Snooty reviews Sleepy Hollow: “The Golem”

 

John Noble grimaces as he sneaks a peek at Sleepy Hollow's series bible.

John Noble grimaces as he sneaks a peek at Sleepy Hollow’s series bible.

Give Sleepy Hollow some credit: when they introduce a good macguffin, at least they have the sense to bring him back, even if that appearance doesn’t quite make sense.

John Noble, consummate Fox alum and eater of sins, makes his return to Sleepy Hollow. I never watched Fringe, but I understand it was a thing—and a popular thing at that—so his return to the network on its new hit show feels like a homecoming. But I profess, for much of the episode, I kept wondering aloud, “What is Henry Parish doing there? Why did he stick around?” I didn’t mind that he did, but from what I can tell, the writers found a great excuse to bring his character back, blew their wad in the cold open, and then just had him hang around making cryptic comments about fate and auras. There didn’t seem to be any point to his being there afterwards; Crane and Mills managed to put together the rest of the clues on their own, and tracked the creature of the week to the world’s creepiest carnival.

The one scene Parish mattered in was a great one: it turns out that the vision he gave Crane of Arthur Bernard wasn’t just a metaphorical exchange within Crane, but an actual summoning. I didn’t really get that until Crane asked Parish to reverse-summon his soul into Purgatory, which I guess is something else he can do, even though it seems a little outside his expertise (at least according to Wikipedia’s entry for “sin eater”). But if the show wants to make up powers for Parish in order to keep Noble as a semi-regular, I’m all for it. Just keep it internally consistent, Sleepy Hollow.

Anywho, last week’s revelation and one non-conjugal visit to Purgatory lead Crane to discover he had a son born after his preservation…and that son did not fare well. It turns out Katrina was banished to Purgatory by her own coven, which seems like a dick move, even if she did rewrite fate to save her husband. This might have made for an interesting subplot, or even a new nemesis for our Witnesses, if Sleepy Hollow hadn’t immediately killed the coven in their debut episode. I guess they could always introduce new members who weren’t at the creepy carnival, but that would feel cheap, even for this show. I swear, sometimes it feels like this show kills every good idea it has: the inclusion of the Freemasons, Katrina’s coven, the concept of Death as a credible threat…one step forward, and two steps backwards.

I could go on recapping, but honestly, I kind of checked out of the plot. We got some period flashbacks of Jeremy Crane in an orphanage so bad, it could carry its own feature report on 60 Minutes (is 60 Minutes still a thing?). Jeremy’s magic blood turns the world’s creepiest doll into a guardian golem, because that kind of thing happens outside of Child’s Play movies, and proceeds to go on a rampage killing anyone that got near Jeremy…except when the coven locked him in a coffin and stopped his heart and buried him. I guess the golem was on a smoke break when that happened.

The “Four Who Speak as One” could have been an interesting element if they weren’t so darn fatalistic. In fact, thinking about it, Crane’s speech to them is hilarious in retrospect: he’s insisting that humans may forge their own path, but on any number of occasions (the Roanoke virus, the Sandman, etc.), Crane insists that faith in their predetermined path is all they need to triumph. The witches may have had it right after all; Sleepy Hollow is all about faith in a predetermined plan, and all attempts to claim the contrary just don’t work.

I think that’s why I liked the scenes with Captain Irving so much, particularly those in his former church. Now that Irving knows the truth, he’s losing sleep. The scenes with his ex-wife and daughter help humanize him, but they also illustrate how much he has to lose. And if his pastor (priest, minister, whatever) is right, he will lose them. Apostles suffer the same fate as their martyrs. It’s a pretty dark twist to what is, ultimately, a hopeful and faithful show.

Oh, and there’s the end, where Moloch delivers a creepy portent: Crane will offer up Mills’ soul. Perhaps to save Katrina? Or the soul of his son? Personally, I like that Moloch never directly addresses Crane as a Witness. ‘Cause he’s not. You wait and see.

 

Musings…

  • Crane gives us the history of eggnog. Ever the professor.
  • “It seems your fates were merged before you met.” Thanks, Parish. Welcome to the end of last episode. Try to keep up.
  • You know, the Sandman from earlier this season looked really good. And the Headless Horseman effects are good too. But last episode’s tree monster, and this episode’s stitch-face? It feels like the show’s monster makeup budget is running a little dry.
  • Crane, melting frigid librarians with his love of books and history.
  • I can think of worse things than “awful intercourse” with Detective Mills. But then, I like intelligent conversation.
  • Jesus Tap-dancing Christ, Katrina gave that doll to a CHILD!?! I wouldn’t give it to my worst enemy! Goon. My worst enemy is Goon.
  • I actually like spending time with Captain Irving and his daughter, even if he loses his cool. Guess he changed his mind about the peppermint in the hot chocolate.
  • So Crane feels guilty because Katrina chose him over his best friend, and now he feels guilty because he was more or less dead while his son went on a magic-fueled rampage. God forbid the show makes him regret a mistake he’s actually responsible for, like fucking up the Horseman interrogation.
  • Yes! Washington’s Bible makes a return! We missed you, preposterous book.
  • What child in their right mind would ever walk through that clown mouth to enter the carnival? Does anyone making this show know what a human child actually is?
  • Fish Out of Water gag: Crane has no appreciation for funhouse mirrors. “When did irony become a national past time?”
  • Okay, Golem, you killed the witches. Now you’re just being a dick.
  • Is there any chance at all Crane’s son isn’t in a subterranean suspended animation, just like his dad? Only next year’s sweeps will tell.
  • This doesn’t have anything to do with Sleepy Hollow, but the new Iams dog food commercial advertises that it has less gluten than other brands. People, gluten is just a specific type of wheat protein. It’s not bad for you unless you’re allergic to it. The same is true for dogs.
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About snootyfilms

A tormented genius in a world that doesn't deserve him.

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