Sleepy Hollow: Freedom

"As one, we can only prevail."

"Freedom" was a witty, visually stunning, and somewhat satisfying season finale that was also a reasonably good ending for the series.

Much like last season, though, the villains fell flat. Jeremy Davies is a terrific actor and he did the best he could with the material he was given, but the big problem with Dreyfuss was that he was just too amusing. From the beginning, Dreyfuss reminded me of the Mayor of Sunnydale, but without the necessary evil. Similar denouement too, since the Mayor also became an unkillable immortal that the heroes had to figure out how to kill anyway, and sorry if I'm spoiling season three of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for you.

Jobe was also too predictable. I'd been getting the impression that he and Dreyfuss actually cared about each other and that Jobe might have some ambiguous depths, especially after Lara mentioned that he'd been her guardian and she had spent a lot of time with him in the future. But of course, Jobe turned on Dreyfuss in the end, and I'm sure no one was surprised.

I was also sadly disappointed by the return of Henry Parrish, especially after Ichabod and Jenny's beautifully shot vision of the duel in the teaser. Why did they bother to bring John Noble back if they weren't going to find a way to resolve his core conflict with Ichabod? Their little tête-à-tête was like Ichabod said, "Hey, Henry, wouldn't you rather be free instead of enslaved to Dreyfuss as the Horseman of War?" and Henry said, "Okay," and walked off. On second viewing, I realized that it was probably set-up for a Henry-as-the-ultimate-villain arc in the fifth season, but that's meaningless now because we're not going to get one.

But I was pleased that, after all of the foreshadowing, everyone made it. Alex and Jake kissed and are now clearly a couple, Jenny didn't go artifact hunting after all, and Team Witness found and activated those cool mystical weapons hidden in the Vault. If the series had continued, we could have had Ichabod, Lara, Diana, Jenny, Jake and Alex as a solid team ready to fight supernatural evil while reporting directly to the president. It could have worked.

Another thing that made me happy was that final 1789 flashback to Benjamin Banneker designing the Archives as well as the Vault, and his conversation with George Washington about "E pluribus unum" meaning that the Agency wasn't just about fighting supernatural evil, it was about diversity as the best thing about our nation. Sleepy Hollow was initially such an incredibly diverse show, emphasizing the special partnership and affection between a time traveling white Founding Father and a black female twenty-first century cop.


Not that I don't like Lara, because I do; she just isn't Abbie. I particularly liked the symmetry of Lara as a time traveler like Ichabod, but from the other direction: the man of the past and the woman of the future. It also made sense that the Witness mantle passed to Lara, because it never felt right for an eleven-year-old to be in constant danger. (Did the writers always intend to introduce Lara, or did they realize after the fact that hanging the mantle on Molly wouldn't work?)

This episode was even wittier than usual. And the photography, as always, was moody and misty and cool, especially the Horsemen and the Kraken. And the trip to Hell was something special: Ichabod walking through Valley Forge in winter while Lara walked through St. Agatha's Orphanage, the cool-looking door like the one to Purgatory a couple of seasons ago, the misshapen spiral staircase and glowing white escalators. Considering he only had five minutes, a white suit and some cool make-up on half of his face, Terrence Mann did a good job as the Devil, too.


Thankfully, the producers didn't leave us with cliffhangers, with one exception: the fact that Ichabod sold his soul to the Devil to save the world. And yet, that wasn't terribly upsetting, because we know Diana and Team Witness will literally move heaven and earth to save him. (I was even thinking that Ichabod actually going to Hell could finally be the perfect set up for a Supernatural crossover: Castiel could retrieve him.) Having the president swearing in Ichabod as a citizen of the United States was a particularly lovely cherry on top. So was the voter registration form.

So... not bad at all, considering. A good ending helps a lot. But the thing is, when Sleepy Hollow began back in 2013, it was so strange and unique and had so much potential, before the powers that be tromped all over it. While this final season was watchable, it wasn't enough to change course and return Sleepy Hollow to its former glory. Too much of the magic had already gone out of the series. Imagine what could have been.

Bits:

-- Lara decided to go on walkabout and not meet Molly. She joked about the space time continuum, but I was thinking more about what happened when someone met themselves in the 1994 movie Timecop. (If you've never seen the movie, they violently canceled each other out.)

-- There were some really nice mother-daughter moments between Diana and Lara in this episode.

-- In the 1789 flashback, loved the mention of altering the painting of Betsy Ross. Another nice bit of continuity.

-- If I were chanting while standing in a fiery pentagram so that I could visit Hell in order to save the world and someone knocked at the door, I think I'd ignore them.

-- It's a shame the series finale was in D.C. instead of Sleepy Hollow, but the story wouldn't have worked if it hadn't been in D.C. Honestly, it was worth the D.C. setting just to see Headless walking into the presidential bunker.

-- We never did find out why Dreyfuss always had five water bottles lined up on his desk.

Quotes:

Lara: (re: Jobe) "Everything that I know about the supernatural, I learned from him."
Diana: "And I feel bad leaving Molly with a nanny while I try to stop the apocalypse."

Jake: "It says here that the Four Horsemen may be more powerful together than separately."
Alex: "Like the Beatles. Their solo work never had that same magic."

Ichabod: "I have found a way back from Purgatory, the Catacombs and New Jersey. We will return."

Jenny: "If Hell has a gift shop, I'd like a snow globe."
Jake: "I went to Hell, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
Diana: "Funny."

Lara: (in Ichabod's terrible apartment) "You pick this spot for any mystical or magical reasons?"
Ichabod: "Far from it. According to this tome you showed me, it can be any place of our choosing. I chose here because it's the one place I know that the neighbors won't bat an eye at a gaping hellhole."

Cable guy: "Itch-a-Bob Crane? I'm here to install your new modem."
Sort of funny that the cable guy interrupted a trip to Hell. Perhaps a bit of sarcastic commentary about modern life.

Jake: "I've fought magical creatures, demons and monsters, but I've never defaced government property."

Diana: "Your soul? Are you kidding me?"
Ichabod: "I'm sorry, what was that? Situation dire, prognosis grim. No, Agent Thomas. Another day at the office."

Ichabod: "The sirens would lure sailors to their doom."
Diana: "I had a roommate like that in college."


I just have one more thing to say. Thank you, Tom Mison, for being awesome. You're the reason I reviewed the entire series. You're also the reason I watched the entire series.

Three out of four mystical weapons,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.

3 comments:

Patryk said...

For me it was a by the numbers finale, the standout scene wasn't even happening for real (the father son pistol duel). The actaul real confrontation with Henry was funny for the wrong reasons and a textbook example of anti-climax. Hey wanna not fight? sure!. :)

The betrayal by Jobe was never foreshadowed unless they counted on us assuming that a demon must be evil and must betray everyone.

I'm also amused by writers that need to insert cliffhangers in doomed productions. I mean was there any doubt after season 3 ended and Nicole left that season 4 will be the last? At least the cliffhanger was just a minor one.

But het Tom Mison is free now and they are looking for the next Doctor Who. *wink wink* Wouldn't he be spectacular? And it would also be a reurn to a young doctor that could raise the ratings.

Josie Kafka said...

Congratulations on finishing!

Billie Doux said...

If Tom Mison were the next Doctor Who, I'd start watching it again. He'd be incredible. I'd also be thrilled if it were Tom Ellis (Lucifer). But they never give me what I want.