SLEEPY HOLLOW Season 2, Episode 17 'Awakening'

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In the first of Sleepy Hollow’s two-part season finale, right from the off we get some more of its regular plot-relevant historical revisionism, this time involving the Liberty Bell, the city bell of Philadelphia that became a symbolic representation of American freedom after an apocryphal mid-19th century tale told of it being rung to proclaim the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Under orders from George Washington, Ichabod was the one who cracked the original from which others were moulded, as it turns out that when such bells are rung they have the power to awaken dormant witchcraft abilities in those whose ancestors were practitioners of the Craft. And in a town like Sleepy Hollow, that could well be worryingly large number of people. Not mentioned is that such an awakening would also affect Abbie due to her witchy ancestors, which is a shame since the image that conjures is magnificent. If the lieutenant could sling spells as well as guns she’d be practically unstoppable.

Henry wants to use the bell to bring about a new order and turn the town into a massive coven of dark witches in recompense for the ills done to witch-kind by colonial Americans, a historical parallel with the subtlety of a sack of bricks to the head. Joining him in the endeavour is Katrina, who after months of annoying dithering has finally made a choice over what side of the line she’s standing on. It seems the warlock Solomon Kent’s assertion of the darkness within her has proven correct, and she is further swayed to Henry’s side by her reasoning that he saved them all from Moloch, but conveniently disregards the fact that he was also the one to bring them to the demon lord in the first place.

The relationship between Katrina and Henry is actually quite touching in its own warped way, each of them refusing to give up on the other despite circumstances often dictating they should. Yeah, okay, now that mother and son are united their first course of action is to bring about chaos and death by unleashing magical powers in thousands of people who have no idea how to control them, but their commitment to each other is still kind of sweet.

Meanwhile, Irving has now been taken over by Dark Frank, who has become driven to hunt down the captain’s family and presumably do very unpleasant things to them. Not wanting to kill him in the hope that Irving can still be saved, but wanting to keep him incapacitated in order to stop him from going after Irving’s family while Henry is dealt with, Jenny takes the novel approach of getting a hold of the head of the gorgon from Magnum Opus in order to keep him contained via petrification. Entertainingly, the idea once again indirectly invokes Clash of the Titans, and if this makes Dark Frank the Kraken, would Henry and Katrina therefore be Zeus and Hera?

Although it seems that it was always the intention for Katrina to eventually turn to the dark side, the problem is that the writers have never been entirely sure what to do with her in the interim, hence her wildly inconsistent characterisation since her escape from purgatory. She has flitted up and down a scale of variable trustworthiness as each episode’s plot demanded, never settling into a fixed position in relation to the rest of the characters, thereby preventing us from forming a consistent opinion about her, and by extension how much we should actually care about what happens to her. Despite this, now that she seems to have made up her mind about who she is, she has immediately become far more interesting, although it’ll be in the finale where we see if she’s going to rise into the new big bad as a malevolent Hecate or if everything will be neatly resolved by the episode’s end (or if, god forbid, we’re left with another sodding cliff-hanger). We can only hope that everything doesn't go to hell now that time travel has been brought in.


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