Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow: “Pittura Infamante”

You know when you just don’t care anymore? You just don’t care. No more fucks are to be given about a show that you once cared about so much. So much. But now you’re so indifferent the show could be cancelled tomorrow, and you wouldn’t notice. That’s where I am with Sleepy Hollow. Its plummeting ratings prove I’m not alone, and this has drawn the notice of the network which has decided that Sleepy Hollow’s problem is that it’s too serialized. Of all the problems that have been listed by every critic watching this show, both professional and like me, the problem is the over-serialization? Not the backward steps in the development of Abbie, Jenny and Irving? Not Katrina’s blah and unimpressive character? Not Ichabod’s pathetic excuse for Witnesshood? Not Hawley?

Nope, the show is too serialized.

Sleepy Hollow and its creative team are determined not to fix any of the actual problems, which makes all the attempts at reassuring fans and viewers of the show’s eventual return to “quality” sound particularly stupid. Instead, it’s buckling down on all the things that are bad about it. So there’s little confidence to be had in the show going forward, and little hope to have of it gaining a third season in the wake of its swift fall in quality.  But maybe it’s my lower standards talking, but “Pittura Infamante” isn’t as bad as other episodes have been. In fact, compared to those, it’s way better.

Any episode that begins with the promise of a Crane date night doesn’t start off well, but as the episode goes on it begins to grow on me. Ichabod and Katrina’s night out at the historical society is marred by a murder (of one of Ichabod’s friends we don’t know and have no reason to care about), and the two get sucked into a search for a serial killer trapped in a painting and trying to kill his way to freedom.

Katrina’s still not as great a character as she could be, but this episode at least continues where “Paradise Lost” left off in kind of trying to give her some kind of…something. It does a better job than that one did, leaving her inexplicable faith in the Headless Horseman untouched for the time being and focusing solely on her attempts at mending things with Ichabod. Pairing together to stop this week’s monster does better things for their relationship than the entire show has done, and the same is true for Katrina’s character. She’s feeling the sting of losing so much time, especially when she begins to recall her former friend Abigail Adams (Michelle Trachtenberg), and she’s obviously insecure about her role in Ichabod’s life, suggesting he call “his Abigail” for help with the killer rather than her. Katrina eventually gets with the program and accompanies Ichabod into the painting to stop the killer. Though Katrina and Ichabod’s story isn’t as riveting as other storylines have been, a slower and more plodding investigation and resolution, those sick of watching Ichabod and Katrina drag down everyone else will be at least relieved that Abbie gets a break from their marital drama this week.

Instead Abbie’s dealing with Irving’s sudden return, wondering if his resurrection has something to do with his captive soul. That’s the obvious conclusion to leap to, even while Jenny’s hoping this just means they were lucky enough to get their friend back. Abbie’s more wary, her and Jenny finding a way to kill a dead man if need be but still hoping for some way to determine if Irving really is the same man he was before. It’s just like Abbie to want to be sure, even if it means withholding some bedside manor from a good friend. Her dedication to her cause is unparalleled, and if the show screws up everything else at least it manages to stay true to this.

In recent episodes the show’s lost a lot of its charm, even when it can rely on the chemistry between Abbie and Ichabod to bolster even the weakest of episodes. This episode splits them up, but it works to its benefit. They both get to do some work on their own, but the partnership isn’t neglected. The two talk throughout, exchanging notes on their respective situations, and Abbie has a save the day moment when Ichabod and Katrina get caught in a tight spot. This is more a credit to Abbie than to Ichabod, since she’s been the one weighed down by Crane drama and really needed the time to do something on her own.

I hate to say that this may be a turn to more bearable Sleepy Hollow to come because it most certainly isn’t. Not when next week is Hawley-centric (as if anyone cares?!), but this episode didn’t make me as angry that I was postponing Jane the Virgin to watch it.

Stray Observations

  • If Katrina was such good friends with Abigail why does she refer to her as “Abigail Adams” all the time?
  • I don’t know why Katrina had to kiss Ichabod as a distraction. It wasn’t like they were going to get in trouble for having a private conversation.
  • Katrina actually does magic twice!
  • I don’t mind the show insisting on making Katrina annoying if it means on some level it knows this, proven by Jenny and Abbie’s not-very-fond-feelings for her.
  • Jenny digging bullets out of a dead guy while on the phone with Abbie was very adorable. Gross, but adorable.
  • We don’t get a real sense of Katrina’ affection for Abigail, and Abigail’s investigation and eventual alliance with Katrina’s coven all play out via some lame exposition, sprinkled with some vague flashbacks. I can’t say I want the show to really commit to exploring the history it manipulates since I’m not all that interested to begin with, but if they insist on connecting everything back to the past in some way it could at least do it better.

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