‘Sleepy Hollow’ Review: ‘Blood Moon’
Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural
“Sleepy Hollow” has classic literary character Ichabod Crane rise from the dead to fight evil in modern times.
When Washington Irving wrote “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle” back in the dawning days of America, he probably didn’t imagine that one day a handful of nerds would mash up his short stories with other mythological and pseudo-historical elements to be viewed on magical boxes by millions of people. Then again, he did write a story of a man falling asleep for twenty years only to wake up to a world different than the one in which he closed his eyes, so who knows.
FOX’s “Sleepy Hollow” has in fact mashed up his stories with other mythological and pseudo-historical elements, using the imaginative minds of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, part of the team responsible for “Fringe” and the “Star Trek” films reboot. Together with Len Wiseman, co-creator and director of the rapid-fire pistol-wielding vampires vs werewolves series of “Underwold” films, they brought to us last week a “Sleepy Hollow” pilot episode that was absolutely insane. I am sure that to many, the concept of bringing the ‘Headless Horseman’ to contemporary Sleepy Hollow, New York, and arming him with a modern arsenal is silly. Fair enough. But I am a whovian–a megafan of “Doctor Who”–so stirring in a resurrected Revolutionary War soldier, Colonial-era witches stuck in some alternate dimension, animal spirit guides, telekinetic priests, flashbacks and more flashbacks, demons, spectral trees, exploding shotgun ammunition, apocalyptic prophesies, and George-fracking-Washinton’s magical Bible into a cauldron of silly and insane that is “Sleepy Hollow” is pretty much the desired norm by those of my breed.
“Sleepy Hollow” stars English actor Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane. Typically, this character is depicted as a nervous, twittering sop in most adaptations of Washington Irving’s work. This isn’t the case here as “Sleepy Hollow” is a re-imagining through and through, and as the story goes, so do its major characters. I mean, come on, the Headless Horseman has a shotgun AND a machine gun in the pilot. Mison plays Ichabod as a sexy, lean British professor at Oxford-turned-Revolutionary axe-wielding super-soldier and spy in cahoots with General Washington and fighting against his former compatriot Redcoats. He is transported in a very “Crow”-like way for unexplained reasons to modern-day Sleepy Hollow and continues his fight with the Headless Horseman, who he decapitated on the field of battle long ago. Crane has an eidetic memory, which will most likely be useful in future developments of “Sleepy Hollow.” He’s a man out of time, and Mison portrays him wonderfully so. He is startled by cars, asks his modern-day companion Mills if she was liberated from slavery because she’s black, and is horrified at the price and taxation of doughnut holes.
Nicole Beharie stars as Ichabod’s capably steely companion, Lieutenant (or “Leftenant”) Abbie Mills. She is a super-cop on the verge of moving on to bigger and better things at Quantico to become a criminal profiler when this whole supernatural mess lands on her lap. She is from this “sequestered glen long known by the name of Sleepy Hollow,” and through flashbacks is haunted by the ghost of her late partner and father figure (Clancy Brown) and by the memory of encountering something paranormal as a child that sent her sister to an insane asylum.
It is an unlikely pairing, but through all the anachronistic sufferings of Ichabod and the yet-unanswered questions that Abbie has about what the Hell is amiss, they will eventually begin to know one another better and rely on each other’s strengths to combat the evil that is brewing. This week on “Sleepy Hollow,” Ichabod and Abbie Mills battle a long-dead witch raised from the grave to help the dark forces in town bring about the apocalypse. While Abbie and Ichabod investigate the best way to handle this newest supernatural villain, the two begin to learn more about one another.
In “Blood Moon,” the second episode of “Sleepy Hollow,” the Headless Horseman is absent. Crane and Mills are buddied up, needing to find more evidence of the supernatural happenings in Sleepy Hollow. Despite the fact that members of the law had recently had an all-out firefight with a well-armed Headless Horseman, several people including police officers losing their heads, and a man claiming to be from the past, Captain Irving (7-Up guy Orlando Jones) needs more evidence, and leaves town to get more “resources.” This leaves Crane and Mills to their own devices in search of the explanation to whatever the Hell is going on.
To begin with, Ichabod Crane’s long-dead (or is she?) wife Katrina Cane (Katia Winter) begins to appear to him in his dreams, telling him what the scene is. The Headless Horseman is basically taking a break for the time being. Still, there is a creature “like her” (meaning a dead witch) coming to town to take a crack at Sleepy Hollow.
Meanwhile, John Cho (Harold and Kumar’s John Cho, but also from “FlashForward” and the “Star Trek” films) spends this episode of “Sleepy Hollow” as a resurrected human Pez dispenser of sorts stalking the town like an ominous Terminator. He plays Andy Dunn, an officer in the pilot episode who turns out to be the Headless Horseman’s henchman before being killed by some demon beast. He is brought back in “Blood Moon” by the same beast to aid the new ghoul coming to Sleepy Hollow, who happens to be a Colonial witch who Katrina once captured and who was burned at the stake. The witch is back, and with the help of John Cho tries to reclaim her flesh from the ash of the descendants of the men who condemned her to die by fire.
I have a feeling that Dunn will be that one character in “Sleepy Hollow” for which audiences will have conflicted feelings. First off, he’s played by John Cho. Secondly, he shows sympathy for each man or child he believes he is sentencing to death. Thing is, couldn’t he have settled his own morality issues before he started allying with the forces of Hell? The demon beast is possibly a manifestation of the Devil, since the existence of Washington’s magical Bible and Revelations are evident in the mythology of “Sleepy Hollow,” and that same beast was the one that killed and brought Dunn back in order to serve its minions. Dunn probably did something in life deserving of his place as the Devil’s minion, and I am guessing that flashbacks will tell us what Andy Dunn is really about.
In the end, Ichabod and Abbie follow the clues to the sewer lair the ghoulish witch is using for a sanctuary. As they arrive, she has begun the changes to her human fleshy self through some incredible use of CGI. It’s revealed that Katrina Crane is still alive and trapped inside a sealed realm between the living and the dead, and Ichabod blows the witch up with some old gunpowder. It’s as easy as that: the monster of the week gets blown up.
“Sleepy Hollow” seems like a schizophrenic buddy-supernatural-cop show with an out-of-time intellectual warrior with a British accent in a long coat and his young, pseudo-sassy super-cop companion investigating their way through an irrefutable war between good and evil. It’s a show that mixes all types of things to create its own mythology, a mythology that seems will take a bit of time for the heroes and the viewers to unravel. It’s frightening when it needs to be. It’s funny at the right moments, letting us know that it’s being funny without it getting away. The info-dumps are matter-of-fact and they roll with it. “Sleepy Hollow” is a show that knows its supposed to be entertaining at only two episodes old. At times I feel like I’m watching a gothed-out little sibling of “Doctor Who.” The ideas that are imagined and put on the screen are silly and insane, and so far, I freaking love it.
What do you guys think about “Sleepy Hollow” thus far? Is it too chaotic for you? Do you have any ideas of what may be coming soon? Let us know!