Monday, November 18, 2013

Sleepy Hollow Review - Episode 7 - The Midnight Ride - "Thomas Jefferson, that bastard!"

Well, hello there. Another week is passing, and we are almost to the next episode, so I suppose I should get this review out? Heck, as it is I am tempted to look at Almost Human this week. So I better get be sure everyone is up to date on Sleepy Hollow,so no one is behind on beheadings, flashbacks, and Abbie for the coming weeks.

Following on last week, it finally is time for the Horseman to strike Sleepy Hollow. But first, a flashback. What will we see this week? Betsy Ross designing a flag with a secret message? Francis Scott Key's secret involvement with the Revolution? Ah...

Paul Revere.

Oh yeah? I think it's funny.
But, first, what is to come? Finally after the build up of the last two episodes, we finally get our face off of our heroes and the Horseman. It has been a long time in coming (6 episodes to be exact), but it is appreciated.

Through this episode the tension winds up as they try and find the answer to the problem of a Horseman with no head. And when they do have their plan, it will be fun to see them prep it, and then implement it. It makes for a merry and fun chase.

The episode also finally allows movement for a number of characters that have been kept in a holding pattern, some have moved one step forward, others have gotten a lot further. If these characters were going to have a real point, it needed to happen, and I am happy to see their progress.

Overall, by the end of the episode it seems our heroes have reached a turning point. They lept an obstacle they doubted they could master. They've had a great victory. It is only a question now, of what they may yet have to pay for it.

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
So let's consider where The Midnight Ride takes us.

We start in a flashback to 1775, and the night Paul Revere rode out to warn of the coming movements by British military forces that would threaten Colonial militia forces.

And the horseman who slaughtered his men
On the midnight ride of Paul Revere,

And how he did wet them as he saw that sight
On the midnight ride of Paul Revere,

As history records, Revere and his Raiders head out that night, to get word to the militias so they can hustle and prepare. But what's added now is the point at which they get jumped by our old friend, the Horseman.

He cuts through Revere's compatriots quickly. And he is then on to Revere...I wonder if he survived? (You better go check Wikipedia and find out.) We don't see what happens, as it cuts to Ichabod staring in amazement at the wonders of bulk buying.

"Never in my life have I seen such a stock of toilet paper."
Abbie has gone out and bought provisions, in bulk. She has filled the Crane's cabin with all manner of supplies, in case they need to retreat there when the Horseman comes. He is in awe at the ridiculous amount of everything, and sits in wonder, as Abbie updates the cabin's locks.

He then finds himself amused at the fact she has bought jugs of water. Buying water. It is one of the recurring issues that Ichabod has all episode. Why buy water?

And as an issue, it is a valid one. You can just go a look at various companies that have shown an interests in owning water supplies. Water access and security is only going to grow as an issue. So how do we react to it's commoditization?

And Abbie will say through the episode that it's the best way to get drinking water, even eschewing tap water. It almost makes me wonder who sponsors the show, and if they gave any script input. I can't speak for everywhere in the country, but most of the country has decent water supplies. And honestly, most bottled water isn't that different most tap water. ...But let's get back to the show.

"Come on, Abbie. We haven't had scenes together for ages.
And I'd like to make my potential looming death seem more
Abbie heads into the office, but is intercepted by Morales he wants to reconnect with her. Abbie isn't in the mood now, but agrees to meet up the next day and talk.

Being pushy about having coffee isn't endearing Morales to me. When an ex wants some space, you just give it until they want to talk. But he's the only tie to Abbie's preshow life. So he's the only person we have that can worry about the changes that seem to have happen in Abbie's life.

Still, don't push your luck, Morales. He doesn't know it, but creepy stalkery Undead Andy is watching you.

And later Undead Andy accosts Morales. He doesn't explain everything to him, but he warns him off Abbie. And a guy who should be dead that appears to threaten you is someone you should be worried about.

He shows some powers for once. He suddenly jumps forward and grabs Morales's gun (which is pointed at him) and points it at him. Then the camera goes all shakey and Undead Andy's voice goes all echoy. He tells Morales that a war is coming, but Morales won't see it coming. And when the fighting is over, everyone will be dead. He also tells Morales that Undead Andy isn't alone. There are others, waiting. He finally tells Morales he will have to pick a side. Then he disappears.

For the rest of the episode, Morales will avoid Abbie, growing more and more agitated. Undead Andy has gotten to him. He's scared. But what will that drive him to do? Will he try and help Abbie? Will he surrender to fear and help the bad guys? I guess we'll have to see. (But I'll bet on the heroic sacrifice variation. -- I am ready to be wrong though.)

