Sleepy Hollow “The Akeda”
Written by Mark Goffman
Directed by Dwight Little
At times Sleepy Hollow defies expectations. So when the seven year long prophecy that has become the founding mythology of the show gets tossed on its ear, the fun is only about to begin. “The Akeda” will have consequences that flow into the rest of the series. The episode’s fundamental changes to the series are lessened by one twist being telegraphed too far in advance, and another being far less of a twist than advertised. Still, things get tore up, and our intrepid band of heroes face a daunting trial as the End of Days begins. And yet, they still spend an awful long time dawdling while supposedly on a time crunch. With this mid-season finale coming in at episode 11, it appears either the arc got squished a bit or dragged out some. Regardless, this episode was full of fun (and sorrow), becoming a kicking rad endpoint that is only the end of the beginning.
It’s Apocalypse Now! Molloch has risen, while Abbie and Ichabod rush with Methuselah’s Sword to strike Molloch down. But lightning takes out their car, and the phone that would call a cab. Darn that lightning! Luckily, motorcycles are now immune to lightning, but unluckily where they think Molloch is being risen, he ain’t. They do find and rescue Katrina, and at the same time capturing the Headless Horseman thanks to Methuselah’s Sword. The only problem is, the Headless Horseman reveals that if they use the sword to kill, the bearer of the sword will also die.
Thus begins one of several delays as they spend time making sure the sword will really do that, coming up with a plan to deal with that fact. The solution comes in the form of former Captain Frank Irving, who has already lost his soul and thus can’t sacrifice his soul and life via the sword. They also delay getting more weapons from Nick Hawley, and Ichabod and Katrina have some more wedding bickering as their relationship is still in rough seas. Katrina giving praises to the captive Headless Horseman Abraham van Brunt is also not well received.
Molloch’s plan is to raise Hell on Earth, and to do so he has to burn the four white trees that have been important in shows last season. He does so one by one, each tree signifying a different sign: Tree 1 = lighting, Tree 2 = blood, Tree 3 = a demon army rises, and Tree 4 = Hell on Earth. Keep this in mind the next time you go out to illegally log the rain forest, you might accidentally take down four important trees and turn the Earth into Hell. I do give props to Sleepy Hollow for having the blood part of the trees be it hailing blood instead of raining blood, because not only is it weird as heck, but it’s also hilarious. Sure, they also saved money by not ruining the wardrobe and sets with red dye, but blood hail is awesome.
Molloch’s demon army is basically a bunch of Revolutionary War zombies, and they are easily chopped down by Frank Irving slicing away with the sword. Frank even dispatches the armored avatar of the Horseman of War, Henry Parrish, turning it into a pile of melted iron. One problem is Frank is mortally wounded in this attack, heading to the great beyond. Allow me to say: “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
The arisen Molloch becomes an arrogant jerk, and his fate at the end of this episode is obvious, yet also hilarious that it happened and surprising it happened so early in the series. Of course, no one is ever truly dead on science fiction television, so I expect Frank Irving and Molloch haven’t had their last sleepy time, if you know what I mean. Also I’m a few episodes behind, so I’m writing this with sort of spoilerish knowledge of the future. Because I’m a witch!
The game is now changed, the series possibly soft rebooting into something else. But it’s still a show where we get things like Blackbeard’s magic flintlocks. So I don’t expect the flow of ridiculous to stop any time soon.
Fun things this episode include Ichabod’s enthusiastic statement: “I want one of these, as soon as this is over!” after getting a ride on a motorcycle. And also Abbie being an expert motorcycle rider as she had one when she was younger. We don’t get reminders that she was once more wild in her younger days enough. There is also the random Blue’s Clues code that was added to the phone message Frank Irving left Jenny last week after he went into hiding. Jenny doesn’t check her voice mail until just now, and the code is something Ichabod figures out in a few seconds. Ichabod also gives a big speech after Irving dies about how he’s going to fight alone so no one else dies, and Abbie and the rest of the cast basically “No, I’m Spartacus”-ing him by saying they’re all going to fight with him and are willing to sacrifice themselves so others don’t get hurt. It’s a great rebuttal to the noble lone hero stuff that pops up too much in these types of shows. Because the heroes are a team, they don’t fight alone, and the few times they do split up they are noticeably weaker then when they have their strengths in numbers. The unity of different people against the face of evil, that is Sleepy Hollow.
Henry Parrish is all over the map in this episode, they suddenly force in him seeing Molloch as a father figure (though I believe it was hinted once or twice before, but was never anywhere near this blatant!) They even shove the Biblical story of Abraham and Isaac into the mix, where Abraham was called to sacrifice his son, multiple times. It’s like they don’t trust you to get what is about to happen. And yet, only those who are paying so little attention the TV isn’t even one will not see what is going to happen. Henry jumps from being manipulative to afraid to masterminded again. The fallout to this will be interesting, and I look forward to it. Sleepy Hollow delights in writing itself into strange places and then writing itself out into even stranger places. So let’s go to the strange place in the next episode, but until then, stay sleepy everyone!