Sleepy Hollow - The Looking Glass War

Are you ready for war?

It seems Sleepy Hollow is.   How many times did we hear our principle characters say something to the effect like, "This is war! or "We must be ready for war!"  Several times I would wager.

Are we the viewers ready for war?

If so, then be prepared for a new look Sleepy Hollow.  Like any war there will be a cost.  What cost am I referring to?  How about the "Fish out of water" Ichabod Crane?  Last season nearly half of each episode was devoted to how lost in time Crane was.  I fear no time for that now.  Certainly we'll see snippets of it here and there like him not knowing how to slip a truck into reverse or how to handle a birthday party.  But a season where Ichabod acclimates himself to a new century will be a thing of the past.

What about matters of trust?  Surely this was a dominant theme last year.  Especially the nascent trust that was growing between Crane and Abbie.  It was nearly a central theme.  You could toss in the trust issues between Jenny and Abbie not to mention whether to trust Captain Irving or not.  Trusts were broken also. Significantly the one between Crane and his son Henry.   Gone with the wind.

You can argue that we've moved on and it is time to progress.  I for one will miss the mystery and fun behind those conceits.

Mirror, Mirror

Here's something that hasn't changed, Sleepy Hollow's use of the looking glass.  I love the metaphorical use of the mirror or a simple reflective pane of glass.  Sleepy Hollow uses it to great effect.  It's practically one of the main characters!

What fun it was to see Moloch's device to look into the Earthly plane was really a mirror.  Of course it was!  I'm still a little confused as to the rules it plays by.  Ichabod and Abbie can join each other in Moloch's lair but Moloch couldn't join Henry in his armory.  Does it have to do with the rules of Purgatory? 

No matter, here are some great mirror shots from this past episode.

Crane and Abbie in the car side mirror

Abbie's plaintive cry to Crane not to fail.

Moloch's mirror in Henry's armory with some 3D effect.

Ichabod's mirror image when he makes his "final" recording to Abbie.

Let's not forget the glass that separated the "prisoner" Henry during that intriguing faux reality sequence.  Aside, you know, I did want to play along with that tableau.  But there were too many clues that it wasn't quite real.  Cranes breathing, the eerie squirming plant etc.  Seriously, I would have gone along with the one year in the future thing if that's the way the wanted to play it.  The fact that it was just a clever artifice to ween the truth out our heroes worked for me too!

Odds and Ends

Head shots

Sleepy Hollow made great use of people's noggins in this episode.  Or sometimes lack thereof.

The faux reality scene made sure we saw the bust of Ben Franklin front and center only to see it shattered in the ensuing gun battle.

What was my favorite use of the head shot?  See the bust of Abraham Lincoln above and to the right of Abbie in this scene.  I thought to myself, "Why are we seeing a bust of Abraham Lincoln in the Crane Cave?  He's not one of the founding fathers.  That's out of place!" 

Seriously, this bothered me.

But not after what we saw later in the episode!

Abraham's head!

Get it?  A little foreshadowing using Abraham's head to tease the return of Abraham's head.

Well, I thought it was clever.

The Red Balloon!  Anyone who follows this blog know the red balloon means danger.  We've seen it as far back as Fringe and more recently in Extant.  This time it served as a clue that all was not right in the faux universe.

Did you see the four horses in the wall hanging behind Abbie?  You'd think these guys would have better taste.

Ichabod only got one horse to his right.  Foreshadowing our big bad?

Did you notice they changed Abbie's look?  They did.  It's a bit softer now.  They let her hairline grow in.  I like it. Better than the receded hairline she used to sport.   More feminine. 

How much would I pay to hear John Noble intone the word "Magnificent" over and over?  Plenty!  Just let me show you my outrageous cable bill every month.  He's worth it.  Such a fantastic presence.

Especially in the context of this...

Oh, Sleepy Hollow you know I eat this kind of stuff up with a spoon.  Absolutely love it.  I'm not so sure of the rules behind these Horseman avatars either.  How come Abraham exists as the Headless Horseman and Henry gets to exist outside his spirit?  Because he's John Noble and he needs the face time?  Okay!

(At least we know he has a soul.  That will surely come into play later.)

Clearly this scene was reminiscent of the Nazgul raising his sword that was foolishly cut out of the original "Return of the King" movie.  Bad move was that.  Good thing they put it back in the disc.

"This is my hour."

Absolutely love it.


  1. Great post, Dave. Fantastic catches with some of the scenery... I didn't catch the red balloon - that also reminds of that "99 Red Balloons" tune. You're right about Abbey looking softer, I did notice that one, and the repeated use of mirrors. I quite enjoy that.

    Overall I really enjoyed the episode and will continue watching, but I will admit what I like most is watching both John Noble and the guy who plays Ichabod - they are both a real treat to watch!

    I guess this is kind of turning into a father vs son story (in general), and it'll be interesting to see how it plays out.

