by Billie Doux
If this one had a theme, it was about the difficulty of parenting while fighting evil.
As much as I love John Noble, and honestly, I love him a lot and stuck with Fringe through its ghastly first season solely because of him, I just don't get what they were trying to accomplish here. It's like the producers were going, how can we bring back John Noble? I know! A mystical trial for Ichabod's life, reminiscent of the terrible Next Gen pilot episode "Encounter at Farpoint," and let's do it by psychically linking Ichabod to a giant spider demon! Yeah, that'll work.
I did think that Tom Mison and John Noble rocked the scene where Ichabod told "Henry" he loved him, and "Henry" reacted as if he both hated to hear it and secretly longed for it. I also thought it worked that "Henry" said out loud what is probably Ichabod's greatest fear: that he's going to get his new friends killed, just like he got his old friends killed. I'm still feeling weird about Ichabod as a grown man being mystically partnered with a little girl, but I liked the scene where Molly called him away from the noose via cell phone and with Abbie's voice.
Oddly, and probably fortunately, the focus of the episode was less on the not-all-that-profound trial going on in Ichabod's head, and more on the new Scooby gang, whom I like more with every episode. Jenny's "I'm so cute and clueless" scene where she was caught by the soldiers was just great. Where's my boyfriend Pete? Am I in trouble? I thought she was going to get away with it. And Jake and the blowtorch? Truly funny. Diana is still angry and resentful and confused and parental, but helping in spite of herself.
I feel compelled to add something personal. Jake talked about how, as an archivist, he spent all day sitting around and reading fun stuff. Archivists work hard... um, actually archiving. It's complicated, rule-bound, challenging work requiring a master's degree and sometimes a second degree. This is exactly like the impression some people have that librarians get to sit around and read all day, which we most certainly do not. Bad Sleepy Hollow for perpetuating stupid archetypes. No biscuit.
Wow. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Giles flashback. I've ranted this rant before.
Finally, we again learned that Dreyfuss is obsessed with immortality, which will have the added advantage of postponing his soul bargain trip to Hell. And Jobe stopped by the Smithsonian to steal something that I'm sure will be important, and dissolve some poor random guard. Jobe heard Alex gasp, and chose not to investigate. Maybe he already knew who was hiding there.
So the Scoobies now know that Jobe is supernatural. Yet more set-up.
-- It was nice to see Grace Dixon again, albeit briefly, during the 1778 Valley Forge flashback. The "fire of joy" solution was fun, too.
-- Metaphor city. All of the witnesses' lives are entangled, like a big symbolic web.
-- Why not have Alex and Jake raid the "Jeffersonian" instead of the Smithsonian? Isn't this supposed to be the same 'verse as Bones?
-- There's a D.C. bar full of scoundrels called Crooked Dick's. I don't think we've seen it before, but I hope we see it again. (Is the name a tribute to Nixon? No, he was "Tricky Dick.")
-- Whose face was in the leftover spider webbing at the end? Was that Henry again? I honestly couldn't tell.
Jake: "That is so not good. We got to help her."
Alex: "How? See if they'll trade her for some free archiving work?"
See? Archivists work. They don't sit around and read all day. No, I won't let go of this one anytime soon.
Henry: "Everyone he touches, sooner or later, dies."
Ichabod: "I would die a thousand deaths if it meant she would live but one more hour."
Jenny: "Leather balls?"
Diana: "Takes one to know one."
"Henry": "You bottle your grief because you know how it will end."
Jake: "How often do you get to use tenth century Chinese torches to cut a man out of a despair creature's psychic web, huh?"
Alex: "Not often enough."
I wish this one had been better. Two out of four giant spider demons,
Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.