Penny Dreadful : A Blade of Grass

Oh, this episode brought the feels. I definitely needed some tissues during, and afterward, since having dealt with my own mental health issues, this episode held a certain amount of personal relevance to me.

This episode aired at the same time as the Preacher pilot, so I watched this one and DVRed the other, and I’m glad I did. On the surface, this particular episode doesn’t appear to have much plot, but it makes up for it with depth of feeling, and some interesting revelations, as Vanessa goes deep inside herself to find the memories she lost during her years at the Banning Clinic, an asylum for the wealthy, that her parents sent her to, after she blamed herself for Mina’s disappearance.

Eva Green is always at her best when she’s being tortured,  but Rory Kinner tore it up as Pre-John, before he became Frankenstein’s creature. He had me in tears so often during this episode, which is one of the most beautifully written, and we’re only four episodes into the season. I have a new appreciation for this actor and this character (who I hated when he was first introduced).

You have two of the most tragic figures in the show, connecting and commiserating deeply with each other, and it’s heartening to know that this isn’t the only time. They will meet again in the future, and even though they won’t recognize each other, their connection will still be there. They are simply sympathetic souls, who resonate with each other.

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Also contrast John’s manner of dealing with his undead state with Lily’s reaction to the same. They are both dealing with something wholly inexplicable, but for some reason John is the more sympathetic character. To be fair, John led a much more ordinary life than Lily did before she died, and this particular episode has done a lot to make me love this character. He was a good man before he died. Or at least he tried to be.

Lily lived a life of deprivation, and disease, being used by the privileged, being close enough to them to see the things she could never have, and this informs her bitterness. She can’t or won’t let go of that. John led, if not a privileged life, at least an ordinary one, with a wife and child, and a job he cared about. Instead of appreciating her new found circumstances, Lily has decided to seek revenge on her past life. John was in that state at first, but has somehow managed to grow and  move past that stage.

I suppose at some point in the series, I may feel for Lily what I now feel for John.  I can’t stand her now, and I wonder if part of the reason is because she still hasn’t moved past that initial stage (that even John went through), of needing to get revenge on all the people she thinks wronged her. All in all, I wish she were happier. She is not at peace, and she deserves to be, but doesn’t realize it, and I wonder if this is also the reason I don’t like her very much. There’s so much good she could do for the world, and abused girls like her young protege, but her bitterness only prompts her to want to burn everything down.

During Vanessa’s stay at the Banning Clinic, John is the only one to show her any kindness, even when it’s against regulations for him to do so, or to even tell her his name. He grows close to her, feeding her when she refuses, comforting her after her treatments, which she thinks are tortures, and pleading with her to get better.

At one point John tells her that even if she can’t get better, she should fake it anyway, to keep from further torturous treatments. Vanessa has a good argument for why she shouldn’t but I’m in agreement with John. She should fake it til she makes it. In all fairness she does try, but claims she couldn’t counterfeit normality well enough, after Banning makes the decision to perform brain surgery on her.

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During this ordeal, Dr. Seward has been trying mightily to awaken Vanessa, who has gone into some kind of fugue state, and Seward can’t rouse her, not even by burning her with a cigarette, which is definitely not something in the psychiatry manuals. I left this episode with the strong impression that psychiatrists, and psychologists, were mostly just experimenting on their patients, back then.

When John describes what Banning’s patients are like, after they’ve had bits and pieces of their brains cut out, you realize  those doctors had no fucking clue what they were doing. All of it was trial and error, and as bad as such places are now they’re still  a damn sight better  than  they were then, because you only had two alternatives, then. You had a choice between places like Bedlam, experimenting on the poor, and the more upscale “clinics”, where you were also experimented on, but they were slightly cleaner, with better food.

Since Seward can’t rouse her from her state, she says that Vanessa has no choice but to finish what she started. She has to keep moving forward, (a mantra of special relevance to me because its my personal one.) I liken mental trauma to walking through fire. Sometimes you have no choice but to walk through the fire, to deal with your issues, to confront them and get past them, because turning back, (retreating to one’s mental state before the trauma),  isn’t an option, and that’s Seward’s advice to Vanessa.

Keep moving forward!

At first Vanessa refuses to eat and John has to force feed her. Something he does as compassionately as he can, and when she asks him whether its night or day, he always asks which she would prefer, and then accedes to her decision, whichever one it is. The most touching moments are when John gives her a blanket after one of her sessions with Dr. Banning, when he knows he’s not supposed to, and when he visits her on Christmas day, to put a bit of makeup on her, brush her hair, and read to her one of his favorite books, just to remind her what its like to feel human and civilized again.

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Eventually he reaches the revelation that his attachment to her is too great and he  intends to quit his job. After her surgery, she will become nothing more than one of Dr. Banning’s “broken things”, and he couldn’t  bear to see her in that state, as that is his primary job – taking care of Banning’s broken people. His last day will be the day of her surgery and that his face will be the last one she sees, because there should be someone present who loves her. (Side note: My mother just underwent her first surgery several days ago and that was my thought just before the doctors took her away. So you can imagine this declaration had quite an effect on me.) Even Dr. Seward relaxes her guard to  Vanessa., telling her she will not leave her, that she will stay  until the end.

They are not the only two pledging their devotion to Vanessa. Contrast John’s and Seward’s love, and acts of compassion, to that of Satan’s and Dracula’s, who both visit Vanessa through the body of the orderly. They both declare their love for her and that she is to be theirs, and then  proceed to cajole, seduce, and threaten her into deciding between the two of them, but she refuses. In this world’s mythology, it turns out that Lucifer and Dracula are brothers. Dracula presides over the physical realm of Earth and wants Vanessa’s flesh and blood, while Satan presides over the spiritual realm and desires Vanessa’s soul. (I think this is an interesting mythological turn.)

The sheer irony of all this is that, while Vanessa turns to God as her salvation, (and I suppose one would, if one is convinced Satan exists), she has only to look at the examples of the people who love her. She believes herself to be evil because of the sins she feels she’s committed, she has a handful of spiritual superpowers, and two of the world’s worst creatures are in love with her. What she fails to notice is that there are good people who love her too, but she doesn’t seem to allow their love to inform her character. Seward, Murray, Ethan, Lyle and John are devoted to her, and stand by her, when they really don’t have to, but Vanessa’s guilt about her past sins won’t allow her to just accept that love and compassion. Her sins are a sign to her that she doesn’t deserve love.

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In a way, Seward’s assessment of Vanessa is correct. It ultimately doesn’t matter if Satan or Dracula is real, if Vanessa believes that’s true, she needs to find better ways of coping with her reality other than guilt and withdrawal. At the foundation of her “madness” is the belief that she is cursed because of what she thinks she did  to Mina. It’s the first incident she mentions to Seward when they began their sessions, and its where Vanessa thinks all her troubles began. No, her behavior towards Mina didn’t cause Satan’s and Dracula’s interest in her, but she can’t deal with any of her other traumas  until she’s handled the  first sin she thinks she committed, and refused to let go of, her betrayal of her best friend, Mina.

Only after she’s dealt with that can she move forward to her other problems. That guilt is a noose hanging round her neck. Dark forces can always tug on that rope to gain control over her, as we saw last season with the witches, and not dealing with it makes her fight for self-control that much harder.

