Sleepy Hollow: “Mama” — November 17, 2014
This week I’m breaking with format to list why “Mama” was arguably the standout episode of “Sleepy Hollow’s” second season, thus far.
- Abbie was given a compelling story that showcased Nicole Beharie’s ability to carry the lead by herself. Ichabod had a convenient and plausible cold. (Crane has been pushing himself.) The show hasn’t focused this much on an Abbie-centric episode, it was satisfying to see Lieutenant Mills get her due and Beharie’s opportunity to display her acting chops.
- The writers also demonstrated the show’s range. Though known for charmingly absurd plots and tongue-in-cheek humor, Sleepy Hollow is also a procedural show and capable of drama and horror. This was the darkest episode to date and not just because of the eerie set and special effects.
- After a scant amount of attention, this season, Jenny and Captain Irving are back and kicking ass! It’s particularly gratifying to see Jenny share a deep story and strengthened sisterly bond with Abbie. Irving’s escape from Tarrytown Psychiatric with an assist from Abbie is in keeping with tradition. Lieutenant Mills used a bluff to free Ichabod from St. Gregory’s in the pilot and later arranged for Jenny to get an early-release from Tarrytown Psychiatric so this is just one of her habits now.
- The series honored it’s own mythology. Since Season One, the writers have been doing the Dance of the Seven Veils with the story of the Mills sisters’ mother. At first it was just alluded to that she was unstable. It was eventually revealed that she did time at Tarrytown Psychiatric and committed suicide. This season, Abbie found out that her mother was haunted by literal demons and not simply “crazy.” The writers also tied in Mills ancestor Grace Dixon, making her more than just a fleeting character. There’s plenty of room to give Grace as much importance as the founding fathers.
- Seasoned character actress Aunjanue Ellis (Lori Mills) is one of the most intriguing guest stars to appear on the series. She created a portrait of a poignant, protective, terrifying, human misunderstood and loving woman. As a supernatural series, the writers have a lot of creative freedom and I hope to see Mama Mills again.
- The show didn’t drop the ball on any of the established threads and gave just enough time to each of them. Henry is still attempting to raise Moloch but took a break from the Wiley E. Coyote foiled scheme of the week. This is important because Henry is a strong character and a far more frightening Big Bad than Moloch. it would be a shame to render him impotent. While she remains in peril, the “Save Katrina” campaign was suspended. It was a good idea to spring her from Purgatory because weekly pleas for help can only go so far. Recent developments hint at a turn to the dark side.That could be the best thing to ever happen to Mrs. Crane. Newcomer Hawley continued to be shady but helpul and there to support the two women he has shown an interest in. Recent addition Sheriff Reyes is evolving as a character, the writers made her smart enough to accept that she must trust Abbie to fight mystical crimes. The villain of the week, sadistic Nurse Lambert (Cynthia Stevenson) served a real purpose to advance the episode.
A contingent of fans have found the show’s sophomore season lacking for various reasons. “Mama” should go a long way to bring them back home.