Friday, October 23, 2015

Sleepy Hollow 3x04 "The Sisters Mills" (False Fairytales and Family) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

"The Sisters Mills"
Original Airdate: October 22, 2015 

I’m assuming “The Sisters Mills” is a play on “The Brothers Grimm” and the dark, twisty fairytales of said brothers’ collection, and how it ties the innocence of the Tooth Fairy myth with the horror of this week’s monster. It’s also a way to emphasize the relationship between Abbie and Jenny, and the difficulties they face as two people who lost each other for quite a long time but still love each other and are still trying to make reparations for the past, while also avoiding a similarly significant falling-out. Sisterhood did play a role in this episode, with one of the child victims of the Monster of the Week leaving behind a worried older sister and Jenny relating to that worry because of how much she cares for Abbie. Even though this episode didn’t deliver the Mills Sisters backstory I was rather hoping for when I first read the title weeks ago, it still managed to bring in some character growth and development for my two favorite apocalypse-fighting siblings. So in the end, I wasn’t all that disappointed.


The monster that Pandora unleashes this week is probably the creepiest of the season. I always like a Sleepy Hollow monster that’s more "suspenseful music and weirdness" than "blood-dripping and fanged masks," and this week delivered really well. The monster is of the crabwalking, head-on-backwards, twitchy-stuttery cinematography variety and likes to hang out on ceilings, waiting to fall down and suck out your soul through your tooth hole. Yeah –– tooth hole. It’s the Tooth Fairy. Whaaat.

Well, it’s kind of the Tooth Fairy. This thing –– the Abyzou –– is connected to the Tooth Fairy because it’s attracted to the wound that a missing tooth leaves behind. It was kept at bay back in the 1700s by tucking a silver coin under the child’s pillow. The Abyzou attacks children and eats their souls, putting them in a coma for 48 hours first before they die for real. Paul Revere –– one of Ichabod’s many acquaintances back in the 18th century –– was the person who figured out that silver could help keep the Abyzou away, as well as make the monster visible to adults and the children it targeted. Everyone during the American Revolution fought demons. How annoying must it have been for them, not only trying to build a new nation and defeat a global superpower but also fend off the forces of evil? Exhausting, really.

It takes a lot of guesswork to figure out how Team Witness can stop this Abyzou creature, and they fail at their first attempts. Abbie even gets hurt and winds up in the hospital –– although it’s unclear if it’s a supernatural coma like the one the children fall into, or if it’s just because she got knocked out during the fight with the Abyzou. Either way, Abbie is out of commission and Jenny and Ichabod have to fight the Abyzou without her. They succeed, of course, and the little girl is saved. Abbie wakes up while they’re gone to find Pandora sitting on the edge of her hospital bed, monologuing just like they taught her to do in Villain School.

With the camera flowing in an out of focus and stuttering as Pandora tells Abbie all about how she came to be who she is and the things she’s been through, it’s a really creative way to show how out of it and vulnerable Abbie is –– with the main villain of the season sitting right next to her. Not attacking, but completely able to attack if she wanted. The fact that Pandora doesn’t attack Abbie increases the intrigue and mystery of her as a villain because... what does she want, if not to outright kill the Witnesses? Even Pandora doesn't quite know what she needs to do to strike at the heart of Abbie, but she implies that she wants to take something very important to her away. Later on in the episode, Abbie and Ichabod surmise that Pandora's big plan has something to do with that tablet they found in the first episode. The one that (possibly) labels them both as “destroyers.”


I can’t have a review about an episode called “The Sisters Mills” without mentioning the Sisters Mills. Abbie and Jenny have come such a long way since the first season (or, well, since before the first season) and it’s so wonderful to watch a show that doesn’t force characters into their original molds. Sleepy Hollow has allowed both of the Mills sisters to grow and change in accordance with their place (mentally and emotionally) in life, and it really shines through the relationship between the two of them. It would have been easy for the writers to keep things as awkward and stilted as they had been during the first episodes of the first season –– to keep Jenny a bitter warrior woman and Abbie emotionally closed-off and incredibly guarded. But they didn’t, and I love them for that.

In this episode, Abbie finally tells Jenny about finding their father... only to learn that Jenny found him five years ago and already knows just about everything there is to know about him. Abbie is shocked (even though she shouldn’t be –– Abbie, Jenny is Jenny and she’s spent a huge portion of her adult life hunting supernatural things down all over the world. Do you really think finding a regular guy would be difficult for her?) and they fight.

The fight seems to be about a lot of things: that Abbie had felt all that unnecessary guilt over not telling Jenny, Jenny’s anger over Abbie deciding they should both hate their dad without allowing Jenny to have her own opinions on the matter, and the idea of actually visiting him and interrupting the life he established after he left. Of course the two make up at the end of the episode, because Abbie and Jenny are the only family they really have left and they want to be there for each other.

It’s nice when the show gets to press pause on the Apocalypse and just let the characters be people. That sense of development –– of characters being humans –– was sorely missing throughout season two but was something I really loved about season one. So I was happy to see a touch of it in this episode.

I would certainly be in favor of more Mills sisters throughout the season, though, because Abbie and Jenny are such a critical part to the Sleepy Hollow story. I know that Jenny isn’t one of the Witnesses, but ignoring the relationship between the two sisters –– or relegating it to minor status –– would be doing the whole show a great disservice.

Other Things:
  • Abbie lecturing video game-playing, couch-potatoing, living room-trashing Ichabod on doing his freaking homework is my favorite.
  • "Land of the drunk and free." What an accurate description of Independence Day celebrations.
  • "We share a roof, Crane. I know a lot of things I cannot un-know." I need details, Abbie. Hey, writers: DETAILS.
  • I love the little moment between Jenny and Abbie in the house, when they were talking about their childhood and the "boat window."
  • Ichabod Crane's strengths do not include comedy.
  • I can't figure out the timeline for the Betsy Ross flashbacks. At what point between meeting Katrina (as a British officer, mind you) and getting married to Katrina did Ichabod have time to make out with Betsy Ross twice?
  • And another thing: It's gotta be weird for all the characters that Ichabod keeps mentioning Betsy Ross, right? I think he mentioned Ross... twice, during the first two seasons? Now it's every week. What's put Betsy Ross on your brain, Crane?
  • "This is too good," Jenny says as she gets out her phone and videos Ichabod Crane being ridiculous in front of a classroom full of children. Hah!
  • Speaking of Ichabod being ridiculous –– he was a lot wordier this week than usual, right?
  • I really liked the scene between Joe and Ichabod during the stakeout. Also the new information that apparently Jenny and Abbie like matchmaking?
  • Look, I'm mostly okay with it so far, but why does the show think Ichabod needs a love interest? Having one just opens up a lot of awkwardness regarding his origins, role in fighting against the Apocalypse, etc.
  • "Strongest person I've known in this or any time." Someone please cut together a video of all the times Ichabod waxes poetic about Abbie and send me the link.
  • Jenny interacting with children all through this episode is SO WONDERFUL.
  • Hey, kids: don't trust ladies who show up out of nowhere and use phrases like "if you have a mind to..."
  • "Hello, sleepyhead." Fandom name drop!
  • "What is the one pesky thing that you cannot accept to lose?" INTRIGUING.
  • Ichabod high as a kite on laughing gas! And Abbie's reactions!


Post a Comment