I wasn't sure I was going to blog on this show and I had to watch it twice before I made up my mind. It's your typical "fish-out-of-water" story but fortunately for the viewer the show doesn't belabor the incredulity of the participants or the viewing audience.
How many times have we all watched a show where the principle player (such as 18th century Ichabod Crane) is thrust into some bizarre situation and despite overwhelming evidence to support his or her claims no one, save perhaps one, ever believes him. This point is driven home across the breadth of the season and perhaps seasons to come. It can be very frustrating for all concerned.
Well, not this show!
It wasn't long before incredulity goes the way of a severed head and by the end of the show everyone is seemingly on board. Even the character of Captain Frank Irving, (middle name Washington?) who by all rights should be the most disbelieving, has thrown his lot in with Abbie and "Captain America" Ichabod Crane. (Yes, he may be in on the secret like Brooks and the dear Reverend. That helps.)
I was a bit thrown by this expecting the familiar TV tropes to rule the day. But after some thought I find this accelerated version most refreshing. Things were a little off here and there. Crane himself should be ready for the asylum he eventually finds himself in. But no, cars don't phase him, modern day weaponry doesn't puzzle him (granted, I would duck too if anything fired at me), power windows, now that is fascinating!
I like a show that has a sense of humor and is a bit self aware. (See above.) Little things like the power windows and the "Captain America" line I can appreciate and I find endearing. But speaking of self aware, does this version of Sleepy Hollow not have the legend in it's story books? Was there no Washington Irving to write this story in it's time line? I mean they all live in Sleepy Hollow don't they know the story? I guess not, I wonder what else has changed?
Here is something that's changed, Fox has shown the courage to cast a female co-lead of an African-American woman! Hooray! (Or should I say huzzah in keeping with the 18th century theme.) "Leftenant" Abbie Mills is wonderfully played by Nicole Beharie who thankfully dispenses with all the cliches that Black actors are often encumbered with. Praise be! I would hate to see Beharie's character weighed down by the stereotypes that are ultimately demeaning and insulting. No, Abbie Mills is no second fiddle, she's quick, courageous, canny and resourceful. (Let's keep an eye on the show-runners to make sure she stays that way.)
Ok, let's discuss some of the finer points of the episode.
The Mirror Universe.
I like it. Crane's seemingly deceased wife can communicate with him through a mirror. Our perspective on this world includes Crane existing in this mirror universe as long as he speaks with her. I wonder if Katrina will be a series regular through this portal or through flashbacks.
Not only can things be seen through to the mirror universe but it's occupants can cross between the two worlds. At least in the case of the "Demon". Does that mean Katrina can cross over? I think not, she claimed to be trapped there. Bad news though, Mr. Demon is not trapped there.
Does this mean the British were on the side of evil when they had the "Headless Hessian" in their employ? Was it because of their imperialist/colonial ways that brought slavery to the new world? I'd like to see this explored further.
The interrogator at the beginning of the episode shows Crane a dollar bill (more of the lack of incredulity I loved) and it has Washington on it. That's fine, but make note of the "unfinished pyramid" on the reverse side. The meaning to us is of an unfinished union that strives for perfection. To them I think the mythology is quite real. In fact it seems apparent that Captain Irving, Officer Brooks and the Reverend (who existed in two time lines are aware of it and "witchcraft". Interesting.
Nitpicks and Other Observations.
So if the Demon can cross through the mirror worlds why doesn't he just kill Crane? Oh right, the blood connection.
If witchcraft exists in this world where are the two covens? Is the good coven trapped in the mirror world with Katrina or is it represented by Abbie's sister and the dead Reverend? Is Irving a member of the evil coven? Was Brooks? Is the eagle as a "familiar" able to transcend both worlds?
Here's a nitpick, Abbie says she's a member of the police force yet she clearly worked with the Sheriff. Her arm patch says Sheriffs Department which is county oriented. So which one is it and why isn't Irving in a sheriff's uniform, everyone else is?
Super nitpick, Crane said he was ordered to Washington's tent and he ends up in a cabin. Gotcha! (Hey, I said it was a nitpick.)
OK, what did I miss? What can you all add?
I'll try to quicker with posting next week but with "Almost Human" around the corner I can't promise anything. Remind me to keep my head up!