Sleepy Hollow Review: “Spellcaster”

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Here’s my review of Sleepy Hollow season two episode “Spellcaster.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.

Guys, we have a Katrina problem. But unlike our Hawley problem we had last week, we can’t just send Katrina off into the sunset. That sort of thing is why we have this problem to begin with.

It all stems from season one. While all our characters were running around, getting to know each other, Katrina was stuck in Purgatory and she really only got to interact with Crane mostly. Let’s be real guys, Katrina didn’t do much of anything in season one. And in the beginning of this season, instead of getting to know everyone else better, she hung out with Headless, again not doing very much. So now that we’re finally trying to integrate her into the plot, it’s not working. It’s too late. Katrina’s just the lady with the magic and the backstory details, even in this episode.

Crane often falls into this backstory problem as well, but generally his are more of offhand asides than flashbacks that eat away at vital plot time in the present moment. Two weeks ago, Katrina’s friendship with Abigail Adams was a pivotal part of the episode’s storyline. It felt like half that episode was devoted to Katrina explaining the villain’s backstory through Abigail Adams. And then this episode had her explaining Kent the evil Spellcaster’s story too, through the eyes of her grandmother (also played by Katia Winter). Obviously this info is important, but it’s not necessary for Katrina to be the medium through which the audience learns it. There are episodes without her that function just fine. So please, writers, give Katrina something else to do!

Take Frank Irving for example. After weeks of him just aimlessly appearing in episodes after his “resurrection,” he finally gets to do something and we learn more about his new self. As he stole the evil magic book from Kent the Spellcaster, I officially began calling him Frank the LIAR. As much as I hate to see Irving join the dark side, it does make his storyline much more interesting. How long can he keep up the ruse? Why has he decided this path? (It can’t be just be because Henry owns his soul, right?) A whole bunch of new possibilities just opened up.

And it looks like Katrina may be travelling down this same road soon too, if the end of the episode is any indication. Kent the Spellcaster says she’s got some darkness in her. And while it might not be a surprise to see Katrina betray the group eventually (I mean, she used to hang out with Headless and liked it after all) but the impact of such a decision would be great to see. (Particularly for Crane, who spent this episode beating up Kent the Spellcaster on behalf of his wife.) Katrina’s shifting allegiance might also giver her something to do other than function as Mrs. Magic Expostion.

Just as I said last week, there’s potential here. Irving has taken a few steps forward, Hawley is out of the picture for a while, and Katrina is blowing up flowers with a vengeance. The writers are slowly working to fix the problem. Hopefully, it’ll be enough.

Additional Archive Notes

  • Look y’all, Henry is back!! Whether you like or hate Henry as a character, you gotta admit that it’s fun just to watch John Noble.
  • I missed Jenny this week but I guess there wasn’t much for her to do. Maybe next week?
  • Thoughts on Kent the Spellcaster’s really excellent Puritan hat? I loved it.
  • Again I say, Sleepy Hollow is at its best when it’s creepy. Death by boiling blood and creepy blood demons were both fantastically sick. I kinda wish there could have been more of that and less of the backstory.
  • Hilarious highlights of the week include Crane’s terrible trash talk (“I can teach you but we’ll have to go to a hockey game,” Abbie says) and Crane forcing Abbie to help him decode Realtor Speak. (“Bathrooms in original condition,” Realtor says. “Ah, older than me then,” Crane realizes)

So what did you think of the episode? Was this an improvement or a step back? Is Katrina a problem or am I just overthinking things? Feel free to leave a comment and discuss.


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