Saturday, March 12, 2016

Sleepy Hollow 3x14 Review: "Into the Wild" (Not Out of the Woods) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

"Into the Wild"
Original Airdate: March 11, 2016

This week on Sleepy Hollow: we have gross monsters! We have some Abbie and Sophie bonding! We have some Daniel Reynolds being kind of shifty but still mostly likable! We have an Abbie-narrated flashback sequence, Ichabod and Abbie having a psychic connection, and Pandora being 110% done with The Hidden One’s nonsense! It’s everything you could want from a season 3 episode of this show, except for the gross worm-wounds. I never want to see gross worm-wounds, Sleepy Hollow. Just for future reference.

“Into the Wild” is another episode mostly contained within itself, prioritizing the monster of the week over the broader, season-wide plot arc, for the most part. But the show keeps the episode from feeling like filler by sprinkling in some really nice developments, relationships, and hints at things to come. Personally speaking, I feel like Sleepy Hollow is getting really good at keeping the mystery moving and the fans wanting more -- hopefully it all pays off in the end.


Abbie is at the center of this week’s monster plot, accompanied by Agent Sophie Foster as the two (plus Daniel Reynolds) are paired off for an FBI survival training exercise. I’ve noticed that Sophie as a character is kind of a fifth wheel who has to be shuffled into different pairings and groups because she doesn’t naturally fulfill a “partnership” role like Abbie and Ichabod, or Joe and Jenny, do. While Abbie was in the Catacombs she fell in with Ichabod to fight against that mirror-demon, and after that she got grouped together with Joe and Jenny. Now it’s Abbie’s turn for some Sophie bonding, and -- as one would expect from pairing Abbie with another FBI agent -- the two get along remarkably well.

Sophie and Abbie bond over their shared experiences with the supernatural, both recognizing that exposure to the things that go bump in the night started relatively young. The difference between these two, however, is how they perceive their knowledge and their new outlooks on reality: Abbie thinks that knowing about demons and ghosts and the possible end of the world ruins lives, while Sophie thinks of such things in more hopeful terms because the previously unknown mystical parts of the world might provide some answers to what happened to her parents when she was a girl. It’s a very nice exploration of the two characters, and how a bit of new blood on Team Witness can affect perspectives without upsetting too much.

Speaking of upsetting: you know what’s upsetting? Getting mauled by a gross looking creature called a Verslinder. Which happens to the guide for Abbie, Sophie, and Daniel’s group. Abbie and Sophie cover up the supernatural event by telling Daniel that the guide had been attached by a coyote, but then they have to spend the rest of the night trying to kill the Verslinder, keep their guide alive, and keep Daniel from learning that spooky, scary things exist. Because, remember how Abbie thinks that the supernatural ruins lives? Well, she doesn’t want that to happen to Daniel.

When the guide turns into a wormy-wound-having Verslinder zombie, Abbie and Sophie realize that the time to stall is well and truly over. Luckily, Daniel decides to venture off on his own and get help, still thinking that the guide’s wound is a run-of-the-mill infected animal bite. When he’s gone, Abbie and Sophie learn that if they manage to kill the Verslinder, then the victim of the Verslinder will revert to normal -- no wormy wounds! Abbie also applies some all-natural medicine knowledge which, somehow, she gained while in the Catacombs. Why did Abbie need to learn how to make medicines while trapped in a place that never changed or changed her? Did she read the recipe somewhere? I still have so many questions about Abbie’s time in the Catacombs.

It seems like Abbie’s troubles happen when she’s alone, since as soon as Sophie and Reynolds are off with the injured Guide Robbie the flashbacks start again. This time, the focus looks to be on the Symbol and on Ichabod almost dying back in Dr. Leeds’ laboratory. And speaking of Ichabod…


Ichabod is trying to fill in some gaps in  his knowledge about the various artifacts he and Abbie had unearthed since they returned to Sleepy Hollow, inspired by the mystery of the golden Catacombs charm they found in Dr. Leeds’ laboratory. He takes the metal rune and the Sumerian tablet to a scientist in Rochester, hoping to get some answers.