Who would have thought, masons having a nice house?
So once night comes, Ichabod visits his brothers the Freemasons. They had informed them that when he comes to their hall they will have information that will help in defeating the Horseman.

Ichabod calls and informs Abbie that he will talk to the Masons, and get them to rescind the rule barring women from attending their meetings. So, Abbie should come to.

It's nice that Ichabod can acknowledge how wrong footed the rule is, and be willing to argue with his society about it.  Ever the iconoclast.

But it is sad that an allegedly wise and forwarding thinking group is like this...But I have known many skeptic, atheist, and scientific groups that have proven to be similarly obtuse. It's sad but some people can become blind to their internal failings.

And now we get to the big question I had in the last episode, what will the Masons do this episodes? They have knowledge, powers, resources. They could really improve the standing of Abbie and Ichabod. They can change the game.

You may not want to be seen holding that when the police
So, when Ichabod arrives at the Masonic home, he finds all inside have been killed. (I saw this coming.) Beheaded, with the heads missing. There's at least one person in town who does stuff like this. The Horseman. He struck them fast. Some were sitting at a table. Others were cut down with guns in hand. It was a rapid slaughter.

Ichabod searches, to see if the Horseman is still there. Then Abbie arrives, giving him backup.

Searching, they finally find the Horseman outside, with all the heads in a bag by his side. He rides off.

And the title sequence starts.

Hmm. Freemasons are dead. I mean, a room with four or five of them is dead. The entire organization is still intact. But this is it for the Masons in this episode. From here on, Abbie and Ichabod have to find the information the Masons had on their own. It's the way these type of shows work. The Watchers on Buffy: The Vampire Slayer worked much the same way. I hope they are coming back though, I'd like to see the team operate with them around.

After the titles, we come back to the Masonic home, and it's now crawling with police. They are doing forensic work, and looking for clues to what happen. Irving isn't pleased. From the way the heads were cut off to the fact the heads were taken, this seems to clearly tie back to the murder of the Sheriff in the pilot. (,,,Is there a new sheriff yet? I am still thinking about that. Sorry.)

"Okay. Our working theory is that they were all superfans of the movie Scanners."
Irving wants answers from Ichabod. He explains that they were Freemasons, and that they were fighting evil. Irving isn't pleased, as he's finding it harder and harder to make rational sense of what is happening.

He defaced a book! By god, the Horseman is evil.
Ichabod looks around the house, seeing if the Masons left him any clues to what they had learned. Searching through some books, he's hoping to find answers. But the one book that looks likely has answers had the center of it ripped out.

And now a painting! Is there no end to
his villainy?
Ichabod is frustrated. He is starting to fret about whether he can beat the Horseman. But Ichabod vows he won't die until the Horseman is stopped.

Looking at how the Horseman tore up the place, Ichabod intuits the reason he came. It wasn't because he knew what the Mason's planned. It was because he thought the Masons would be the ones to hide away his head.

Abbie and Ichabod decide that they need to get the head, and destroy it. Good. I have been wondering for awhile where they placed it. Back in the grave (Last place the Horseman would look.), at the bottom of a lake, in the back of Abbie's car? ...Oh, hand it in as evidence to the police...That sounds secure.

They go to Irving to get him to release the head to them. They ask that he trust them. With some cajoling, and warning of what the Horseman is doing, he is convinced to have some more faith in them. So he agrees to go and get it. He sent it to a lab to be tested, so he goes there.

We also during the conservation start to learn more about Irving. He has an ex-wife he isn't fond of. Also a daughter. (I have also heard that they've cast the daughter.) So we're starting to expand our understanding of Irving. That mean he's going to become more important? Or, that the writers want us to feel something when he gets killed soon?

But what could happen when he comes into receipt of Death's head?

"Quiet, Ralph. A civilian's walked in,"
Irving drives over to the lab doing the work. Inside he finds the person he's working with. Talking to him, Irving learns that nothing has been learned from the skull. Nothing comes out of any of the tests. It's a mystery. But Irving wants to get going.

[Mac Boot Up Sound]
 While the two talk, the head comes "alive". I don't know what to call it, but the eyes activate. (Do Horseman gave nictitating membranes?) And quickly the Horseman is inside, and shooting the place up.

Now Irving has to fight his way out. He shoots at the Horseman, but can't drop him. So he grabs the head and runs.