Which is why she declares, after Seward has managed to awaken her, that not only does she know the name of the second demon pursing her, that none of this is over.

Next week, we’ll find out what the other characters are doing, and Vanessa’s journey continues. I’m missing Lyle, so its time to have him turn up and shine a little light after such intense episodes.

Penny Dreadful : Good and Evil Braided Be

 

The titles are especially apt this season. This episode we get glimpses of all the characters, most specifically their good and bad sides. Most of this episode consists of people dealing with their memories and coping with their aftermath. We find out what John has been doing, a curious setback for Vanessa and Dr. Sweet, we follow Ethan and Hecate’s travels, and our horny little immortal couple, Dorian and Lily. The episode hops around from person to person,but rather than recapping it in that manner I’m going to tell what each character was doing individually.

Ethan and Hecate:

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These two are riding around in the desert getting shot at by Rusk and his posse. Ethan wakes up in a barn and finds Hecate waiting for him to come back to his senses. She insists that the two of them have a future together, even after Ethan makes it clear that he hates her guts. (Ethan seems to hate everybody but Vanessa.) Hecate is blindly devoted to him, normally an admirable quality, but for that reason alone, she should probably come to a bad end.

She and Ethan stop to steal some horses from a small ranch, but when the owner protests this via shotgun, Hecate slits his throat and then proceeds to kill the rest of the family, too. Ethan can’t seem to do anything but watch in horror. Does that make him complicit in their deaths?

 

Kaetenay/Malcolm:

Kaetenay and Malcolm are hot on Ethan’s trail. Kaetenay tells Malcolm that if they don’t recover Ethan the destruction of the world is imminent. He even knows all about Hecate and has visions of Ethan, so  I wonder if this is just  the typical Mystical-Indian tropes or something more than that? Malcolm asks why Kaetenay needs him and susses out that maybe Ethan doesn’t  actually trust Kaetenay, no matter how lovingly K. talks about him.

He and Malcolm find the  bodies of the rancher and his family, and Kaetenay’s behavior becomes more desperate. You can tell because his attitude becomes even more snippy than usual. I am loving Wes Studi in this role. He appears to be having waaay too much fun.

Renfield/Vanessa:

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Renfield has been listening to Vanessa’s  therapy sessions which Dr. Seward has been recording. He continues to behave nervously around Vanessa, and has become so obsessed with her, that he writes her name over and over again (ala The Shining) in his journal. We also catch the classic moment when he eats a fly. This is a very juicy (pun intended) role for this actor and I hope he’s really enjoying it. Keep in mind, that what Renfield  overhears in Vanessa’s therapy sessions, will later be conveyed to Dracula, and his minions, which is something that will play out in the rest of the episode.

 

Vanessa/Dr. Seward:

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Vanessa and the Doctor argue about Vanessa’s  confessions to her in therapy, including the fact that they’ve met before. The Doctor insist that what Vanessa told her is nothing but delusions. At one point, Vanessa grabs the Doctor’s  hand and reads her tragic past. Only then does the Doctor look half convinced. Vanessa asks to be hypnotized, so she can see the part of her past that was lost to her memory, and the doctor agrees. This is something that will play out in the rest of this episode and the next.

 

John:

John (Victor’s creature) is finally back in England. He stops in Limehouse, where he finds Vanessa just standing about, but she’s actually waiting for Dr. Sweet. The two of them have a date and John is delighted to see her happy and holding hands with him.

Some of John’s memories of his human life have been returning and he’s decided to seek out the family he left behind when he died. He finds them but their situation is dire. His little boy is dying, and his wife is so poor, that she has gone to work in one of the many smokestack factories dotting the landscape of Victorian England. It’s a horribly dirty life for the two of them and John is naturally brought to tears. They were not rich when he was alive but at least he held a steady job (which we will find out at the end of the episode, exactly what that job was) and they were all relatively happy and healthy, living in Limehouse.

 

Victor/Henry:

“Good and evil braided be”, seems to be some kind of catchphrase that Victor invented because even though it sounds like a book quote, I couldn’t find that quote anywhere. (If anyone knows where that quote is from, let me know becasue my Google-Fu was no good with that phrase.) He and Henry discuss the serum Henry created and Henry relates how it only has temporary effects on his patients. Victor says he can solve that problem, simply because he is awesome.

During their conversation, Henry becomes more and more excitable, and manic, and I kept expecting him to Hulk Out  at any second, but the show is being very coy about the existence of Mr. Hyde. I do wonder if Henry has been taking the serum, but I’m not convinced, as he’s been trying to ween Victor off  morphine and him being addicted to something would be both  paradoxical and hypocritical.

Dorian/Lily:

I have no idea what Lily’s new young ward’s name is so I’m going to call her Lily 2. What happens between Dorian, Lily and Lily 2 , is the most disgusting part of the episode, which is saying something when we were just watching Renfield eat bugs.

Lily and her protege take lunch at an outdoor cafe and Lily is being coy about her plans to destroy, or take over, the world. I’m not clear on exactly what she wants to accomplish, but she disdains the efforts of the Suffragettes, who are too loud and boisterous to get anything done. I get the feeling she has no firm plans either, but it does seem to involve an army of former sex-workers, I’m guessing. It’s disturbing listening to Lily 2 talk about her abusive past. I know she must be an adult but she looks all of twelve years old. She has this dewy little face, like a baby, so its even more  disturbing when Dorian has her kill her father, later that evening,  and then the three of them have bloody sex over the corpse.

I know this was done for shock value because it went on for way too long, and I was kind of bored and kept getting distracted by the liveliness of the blood, which still looked pretty wet, right up til morning. I just kept wondering why it wasn’t getting tacky, and why  the three of them were  able to move, without getting stuck together. No, I’m not going to show a picture of them cuz…yuck!

Dr. Sweet/Vanessa:

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Honestly, this is the sweetest, cutest, most delicious relationship in the show, since we already know that Sweet is Dracula and that he’s been pursuing Vanessa for years. We already know that his endgame is for her to become his bride, to that end, we get to watch him actually trying to woo her, and he’s fairly successful at it. Hell, I love the guy, even knowing who he is and that he’s a big fat liar.

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The two of them meet in Limehouse because Sweet asked Vanessa out this time. (For their first date, Vanessa had asked him.) So, the two of them have been regularly seeing each other. At one point he tells her she’s beautiful, in a kind of off-hand way, that makes Vanessa smile, and he holds her hand when they visit the house of mirrors. So even though he is evil personified, he is doing everything right that you do on a date, and I wonder where he got his skills cuz I would totally date this guy, (except for the whole, “he’s a lying bloodsucking fiend, who has been spying on me” thing.)

Based on the things Vanessa told Dr. Seward, Dracula spins her a sob story about how he’s also in mourning for his lost wife. (I have no idea if this is a real story, or one he made up to win her sympathies, but I suspect its a lie.)

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At the House of Mirrors, Vanessa is approached by one of Dracula’s minions, who has been following them all evening. He insinuates that Dracula is very close by (well, yeah!) and that she’s met him  before, in the place of her lost memories and Vanessa is very shaken by this. She was trying to leave her past behind, with Dr. Seward’s help, but it just won’t leave her alone. She abruptly breaks off her date with Sweet ad tells him she can’t ever be with him.

