Tonight’s monster, a swarm of Jack Spaniard wasps that can take the shape of a mostly human woman at will (or vice versa, if you prefer), had a definite Fringe vibe. Fringe or The X-Files, although given how goofy the woman looked—a lady in a fancy red dress with hilarious blue bug eyes—I’m leaning more towards Fringe. That’s not a criticism, exactly, but neither is it a compliment. It’s a nifty enough beastie, and the fact that its venom drives people mad before ultimately killing them is clever enough. But apart from an awkward mid-episode flashback, there’s little effort made to connect this “soucouyant” to Ichabod’s past. Those ridiculous blue eyes are pretty much the closest it comes to having a character trait.

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That wouldn’t be as much of a problem if the monster attack sequences had been more suspenseful, or if there was ever a sense of real danger, but that doesn’t happen. While the “drives them crazy before they die” angle is promising, it only really comes up twice, with the judge whose targeted at the beginning of the episode, and with Agent Reynolds, who gets zapped later on. The judge is really just there to make sure we grasp the concept, and his madness is played more for laughs than anything else.

Things get more serious with Reynolds, and we finally get some background on his and Abbie’s relationship—nothing incredibly clear, but they definitely have a Past, and it sounds like it’s something that Reynolds hasn’t quite gotten over yet. That may have an impact down the line, but for right now it mostly helps to give him a little more depth than we’ve previously seen, and enriches his relationship with Abbie. I’m neutral on this one, to be honest; if Ichabod is having a fling with someone outside the Witnesship, it stands to reason that Abbie should have her own entanglements. And yet Reynolds is just a bit too bland, both as a potential romantic partner, and as a source of story conflicts. Tonight at least gave him something more to do than be genial and vaguely flirty, so here’s hoping the trend continues.

Speaking of Ichabod, his two dates with Ms. Corinth were sweet enough. If you think about it too hard, the whole thing borders on suspect, and I still would like to know more about Zoe—in some ways, she’s too close to an audience surrogate figure, and her constant calm in the fact of Ichabod’s various eccentricities makes me wish we knew a bit more about what she was thinking. Ichabod is a very handsome man, to be sure, and it’s probably best to enjoy the surface pleasures of all of this, rather than dig at it too much.

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Jenny and Joe had a storyline this week, and it was pretty much fine, just like all their storylines so far. Reynolds concern about them getting involved with Atticus Nevins hasn’t amounted to much yet, and it certainly doesn’t stop the two of them from confronting Atticus and finding out that he and Corbin apparently kept secret bank accounts overseas. It’s odd for the show to do this much work characterizing Corbin’s past this far into the run, especially considering how often he’s been a go to guy whenever any expository glue was needed in the past, but I guess with Joe around, it’s inevitable. Oh, and something’s going down with Jenny, which will hopefully add some urgency to all of this. It feels weirdly like a show going on inside another show, and I’m still hoping these plot threads are going to connect eventually.

Then there’s Pandora, who finally finishes growing all of her doom flowers and then… walks into the tree. It’s a bit of an anti-climax, really, and what makes it doubly frustrating is that we aren’t given even the slightest hint of what’s to come. I appreciate that the show can’t bust out the fireworks just yet, and I appreciate even more that the first stage of Pandora’s plan succeeded before it got too familiar, but I wanted a little more than nice dress, opening tree trunk, and disappearing. This season of Sleepy Hollow has been considerably more consistent than the show at its worst, but the lack of danger and real thrills has robbed it of a good deal of its energy. As is, it’s passable, but nothing grabs your interest. Fingers crossed that when Pandora returns, she brings the thunder.

Stray observations

  • Modern Things Of Which Ichabod Doth Not Approve Of This Week: Sushi chefs who manipulate their more romantically-inclined patrons into leaving tips.
  • Bringing back Ichabod’s arrest for smuggling at the start of the season was a clever callback, and a nice way to bring in the doomed judge, but if this show gets bogged down in the justice system, I’m out.
  • “A shadow older than time falls over your soul. You shall be claimed.” Jenny has some fun times to look forward to.
  • Oh right, the flashback. Grace Dixon and Betsy Ross team up to save George Washington and his men from the scourge of the Soucouyant. It’s an unnecessary scene, even if it does help Ichabod and Abbie figure out a tonic to hold off the wasp infection. The flashbacks used to be a fun adventure in pulp historical fiction, but lately, they just seem a bit forced.
  • That crossbow is just not helping anyone.
  • The Red Lady is a nice visual, but it’s a bit annoying how Ichabod and Abbie were able to dodge her without too much trouble in Pandora’s lair. One sting got to Agent Reynolds, and there were swarms around both our heroes—I didn’t need anyone to die (or even get paranoid), but some acknowledgement of a serious threat would’ve been nice.

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