"Okay. Go to my happy place. Foley. Murtaugh. Cross.
Somerset. Rhyme. ...Damn it! Get out of my head Carter!


Once he's outside, Irving gets in his car and gets out of there, not waiting to see if the Horseman chases him. Irving has seen how that movie ends. He swerves his car around the Horseman's horse and gets back into Sleepy Hollow.

Getting back to Abbie, he's pissed. He just did not need to know that the Horseman was real. He did not need to personally see what the Horseman can do. It sucks being in the know.

And, just like in other events, all the camera at the facility failed when the Horseman entered. There's no evidence.

Now, though, things get tougher. They have the head. And they need to get rid of it, so the Horseman can never be whole.

Trouble is, the head disagrees.

Dear Mythbusters...

Nothing works. The skull seems beyond anyone's capacity to destroy. Funny how supernatural objects are like that.

Heading outside to try to find other means, they notice an odd sight, lights floating in a car park near the station. It seems out of place, so Ichabod wants to check it out.

"And cut! That's a wrap folks." "Uh. Are you sure you don't
want to redo that last shot? Get it from a different angle?"
"No...It's artistic...And I have a place to catch..."
...Look at the image. Do you see anything? If you squint, you can see some objects hanging in the circular opening. But that's you using a healthy portion of your imagination. And add to that, that they decided to place a tree branch over the "lights".

I don't know. Did they somehow screw up that secondary shot? Did the effect they had for the lights prove to be horribly bad? It's such an odd choice.

But it's also a quick shot. And what follows helps you to forget about it.

When Abbie and Ichabod get up to the level they find the source of the lights, 4 hollowed out heads with candles in them.

"Ha! La! La! La! La!..."
I like this reveal. It's creepy and horrible. Light coming out of the empty eyes, like Jack O'Lanterns.

The heads are from the Horseman's attack on the Masons. The Horseman is sending a message to Ichabod.

Abbie notices that the heads are lined inside with silver. With the mention of that craftwork, now I can't help imagine the Horseman sitting somewhere making these lanterns. The large headless figure hollowing out and treating the heads, melting done silver, pouring it in, and then skulking around to find the perfect place to hang the heads to get Ichabod's attention.  ...I think it should send less funny to me. Still, scary funny.

It seems this all means something to Ichabod. Lining with silver is a trick that Paul Revere used in the prep work for setting up the lanterns to use as a warning of Royal armies movement. The silver helped increased the strength of the light emitted.

Ichabod knows this well. as...Say it with me, "He was there." He was keeping a look out, and notified them when the lamps were light in the church steeple.

He was on duty due to the fact he had been asked to protect Samuel Adams and John Hancock. (I decided to not suggest people get liquored up every time he makes a mention, but enjoy your favorite beverage.) (Also of note, Hancock and Adams were being pursued at the time by Loyalist forces.) Yes, he knew them. But seeing they were all Masons, the "protecting" was probably wild partying.

While he was there, he was Adams give Paul Revere a document which apparently held all the information needed for the coming fights against the king's forces. The document had odd marking on it, which were later found in the sheriff's secret files.

And then Adams let Revere borrow his Chem notes.

The Devil's Trap. A method of entrapping and defeating demons.

It means that those documents were meant for more than fighting soldiers, they were meant for use against demonic forces. Forces like the Horseman.

Then Ichabod makes the connection that the Horseman must have been on the Midnight Ride, chasing down the documents.

That small satchel could hold the answers to besting the Horseman.

So they head to the place where they are keeping many of Paul Revere's artifacts, and other colonial era items. ...And a gift shop.

The slogan of the museum's cafe is, "Make a run for Lexington."

"Am I hearing this bullshit?"
This is fun for Ichabod. Coming to a place where the life and death events from his life were remade into popular myth, then simplified for children to recite. It's like the Disney of history.

And this is what happens when you live long enough. You see your past get remade by others. And you learn people prefer the lie.

Granted, shortly Ichabod will learn that there is plenty about his time that he never knew.

"I think I deleted the interneting."
They learn that the documents were there. "Were" being the operative word. They are in London now. But, the pages were scanned and uploaded for use. Almost nothing about this makes sense to Ichabod, but he can now see the pages.

So, Ichabod is back at a computer! And it's like I'm watching a fish trying to learn to fly. Thankfully Abbie gets the files up on the screen so he can get to work. And he has work to do. The documents were written in a code, and if Ichabod wants to break it, he will need to discern the password needed to unravel it.