Sweet doesn’t like this shit at all. He has been working really hard for possibly weeks, months even,  to woo this woman, slowly and very, very carefully, winning her trust, getting her to like him, bringing her out of her shell, and enjoy his company, and its all been completely undone. Now he’s got to try some other tactic to get close to Vanessa and he doesn’t like that one bit.

When he figures out that it was his own minion, who undid all his hard work, he has his other minions eat him.

Vanessa undergoes a hypnosis session with Seward which reveals she spent some time in a padded room at an insane asylum, and that one of her orderlies was John.

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Penny Dreadful : Predators Far and Near

SPOILER ALERT

The title of this episode is especially apt, this week. Yes indeed, there are predators very, very close to Vanessa, and some far away in America, which we catch an unfortunate glimpse of this week. Including a surprisingly unsurprising revelation about Dr. Sweet, Vanessa’s zoologist/taxidermist crush, about which I’m sure you can probably guess, just as I did. After all, Dr. sweet is the only new introduction to the season who has absolutely no backstory. The guy came out of nowhere and conveniently landed near Vanessa? C’mon!

Anyway we get another taste of the story from Sir Malcolm and Kaetenay’s point of view, including some interesting tidbits about Kaeteny’s history with Ethan. We don’t see what John is up to , but we find out what Dorian and Lily are doing. It’s not good, but still not scary. I’m still waiting to be impressed by the two of them. And we find out where Ethan is and what he’s doing.

But first we get to find out what England’s  most unimpressive couple gets up to in their spare time, and that’s attacking bougie gentlemen in bdsm clubs. Okay, it’s not bdsm, because that would imply that the people participating are consenting adults. It’s a sadistic club for grown men to beat up little girls.

I had always considered British men of that time period to be somewhat vile creatures but this strikes a new low, (and really this sort of violence against children need only be suggested to be effective, but apparently cable TV is more interested in being edgy than subtle). Anyway, Lily and Dorian  walk in and dismantle the clientele with guns and  straight razors, and for the first time I’m impressed with their level of carnage, but I do wonder where Lily picked up her martial skills. Did Dorian teach her this in between waltzes?

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Later, Lily and Dorian’s waltzing is interrupted by the young girl they saved the night before, and Lily recruits her to fight in whatever imaginary battle against the patriarchy that is playing out in her head. They sort of remind me of moody, vengeful, energetic, versions of Morticia and Gomez Addams. I’m still not impressed by Lily’s plans for the future. Does she plan to individually straight razor every man in England? She better get to work then, because there are a lot of them. If you’re sensing I have some contempt for this couple…you’re right! They’re like all those vengeful teenagers in movies, who plan to get all the ones who laughed at them, but without any actual, you know…plans. Maybe they’ll do something impressive later in the season.

I’ll wait.

Henry Jeckyll takes Victor to lunch and shows him his workplace, Bedlam Asylum, the most notorious insane asylum in England, during this period. When he gives his spiel to Victor about how awful his workplace is, he’s not wrong. It was pretty much the place where poor people with mental disabilities went, to get regularly hosed down like lawn furniture, or die. (Rich people got sent to wellness spas, which were only slightly less awful with better food. Hosing optional).

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Listen to Henry’s speeches about the duality of man for insight into his character, and the motivation behind Hyde’s creation. Henry takes Victor to the bowels of the asylum and experiments on one of the screaming, raving patients there. After forcing his elixir into  him, the man becomes calm,  genteel and refined, asking for water.  Henry promises Victor he will do the same for Lily.

Later, we see Victor looking pretty bad, as Henry is trying, I think, to ween him off his morphine addiction. Victor goes to sit outside Dorian’s  house and watch Lily through the windows. I was never a huge fan of Victor, since he killed Brona, but this is pathetic and stalkery, making me like him even less. Lily comes out to see him, telling him to go away. I think Victor doesn’t seem to understand that there is no personality  to change Lily back to. I think this is Lily’s authentic self, an angry, bitter sex worker. What he wants is to bring Lily to heel and make her submissive to him, which is so very Warren of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Victor. Really! I don’t know what’s stopping Victor from killing some other woman and making her his bride. It’s one of his skills. If you’re noticing a certain level of contempt for Victor… You’re right!

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Vanessa is still seeing her therapist and has been persuaded by her to tell her story, while Renfield  acts creepy and nervous, in the background. Dr. Seward insists she can handle whatever story Vanessa throws at her, and appears to be as stoic as always during, but the moment Vanessa leaves, she breaks down in tears. Actually I was kind of heartened to see that. It makes her more human and not the ball breaker she wants people to think she is.  I’m not sure what the tears are for. Is it because it was a heightened emotional experience for her? Is she sad that Vanessa is so broken? Does she even believe her? I’m inclined to think she just doesn’t believe Vanessa and is appalled by her level of insanity. Later, we see Renfield listening to the tapes that Dr. Seward made of her discussion with Vanessa.

Next up,  Sir Malcolm is on a ship, with Kaetenay, being seasick. Kaetenay is a morbidly funny fellow, whose not so impressed by Sir Malcom that he won’t make small jabs at him. I was surprised to find out Malcolm got seasick, as I thought of him as some great world traveler. He says it’s the reason he never traveled to South America. It says a lot about his relationship with Ethan that he will brave all this to save him. When Kaetenay asks if he’s ever hated someone so much that he wanted them to live and suffer, but that later, it became a form of love, Malcolm says yes he has, and you figure out that he’s talking about Vanessa.

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Kaetenay performs a spell that allows him to talk to Ethan in his dreams.  It turns out that he and Ethan have a much more complicated relationship than father and son, as Ethan seems to hate him and threatens to kill him when he sees him. But at the same time Ethan also confides his feelings to him too. It’s deliciously complicated. I wasn’t expecting this because Kaetenay spoke so lovingly of Ethan. I don’t know why,  but I also had the impression that Kaetenay may be  a witch, or werewolf, too. He seems to be trying to form a bond with Malcolm through their shared relationship with Ethan, as he keeps referring to Ethan as “our son”, which sounds really weird, considering they just met.

Ethan seems to have only the most complicated relationships with all the men in his life. He seems to be rebelling against all of them except Dorian. It’s very telling that the most uncomplicated relationship he has had with any man on this show was Sembene, who he later ate; and Dorian, who he slept with,  who is now sleeping with his late-ex-girlfriend.

Just parse that out for minute or two.

Dr. Seward orders Vanessa another homework assignment. The week before it was go out and do something she’s never done before, and this week it’s go do something with no agenda beyond it being fun. So she goes back to see Dr. Sweet, who is giving a lecture on insects, but when he sees Vanessa is present, switches it up to talking about scorpions. There follows one of the sweetest, and cutest meet-cutes you can imagine for this show. It’s as adorable as when she met Dorian, and if you’ve been watching the show, you remember how that ended. 😊

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Vanessa invites Sweet to accompany her of an evening and she takes him to “see the cinematogragh”, as  she has heard ‘it is a wonder of the civilized world’! And he really does seem to enjoy it and his time with her. And Vanessa seems to be enjoying herself too, which made me smile. Watch Vanessa’s face as Sweet watches the movie. She is thoroughly enamored of him, like a crushing schoolgirl, checking to see that he’s happy. When she invites him for coffee afterward, he declines. I think that’s when I suspected who he might be, because who vehemently declines coffee? (For the coffee is the life.)

