Rasha: Okay, let’s first name the things this episode is giving us, aside from life eternal.
Gemma: A great deal of fodder for our theory on the meta-narrative of the show as a whole. The beautiful and disturbing ways that we never know the whole story. Complex, fascinating, disrupted family love.
R: I’m getting served: ancestors, mid-wifery magic inheritance, motherhood, intergenerational healing and alliance, structural analysis of the mental health system’s role in violence and oppression. I’m also feasting on the Ida B. Wells legacy, and some kind of Morpheus-says-don’t-take-the-red-pill-Irving!
R: I am here for it. Please, yes, showrunners! Rock that ship, amazing cast! You know, the cast was not expecting to run this episode. They had been preparing another one when the writers/showrunners switched the order.
G: Oh, really? Any words on why?
R: Only that TV guide interview with Nikki Beharie. I was just looking up the actress playing Lori Mills, Aunjanue Ellis. This episode depended a lot on casting that part, and this good woman brought it. Mama indeed.
G: Yes, she was brilliant. I thought it was beautifully acted all around, and I’m so glad we’ll have Irving back where people can engage with him on the regular!
R: I wanted to cheer when I saw him escaping!!
G: FOR REALZ.
R: Also when he tells Abbie : Don’t give me that aiding-and-abetting-a-fugitive-look, I asked you if I could trust you. That is friendship, and also pushes Abbie’s limits. For a heroine fighting across dimensions, she is not one to cross boundaries of the law to help people very often.
G: Well, somebody who liked the boundaries of the law is the person she feels gave her her life back. I like everyone’s boundaries being tested. I also liked the nuance the Mills family as a whole brings to the table. The demons are real, and Lori really did care very deeply for her children, and really did endanger them, and really did try to protect them, and could not function in the world, and left her children, who loved her deeply and were hurt by her deeply, with an incredibly complex legacy, and all those things are true.
R: Sigh, yes. I was crying during this episode.
G: Yeah, I almost got there quite a few times, too. And I loved the moment after Lori disappears, when Jenny and Abbie came together and Hawley and Crane were both just kind of standing there. I felt like I’ve been everyone in that scene at different times. So perfectly done.
R: I did appreciate that the guys were there for what was helpful and stayed out the way for what wasn’t their thing. I liked that this show could have all four of them in a room with candlelight and the most overwhelmingly intense emotion was really not romance. What I also appreciate is that the complexity still has a possibility for redemption, for “going farther than any of us could.” So many times, when we get into the legacies of generational trauma, we don’t also get to claim the legacies of generational power. I am very excited for the Mills sisters to have Grace Dixon’s journal. I hope she and Benjamin Franklin had some brawling disagreements.
G: Ooh, yeah. Although I will claim one small complaint with this episode: subtitling the Latinate magic language and not the Bantu magic language. It’s silly, but it bugged me. But I like bringing Grace Dixon into the mix, too. I have the feeling she will play a role in how we engage with Demon Boy.
R: I wondered the same thing about the subtitling too. And yet, it somehow felt respectful to me. For one, that Buffy font cracks me up. And for another, it’s like: if you get it, you get it, and if you don’t then it’s not here for you. There’s a lot of folks out there who are not about translating in diasporic writings. I feel more than one way about it. I am in the process of reclaiming language, and I want that bridge space, and still I have to recognize who translation is for.
R: I am looking forward to Grace Dixon’s spirit sending that entitled little demon boy back to his hellspawn pond on the other side. Midwife him back across the great divide!!
G: To Grace Dixon: her presence coming from the past will illuminate all the fault lines and all the love of the present. So far all the ancestors who do things have been Crane’s. I like that everyone will be involved now, and that I trust the show to engage the dangerous power relationships inherent to that.
R: YES^^ THIS. This makes me want to get on the line to all the midwives and doulas I know. Conference.
G: Hah! Excellent. I agree with your earlier point that Romance is not the heart of this show, and it is THE BEST that that is the case.
R: Yes, you know, it’s nice to watch a show that understands that my everyday concerns involve fighting demons, and that I need some characters I can relate to. About intergenerational demon-fighting ‘n sh*t. Because that occupies WAY more of my cognitive space than romance, honestly.
R: And you know, as we are naming the ways in which this show beats out Buffy, or The X-Files, or whatever, I want to recognize the work they’re doing to make 250 years of history personal and present and intimate…there aren’t many shows out there doing that in any genre.
G: That’s what I’m feeling. This is a show that’s really using its genre, rather than simply belonging to it. We’re seeing that people who are worked on by systems and social forces in horrible ways still hurt each other as humans and both of those things matter in different ways. Rare indeed are narratives that can do that.
R: It is not an accident that the folks who are committing ‘suicide’ are dying on a noose. Whew, that mess was rough, especially with some very pointed camera framing. Irving going to drown. There’s a lot of rough, hard history that this show is signalling without talking about lynching, drownings, and mob violence.
G: Yep. I thought this ep was perfectly on point with all of that. This show knows what it MEANS when it says history.
R: I’m going to have to look more carefully at who’s in the writing room on this one. Because those people deserve respect.
G: Cheers. It’s a relief, after our conversation last week, to know that this remains the way they’re thinking. Now: I wanna see Reyes get honestly tangled up in it all!
R: I was glad to see Reyes at least show up for the episode! I agree, she was brought in all storm and bluster, and now she looks like a tempest in a teakettle. Bring the tempest! Or put her in the middle of it, at least.
G: Yes. I’m guessing there will be some kind of reveal of her family, and dialogue between her and Irving. Or something that’s a repercussion of Lori’s haunting, since she knew Lori.
R: She probably will have more do to now that her predecessor/arch-nemesis/future-ally is on the lam.
G: I see good things coming out of a scene between them.
R: I’m checking for news about Ferguson, because also in the context of a grand jury deliberating whether a cop who shot an unarmed man should go to trial for it, I am appreciating Sleepy Hollow because #BlackLivesMatter.
G: Nothing new in the last few hours.
R: To me, Sleepy Hollow is one of the few pieces out there nationally that makes me laugh and cry and still want to fight. Sometimes, I’m really glad for art.
G: ME TOO.
R: Do we have to say something about Katrina?
G: No, we mentioned the Demon Baby. I’m good to go. This ep wasn’t about her, and it was nice not to see Henry nodding along with his evil plans for the entire episode.
R: I was glad to see John Noble pull so many expressions out of the secret pockets of his face when Henry is watching Katrina be motherly.
G: I like that his face has secret pockets.
R: It bodes well for your predictions/desires for their story arc.
G: Well, I think Grace Dixon is going to add nuance to this arc in ways we never imagined. And I am f*cking excited about that.
R: Praise Kindred.