Luckily, Ichabod notices something odd about the Horseman's head as he works. A silvery reflection from the mouth. He checks it and finds that Paul Revere had done some silverwork in the mouth, behind the teeth. A word was imprinted. Cicero. The password was left for when it would be needed.

Wait! The founding fathers knew how to write in Elvish?
"Hi Abbie. I haven't been staring at you while you sleep,
or anything..."
Stepping outside, Abbie finds a surprise. Undead Andy.

She smacks him in the jaw when he comes up behind her, knocking it out of place. He takes a moment to snap it back in, and says hi. (So it seems he's deteriorating somewhat. I wonder if it just gets worse over time?)

He brings tidings of doom. He wants to protect her, but no one can kill the Horseman. He's indestructible. He's Death.

But Death can be trapped. Contained.

Ichabod walks up then, and strikes on a plan. He tells Undead Andy to go and tell the Horseman to meet him at the cemetery at nightfall.

Now there's a plan to put into effect. They need sun at night. And that requires witches. Thankfully Abbie has an alternative. UV lighting.

Now, is that actually what UV is? No. Will we be letting that slide? Yes.

"Crane, are you ready for this montage?" "Of course." "Did you bring the
A-Team music." "The what?" "..."
Montage time!

"Skulls. Is this what it's going to like when I hang with
you guys?"
They call in Irving to help with the work, and begin prepping a host of fake skulls. While they work, Ichabod starts bragging about how there is cell to hold the Horseman in the underground that has protections against magic on it, built by Thomas Jefferson.

This opens up a can of worms, allowing Abbie and Irving to start asking questions about Thomas Jefferson, and his attitudes and ideas. Like how he could write and talk about freedom, and then keep slaves.

This puts Ichabod on the defensive, trying to express the gulf between the norm of the 18th century and the 21st century. He points out that Jefferson wanted change and was very enlightened.

And Abbie and Irving get to use a couple of centuries of new knowledge to their advantage, bringing up the "illicit relationship" Jefferson had with one of his slaves. This sets Ichabod off, not caring for such slander! It's all lies Just fakery in the press.

And Ichabod has a little point here. The press of the 18th and 19th century could be quite bad. They were often political agents, and in the years after Ichabod, when Jefferson was running for the presidency, a lot was published about him, to aid his opponents. Some fair. Some unfair.

But the fact remains, proof of Jefferson's proclivities exists. It's proven. The descendants have come out and met the press. And when Ichabod is done ranting, they tell him all about it.

Then they show Ichabod a quote that he had been bragging that he'd come up with, and told Jefferson. It is now attributed to Jefferson. He stole his line. Boom.

To be fair though, a lot of quotes get attributed to people incorrectly. There are a host of things that were "first said" by Mark Twain that he never said. Still, screw Jefferson.

"Shoot. Am I late for the Treehouse of Horror this year?"
Still, montage done, the plan is in place. And so is the Horseman. He rides into the cemetery ready to bring his wrath down in Ichabod. And Ichabod is waiting. He taunts him, showing the head. And the chase is on.

Man. Between Ichabod and Irving, the Horseman is just not
hitting his mark.

 Finally, the chase leads underground.

You've been punked!
 And soon the Horseman starts finding his head, again and again. But it's not the right head, of course. The Horseman is being provoked.

"You want this? You're going to have to get Millsed first."
 Then Abbie pops up with another head. And the Horseman decides to pursue her.

"Oh no...I totally broke my ankle...snerk."

 He continues until he hears that Abbie is somewhere near. with a broken ankle. He comes upon her and presses his advantage.

 But the advantage was not his. Lights come on and the Horseman finds himself in a room with magic symbols and full of UV light. And he's surrounded.

The Horseman falls to the ground and is stuck.

"You really thought a Mills would break their ankle?"
"What? I'm trying to strike the Lorne Greene Battlestar
death pose."

And the Horseman is trapped.

But what do you do when you've corned an immortal indestructible force of destruction? Guess we'll find out next week.


In a debate between Ichabod and the Horseman, who would win? Hint, the guy without a mouth seems to have an edge. And how long can they hold onto the Horseman? Particularly when somethings come to recover him?


So, in the end a lot of what I expected happen, the Masons were removed from the board. And we finally have Undead Andy back.

But how they finally deal with the Horseman is interesting, and makes sense. He is Death.

Also, finally, Irving can see what they are dealing with. With them expanding his background, it will be interesting to see where they will be taking his character.

And where will Morales go? Listen the angel or the devil on his shoulders?

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