After brief lecture on the importance of voting and a dig from Ichabod about American Idolatry (“I'm telling you what it should be called”), things pick up where the previous episode left off. Henry had attained a bottle of jincan, a concentrated poison from China created from venomous creatures killing and devouring one another until only one remains, all the toxins percolating together to create a single lethal venom. This was then condensed and transmuted into a scarlet spider that crawled inside Katrina’s mouth, who subsequently doubled over in paroxysms of agony. Now the situation has gone all Rosemary’s Baby on her, with the spider causing her to become immaculately pregnant with a demon child due to a process not really explained. It turns out that the rapidly developing foetus is not just any demon, but the Horrid King (a name apparently intended to be ominous rather than the children’s fairy tale villain it sounds like), which, in turn, is revealed to nobody’s surprise to be none other than Moloch himself. Seriously, why wasn’t that their first assumption?
The nutty fantasy aspects we’ve come to expect of Sleepy Hollow were the episode’s most enjoyable parts, along with the intriguingly odd experience of seeing Katrina wearing ordinary modern clothes instead of beautiful period dresses (incidentally, where does she get them all from?). The monstrous foetus is somehow susceptible to being exorcised by the Northern Lights, handily been captured in an eldritch prism by the irrepressible Benjamin Franklin, which is unfortunately in the hands of Katrina’s would-be captors, the Hellfire Club. Not the X-Men adversaries presided over by Emma Frost, but an 18th century gang of high society wasters whose membership and precise activities were largely shrouded in mystery, and so here have become a group of black magic scientists. And why not?
Abbie manages to call on Captain Reyes’ help for the assault on the demonic IVF clinic to retrieve the aurora armament, and in the process convincing her there is more under the surface of Sleepy Hollow by neatly explaining away the Hellfire Club’s actions as those of a doomsday cult. This is the first time that Reyes has been seen since Episode 3 (and even that was with little interaction with the protagonists), and it feels like her antagonism that was intended to be another facet of the series’ expanding story has been first shunted to one side and now summarily discarded after the writers realised they didn’t know what to do with it.
This pregnancy angle of the situation naturally causes some concern for Ichabod, as the two of them haven’t had any adult alone time for well over two centuries; his being – however briefly – suspicious of where the child came from shows his wavering belief in her is yet to stabilise itself. The whole situation is further symptomatic of the cracks appearing in the conviction the good guys have for each other, and although Abbie never completely trusted Katrina in the first place, Ichabod is growing increasingly aware of just how economical she’s being with the truth of everything she’s done. This includes her comment of Abraham talking to her, which along with a couple of well-timed shots in The Weeping Lady that I forgot to mention, reminds us that the illusion of Abraham’s head is on account of an enchantment on Katrina’s necklace, and thus only works for her. To everyone else he remains the decapitated monstrosity they’ve always seen him as. It would seem that through his brusque arrogance and overinflated sense of entitlement he does genuinely care for Katrina, even braving the deadly rays of the sun as she is dragged off by the Hellfire scientists. Although whether his regard for her is from a lingering echo of the man he once was or seeing her as his rightful prize for loyalty to Moloch is a little up in the air.
Continuing the theme of relationships dynamics, a good chunk of time is wasted on Ichabod attempting to appease to the better nature of Henry, something he and Katrina seem convinced is there due to them wanting to believe their son is still in there somewhere, despite all evidence pointing to the contrary, and also forgetting that Ichabod was unaware he even had a son until a few months previously.
Jenny is once again inexplicably absent from events, which is starting to get a little annoying. Honestly, what’s the point of promoting someone to a series regular if they’re going to be absent from half the episodes? Lyndie Greenwood’s performance as the mentally unbalanced and uncompromising ex-mercenary is one of the show’s most impressive, especially when juxtaposed with her previous role as the ever-so-English techno-geek Sonya in Nikita. Additionally, since Jenny is the one to have been most adversely affected by the demonic presences in Sleepy Hollow, spending most of her life doubting her very sanity, she has the (currently unrealised) potential to be one of the show’s most interesting characters. If Arrow and The Flash can spend a couple of crossover episodes efficiently juggling two entire sets of core individuals, regularly including someone who’s supposed to be a central character anyway really shouldn’t be that much of a challenge. Okay, rant over.
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