Friday, October 9, 2015

Sleepy Hollow 3x02 "Whispers in the Dark" (Do You Want to Know a Secret?) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

"Whispers in the Dark"
Original Airdate: October 8, 2015

We open up this week's Sleepy Hollow on a montage of Ichabod Crane singing and doing household chores, which is simultaneously the best and worst way to open an exciting supernatural drama about evil forces trying to end the world. Why is Ichabod cleaning, you ask? Because he and Abbie are roomies now! It’s a very nice, very clear sign that the show is prioritizing the relationship between Ichabod and Abbie over other stuff, which is exactly what I want from Sleepy Hollow. I know this is only the second episode of the season, but it certainly feels like the writers et al. have learned from the mistakes of season two and –– even though the Witnesses as individuals are getting some story time (hello, Abbie’s new boss and all that you might entail!) –– they aren’t being forced apart by separate relationships or manufactured distrust.

And yes, I understand that season two intended the rift between Ichabod and Abbie –– they foreshadowed it within the first couple episodes, then brought up the issues between them (mostly Ichabod’s preoccupation with his evil and/or misguided family members) fairly consistently over the course of the season. None of that explains why they would want to cause problems between the two Witnesses, though. Abbie and Ichabod are, without a doubt, at their best –– at their most entertaining –– when they’re together.


The theme for this week’s Sleepy Hollow is secrets. Pandora releases a “whispering wraith” creature on Sleepy Hollow that feeds off of delicious, delicious secrets, and then the people die from fear or fear-related accidents. I wonder if it’s a coincidence that Pandora keeps letting things that kill through fear out of the box, or if that’s just her thing. We’ll have to wait and see if the pattern continues in the episodes to come, I suppose.

When the wraith attacks Abbie and Ichabod, we get short flashes of their secrets. Ichabod’s is clearly related to his time during the American Revolution but Abbie’s secret seems to be her going all Veronica Mars and taking pictures of a guy (whose face we don't see) from a distance. It turns out that Ichabod had been captured and, for just a moment, had been tempted to turn against George Washington and the Revolution and provide the enemy with names of Washington’s spies. But he didn’t do it. Ichabod’s just prone to unnecessary guilt, I guess. We don’t get clarification on Abbie’s deep dark secret until later, after our Witnesses defeat the wraith with his name (Marcus Collins, which is just the least intimidating name for a bony-handed creature of shadow and death, ever) and save the third in its line of its potential victims from a fear-based doom.

It’s an important thing to note that neither Abbie nor Ichabod solely defeated the Whispering Wraith. It was Abbie who talked Ichabod through remembering something important –– the human name of the wraith –– and it was Ichabod who faced it and stabbed it. I’m going to take this as another sign that the show has accepted Abbie and Ichabod as partners whose strengths and weaknesses balance each other and make them a better whole, and that we’ll be getting a lot more excellent teamwork moments in the future with none of those “issues” from season two.

The deed is done, the day is saved, and Abbie and Ichabod are chatting on the porch when she finally admits her secret: she found her father. He’d left when she was six years old and she finally figured out where he lived but she hadn’t approached him, just took pictures of him and thought about knocking on his door. She doesn’t know if she’s ready to face him yet –– or to even tell Jenny –– but Ichabod assures her that she’s taken the first step, by letting him know her secret.

Aaaand, at the end of the episode one more secret is revealed: Pandora’s confirmed identity as an evil person! I actually thought they were going to stretch that out for longer than two episodes, but I’m happy Team Witness can already get started on defeating the nefarious new Big Bad.


I really like the promise of Joe Corbin joining the team, especially since he seems like he’ll be teaming up more with Jenny than with Ichabod or Abbie. Jenny has shown incredible growth over the course of the show, going from an angry doomsday prepper to a more emotionally secure, compassionate character who can still be a BAMF when the moment calls for it. She and Joe share the fact that they’re involved in all the weird stuff going on (Joe because he got turned into a Windigo last season, Jenny because she’d spent years finding and stealing mystical artifacts) but they’re not Witnesses and they’re not really key players in the game. They’re still people who know more about what’s really going on than the average citizen of Sleepy Hollow, though, and that gives them incentive to try and help.

But Jenny is still on another level from Joe. She knows more about the situation than he does and she clearly wants to protect him –– again, a trait that we would not have seen in the Jenny from season one –– but he wants her to let him in on the big, world-ending secret. Maybe he thinks it might make him feel closer to his dad, who died trying to figure it all out, or maybe he just wants to help. No matter his reasoning, Jenny doesn’t want to drag another person in on the fight that she’s been preparing for for most of her life. Joe thinks that it’s time Jenny shared that part of her life, and wants to help her.

Other Things:
  • Abbie and Ichabod aren't allowed to not be roommates. You can't give us that gem and then take it away from us, Sleepy Hollow.
  • Apparently shows like to have characters eating out of takeout cartons because it makes continuity easier. Is that true? Someone who works in TV, tell me if that's true.
  • Pandora does a lot of talking out loud for someone who's trying to keep her evilness on the down-low.
  • I don't really understand how someone Abbie went to the Academy with ended up outranking her. I figured maybe they met before the events of the show started, during some kind of initial FBI training? And then Daniel kept training while Abbie was busy being a Witness in Sleepy Hollow, giving him enough experience to be her boss?
  • Ichabod's awkwardness around Daniel Reynolds is... just, so perfect and hilarious. He kept looking at him suspiciously as he walked away!
  • Also lovely: the fact that Ichabod slips and calls Abbie "Lieutenant" in front of Daniel before immediately correcting himself.
  • We got a Grace Dixon flashback! Can Grace Dixon come back? I liked her.
  • Why… does Betsy Ross just put a British red coat on over her corset and underskirts? She clearly wasn't in disguise. Did she just want to steal the guy's coat?
  • "We work well together, we always have. Even when our… dynamic changed." "Points for the euphemism." Abbie and Daniel are going to be fun.
  • Abbie constantly calling Daniel "sir" like it's something she has to force herself to do in order to keep the proper distance from him is a nice touch.
  • That Randall guy is scary, but man does he have good taste in kidnappin' music. Especially since he was in a car, it put of some great Christine vibes.
  • Pandora's just the right mix of creepy and competent. She never seems that put out by Abbie and Ichabod defeating her monsters, so it makes me think she has a bigger plans on the horizon.
  • "You kicked me in the leg!" "Come on, man. You insulted me! You said I went soft!" JENNY GETS TO FIGHT PEOPLE AGAIN, YAY!
  • I want Abbie's dad to be a retired demon hunter or similar. Add in something about him wanting to separate himself from the supernatural, like how Abbie said she didn't want to balance her role as a Witness and her real life forever, and I think it'd be a great plot point for the show.
  • "Of course, having you by my side is the greatest boon." It's also the greatest boon to us, the audience, and why you're not allowed to move out of Abbie's house.
  • Nicole Beharie is fantastic in the scene where she's telling Ichabod about finding her father. I kind of wish that I hadn't chosen her as my TV MVP last week so I could choose her this week. Just assume she's also my MVP for this week, folks.
  • "What is it about guys with accents?" Hee.
  • Ichabod's quest to save the Archives continues! I hope he succeeds. 


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