SLEEPY HOLLOW Season 2, Episode 4 'Go Where I Send Thee'

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When the daughter of Abbie’s former juvenile case worker Beth is abducted, she takes it upon herself to find the missing child as belated thanks for the kindness shown to two lost and angry young girls all those years ago. The discovery of a magical bone flute (stop sniggering at the back!) that induces a somnambulistic trance in all that hear its music leads Ichabod to deduce that the abductor was a pied piper. Not the Pied Piper of Hamelin from the 13th century German legend of the same name, but another one with nevertheless similar abilities who also physically resembles the online artificial myth of the Slender Man, likewise supposedly responsible for the abduction of children.

It turns out that Beth is a descendant of Daniel Lancaster, a patriot businessman who joined the revolutionaries only after it became clear that they would likely be victorious (and who a cursory consultation with Google and Wikipedia reveals to be completely fictional). Anyway, when a platoon of redcoats commandeered his house and were getting lecherous with his daughters, he hired the piper, an assassin who made a deal with Moloch for his powers, to dispose of them. However, when the time came for payment the piper was double-crossed and left for dead in a swamp, because betraying a warrior with magical abilities who has sold his soul for unearthly fighting skill is really going to end well, isn’t it? The piper’s pact with Moloch brought him back from the dead to enact a curse upon the family: every generation a child will be taken from the family when they reach ten years old, never to be seen again, and it transpires that at that age their bones are just the right size for the piper to make his flutes out of. Eww.

Also, his powers are not limited to lulling people into a hypnotic trance, but encompass the ability to manipulate the entirety of sound itself into a weapon, which combined with the superhuman speed his demonic gifts grant him makes him seemingly unstoppable, to the point that Ichabod, who is certainly none too shabby in the swordplay department himself, finds him too much to overcome.

Although the plot appears to be resolved relatively quickly and suspiciously easily, there is of course a great deal more to the issue than was first revealed. An impossible and agonising moral dilemma surfaces as an indirect result of Ichabod and Abbie’s early success, almost daring you to judge one character for the choice made.

As predicted, the self-serving but oddly compelling freelancer Hawley has indeed returned, hired by an anonymous third party to steal one of the piper’s flutes for mysterious reasons. His reappearance so soon likely means he’ll recurrently crop up and that there are bigger plans for him later on in the series, possibly involving a cache of magical artefacts he may well have stashed somewhere. However, his presence does seem to have unbalanced the writers’ somewhat limited ability to distribute character interaction, as this particular mission is conspicuously lacking in any Jenny, along with anyone even paying lip service to her temporary absence.

Go Where I Send Thee feels like a throwback to the first series. Nothing of the show’s alpha plot is even hinted at; the piper’s pact with Moloch is the only link events have to the demon lord’s nebulous influence, making him more monster of the week than soldier of the apocalypse. Also, the temporarily static Katrina/Abraham situation is not even granted a single perfunctory scene, and as previously mentioned, Jenny is nowhere to be seen. It’s basically just Ichabod and Abbie investigating a mystery with each one’s skills and knowledge complementing those of the other interspersed with saving one another, all of which serves to throw further fuel on the fires of proxy passion of the Ichabbie shippers.

The only aspect grounding it in the present is Irving realising the full extent of Henry’s hold over him, granted by his own blood with which he inadvertently signed the ‘legal services’ contract. A choice Bible passage induces a vision of a flame-shrouded urban hellscape in which he is decked out like a guerrilla fighter and slaughtering people in the streets, his eyes empty pools of demonic black pitch. This brief prophetic chaos is amongst the most compelling moments of the whole episode. Henry himself becomes a growing enigma, his actions progressing from slightly puzzling to utterly bewildering, while the motivations behind them become increasingly difficult to fathom. There is a lot more going on than we’re currently being told.

Overall, the plot of Go Where I Send Thee is a good idea, but what had the potential to be one of this season’s better episodes is let down by weak and inconsistent structure.

 

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