Here’s my review of Sleepy Hollow season two episode “Awakening.” 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.
The title for this episode is “Awakening,” and while that’s supposed to refer to Henry’s plot to awaken the magic of the witches in Sleepy Hollow on the surface, the true meaning of this title refers to Katrina’s own personal awakening. She’s finally figured out her motivations and what she wants to do. It’s a shame that it’s taken the writers all season to get to this point, but better late than never I guess. While this episode was mostly bogged down with the bell plot, the last fifteen minutes set up the next episode to be quite interesting.
This episode started off like any other episode: Abbie and Crane have a fun discussion about Crane’s adjustment to modern day life. These moments are always the most fun to watch because Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie and excellent at playing off one another. But it also highlights a problem with this show. They’re stuck in the box of procedural routine. While it was an exciting plot twist to have Henry off Moloch earlier in the season, they’ve struggled with having something to do in the episodes since then.
And at first, this episode seemed to be one of the normal monster-of-the-week stories. Somebody’s using an evil magic bell to cause magic attacks across the town. But as it turns out, that someone is Henry. And as the story progresses, we see the focus shift more to Katrina’s internal struggle between helping the good guys and resolving her motherly guilt. While Katrina’s always been a problem for the show’s storyline, giving her a purpose can only help.
Watching Katrina’s struggle is interesting. It’s an internal conflict but it’s got external consequences. Her decision to ally with Henry is devastating for Crane. And it changes things drastically. Shaking up the status quo is great. No story can keep moving forward without conflict of some kind.
While we could have easily guessed that Katrina would go “to the dark side,” the writers made some other bold moves in this episode that shake things up. I was surprised that they chose to kill of Henry (although you never know, maybe it’s not for good this time either). Even though Crane was prepared to do the deed, Abbie’s bullet in Crane’s defense was a sudden action that still shocked me when it happened. I’m not too much of an acting critic, but to me, it felt like everyone acted perfectly in that scene. You could feel that they all instantly regretted the action as soon as it happened, as though they realized as soon as there was no turning back, Henry would have finally been able to come to an understanding with both his parents. That scene resonated particularly well on an emotional level. If we had had more emotional moments like this throughout the season, the whole storyline probably would have worked much better.
And along with the surprise of Henry’s death, there’s also SURPRISE TIME TRAVEL. These last few minutes of the episode really elevated it up a notch. (although that may be personal bias speaking because I love time travel plots. I watched a lot of different Star Trek series as a child, okay?) That scene of Abbie waking up in the woods was absolutely excellent because they chose to make it a parallel to Crane’s wake up sequence in the first episode of the series. It was fun to see something familiar be twisted into being something different. And then the next few minutes of Abbie stumbling around in the past just continued the parallel as she ends up in jail just like Crane did.
On top of all that, what makes this new plot twist so interesting is that Katrina went back to when she was still pregnant and before Crane had been buried in the ground. How will Abbie’s appearance complicate things? I’m actually quite excited to see how next week’s season finale will play out. While I don’t foresee Abbie’s stay in the past to be a very long one, I think what we will get to see will be very exciting and fun to watch. I’m glad the writers are finally breaking out of the routine mold, even if it’ll just be briefly.
Additional Archive Notes
- While it was nice to see both Jenny and Frank this episode, I didn’t think their storyline worked so well. When it doesn’t connect with the A plot, it loses its urgency. Why am I supposed to care about Evil Frank when we’ve got a much more interesting storyline going on for the rest of the episode? Also, I want to believe that good Frank Irving is back now, but that close up of his face during the hug seemed kinda shady. Am I overthinking things?
- I didn’t care about the witch awakening plot with the bell at all, but I did enjoy the camerawork in that first scene when those three people were affected. Like I’ve said before, this show is good at the creepy stuff.
- Why am I not surprised that Crane cracked the Liberty Bell?
- Kudos to the writers for opening with Crane reading an excerpt from HG Wells’ The Time Machine.
- I loved the violin version of Sympathy for the Devil that played at the end of the episode, calling back to when it played in the series’ opener. Another twist on something familiar to make it different. Also, it just sounded really lovely.
- My favorite unintentionally hilarious part of this episode was Crane saying “These are supernatural phenomena” as if that was really surprising news to him.
- My favorite intentionally hilarious part of this episode was the entire shopping scene with Abbie’s snarky “Arbor Day” line and the ending with Crane lamenting about the downsides of technology before perking up when he sees some batteries.
So what did you think? Did you enjoy the episode or is it still floundering? Happy or sad that Katrina joined the dark side and Henry died? Leave a comment and discuss! Next week is the season finale unless the show doesn’t get renewed. Either way, I’ll be here to review the show as long as it sticks around.