Recap/Review: Sleepy Hollow S2 E6

How to win at the breathalyzer game.
How to win at the breathalyzer game.

Gemma: I can start the party by saying, I think the bit with the breathalyzer was one of my favorite Ichabod-in-modern-times moments.

Rasha: I too thought the part where Ichabod won the breathalyzer was funny. I also enjoyed video game playing Ichabod. I really enjoyed Abbie’s snappy retorts in this episode, where she’s like “yeah, I know you’re quoting Lao Tzu, but he wasn’t dealing with demons.” Then her retort to Sheriff Corbin in the flashbacks. I appreciated seeing an expression other than earnest concern on Nicole Beharie’s face, and it feels like this season, she’s getting more of a range of situations and is also flexing some actorial discretion.

G: She’s really going somewhere lovely with the part. Although this ep it was clear you’re right–there’s definitely going to be a Mills sister sh*tstorm over Hawley and I’m not that excited about it.

Ugh, this plot device dude.
Ugh, this plot device dude.

R: I was pleased that the return of Joey Corbin might throw another curve to the romancings. He gives this little puppy wave to Jenny!

G: Yeah, that did make me wonder, although I thought the end of the ep indicated he won’t be hanging around with us very long. But as someone who spent a lot of her adolescence babysitting, Abbie’s struggles around Joe had a particular kind of sadness and desperation that I found poignant. “Can we not take away EVERYTHING from my youth?”

Curse of the babysat.
Curse of the babysat.

R: I know! Their relationship had me feeling the feels! Sleepy Hollow might need the FBI to get involved in all this at some point. And when that time comes, Corbin could play a part.

G: Mmmm, true true. He would make a good recurrence. So many feels! Platonic complexities are awesome, showrunners! Please note!

R: And Joe Corbin’s character was as well-written as I might hope, with enough clear bitterness mixed with involuntary admiration and care for Abbie. And plus, you know I appreciate a good soldier story line.

G: Yes indeed. I know ya do, and it’s good to have a soldier after our conversations re: Henry’s soldier rhetoric… What will come of Katrina being bitten by THE MOST POISONOUS SPIDERCREATURE IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE EVER? In the internal organs, no less!

You are what you eat?
You are what you eat?

R: Well, she eats it, which makes me think the thing is going to be operating her from within and running her. Did you get the sad, sweaty preview for the next episode? I found myself disappointed that they weren’t trotting out flames and storms and WHEN KATRINA GOES TO THE EVIL SIDE.

G: No, I didn’t see it!

R: I was even digging this episode’s Shawnee tribe tie-in, where the mythos felt marginally more respectful. Compare to Grimm, which did a Wendigo episode that was so white-bred it would shame an English muffin. [Ed: Search results for Wendigo lore do not turn up any connections to Shawnee tribes, so clearly some wider liberties were taken in the retelling.]

I hope we get to see this actor again.
We hope we get to see this actor again.

G: I never heard of a Wendigo before this, but it did seem like they did the work with the Shawnee characters pretty thoughtfully. I liked that actor.

R: I love the way the script used Crane to out Daniel Boone as a survivor of sibling abuse/attack (this is theme in this show, for yeah?!)

G: Do you know of any indigenous folks who are writing about this show? I’d be curious to hear that perspective on Ichabod’s stuff. Yeah, sibling terror definitely underpins all our interactions. I guess it’s a show about how much agency we do and don’t have in defining our families, to a degree.

R: Then there’s the father-son parallel with Crane/Henry and Corbin/Joey. Somehow, that did not strike me as FuzzyMen, but actually true and even strategic.

G: This show, for doing things with men that have feelings, is remarkably devoid of FuzzyMen. Another point in its favor.


R: I am so excited we get to use that tag again. Especially in its refutation.

G: Me too. I was just looking at it during the last post, waiting for the occasion.

R: Hmm. I’m gonna think about that bit on families. Well, so then we get Squire Boone who was suffering from nostalgia/PTSD–which is also what Joey Corbin is dealing with, or at least, a hefty dose of survivor’s demon guilt.

G: I didn’t know that “nostalgia” was a term for what we now call PTSD. Is that historical? Having “nostalgia” about becoming a monster is pretty marvellous.

We struggle not to become monsters, all.
We struggle not to become monsters, all.

R: I just looked up nostalgia. There’s a bit about nostalgia as a medical condition, but it seems the show is taking some creative liberties with history. Though many soldiers were often diagnosed with nostalgia, it was probably more accurately translated as home-sickness, which also tracks more with modern usage of the word.

G: Aw. Not quite as historical as I thought, but still neat in its interactions with the modern usage.

R: I think I can get behind this kind of creative extrapolation, especially because as you point out, the newlogism of the word’s use in the show adds depth to the story.

G: Very much so. As in, that interaction might be true for many of our characters.

R: That they feel nostalgia about becoming a monster? Dude, what does being a monster have to do with memory?! That sh*t is f*cking interesting! Take me there, Hollow!

G: Let’s jump to the “becoming a monster” theme with Irving while we’re at it.

Dude, it's time we talked about my soul. I get a 30-day refund policy, right?
Dude, it’s time we talked about my soul. I get a 30-day refund policy, right?

R: YES. Kick us off.

G: Well, first first, it is SOOOOO testament to this show that I wasn’t thinking about that being The Theme until right now, even though now that I consider it, it’s fairly obvious. We have a man who signed a contract with a monster trying to avoid turning into a monster, and a man who can’t control when he turns into a monster, made that way by the same monster who had the contract. Monstrosity is a lack of agency. Right? Isn’t that true of this show?

I had to include the magic spellskull...and I swear that's the font used in Buffy and on countless occult titles. Does someone know what that font is?
I had to include the magic spellskull used on Joey. Free the man inside the beast!

R: So yes, to your thoughts on Irving. I think there is a clear struggle among duty and calling and agency and choice and fate and personal history for nearly every character, yes? Definitely for all our title characters.

G: Yes, and all of it has to do with family.

R: This is a family supernatural drama! Without the Family Channel PG-ness that the word has come to imply.

G: ‘Tis! And much better so than Buffy. It’s enough about real outsiders to really understand chosen family.

The family that slays together, stays together.
The family that slays together, stays together.

R: It’s hard for me to straight compare. There are definitely important registers that Sleepy Hollow is hitting that Buffy didn’t and never could, but I do still find much about Buffy delightful.

G: Yeah, I never liked it that much (sorry, like, half the people I love did, but I didn’t), so to me Sleepy Hollow is simply taking some of the same themes and doing it better,  but either way, this is about the rawness of family and intimacy, and the question of agency in relationship to those things.

R: I think SH is doing something ultimately much more grown-up than Buffy was, for sure. I appreciated Joey Corbin returning with a dig at Abbie about never leaving Sleepy Hollow. To me, his character takes us back to Abbie’s choices, her past, her relationships with parent figures in a way that Reyes hasn’t quite connected on yet.

G: I want more Reyes. I want her real role in the story.

R: Closing words?

G: Father-son and sister-sister will obviously be the climax of this season. I thought Abbie was a li’l glib with Irving–“Oh, yeah, we’ll save YOUR SOUL, you just sit tight and don’t worry!”–but I am wondering, deeply, how he’ll fight against these forces.

R: His line to her just cut me to the bone: I trust you, Abbie. Don’t disappoint me. Who will be the one to #FreeIrving? So far, it feels like he is fighting all those battles alone. So excited for next week!

Don't break my heart, Abbie.
Don’t break my heart, Abbie.