‘Sleepy Hollow’ Finds A ‘Sanctuary’ In Its Latest Episode

Senior Contributor
11.26.13 35 Comments
Now, that's a bitchin' hat.

Now, that’s a bitchin’ hat.

Most people celebrate Thanksgiving by spending it with friends and family. On Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod and Abby spend it running around a haunted house and fighting a vine monster. Hey, people have their own traditions.

This episode starts with Ichabod and Abby called in to investigate Fredericks Manor, where a billionaire socialite has suddenly disappeared. This being Sleepy Hollow, it of course has personal ties to Ichabod’s past, although just how personal even he isn’t fully aware of. Oh, and also, it’s got an off-brand Swamp Thing.

Meanwhile, back at the precinct, Irving and Jenny hit it off before Irving’s awful ex and his daughter arrive. Having your wheelchair-bound twelve-year-old will put you off your game, and it only gets worse when his ex shows up and tells him if he misses another weekend with his daughter, she’s going to file for sole custody. You know, because that’s the best way to ensure a strong parental bond, to try and keep your child from seeing her father.

Mostly, though, this show has fun playing with tropes surrounding haunted houses. It’s flagrantly an episode riffing on The Evil Dead in some respects, especially in the climax. But they largely limit the shaky-cam bits and manage to milk even the flimsiest cliches for some genuine tension, or comedy in one case. Helping considerably is that they’re both pretty freaked out to be locked in a house with a killer vine monster, and Abby’s overall… distaste for haunted houses.

It’s also, on a technical level, more accomplished than a lot of horror movies. The director and the cinematographer aren’t afraid to have things actually be dark, and make good use of Ichabod and Abby’s flashlights. In all, it’s a great demonstration of how this show can mix larger arcs and monster-of-the-week plots, and another episode that shows why it’s a surprise hit.

Some more thoughts:

  • Ichabod should be allowed to run around with an axe more often.
  • The show generally does a decent job of hiding that it’s shot in North Carolina, but you do find yourself wondering where all that Spanish moss came from. Also who went into the terrifying abandoned house to hang up plastic sheeting.
  • If you’re an ex on this show, the writer’s room hates you. Seriously, Abby’s ex is awful and useless, and now we’ve got Irving’s ex, who’s even worse.
  • Orlando Jones’ bits here break up the pace of the episode rather clumsily, which is unfortunate because he does a really good job in them.
  • The fish-out-of-water gags in this episode were particularly funny. Particularly the throwaway at the end about “more treasures from the Amazon.”

Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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