Good news! Rusk survived the train massacre and is still hunting for Ethan. He plans to track him  back to Talbot territory.  I had the idea that he was planning on getting ripped apart by Ethan before reaching Talbot territory, as that’s more likely to happen than apprehension.                   Hecate overhears this conversation and makes plans of her own.

Ethan’s kidnappers have stopped at a little hacienda, in the middle of nowhere, for a pit stop. The native woman who recognizes him as Kaetenay’s protege is an actress I remember from Dances with Wolves. I think her name is Red Crow or Red Crow Feather. I’d been wondering where she’d gone off to as I’d seen her in only a few projects since that movie. I was happy to see her here and that, warned by Ethan, she managed to escape the later carnage. Ethan refers to her relative,  Kaetenay, as “the old demon”  and calls her Mother, although I think that’s more a kind of title. She seems to know exactly who and what he is and when he tells her to go, she skedaddles.

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Ethan changes and kills everyone in the hacienda but is stopped in his tracks by the appearance of Hecate who has been trying to cozy up to him since she found out what he was. I think, once again, she’s not going to get what she wants out of this relationship, unless she has a spell to control him, or something. I just don’t see Ethan’s dark side being cowled by whispered endearments, and the offer of va-jayjay, which is all Hecate seems to have in her repertoire.

Yeah, Ethan’s breakout was still more impressive than Lily and Dorian at the top of the show. Interesting how the show started with a massacre and ends with…a massacre. And lets stand back and admire Ethan’s werewolf, which is a callback to the original Wolf Man imagery, from 1941, starring Lon Chaney Jr.

Renfield reports to Dracula’s lair to tell tales about Vanessa. He demands blood, Dracula acquiesces, and we pan up to see that it’s actually Vanessa’s new boyfriend, Dr. Sweet.

Penny Dreadful Season Three Premiere

Showtime was kind enough o give everyone a preview of the first episode of season three of Penny Dreadful. It doesn’t give much away, it’s mostly a setup of all the characters we’ll be meeting, and what issues we’ll be dealing with, in the first half of the season. We visit each character in turn, find out where they are, what they’ve been doing, and where their next adventure might lead. The only people we don’t get to see are Reeve Carney and Billie Piper as Lily and Dorian, a couple of villains I was thoroughly unimpressed by last season, especially since Lily’s villainy seem to come out of left field. (Not saying her anger and bitterness isn’t understandable, just that I wasn’t impressed by it.)

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We start with Vanessa, who has given in to  major depression after the events of last season. Everyone has left her. Sir Malcolm is off burying his best friend Sembene in Africa, and Ethan left her to go to America and deal with his father issues. She’s all alone in the house, she’s neglected it’s upkeep, there are no servants that I can tell, although someone is regularly delivering bread and milk to her. She mostly wanders around the cobwebbed, fly swarmed house, like a ghost, until she’s visited by Lyle. I love Lyle. He’s such a gem and just about the only positive person on the show. He dispenses some words of advice, wisdom, and gentle humor to her. At no point does he tell her what to do, but his genuine concern is enough to get her out of the house.

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Lyle makes an appointment for her to see his therapist, played by Patti Lupone, who also is the spitting image of The Cut Wife from last season. Vanessa recognizes her immediately and is happy with o see her, even though she realizes it can’t be the same woman. Oddly, the therapist does share the same name, place of origin, and character traits  of the Cut Wife, so they’re more than likely related somehow.

Patti plays a genderbent Dr. Seward, who calls herself an Alienist, which is what I guess psychiatrists called themselves back then. She is a blunt, pragmatic woman who has no patience for foolishness or prevarication, and I liked her immediately. She reads Vanessa extremely well, just as the Cut Wife did, when they first met. In fact, tonight’s episode was full of people “reading “ each  other, which is something that’s only effective when the person being “read” is unaware, uncertain, or trying to hide themselves. Against someone who knows and acknowledges who they are, this is not a very effective technique. It requires the participation of the one being read, and the specific intentions of the person doing the reading, which  must be pure, or all they’ll end up doing is telling you who  they are.

There’s a lot of reading in this episode . The creature reads his shipmates before abandoning them. Kaetenay reads Sir Malcolm, and Dr. Seward gives Vanessa a bluntly accurate reading of who she is, when Vanessa tries to derail their conversation about herself. This serves the purpose of telling the audience where these characters are mentally at this point in the season.

We also meet Dr. Seward’s secretary, Renfield. But more on him later.

Anyway, Seward tells Vanessa to go out and do something different. To break the cycle of the behavior she’s been in lately, although I think leaving the house to seek help from a therapist would qualify. While wandering around the city, she becomes aware that the poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson has died, when a pale little boy offers her a black ribbon. He makes some cryptic comments to her about his blood disease. This is a presentiment of Dracula’s introduction in the show. In the first season we got an introduction to Dracula’s presence via his minions and brides, and no mention at all last season. So they’ve upped the ante for this season.

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Vanessa  visits a kind of Taxidermy Museum, where she meets Dr.Sweet, who seems very taken with her. The two of them have an immediate connection of some kind. I don’t know this character so have no idea where he fits within the show or if he has some dark secrets we find out later (probably yes).

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We find Sir Malcolmin Africa, distraught after burying his friend, Sembene, and vowing to give up fighting supernatural creatures. He is challenged in this by a native American man, of Apache origin, named Kaetenay. Kaetenay, says he is like a father to Ethan too, and says Malcolm must travel to America to help save their son. So Ethan has three fathers. The father he disowned and wishes to avoid, (and who probably cursed him with lycanthropy), the father who adopted him and that he  later abandoned, Kaetenay, and the father he adopted, Sir Malcolm. I like these little smigdets of backstory we get about Ethan.

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In America, Ethan is being transported home, to be executed for whatever crimes he committed there, when his train is attacked by brigands. Or that’s what we’re meant to think, but really they’re there to kidnap him. Hecate, in her innocent, American waif disguise, just barely manages to escape being shot in the face. The sheriff, Detective Rusk and his deputies, don’t. The kidnappers tell Ethan they were sent by his father. He is going to see his father whether he likes it or not. Ethan wishes them good luck with that. I suspect he’s correct. There are a lot of people after Ethan, and depending how far away home is, a full moon is coming soon.

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The most interesting person introduced in the show is Dr. Jeckyll, played by Shazad Latif. (Wooo! I’ve got the vapors over this big-eyed hunk of a man! Seriously though, he has the biggest eyes I’ve ever seen on a man, and a very intense stare.) Victor calls Henry to London to help him figure out how to kill Lily, but Henry is canny enough to figure out that Victor  wants her back because he’s in love with her. There are some allusions to Henry’s anger issues and how he has treated these issues through his mastery of chemistry. He and Victor have great chemistry together so I expect a lot of ‘shipping of this pair.

