SLEEPY HOLLOW Season 2, Episode 12 'Paradise Lost'

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Six weeks after the climax of The Akeda and the destruction of Moloch, you’d never have thought that Sleepy Hollow was almost the setting for the unleashing of Armageddon. Gone are the regular inexplicable occurrences, bizarre deaths and apocalyptic portents; now the largest and most ominous sign that any kind of evil is still at large in the town is some mouldy fruit. Seriously.

When you dedicate your life to a cause to the extent that it is utterly consumed, what do you do when your work is over? Particularly in the case of Ichabod, who quite literally has no life in this present, especially with the rift between him and Katrina still to be closed. However, his determination to uncover something going on makes him further investigate the source of the festering produce and lo and behold, he and Abbie encounter a trio of cowled chanting demons with glowing red eyes straight out of an episode of Buffy. Just because the apocalypse was cancelled it doesn’t mean that some other omnicidal power won’t begin to rise (else we’d have no show!), but a potential replacement big bad is yet to emerge as the demons were really only there to facilitate the introduction of Orion, a haughty and rather intense angel who comes swooping in like a deus ex machina, primed with backstory and exposition.

Escaping from his imprisonment in purgatory following a seismic shockwave that backlashed across the plane upon the demon lord’s death, he is now freed to the earthly realm to hunt an unverified number of unspecified other entities who also escaped, which we will likely see emerge in the coming weeks. His presence poses some interesting theological questions (some of which Abbie directly voices) that don’t really get addressed, and also conveniently links to the protagonists by his losing a fight to the Headless Horseman being what landed him in Moloch’s domain in the first place. He provides an interesting perspective of someone with more extreme beliefs of the duties of a supernatural soldier, and it was a neat and innovative idea of having him fight by using his halo as an ornate chakram with the same handy return-to-wielder ability as Mjölnir. Given how he left things at the episode’s end it’s unlikely we’ve seen the last of him.

In the spirit of the episode’s reinvention theme the elusive Katrina has now opted to embrace the Hot Goth look, her tight and wispy black clothing and dark eye makeup possibly chosen to bring herself in line with what the Internet says a 21st century witch is supposed to look like. Still believing in the humanity lying beneath the Headless Horseman, she wants to separate Abraham, now a “Horseman without an Apocalypse,” from the mantle of Death incarnate. Abbie, refusing to put aside all the death and destruction he has caused – principally Sherriff Corbin’s murder – believes he is beyond forgiveness and redemption, while Ichabod acts as something of a mediator between the two women, accepting the point of view of each but unwilling to resort to drastic action unless necessary. If the writers could decide where it is they’re going with this plotline and actually make some progress towards getting there it would be appreciated, as all this moral handwringing is getting a little tiresome.

Hawley and Jenny are largely separated from main events in a side quest to locate the demons who scarpered in the face of Orion’s wrath. It seems the shiftless collector has got over his crush on Leftenant Badonkadonk and is now back to fancying Jenny, because some people’s characters are developed by stressing how little they actually change. Despite this backsliding, the scenes get points for incorporating the wonderfully bizarre story of Sumerian demon Asag, a creature so hideous his very visage would boil the fish in a river and who created an army of rock monsters by humping mountains.

A placeholder episode to bring us up to speed with where things now stand, all Paradise Lost really establishes is how little we actually know about what lies ahead, and leaves us wondering whether or not this is a good thing.


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