Abbie Mills handling business like she singlehandedly invented the action genre herself.
Literally everything else.
Terrible writing, poor treatment of characters, and outdated ‘demon pregnancy’ trope make this Sleepy Hollow’s worst episode to date.
On this week’s Sleepy Hollow, Henry and his henchmen show up at Abraham’s to take Katrina away. Her sickness is worsening so she makes her escape and ends up in the hospital. Ichabod and Abbie arrive and get her away before Henry’s henchmen can get to her first. A bit of research leads to quite the discovery: Katrina is pregnant. But with what? How will Abbie and Ichabod stop this? Let’s discuss.
Katrina Crane: Ever The Victim, Ever The Plot Device
Katrina has a nightmare of Ichabod, induced by the sickness of the spider Henry infected her with. She’s ill, feverish, but still manages to get away when Henry’s men come for her. It was actually sort of sweet to see Abraham fight against the force of the sun (which weakens him) to keep her from being taken and the fact that she called out to him for help makes us think that there’s something more brewing between them. This is the only plot point involving Katrina that we have found bearable to watch in her entire run on the show. The writers have never done much of a job developing her. We still know nothing about her. One of many horrendous moments in this episode came when Ichabod and Abbie made to break her out of the hospital before Henry’s henchmen could catch up to her. Being that her colonial garb was taken away, they need to steal some clothes for her to wear. What could it be? A corset and skinny jeans. It was a horrifying display where Katrina was sexualised for no reason whatsoever. She’s sick and feverish; the last thing she would ever do is put on a corset. (You’d be right to guess that this episode was written by men). Whatever misguided attempt at comedy (oh look, Ichabod’s uncomfortable that men are checking out his attractive wife) the writers were going for instead became sexist objectification. They had an opportunity to make something of Katrina’s character for once but instead they chose to put a sick woman with a demonic pregnancy in an outfit for the sole purpose of her being leered at.
“Somewhere beneath that broken exterior, he still cares. He doesn’t want us dead, out of apathy. There is still a part of him that remains human. Perhaps if we could reach it, he could be made whole.” ~ Katrina Crane
“Katrina, he’s trying to kill you.” ~ Ichabod Crane
Now let’s get to this demonic pregnancy, shall we? Make no mistake, this was a rape. Katrina had her body violated by her son and forcibly implanted for his power. Apparently that earlier objectification wasn’t enough misogyny for the writers. Then when Katrina began rambling off about how they should go to Henry to get the pregnancy removed, we had a massive face palm moment. At this point, we’re just very confused about what the writers are even trying to do with Katrina. Is she supposed to be this clueless and irrational? Sure, a mother’s love for a child is strong but she had only just ran away screaming for help to get away from Henry and now all of a sudden, she wants to go right back to the person hunting for her? This doesn’t make any sense; it’s terrible writing. The revelation that it wasn’t just an ordinary demon but Moloch himself amped up the drama, creating a greater sense of urgency for our Witnesses to stop this from coming to fruition. We did like the fact that she had earlier performed a spell to warn them if Henry was on his way but at this point, it’s too little too late for Katrina. She’s always the damsel-in-distress or just there to add to Ichabod’s man-pain. We get it. She lies and lies on top of all her other lies. We’d actually welcome her being a proper villain at this point. Make her the evil hell bride of the Horseman of Death for all we care. Just don’t put the viewers through another round of demonic-pregnancy torture porn ever again.
Ichabod Crane: Losing His Charm, Losing His Sense
After Katrina’s nightmare, the episode transitions into a scene of Abbie preparing to vote in the midterm elections. Ichabod has come with her because, well we have no idea. He callously continues to lament the good ol’ days and Abbie rightfully calls him out for this and also throws in a playful but still spot-on dig about paying his bills. We were thrilled that she brought this up, as this is a plot point that seriously needed addressing. All this time that Ichabod has been back from the dead and although he’s fighting the forces of evil alongside Abbie, this is nothing that would pay the bills. All of his clothes, food, and other necessities, Abbie has been paying for on a police lieutenant’s salary. She doesn’t have to do this, she owes him nothing, but she does it anyway. But what irked us most about this interaction is that Ichabod does not thank Abbie. When has he ever thanked Abbie for all that she has done for him? What use is addressing this plot point if it’s still left unresolved? If Ichabod is supposed to be all manners and gentlemanliness, surely he would have thanked her by now. Yet another thing the writers need to fix.