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We find Victor Frankenstein’s creature, John, trapped on a ship sitting in the Arctic ice, while the crew contemplates eating their fellow shipmates. They are about to attack one of their crew but John stops them. He eventually kills the child by snapping his neck, and walks off into the Arctic snow, leaving the ship’s crew to whatever their fates may be.

Dr. Seward’s secretary, Renfield has a terrifying encounter with Dracula’s minions, when they kidnap him to take him to meet their Master. We get to watch Renfield become RENFIELD, and I already dislike him because he’s such a spineless jellyfish. (No, scratch that. I actually like Jellyfish.) Dracula announces himself but we don’t get to see his face. I’m hoping the show will  buck tradition and make him a classically handsome looking fellow, because his voice sounds pretty awful. All he has to do is tell Renfield to bare his neck and Ren just flips over to have his throat torn out without any resistance. I kept yelling at my TV for the man to grow at least one ball. (Vanessa is more man than he’ll ever be.)

I think I must be reading too much modern vampire fiction because I long ago accepted the idea of Renfield as a title passed along to whatever minions are closest to Dracula at any given time. That way one could have multiple Renfields.

Anyway, Vanessa seems rejuvenated after her visit with Dr. Sweet and goes home to clean, clean, and clean some more. She appears to be trying to put her life back in some order, but this probably is not something permanent, as later in the season, we see she’s been institutionalized.

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Well, this season looks promising. Except for the Dorian and Lily stuff, I enjoyed last season. Not that I don’t like Reeve Carney but the  show-runners sort of pissed me off when they introduced a transgender character, just to kill her of for no purpose.  Really, people! Do better than that! You can’t make a character that damned interesting just to kill them off for shits and giggles.( At some point there must be some kind of payoff for what Dorian did to her.)

Well, anyway I hope they keep Lily to a minimum this season because she’s a lot less compelling than the writers think she is. She’s not a bad character, its just that next to the evil of some of the other characters, she’s a non-entity.

This episode is available for free pretty much anywhere on the internet, so check it out. I will be reviewing the entire season, and my reviews/recaps are meant for people who don’t have Showtime, so there are spoilers, as I recap the episodes, (and I don’t separate the two.)

TTFN!

More on Sleepy Hollow/Tumblr

 

No matter how much I think about it, I just can’t get over this isht. Here’s someone else on Tumblr, deftly echoing my thoughts on what happened to this show.

Although the show came close several times, I never did manage to recapture that initial giddyness I had during the first season. That season was awesome in its style, diversity, humor and tension. It had a stellar cast and the craziest plot on TV, which it seemed to fully embrace, and then everything slowly went downhill from there.

Season two was acceptable, but all over the place, as if the creators were trying to find their balance and had no fecking clue what to do to make things better. Did that imbalance have anything to do with the loss of one of the showrunners? Idk.

Season three is a noticeable drop off from season one, and featured one of the worse episodes ever. Plots points that were introduced and went no where, villains I had a great deal of fun just mocking, and worst of all, the egregious teasing of a romantic relationship between Crane and Abbie, just to keep us watching a mediocre show, only to pull the wool out from under us in the finale.

Even the actors themselves seems to not care as much, especially when compared to Tom Mison’s usual enthusiasm, which had the unintended side-effect of making his character look ridiculous. Several times the show came close to season one levels, most often only in those moments between Crane and Abbie. They were the reason we sat through every bad, convoluted, and non-scary plot this season, even though the show had begun to reach its previous levels of diversity.

In the immortal words of Wayne Brady (as host of The Chappelle Show):  “Does Wayne Brady/lkeke have to choke a bitch?”

Yep! Sometimes you just do.

Fandom makes itself very clear about why they watch any show. If you’re a showrunner who follows and interacts with your fandom, don’t do what these showrunners did. Your ass will get dragged.

Sleepy Hollow: Dawn’s Early Light

Okay! Great!

This week was a bit more like old times.  Things happened on the show, plots were advanced, people made decisions, got chased by fire , had proper discussions about stuff.

Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I have to admit I’m still not completely sure about the details of the plot this week. Something about Betsy Ross’ flag being guarded by something unkillable called The Eternal Soldier, (because everyone must have a title), because it contains a roadmap to the Catacombs, the only place where The Witnesses can regenerate Pandora’s box.

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While this is going on, Abbie’s and Jenny’s father decides he wants to have a closer relationship with his daughters, although Jenny keeps giving him the side-eye, as she probably should, because I’m suspicious of his motives, too. We did not get any Jenny and Joe action this time, although there was some Abbie/Daniel kissage, which is about time, I say.

On the Hidden One/Pandora front, Pandora has finally had enough of the Hidden’s  shit and decided to leave him. Yep! Called it! I knew that sooner or later that selfish git was gonna push his luck with her. At the first opportunity, after he finished torturing her for making a very human mistake, (which she then tried to rectify and make amends for), she ran away. Discovering some backbone, she then sent her astral form to him to let him know what’s what.

Good on her! I knew he wasn’t as devoted to her as he claimed.And of course, torturing your girlfriend for making a dumb mistake several thousand years ago (or a few weeks ago) is a deal-breaker in my book.

Abbie decided Daniel needed to know what shenanigans she and Crane were getting up to, but  didn’t get the chance when The Eternal Soldier chased her and Crane into his orbit, and he discovers all this crazy, Witnessy stuff, the hard way.

Pandora goes to Crane to get him to get help restoring her power, warning him that The Hidden One will be reaching peak annoyance soon. This will require that Abbie go back to the Catacombs and she’s still in recovery from having been in such profound isolation for so long. Naturally, she’s reluctant to return there, but she’ll do it to save the world.

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SLEEPY HOLLOW: L-R: Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in the “Dawn’s Early Light”

Crane figures out how to get back to the Catacombs using Betsy Ross’ flag, the song The Star Spangled Banner, (which I now can’t get out of my brain. Thanx show!), all while being chased by The Eternal Soldier, a huge, skeletal, slimy looking creature, that throws fireballs, although later, Jenny and Joe, nip that stuff with a fire extinguisher. So, it’s nice to see the band back together again.

Okay, there’s some extra stuff with Crane and Abbie having to chase down Ross’ real flag, when they find out that the one in Paul Revere’s house is a fake, which doesn’t seem to matter much to the Soldier. Chasing people down is his job and he’s gonna do it. He’s like The Terminator. With fire.

Daniel encounters The Eternal Soldier and  is more than a bit discombobulated by the whole idea that supernatural forces exist, and that Abbie, and even Foster, is involved with them.

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In the last episodes of the season, the show has gotten a little more back to its roots, mixing, the occult and history, with some  mystery and humor, and that’s a good thing. Most of the latter half of the season has been pretty boring (aka. awful).

Crane is his usual cranky self, dishing on respected historical figures, while Abbie doesn’t even try and to make excuse for his statements like she used to do. She’s just given up trying to explain his weirdnesses to regular folk.

This review wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t gush about Crane’s prettiness. That said, I do not like his new, shorter hairstyle, but maybe his ponytail was a bit too metrosexual, or hipster, or something.

Oh, did I forget about to mention that Abbie/Daniel kiss? Yeah, that happened. Black love on TV is a thang, people!

