SLEEPY HOLLOW Season 2, Episode 10 'Magnum Opus'

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Scouring the journal of Mama Mills for clues to the weapon that can defeat Moloch, Ichabod eventually identifies it as the Sword of Methuselah; the famously long-lived biblical figure was apparently also a demon-slaying badass whose divine blade could kill absolutely anything. After deciphering a treasure map based around Benjamin Franklin’s famous Join Or Die political cartoon and solving various riddles, he and Abbie locate the chamber housing the mighty weapon, which is guarded by a gorgon. Yes, really. Quite what a creature from Greek mythology is doing in the modern-day United States as test-of-might guardian to the weapon of a figure from biblical prehistory is anyone’s guess, and a somewhat incongruous mystery swiftly skipped over by simply not addressing it. Because fuck you, that’s why!

The episode’s theme of self-identity is driven by the Delphic aphorism “know thyself” (sometimes invoked as “gnothi seauton” or “temet nosce” by people who want to make themselves sound more intellectual), and how it directly relates to our two heroes. As Ichabod’s path was largely shaped by the influence of others (as indicated by some faintly homoerotic flashbacks detailing Ichabod and Abraham’s life prior to becoming enemies where Ichabod was convinced to come to the New World by his former friend) he is torn over whether he is truly his own man or merely the product of what other people desired for him. There is also the unspoken issue of his conflict over whether his ultimate goal is to stop Moloch or to save Katrina, and if forced to make a decision between the two it’s unlikely even he knows which he will choose. Abbie, meanwhile, despite being involved in the supernatural war for a considerably shorter length of time is far surer of her place in it, acknowledging that both the witchcraft legacy of her ancestors and the demon-haunted madness of her mother and sister are a part of who she is, and thus her role as a Witness in preventing the apocalypse is more than her responsibility, it’s her destiny.

The theme also extends to the villain camp. Abraham fully embraces his status both as the Horseman of Death and a servant of Moloch, the glowing hellfire eyes of Binky the pale horse practically a manifestation of his rage. Incensed over the life he believes Ichabod stole from him, the pair’s battle in the gorgon’s cave gives rise to all they now hate about each other, the vitriolic accusations interspersing the subterranean combat, as due to the vastly differing styles any crossing of blades between a swordsman and an axeman can’t ever last very long. “I was supposed to be the hero in this story,” Abraham growls, “not the villain.”

The demon child has been growing so fast he has now assumed Moloch’s full purgatorial demon lord form before anyone has even had a chance to start calling him Damien, and the scene is now set for a confrontation not everyone will walk away from (although we still appear to be a couple of Horsemen short). Bringing things to a head for an apocalyptic blowout while gleefully taking inspiration from such films as The Goonies, Clash of the Titans, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Excalibur, Magnum Opus is an amalgamation of the episodic saga that the series should have properly become long before now and the utterly-straight-yet-completely-bonkers tone that made it so popular in the first place. It feels like Sleepy Hollow is finally finding some traction in what it wants to be.
 

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