witness and what other ghosts from season’s past will reappear.

As mentioned before, it seems like the show is taking the one stop forward two steps back approach to season four. The fate of Molly and just how she will fill in for Abbie Mills remains to be seen.

The theme of this week’s episode was acceptance. Diana accepting her daughter’s role in Ichabod’s quest and the new team members accepting their own place on Crane’s team, along with Jenny.

Sleepy Hollow airs Fridays on FOX.

 

Cast:

 

Guest starring Kamar de los Reyes as Jobe, Jessejames Locorriere as Preacher and Bjorn DuPaty as Ansel. 

Sleepy Hollow: The People v. Ichabod Crane – Molly Saves the Day (Review)

 Sleepy-404_SCN6_TR0034_f_hires1

Sleepy Hollow “The People v. Ichabod Crane” is centered around a demonic monster whose powers take the guilt of a chosen subject and use it against them.  A despair monster created to push their victim’s to kill themselves.

The black substance that attacked Crane in last week’s episode turns out to be the device by which the victim is captured. Crane is found, later in the episode, by Jenny and Diana, in a cocoon. He is held here while the drama plays out in his head.

Diana and Jenny are  becoming almost a permanent team, as are Alex and Jake who have a close call with Jobe. The episode’s highpoint was the reappearance of Kiwi actor extraordinaire John Noble as Henry Parrish.

In all honesty, this was a slow paced and somewhat boring episode. Any “courtroom” debate, whether it be of Crane’s own guilt or not, is going to drag. It was Noble’s interaction with Mison’s character that kept the entire thing from slipping into a sleep inducing event.

The further bonding of Jenny and Diana was interesting, but it really only served to solidify their partnership and to reveal Thomas’ Marine background, “Simper Gumby!”

Sleepy Hollow uses this episode to show Crane’s deep guilt over those he cannot save, on top of his guilt at losing Abbie. It also solidifies the bond between Ichabod and Molly, who saves him in the end from the despair monster.

Alex appears to be getting caught up in Jake’s enthusiastic acceptance of Crane and his mission. She may be the more pragmatic of the two but even Jobe’s disintegration of the Smithsonian guard does little to dampen her newfound ardor.

The trial of Crane was easily the most lackluster bit of the episode.  Even the saving of Ichabod was anticlimactic. Each episode so far has put Diana in the role of reluctant acceptance of Molly’s fate. Partnering her with Jenny has pretty much guaranteed that Agent Thomas was going to cave in sooner or later.

Little is seen of Dreyfuss, although his personal boogeyman and minion makes his presence very well known in this episode. We do know that Dreyfuss’ plans are on schedule and that things will become very busy for Crane and his little cadre of followers.

The show is not the same without Abbie Mills and that is probably a good thing. Although it would be nice if the former witness was allowed to return sometime in the near future. If the grown cop could be disposed of after three seasons a child surely will not last long at all.

Diana may well step in for Molly, as Jenny has for her sister, but it will not be the same. (To be fair, Thomas feels like a Mills clone sans the witness role.)

Sleepy Hollow airs Fridays on FOX.

Cast:

Guest starring John Noble as Henry Parrish, Kamar de los Reyes as Jobe and Onira Tares as Grace Dixon.

Sleepy Hollow: Heads of State – Madame President? (Review)

 Sleepy-403_SCN25_TR0081_hires1

Heading back to Ichabod Crane and Sleepy Hollow for “Heads of State” several things immediately required a deeper look. Firstly, there is the question of “Madame President” (the head of state almost assassinated by the returning Headless Horseman).

Were the quartet of creators – Roberto OrciAlex KurtzmanPhillip IscoveLen Wiseman, and the episode’s writer (Raven Metzner) being wildly optimistic when penning this particular storyline? Was this a sly dig at the new president, or were they just having a little fun? (Answers on a postcard please, or in the comments section below. Please and thank you.)

The issues of a female president in danger aside, other things that require answers in the series, and not just this episode,  include whether or not Oona Yaffe (who plays Molly)  is the same kid in that catchy Google Pixel advert “Whoo-ha, whoo-ha,” and if the Headless Horseman will be played by the same actor as before.

Looking past this week’s episode at the previews of coming attractions, as it were, there will be at least one familiar face cropping up in the guise of the brilliant Aussie actor John Noble. The Fringe star previously appeared in the first two seasons of Sleepy Hollow.

Appearing in the last two episodes of season one as Henry Parrish (Ichabod’s son)  and then being expunged at the end of season two. The revenge-bent offspring of Crane and his wife Katrina (played by Katia Winter) made the second season a “good one.” 

The one thing that season three missed terribly was the dramatic skills of Mr. Noble. It appears, as mentioned in our review of last week’s show, the series is definitely going backwards as it moves forward. Crane may well be in the nation’s capital chasing down a newish threat, but the opponents that he will be facing are from the first two seasons.

Although, Dreyfuss is a new face/entity he is using at least two threats who will be familiar to both Crane and the audience. Killing off Abbie Mills, and keeping her sister Jenny around while bringing back some of the better foes from earlier seasons feels like a last ditch attempt to keep the ratings high.

Jeremy Owens played the decapitated nemesis of Crane before, although he did not have too much in the way of dialogue until Parrish heated things up in season two. Once Owens got back a head that did more than growl and make threatening noises, the headless villain became more… human.

Things are slowly changing in Crane’s new world in D.C. as he gets his own flat (apartment) and his team is slowing gaining a sort of cohesion. Alex is still a tad skeptical, despite proving that, if nothing else, Ichabod is a time traveler.

Dreyfuss’s motives are still unclear. So too is his voluntary sharing of the previously believed lost Banneker “city plans” for the capital. (This storyline relies on the urban legend of Banneker’s photographic memory enabling him to reconstruct L’Enfant’s plans for the city.)

It is all, apparently, a trap that Dreyfuss is setting for Crane and his compatriots. However, at the end of the episode, inside the new apartment’s tiny “walk-in” closet, a bit of black goo attacks Ichabod…

Season four has been surprisingly good. After the death of Abbie Mills, this iteration of Sleepy Hollow needed to pull a rabbit out of its hat to keep up the pace. (Although to be fair, after season three, anything would have been an improvement…)

Molly Thomas has not yet had to do any “witness” type task and Crane has not yet revealed to her mother that she is the new partner to replace Abbie.  This will not be an easy thing for Diana to come to grips with, despite her slow acceptance of demons and witches.

Sleepy Hollow airs Fridays on FOX. Tune in and catch the brilliant John Noble and see who the new Headless Horseman will be.

Cast:

Guest starring Edwin Hodge as Benjamin Banneker.