Sleepy Hollow: Incommunicado

I know it seems like it’s been a while since I did a Sleepy Hollow review, but its only been one, (okay, maybe two), episodes. See…what happened was, I was sort of waiting for something to happen on the show. Don’t get me wrong. The show is enjoyable as far as character relations but plot-wise, its been kind of, well…boring. Its hard to write about a show when nothing in particular happened on it other than, Hey!… the characters were friendly with each other, things are moving apace.

There! I said it. The plot has  been boooorring!

This week something happened on the show. (By something, I mean somebody made some decisions, and there was some physical movement that didn’t involve Jenny and Joe kissing.)

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The  Hidden One comes out of hiding to take care of his Witness problem once and for all and  invades Crane’s sanctuary, trapping  them both  inside. In trying to kill Ichabod, He Who Needs to Remain Hidden activated that little sigil that Abbie had been worshiping, and Crane had been investigating.

Not being the brightest penny inside the Archive, The Slightly Less Hidden One, keeps pouring his powers into it, thereby setting up an imminent explosive event. It’s up to Abbie and Pandora to set aside their differences and rescue their beloved (and only semi-beloved-getting on my damn nerves-Hidden One, on the part of Pandora).

In the meantime, a banshee has been attracted to Sleepy Hollow by Pandora’s invitational spell, and started screaming at people. Pandora claims she needs the creature alive, in order to rescue the menfolk, but Abbie doesn’t like it. Jenny doesn’t like it either because she and Joe are the ones to have to capture it.

So, once again the group gets split up as they have different tasks. Joe, Jenny, and Foster have to capture the banshee and have a good plan, but Joe  kills it, “accidentally on purpose”, when it goes after Jenny.

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Pandora still needs a monster to work her spell, though. Joe, who has had his monstership, as a Wendigo, re-instated last episode, is drafted to participate in the spell. It looks painful for Joe but Jenny seems to hurt the most just watching it. I’m still not sure how I feel about their relationship. I kinda wanna be happy for them because they are cute together and have good chemistry, but aren’t they like brother and sister? Didn’t they grow up together? If someone wants to chime in and tell me what to think about the two of them, I will happily adopt your stance, cuz I got nothing.

Anyway, using Joe isn’t enough. Pandora, conveniently, needs a piece of the box that used to be a repository for her power but got destroyed in one of the last episodes. Needless to say, Abbie is not buying this bushwa, but gives the pieces to her anyway and the day is saved. The Now Yet Again Hidden One goes back into hiding.

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Along the way, the Semi-Hidden One and Pandora give up some secrets, so its not like Abbie and Crane got nothing out of this event. The Post-Hidden One reveals that being a Witness involves blood-lines and that Crane had no choice about whether or not he’d be one. I thought we already knew this? Anyway, this is a major event for Crane, who evinces surprise that he is ,in fact, a special snowflake, after all.

Crane and The Contemptuous  One have arguments about the nature of god and man. Mr. Hidden is thoroughly dismissive of all human achievement. I wanted to know what he, The  One Formerly In  Hiding, had ever contributed to the world in his overlong existence, in comparison to say… The Artist Formerly known as Prince,   but the writers and directors didn’t ask me, and chickened out on asking the question themselves. And oh, yeah, the sigil is from Thura or something. Was that important?

Pandora confesses to Abbie that she was the one who got the Her Hidden Man  imprisoned in the first place, which HO conveniently overhears, because Ichabod’s sigil is capable of spying on Abbie.

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SLEEPY HOLLOW: Nicole Beharie in the ÒDark MirrorÓ episode of SLEEPY HOLLOW airing Friday, March 4 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Tina Rowden/FOX

At the end of the episode things look bleak for Pandora as HO decides he’s going to give her what for, for getting him locked up. Hopefully, this will put the final nail in the coffin of their relationship, and Pandora will team up with Abbie and Crane, to kick The Once Again Hidden One’s ass back to the Catacombs.

I kind of liked this episode. It wasn’t too bad but it wasn’t spectacular either. I liked the banter between Crane and Abbie, which is always charming, and Crane got to eat some pastries and give good speech. (I just enjoy looking at him. I know I’m shallow.)

Hopefully, this Friday, something important will happen on the show, so we can have something to talk about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleepy Hollow : Sins of the Father

 

I didn’t really like tonight’s episode. It felt a little sad.A little downbeat. Abbie is not herself. She seems dejected. This could be a result of her ordeal  or a result of later plot points in this episode. At any rate, I cant say I liked this episode, although there was a bit of plot advancement and a couple of interesting revelations.

The story opens with Pandora and The Hidden One sitting around, moping about their powers. You can tell that Pandora is not having any more of this shit as, once again, we witness some heavy eyeballing at her boyfriend, when he declines to give her back any of her powers. Se shouldn’t have offered. She should’ve known she wasn’t getting any of that back. Rather than give some of her power back , he would rather gloat that she now knows what he feels. Boyfriend is being an ass.

Ichabod has been spoiling Abbie for the past several days/weeks, cooking dinners for her and otherwise catering to her and trying, I think, to just cheer her up. Everyone can tell she’s not herself. She’s very quiet and doesn’t smile as much as she used to and seems tired, like she’s not sleeping enough. I think this is breaking Ichabod’s heart a little to see her like this.

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Jenny goes to see their dad. It sort of ends in emotional detente. He wanted to meet her to explain his side of the issue and that his leaving his family was not their fault but his. The Mills’ backstory is pretty tragic. Their mother, a Witness, starts to go insane and their father, unable to handle it, leaves. The mother dies, sending the girls into foster care, and  one of them is locked in a mental institution. The Sisters Mills have had a lot to overcome and I like that this narrative is slightly different from the stereotypical narrative of the poor, unwed mother, living in the ‘hood, “throw in some gangs”, type of backstory.

Daniel is still trying to get close to Abbie but she explains shes still dealing with what happened to her. She makes it clear to him, that when she’s ready to talk to him about their relationship, she’ll let him know

Atticus Nevins returns and contacts Abbie. He’s set some kind of creature loose in Sleepy Hollow and wants her to stop it. This is all really just a ploy by Nevins to get close to her so he can grab August Corbin’s occult files. He wants to negotiate safe passage to Canada in exchange for finding tonight’s monster. The Scooby Gang take him prisoner and Nevins gives them  background on how the creature got to America in exchange for some of Icabod’s home cooking but even this bit of humor wasnt enough to make me like this episode very much. Nevins says the creature is called a ghallu  and it can only be stopped by a golden scarab, which will allow the holder to control it.

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The creature is hunting Nevins crew.  He came to them for help because one of his cronies, seeking  to take over Nevins operations, has procured the scarab and will send the creature after him, or so he claims The crew end up leading  the creature right to Randall and the monster kills him.

Jenny tells Abbie about her meeting with their father. Abbie’s attitude towards this information is somewhat lackluster.Abbie is having visions of her time in the catacombs and a golden symbol.

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Nevins is the person controlling the creature, after implanting the scarab in his chest. He found the scarab in a cave in Afghanistan and his first act was to order the creature to kill his team mates.  He summons the creature to free him and kill Abbie and Crane. Crane and Abbie fight the monster and win but Nevins takes Jenny hostage,

Nevins  releases Jenny when Joe confronts him with some hard truths, which I think is weird and kind of arbitrary but the show had sort of written itself into a corner and its not ready to kill off Jenny yet ,so he kind of had to let her go no mattter what Joe said to him. Joe could have  started singing “That’s Not My Baby” or speaking in tongues and Nevins  still would’ve had to let her go, for the purposes of the plot.