  2. Come to think of it Ingrid, Crane looks a little more studly himself. Put on some needed weight perhaps and a new shampoo?

    Good point about this being a father son story. It's certainly more interesting than kidnapped Katrina. Use your witch powers lady! Duh! Mison and Noble are fantastic. I hope the show runners realize this and give them plenty of material to work with.

    Thanks Ingrid!

  3. Hi Dave, great post as always.
    I didn't catch the balloons at all .... I must be more observant next time. I really enjoyed this ep. Love seeing John on tv .....and love the fact that he is now playing the 'son' role in the 'father son' relationship. I wonder if Jeremy/Henry will eventually become his fathers ally, like Peter did on Fringe.
    I was fascinated by the scenes with Abraham aka Headless Horseman and Katrina ..... I just loved the way it was filmed.
    Im looking forward to ep 2. Thank goodness for downloads as im not sure when season 2 will start up here in OZ.

  4. Thank you Lyn, Yes, now John is the son and his character is carrying a lot of bitterness. But I can see him becoming an ally by seasons end. I just hope they don't have him rejoin his family only to sacrifice himself to protect them. I want him around for a long time. Perhaps any sacrifice would involve him losing his memory and reverting to Henry the Sin Eater.

    Did you see the Abraham and Katrina scenes as sexualized in any way? There has been a lot of buzz about him walking around with his shirt off and having her, ahem, tied up.

    You'll have to tell me where you're getting your "downloads" some day.

    Cheers Lyn!

  5. Hi Dave,

    IT is so awesome to have this show back!!! Great post, you always "see" more in the episode than I catch. The ominous balloons again! Also Abbie offers Ich food first thing, another red flag that all is not right. I did think it was interesting that in the shared faux future Katrina and Jennie had died. Perhaps this was just to keep the witnesses on task?

    John Noble is just gold, he chews up every second of screen time with relish. I like the horseman avatar, because to be honest I can't picture JN on a horse wielding a huge flaming sword with any seriousness. There is also precedent for him controlling another avatar (of sorts) with his soul, the gollum.

    Katrina and headless. I am a little disappointed that she now has a means to see his face and talk with him. Part of what makes that character fascinating to me is how much he is able to communicate without a face or voice. Just his hands in the way he lays out the bread for her speaks volumes. I honestly burst out laughing at the headless shirtless shot, it just struck me as hilarious.

    OK here is my one complaint. No Irving. Not even a namedrop. Even long dead Corbin got a namedrop. It was great to have Andy back again though, he has taken stalking to epic lengths.

    Symbols. Stormy weather = war coming? Seems like every time we're in the cabin it is thundering and lightning outside. Scary birds and some bats this time too! And then there are those tree roots (fingers of the past or realms below?) that keep ensnaring Ich. Moloch's hovel appears to be made of them and there was that freaky plant with squirmy roots in the faux future.

    I'm a sucker for the references (intentional or not) to National Treasure (key in the brick in the clock tower) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (those Hessians are digging in the wrong place!).

    Can't wait for next week! -Lynne

  6. Hi Lynne,

    Go Sox, or is it Go Pawsox! Whatever. Yes, it is awesome that Sleepy is back. Their production values are so great, the acting is fantastic and so sincere and then there is all the work they put into their mythology. The reservoir of inspiration should be endless.

    The "killing" of Jenny and Kat served to drive the Witnesses to greater effort in their memories, and in revenge, which led Henry to plumb the depths of their psyche's for more information. I liked it. Quite devilish.

    Good point on the Soul/Golem connection. As I mentioned above, Henry still has his soul intact albeit corrupted. That means it is not beyond redemption. As Lyn and I discussed, we'd like to see him join forces with the good guys against Moloch. (But not right away!)

    Were you disappointed about seeing Abe's head? What I would like to see is someone else in the room while Kat and HH are talking and they only see the stumpy version of Abe. That should be hilarious. Can you imagine the look on Abbie's or Crane's face as the watch Kat talk to HH? I want that!

    Yeah, Irving will be back, so where were any mentions especially by Abbie? And Sleepy Hollow will be getting a new Sheriff that has a past with Jenny. So where does that leave Irving? Just another member of the Scooby gang? Ah, but wait, He and Jenny had a connection didn't they. Maybe she will spring him from jail.

    I had just finished watching Gotham and then saw the bats and thought, "That's fitting, whoops, wrong show." As for Moloch's lair it was also reminiscent of the episode where the Root monster lived in the cellar of an old mansion. I think he had a reporter or writer imprisoned there. Lot's of good tree and crow action in that one.

    Ha, I thought of National Treasure also when I saw the Benjamin brick. Nice tie in to Raiders though!

    Monday is right around the corner. I'll be watching the shows and keeping a half an eye on Brady hoping he'll be able to survive another game.

    Thanks Lynne!


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