Screen / Sleepy Hollow

Child’s Play: Sleepy Hollow ‘The Golem’ Review

Apparently Katia Winter is a regular on this show.  This is what every Sleepy Hollow source tells me.  It’s even in the opening credits, but is she a series’ regular?  All signs point to no, but bless Winter’s agent for landing her the credit and the paycheck.  I’ve spoken about the problems in Katrina’s story before, and unfortunately (but not unexpectedly) “The Golem” did nothing to repair any of those issues.  Sleepy Hollow is determined to make Katrina and the things she did back during the Revolutionary War important (she buried Ichabod, linked him to the Horseman, etc) without actually making Katrina important.  She’s still a cipher functioning as a plot point in Ichabod’s despair, and her backstory keeps getting shuffled around with little to no explanation to keep supplying fodder for Ichabod’s mini-spirals.

A few episodes ago it was implied that Katrina was sucked into purgatory because of Abraham’s obsession with having her, a prize for when the big fight was done and hell was on earth.  But “The Golem” claimed that Katrina was sent to languish in purgatory by her own coven, pissed at her for messing with the divine order and saving Ichabod’s life and such.  We’ll never know that the real reason is, and by the next episode it’s likely to change so I’m inclined to stop asking.  And what’s the point when we never see Katrina anyway?

“The Golem” showed a desperate Ichabod searching for answers to what happened to his son and employing Sin Eater Henry Parrish (John Noble) to put him in contact with Katrina.  When the two met in purgatory, Katrina told him everything she knew about their son, Jeremy.  After his birth Katrina left him in the care of Grace Dixon and her husband to spare him the life of a fugitive because Katrina wasn’t fleeing from dark forces but from her own coven. Which begs the question of why any of the last episode happened if Katrina and her son weren’t being chased by Moloch’s forces but by Katrina’s coven. What was with the Root Monster and the sanctuary and all that?  Judging by what we learned of Jeremy’s life, Moloch wasn’t exactly looking for him so why did the Root Monster attack at the exact moment Jeremy was born?

Ichabod’s eagerness to speak to Katrina and get answers inadvertently released a creature known as the Golem into Sleepy Hollow. And turns out this Golem was the creepy doll Katrina gave Jeremy (I know it was way back when, but why did that doll seem an appropriate gift for a baby? It was horrifying), and it was animated by Jeremy’s powers and turned into a protector and friend in the absence of his parents.   Of course the revelation that his son had to turn to an inanimate object for guidance and protection sent Ichabod on some kind of trip.

I realize I’m ragging a lot on Ichabod in this review, and it’s not because I dislike Ichabod.  In fact, I like Ichabod a lot, or at least I have prior to this latest batch of episodes.  Though his sadness and anger at being denied the chance at knowing his son is understandable, “The Golem” really hit us over the head with it at every available opportunity.  The entire episode was an exercise in how effectively Ichabod could make every thing that had ever happened to his son somehow his fault despite having it pointed out to him multiple times that he had no role in determining Jeremy’s fate or his actions.

Eventually Ichabod, Abbie and Henry are led to the Four Who Speak As One, a group of pointy toothed witches who would have benefitted from passing around a throat lozenge, but they died so it hardly matters now.   I think they were the heads of Katrina’s coven, the Sisterhood of the Radiant Heart (which is also an all girls’ Catholic school somewhere, I assure you), but I could be wrong. That wasn’t very clear.  What was clear was that they condemned Katrina to purgatory because of her saving of Ichabod, and therefore could have gotten her out if they wanted.  However, they didn’t want to despite Ichabod’s offer to save their lives in exchange (because the Golem wanted to crush the coven that had denied Jeremy a relationship with his mother).  Resigned to their fates, the witches gave Ichabod a quick rundown of what happened to his son.  Short story: Jeremy went on the run with his Golem and gained a reputation, attracting the notice of the Four who offered him the chance to join their coven.  Jeremy refused so the witches had to kill him and put the Golem in purgatory.  But back in the land of the living, the Golem was still fighting Jeremy’s battles and Ichabod was as well so they both had to let him go. So Ichabod killed the Golem and resigned himself to the fact that he’d never get to know his son in what was a very nice scene of him comforting the dying Golem and being left with that creepy doll when it died.

I’m wary of this quick resolution to the Jeremy story, and in a supernatural show like this one, there’s always potential for the character to be resurrected.  That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if Sleepy Hollow could find a way to balance Ichabod’s angst and without making it so consuming that I’m annoyed with his scenes.  Ichabod having more of a character besides well-meaning and benign centuries old dude is great, but having him repeat the same lines about his guilt at not being there for Jeremy didn’t do anything for him.

Largely separate from the week’s story was Frank. After a visit to his church where he questioned his fate and those of Ichabod and Abbie and learned of the inevitability of all of their deaths,  Frank spent some time with Macey.  It was all going well. Macey was being charming and cute, and Frank was really making good on his promise to be a better father to her when his complicated life joined them on the park trail via a possessed street vendor.  One ominous threat to Macey later (“Is she strong enough to fight for her soul?”), and it’s clear Moloch is extending his reach.

When the pastor told Frank about their impending doom, I wrote it off as just something that gets said.  Because that does get said in biblically bent apocalyptic everything, but certainly Ichabod and Abbie aren’t gonna kick the bucket (not this early anyway).   But Moloch’s promise that he’s coming for Abbie’s soul, and that it’ll be Ichabod bringing it to him, indicates that Sleepy Hollow is moving into the home stretch.   “The Golem” was the last episode of 2013, and the show will return in January to wrap up its first season.  After a bit of a detour into Ichabod and Katrina’s backstory, Sleepy Hollow looks to be returning to where it began: the relationship between the Witnesses and their roles in the big fight.   And in the three episodes remaining, I expect to see someone dying but my fingers are very crossed that it’s no one I’ll miss very much.

You can’t tell by this review, but “The Golem” wasn’t all doom and gloom.  It was basically Sleepy Hollow‘s Christmas episode.  There was mistletoe and some not kissing between Ichabod and Abbie as well as a stocking for Ichabod, or as he called it “oversized hosiery”.   Despite the show’s missteps, it hasn’t let me down yet regarding the relationship between Ichabod and Abbie, and Ichabod’s visible distress at Moloch’s warning that Ichabod’s going to hand over Abbie’s soul was a nice place to leave off for the holidays.

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