Abbie meets with her father. She’s afraid she’ll die the way her mother did but he reassures her that won’t happen.

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Wallers, Daniels boss, contacts Daniel and asks questions about Abbie’s emotional state. He orders Daniel to downgrade the search for Nevins, which puzzles him. In exchange Nevins gives  Wallers Corbin’s case  files, which contain special information on nine sacred sites. Wallers kills Nevins afterwards,who should really have seen that coming. The betrayer is oft himself betrayed, as Ichabod would have said.

Later, Abbie sneaks  into the tool shed in the backyard and we can see she has become obsessed with a symbol, drawing it over and over again in her journal, like Jack from The Shining,  and worshiping a version of it, painted on the wall of the shed.

Creepy.

 

 

 

Sleepy Hollow : Kindred Spirits

This episode was very campy and not exactly bad but not enjoyable as it should have been. I had a hard time taking it seriously. I thought it was silly and kind of unnecessary for this season. What was the point in bringing back The Kindred, a villain we barely remember, from season 2?

I was much more interested in the character and relationship storylines, than the plot, which was just serviceable. Abbie is still having trouble dealing with her year of isolation in the Catacombs. Ichabod let all her plants die, along with his relationship with Ms. Corinth, who we also barely remember, from the beginning of the season. Jenny is still trying to hate on her deadbeat dad, despite Joe’s admonishments.

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The Kindred, a villain who was brought to life by being given the head of the Horseman, is back in town, ruining people’s love lives because he can’t get any. This is toxic masculinity in its highest form, so congratulations MRA guys. First Jessica Jones and now this. You are all now famous film and television villains, like Vader, only less logical.

The plot is pretty basic until we get to the part where the Kindred wants a bride and kidnaps Ms. Corinth, after which I totally lost it, because that is so Mars Needs Women. It turns out, just like that Ray Charles song: He Gotta Woman, wayover town… Ben Frankiln was kind enough to take into account that his masculine construct would be interested in women and built him a Bride of Frankenstein, and the two of them walk off into the sunset to together.

This really pisses off The Hidden One, who doesn’t think his henchman deserves happiness, I guess. You can tell that because of the things he says about The Kindred’s relationship, and love in general, that Pandora is starting to rethink the nature of their personal arrangements. It’s not explicit, but everytime he opens his mouth, she keeps giving him “the hairy eyeball.” At one point, she asks for her powers back, but they get distracted by what’s going on in The Hidden One’s crystal ball, and he never answers her request.

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Ms. Corinth shows up just long enough to break it off with Ichabod and get kidnapped, leaving Ichabod free to pursue Abbie, if that’s what he wants. Sophie doesn’t do much at all this episode, other than get beat up and advise Daniel to hook up with Abbie. Abbie lets him down easy after she has some kind of panic attack at the first crime scene. But she gets her mojo back later, and jumps into the investigation with the others more wholeheartedly.

I don’t like to see my favorite characters suffering emotional issues, but it’s important to show that even the strongest people can be vulnerable, and that it’s okay (For WoC, especially) not to be the “Strong Black Woman” stereotype, all the time.

The most ridiculous part of the show was discovering that The Kindred has a girlfriend (I guess a boyfriend would’ve been just too much, huh?) and she apparently has no free will in accepting this guy. It would’ve been a much more interesting show if she’d rejected him, but I guess that’s not the focus of the story.

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SLEEPY HOLLOW: Tom Mison (L) and Nicole Beharie (R) 

Their facial expressions are utterly priceless.

 

I liked Joe calling Jenny about her treatment of her father. It was a nice callback to his relationship with his dad. I’m glad the show doesn’t pretend like the past didn’t happen even though we, the viewers, would like to do that.

I’m also glad to see that Abbie is  keeping her natural hair.

This week’s episode gets a C+ . The plot was totally pedestrian but then gets points off for that hokey-ass, dead people in love, wrap up. On the other hand I’m glad we won’t be seeing anymore of Ms. Corinth, and I’m especially looking forward to Pandora turning tail on her boyfriend, as it seems that’s what the writers are setting us up for.

I also liked Ichabod deciding that cacti was definitely the route they needed to take as far as house plants. (I’m a person famous for killing greenery too, so  I love cacti.) And it was nice seeing Abbie snarking  back at Ichabod again. That never gets old.

 

 

 

Sleepy Hollow: Incident at Stone Manor


There are a lot of aspects of this episode I thoroughly enjoyed and a few I had no patience with. I love how Ichabod and the others refuse to give up on the idea that Abbie is alive and must be saved. In fact, Ichabod is  desperate to save her and will do almost anything to get it done.

I’m not averse to a relationship between Ichabod and Abbie. I’m a lot more comfortable now with the two of them expressing their devotion to each other, now that Katrina is gone. I just think it’s a bit soon after her loss. On the other hand, it is a long time coming. I think Ichabod was dealing with his feelings for Abbie long before Katrina died.

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We’re back with Abbie, picking up where the last episode left off. It’s been awhile because we can see that her hair has gone back to its natural state. I hope she keeps it that way. I like it. It seems like  her isolation is making her  stir crazy but actually it’s pretty common for people who spend a lot of time alone to amuse themselves by talking out loud. The problem comes when they can’t stop doing it.

The show highlights Abbie’s resourcefulness, which I enjoyed. She’s smart enough to make fire, and create a chess game, but there’s no Wilson, no night time, no other life forms, and she doesn’t seem to need food or drink, so life is very, very boring.

Jenny, Joe, and Ichabod hit on the idea of sending Ichabod’s astral form to look for her. I like the way this team is working. I’ve got some drawbacks with the addition of Sophie, just like Jenny seems to. I hope she’s on the up and up and not just a bad guy in disguise.

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Ichabod is successful in finding Abbie, who has  been missing him terribly. Since he’s non-corporeal, he can’t effect the environment, but he can keep her company and talk through ideas with her, to help her find an escape.

Pandora and her boyfriend, The Hidden One, wish to come out of hiding and take over the world. My eyeballs were rolling fast and deep at their level of reasoning for that. They really don’t have any lofty goals. Be evil and try to take over the world seems to be it. The only way they could accomplish such a thing would be to plunge the world into a new Dark Ages of some kind, because on their own, they’re like those Trailer Park couples who plan to be rich some day. The Hidden One can lift castles out of the ground so maybe he could try a job in construction.

Pandora sends her astral form to see Abbie in the Catacombs. She can’t do anything to Abbie, so mostly succeeds in pissing Abbie off enough, to destroy the little stone she came to get. Angry about that, she severs Ichabod’s astral cord. But it’s cool. Abbie is smart enough to figure things out.

Earlier, during one of her walking tours, she discovered Betsy Ross’ sword stuck in a pile of rocks and figures out how Betsy managed to escape. She ends up saving herself and Ichabod, and that’s some beautiful shit, if you ask me.

