Sleepy Hollow 1.04 "The Lesser Key of Solomon" ReviewA tv review article by: Jeffrey Roth
The Rundown: This episode starts off with a nice punch coming off the very end of the last episode, introducing the foot soldiers and going more into Jenny Mills character, even shining a bit of new light on Abbie's old partner, Sheriff Corbin, and her relationship to him. Despite these tidbits of new information, the structure and dialogue devolves into another MotW experience, with no sign of the Horseman or the grand struggle that the first episodes teased.
While this next episode of Sleepy Hollow definitely makes the attempt to punch up what would normally be a very predictable experience, it doesn't quite get the show back to the level of interest it generated in the first two episodes. In this episode, Jenny Mills is on the lam from the asylum where she was being kept for the past year and a half. This sudden disappearance sets her determined sister on her trail, with an unknown threat hot on their heels. Their enemies are not simply chasing Jenny, they seem to have some ulterior motives that cause bodies to be left in their wake. The villains aren't just your run of the mill mercenaries and gun nuts either; they have a tie to Ichabod's past, and are working for the same mysterious force that seems to be pulling the strings on all the nasty that's been following them around.
Getting to watch more of Jenny Mills is a treat, and getting to see her banter with her estranged sister is entertaining. While this is true, their interactions also highlight the fact that Jenny is simply a much more interesting character, and it makes me wonder why Ichabod doesn't hang around with her to take care of the big bads. This episode expounds on her past between when we saw her as a young girl in the previous episode, to when she was put in the asylum, and it reinforces her badassery. Further connections are made between the Mills sisters and Sheriff Corbin and, while fascinating, are short-lived. As she is not the main character, highlight needs to be shifted back to Abbie and whatever creepy thing/people are coming after her and Ichabod this week.
As the title suggests, the evil mercenaries are after the Lesser Key of Solomon, which unlocks a demonic prison that will unleash twenty three super-demons into Sleepy Hollow. The mercenaries are set up as the main foot soldiers for the demonic mastermind behind the rise of the Horseman of Death, and the impending apocalypse. Not only this, these mercenaries are the Hessians, German soldiers who fought alongside the British in the Revolutionary war.
I understand that they really, really, want to get the point across that Ichabod is not from this time, but I think there are better ways to do this than unleashing a new 18th century threat every episode. This also has the added side effect of making it seem like Ichabod Crain was present at EVERY event of importance throughout the entire Revolutionary War. He was at the Boston Tea Party, he hung out with Indian guerrillas, he was the right hand man to George Washington; I really half-expect them to reference the crossing of the Delaware next.
Rather than getting a history lesson, I'd really like to know more about that Horseman character, and the demon controlling him, and how the good guys are going to stomp his face. These revelations of hidden forces also take away from the main threat of the episode, and by the time we get to the climax it seems like it's not that big a deal. The gate is opened, and the demons just writhe around while the Germans fight with Ichabod, Abbie, and Jenny.
Overall the episode ends up as being a vehicle to establish Jenny as one of the new main characters, and that can only improve the show as a whole. Her dynamic personality and personal struggle should bring more drama to the episode-to-episode interactions between the characters. The show also provides a name to the faceless antagonist we've only half-seen from the corner of our eye, so hopefully this is a sign that the show is about to ramp up and finally get back to the main conflict of the series. I am anxious to see if they can deliver on that in the next episode.
Jeffrey Roth, is an award winning animator, all around badass, and is now writing for your amusement. When not wrestling with the mysteries of the universe, he is watching anything and everything and having opinions on it. ALL THE OPINIONS.