“So, colonial America was a golden age, because everybody voted in those days. Oh wait, black people couldn’t vote. Neither could women so I would have been turned away at the door, twice over.” ~ Abbie Mills
“Actually, you don’t own significant tracts of property so, thrice over.” ~ Ichabod Crane
“Well maybe I could afford property if I weren’t paying all your bills.” ~ Abbie Mills
Ichabod shows a brief moment of clarity in telling Katrina that Abbie is right about the fact that the evidence is stacked against Henry. He has made every effort to kill them, the Witnesses, and now Katrina is about to die from the demon spawn inside of her (anyone else see the weirdness in this? Demon spawn kills mother through the implantation of demon spawn in mother?) But then he goes right back to siding with Katrina. This sloppiness in character writing had us rubbing our temples in frustration, not knowing what to make of this Ichabod. What once was the strongest of bonds between our Witnesses is now spiraling into an unrecognizable mess. His calling for a vote on how to proceed should not have included Katrina. What bills is she paying? Since when she is a Witness? That’s a rhetorical question. What insight has she brought to Team Witness in all this time of her so-called spying? In just one episode, Abbie singlehandedly accomplished more than Katrina has in all her time of creeping in doorways. Then after all of the mayhem that Team Witness goes through, Ichabod is none the wiser regarding the state of his son. We see Ichabod and Abbie in agreement that this was too close of a call, yet one little vision of young Henry running through the woods is supposed to make Ichabod throw all sense out the window. This is not news to him! He already knew Henry had suffered abuse, or did the writers forget the episode with the Gollum? Yet another plot point that made no sense.
Abbie Mills: Deserving Of Far Better Than This
The only saving grace of this episode was Abbie Mills. She is the voice of reason amongst all of the ridiculous nonsense coming out of everyone else’s mouths. Whether she was scolding Ichabod for his racially insensitive lamentation for ‘ye olden days’ or pointing out the fallacies in Katrina’s and Ichabod’s “faith” in Henry, it was very difficult to watch her not receive the respect she deserves. This is not the only problem in the way Abbie’s character has been handled. We still have not seen her be given the proper time to grieve the losses she has faced since becoming a Witness. From Corbin to Luke to Andy, this is a woman who will undoubtedly have some stress and trauma but instead, the show focuses on Ichabod’s man-pain and the Crane family drama, which frankly is not all that engaging to watch. The show needs to focus more time on Abbie working through those losses, and her continuing to rebuild her relationship with Jenny. We all but never get scenes of Abbie away from Crane. Abbie Mills is not a sidekick. The writers need to let her be her own person.
“Do you hear yourselves? Henry is the Horseman of War. He told us, point blank, he means to help Moloch raise hell on earth. How does anyone come back from that?” ~ Abbie Mills
Abbie Mills got to play both super-sleuth and action star this episode and it was absolutely brilliant to watch. This is Nicole Beharie’s first job where she gets to do this sort of action but she handled it all like a pro. We couldn’t help but scoff at Ichabod’s failed attempt to crack the code on the case containing the tablet until Abbie told him the single-most obvious answer: “666.” Abbie didn’t need Ichabod to compile evidence on the enemy, or manoeuvre the law enforcement raid on the evil lair, but it’s once again entirely evident that Ichabod would not be able to get by without Abbie. Worst of all, after all of the work that Abbie did to break the case, it’s Ichabod that gets to play hero. He smashes the tablet and holds up the amulet to beam it on Katrina to banish Moloch back to hell. It was horrendously offensive to watch Abbie be delegated to the role of ‘Mammy’ while Katrina’s screaming with demonic labour pains. We cannot even begin to make sense of what the writers were attempting to accomplish with this. Recalling the time Abbie’s ancestor was a piece of property that helped Katrina give birth? How could the writers be so delusional as to think this was a good idea? Abbie was already the hero of the episode and they should have kept it as such and had her be the one smashing the tablet and shining the stone while Ichabod could continue to play the role of weepy husband. Then for some reason, Ichabod was the one to perform CPR on Katrina. So we’re left to assume that someone (probably Abbie, but who knows) taught him CPR since he didn’t even know what that was when Hawley performed it on Abbie after the Weeping Lady almost killed her. Abbie is a police office and thus would’ve been certified in it; it would have made far more sense for Abbie to perform it. For her to just sit back like that was entirely out of character. Abbie is the character with the most agency when the writers aren’t making a complete mess of her characterisation. Abbie Mills deserves better.
If there’s one thing we could be thankful for about this episode is that there was no Hawley to be seen but that’s really grasping at straws for us. This episode had racism, sexist objectification, poor writing, and yet again, Jenny and Irving were not given any decent material. Jenny was entirely absent, and Irving was brought on for all of three seconds because Ichabod asked him to facilitate a meet with Henry. Let’s just keep it real here. Sleepy Hollow, in season one, was a show that appealed to a large number of POC viewers because of its quality diversity and representation. We had Abbie, Jenny, Irving, and even Andy. To have an episode as horrendously offensive as this makes it entirely evident that the writing staff is in dire need of diversification so that these characters and stories can be properly tended to. With the rightful outcry from angry fans at this rock bottom episode, we only hope that the show runners will make the necessary changes to turn things around for a show we once considered one of the greatest things on television.
Sleepy Hollow Review: Episode 2×07 – “Deliverance”
Jenevia Kagawa Darcy