What luck! He does get something: the scientist tells Ichabod that the metal symbol, while impossible to determine the exact makeup/origin, emits a kind of energy generated by natural bonds. Like the Sumerian tablet, the symbol is actually two pieces that can be separated, which Ichabod does. Thinking back to the tablets, Ichabod separates those as well and finds that each one has a subtle indentation vaguely in the shape as the Catacombs symbol.

When he presses the metals to the indentation, Ichabod sees a vision of Abbie, and Ichabbie shippers see a vision of all their dreams coming true. Once Ichabod realizes that his partner is in trouble, he hightails it back to Sleepy Hollow to make sure she’s okay. By using a map that tracked demonic presences, Ichabod was able to pinpoint Abbie’s exact location and save her and Sophie from the Verslinder with a well-timed pistol shot or two. Abbie delivers the killing blow with a handmade spear, though, because she’s amazing and of course she does.

In the end, Abbie learns that the symbol she’d been simultaneously drawn to and terrified of might not be one of evil -- not if it connects her and Ichabod together -- and she’s understandably relieved. For all that the Sumerian tablets call the Witnesses “destroyers,” the objects are still representative of their legacy and bond. If the symbol is a part of that legacy and bond, then maybe they can use the thing for good. Hopefully.


While Abbie and Ichabod had their separate adventures, Joe and Jenny were adventuring together. Well, I say “adventuring” but what I really mean is “spending lots of money to make sure that Pandora doesn’t get a part of her super-powerful box back.” Joe has money now, if you recall, and he spends a million dollars’ worth of it at an auction for shady artifacts. Holy moly, Joe! A million dollars? Jenny probably could have stolen that thing for free.

We learn two things during this B-Plot involving Joe and Jenny: the first thing is that Joe had never been cured of the wendigo curse. It had merely been lying dormant, until close proximity to the Box fragment awakens it and physically touching the fragment actually triggers a (partial) transformation. The second thing we learn is that, while guns and other mortal weapons don’t seem to work on Pandora, a clawing from a Wendijoe actually draws blood. Pandora seems just as shocked by this as anyone else, which makes me think that we’ll be revisiting this newly discovered weakness in some future episode.

Pandora, understandably, is upset by both her new wound and the loss of another piece of her box, which literally seems like the only thing she cares about. I don’t even know how many times she’s mentioned to the Hidden One her need to restore the box (and, with it, her power) but she’s mentioned it. A lot. Unfortunately, the Hidden One is still an awful, awful boyfriend and doesn’t care about his lady’s feelings or her power or that box. He’s too busy declaring that the Witnesses must be killed, while Pandora keeps looking at him like she’s one rude remark away from poisoning his soup.

Other Things:
  • That dude trying to condescend to Abbie about rock climbing and Abbie just being like LOL NOPE was fantastic.
  • "Do not mar this moment with your selfish needs." Oh I am so rooting for Pandora to stab the Hidden One in the face.
  • Considering the Rochester burn, I'm thinking one of the writers lived in Rochester…
  • "I knew Crane was out there looking for me."
  • I’m genuinely loving Sophie more and more with each episode. She’s clever, trusting, and brave. She understands that Abbie is a leader and doesn’t do any posturing or attempt to take over the situation.
  • Ichabod playing with the magnetized floating chess piece and jumping back like a startled child when he accidentally “breaks” it was adorable.
  • “Never underestimate the power of a natural bond.” We’re going to just go ahead and make that the Ichabbie tagline.
  • Oh that wormy wound was so gross. Grossest thing on Sleepy Hollow. Grosser than scarab beetles replacing spleens from a couple weeks ago.
  • “Why did you ask me back?” “Maybe I didn’t want to.” WHAT’S GOING ON, DANNY?
  • If Joe keeps buying things willy-nilly, he’s going to run out of money fast. You didn’t inherit a never-ending well of cash, Joe!
  • "My power is my own and no one will take it from me ever again!" I think Pandora’s taking her relationship problems out on the wrong people.
  • “Sometimes the things we think will hurt us, will actually save us.” Sounds significant.
  • When are people going to shower Nicole Beharie with all the awards she deserves? Her subtly awkward body language and stuttering tone when talking to Danny toward the end of the episode was perfect for the character of Abbie, whose strengths lie more in action (shooting guns, climbing cliffs, killing monsters) than in interpersonal business and delicate feelings.


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