retsuko: antique books (books)
[personal profile] retsuko
I used to be so excited for the Monday night block of shows. But Gotham has been... somewhat uneven (another entry for another time) and Sleepy Hollow has become even uneven-er. This used to be a show that I would unreservedly recommend to all and sundry because it was so much fun. Somewhere along the line this season, though, that fun just drained away, and last night's mid-season finale clinched it for me.

Uhm... where to start? Let's start with Irving's death. This should have meant a lot--Irving's a major character with a lot of backstory. When he died, I thought, "I bet that being so badass will have a price--welp, I was right." Nothing else. Even the slow-mo of Abbie overlaid with tragic music did nothing, because it was sort of... there. It didn't have the ring of truth at all. Orlando Jones (whose Twitter feed is pretty amazing) snarked at one point that you wouldn't know that Irving had a wife and daughter from this season, and I think the problem is right there: Irving had nothing to do this season, at all, except be Henry's pawn, and then a semi-agent of destruction, and there's no emotional core to that. I think his death would have been far more meaningful if we'd seen his daughter visiting him at Tarrytown, or even cut to a picture of her, anywhere, to remind us of what she looks like. After all, he lied to protect her--hell, he lost everything: job, career, soul. Just reminding Jenny to take care of her if he dies isn't enough.

This leads to my other major problem: Katrina, and her relationship with Ichabod. As I've said before, I really have no ship in this show; that's not why I'm watching. I can't tell if the writers do, either: it's like they want Abbie and Crane to get together, but then they remember that Katrina is around, and they're scared to do anything with her. And this is a real shame because Katrina has the potential to be an amazing character. Here is a woman with tremendous power, who defied social convention of her time to perform an act that had far-reaching implications, because, let's face it, placing Crane into a magical sleep is Merlin-level power stuff. She *finally* gets out of purgatory and does... almost nothing. Yes, spying on behalf of our heroes is a gutsy move, but it effectively neutered her magical powers because she couldn't show them off. Imagine how the season would have gone if she'd not gone the spy route. The three of them would have dispatched Moloch even faster, and I'm betting that there wouldn't have been this nonsense with Henry if she and Crane could have just gotten on the same page from the first moment this problem presented itself. The fight they had during the finale last night was really disappointing, not just because it was sad, but also because it rang false: when two people are headed into an apocalyptic battle during which they may very well die, generally, petty arguments melt away in face of potential death. (I mean, seriously, do you really want the last thing you said to your husband to be, "Let us be like soldiers together"? Really?) The whole plotline of "our son is evil, no our son is redeemable!" got old five seconds after it was trotted out.

And, OMG, Henry... John Noble, you are a fine actor, and I love how you chew up the scenery and weave beautiful, dripping sarcasm into your voice, but the character of Henry does nothing for me, and I really kind of hate that he got all that screen time at the expense of our heroes. I also really hate that he got so much time in that finale, and that any horror of finally seeing Moloch (who wasn't all that menacing after all that buildup, and damn but he just stood around a lot) was negated by some very predictable villainous behavior.

Oh, and speaking of predictable villainous behavior, Headless, what happened? You used to be in pictures! You used to be big! You used to be an unstoppable killing machine who was really, really scary! Last night... you got chumped out in the first few minutes! I guess his usefulness in the romantic triangle department outweighed his role in the horror portion of the show, and the writers didn't know what to do. (Hawley's sole contribution to the episode was actually pretty funny; I don't know if I'd do much better if I was presented with a supposedly mythological, headless monster to guard from some unknown magical force of apocalyptic evil.)

I do love this show. I love Abbie Mills, and the Mills sisters working together (and the episode with them last week was the strongest all season long). I love Crane vs. 2014. I loved Abbie's speech in last night's episode about how she wasn't going to let Moloch take away any more people--that's the core of part of the reason I love the show right there: it's a story about a strong woman, who is surrounded by other strong women (because in the scene in the church before Henry showed up was Abbie, Jenny, and Katrina vowing to shop evil, with Crane chiming in, a rarity for a mainstream network show.) Most of the men on the show (when a romantic subplot isn't ruining everything) are compelling characters in their own right, and I want to know their stories, too, but the most interesting thing about the story remains Abbie, and her facing down evil with a platonic partner. I want the show to go back to that, and stop shoe-horning in people I don't care about, and subplots that go nowhere. I'd like it to be funny again, too. Basically, I want to go back to that feeling of recommending it to all and sundry, not the way I feel right now which is, "It's OK, but..."
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May 2016

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