Back with our ‘Vaders of the story, the Hidden One is pining for his lost position,  and upset that his power-stone is broken, thanks to his girlfriend. He seems more than happy to take Pandora’s life energy for himself, and leave her laying on the ground in a weakened state, but that’s the kind of thing that happens when you follow power hungry, narcissistic, wanna-be despots. They’re happy to use you for their own ends because that’s  what you’re there for.

Maybe Pandora will get a clue, change her mind, and turn on him. I actually want to like her, but she’s fallen in with a bad crowd, so  I despair for her future. She’ll probably suffer whatever fate he’s going to suffer when he’s defeated.

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Simultaneously, we get to watch Joe, Jenny and Sophie use their big brains to defeat one of the monsters, who has shown up early to Pandoras summoning, a gargoyle from a French church, restored to Sleepy Hollow, brick by brick, whose history I remember from Art School. This time I was totally squicked out by the monster. I hate inanimate objects with a mind of their own and was hoping, when I first saw the gargoyles, that they wouldn’t be doing any extracurricular activities.

Jenny and Joe want to do things the long way around, using spells and books and stuff. They do a pretty good spoof of Ichabod and Abbie’s methods of crime solving and that got a good laugh out of me. Sophie comes up with the more pragmatic approach of using construction equipment, and who doesn’t want to kill a gargoyle, by covering it in concrete, which is all kinds of awesome.

One monster down, about bajillion more to go, maybe.

The Scooby Gang return to The Archives, just in time for Jenny’s happy reunion with Abbie, and to wake up Ichabod.

This ain’t one of my favorite episodes but it’s alright. I liked seeing Abbie’s return because what kind of show is it without her snarking on Ichabod. I have to give a letter grade slightly below last week’s episode because there were a few moments that felt “by the numbers” and Jenny had a couple of “Afterschool Special” speeches, that I had no patience for. Also, the villains need better reasons to be villainous, other than liking being evil.

Otherwise, it’s not a bad episode. I’ve resigned myself to the idea that the show will never be as good as that first season, but we what have now is close enough, and I can live with close enough.

 

Penny Dreadful Returns

Penny Dreadful returns in May. May is definitely my go-to month with the release of Captain America : Civil War and this. It looks like Vanessa is still mentally unstable and  there’s some new characters, too. Lots of shots of Ethan being wolfy, which is always awesome!

Some of the new characters are a Native American friend of Ethan played by Wes Studi, who is one of my favorite native actors and will be pairing up with Sir Malcolm, whose job it seems is  to collect such people. And Dr. Jekyll will also make an appearance, along with Patti Lupone, who will play a new character, involved with Vanessa.

 

Sleepy Hollow : The Sisters Mills

Okay, okay, I know. I’ve been lax in my duties towards the show. I did not review last week’s episode as I should have and now I’m late. But I’m going to make up for this horrible lapse in my duties by…just reviewing this week’s show with some backstory from last week.

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Last week Pandora unleashed a weapon that recreated Jack the Ripper in a disgruntled young man who was angry because he was a creeper that conventionally pretty women wouldn’t sleep with. Boy, does that sound familiar. I bet those MRA ears were burning all evening. Naturally, Crane and Abbie prevailed but almost at the cost of Crane’s life. We got to see a little sword action from Crane, which was a rare treat. Joe and Jenny had an adventure, chasing after that same little black shard of rock that got stolen from her, in the first episode. One day we’ll find out why that little rock is so important that all these thieves are knocking each other over to get it. Pandora is growing a black tree, with flowers. I think she’s using these monsters to create fear to power the tree’s enchantment, but I still don’t know what her endgame is, and neither do the Witnesses.

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Pandora continues her trend of monster releasing when she summons a creature, an Abyzou, that draws out the life forces of children and puts them into comas. This is all tied to the tooth fairy, Paul Revere, silver, and well, Pandora. I didn’t pay that close attention to the lore because I’m easily distracted by disgusting monsters (and sweets in my house.)

Crane’s bid for citizenship is underway but he’s not studying because he “lived it”. He’d rather play video games and eat junk food. It’s hilarious to see him, essentially, nesting in Abbie’s house. Joe calls with a heads about a little girl who has gone into a coma and the sister who saw the monster that did it.

Crane, Abbie,and Jenny figure out what the creature is called, how to stop it from attacking and that only children can see it. So now they need to find and kill or capture it. During their detection phase Abbie brings up the subject of their father, to gauge how Jenny feels and if she should tell her that she found their dad.

Crane’s idea is to go to a classroom nearby, because the creature is territorial, and suss out which children have loose teeth, so they can stake out the child’s home, after giving the child a silver coin to ward it off. Actually, Crane gets a lot of kid time during this episode when he interviews the first little girl who saw the monster and makes her laugh, despite herself.

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Actually, this is Crane’s night as he  is wonderfully charming and funny for the entire episode. He has, however, picked up a lot of bad habits in his time in the twentieth century, like lying, eating too much sugar, and using monkey emojis with the young lady tutoring him in American history. Jenny finds all of this hilarious and is usually filming his antics.

Abbie finally tells Jenny that she found their dad but Jenny has known for five years, and didn’t tell Abbie because she thought Abbie hated him, which is what Abbie taught her. They hear a scream, encounter the monster and try to fight it, but Abbie gets injured in the fight against it.

While Jenny sits with Abbie in the hospital, Crane goes back to the Archive to do some research. Jenny feels guilty about fighting about their dad and that she didn’t tell Abbie. She’s visited by the first little girl and Jenny gives her words of encouragement about their sisters, but it’s all undone when Pandora shows up later, and gives the little girl a strange pouch, to give to her sister.

Jenny goes to Crane at the Archive and discovers that Paul Revere’s dentist tools were used to stop the Abyzou, the last time it attacked. They determine that silver makes it possible to see the creature in order to hit its weak point.

Pandora, roaming free in the hospital, wakes Abbie from her coma and tries to suss out her greatest weakness. She calls her a Napalutu and threatens Abbie’s father. She doesn’t act like your stereotypical laughing villain who explains all their plans. She acts as if she’s sorry about she’s doing which is very…different. And a little weird because you want to like her, even though she is unremittingly evil. After all, she is killing children.

The little girl gives her sister the tooth in the pouch Pandora gave her, which attracts the monster. Crane and Jenny, show up and attack it but almost lose it in the woods surrounding the house, before killing it. (As far as I’m concerned, “monsters” are yet another reason, not to visit the woods.) The little girl wakes up from her coma.

Crane visits the dentist and we get to watch him be high as a kite and dreaming about kissing Betsy Ross and making bitmojis to his tutor. Abbie is having far too much fun quietly laughing at her partner.Jenny apologizes for not telling Abbie about their dad, and confesses that she was wrong to blame Abbie, for her issues with him. Crane discovers the Napalutu means Destroyers, and according to the prophetic tablets that Crane tried to smuggle into the country, the two of them will destroy the world.

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Another flower blooms on Pandoras tree as we briefly glimpse her real monster face.

This particular episode has come the closest this season to the dynamic of the first season. It was fun, and funny,with some touching moments between The Sisters Mills, and Crane and I really enjoyed this one. Once again, it wasn’t great, but it had a lot of great moments and is my favorite of the season, so far.