Season 2, Episode 8
Posted by Sage
After a one-week detour into fan wars commentary, we return to our standard Sleepy recap format. That’s not to say that the drama is over and contentedness reigns – “Heartless” was another disappointing episode for the Sleepyheads who are sick of Hawley, Katrina-in-peril, and Katrina in general. But Kim very articulately gave our take on the writer/fan feedback circle last week, so I’ll keep my criticism to the episode itself.
Previously on Sleepy Hollow, Katrina joined Team Witness (sort of?) and halfway accepted modern fashion in a way that makes her look like a high school senior who loves My Chemical Romance but also wrote a fan letter to Nick Carter once and is now applying for a part-time job at Hot Topic. I like her chances. Also, she technically had a demon miscarriage, right? Would you give condolences in that situation? I’m so glad I haven’t run into her at the grocery store – I wouldn’t know what to say. Meanwhile, Jenny is still nowhere to be found; Abbie promised Frank she’d save his soul and then promptly forgot to do anything about it; and Ichabod drank the “there is still good in him” Kool-aid, prompting much hand-throwing amongst the fandom. Caught up? Let’s get to the rankings.
As I mentioned in the intro, Katrina couldn’t bring her demon spider baby to term. Henremy being Henremy and used to failure obviously had a plan B. Plan B involved everyone’s favorite topic from 11th grade World Lit, the succubus.
My World Lit teacher knew that our hormonal teenage minds were comforted by generalization. So, on the first day of class, she told us that if we only remembered one theme of all the texts we would read from all over the globe it should be this: “Women are evil.” It’s really remarkable how many words have been written to explain how men are usually minding their own business when women show up to force them into sex and then steal their money and start a bunch of wars. The legend of the succubus is that the demon takes a female form, preys on weak men, and literally sucks the life out of them. This is a super-dramatic way of complaining about being forced to stay awake and talk for two minutes after getting off.
Henremy conjures a naked succubus (with boob-covering mermaid hair) in Shady Hill Cemetery – but only after securing the correct permits, thank you very much. We found that nugget of good still in him – the one that the Cranes keep talking about. It’s his impeccable citizenship. Anyway, the succubus heads off into the night to take advantage of the lonely hearts of Sleepy Hollow. (Point of contention: towns this small do not have enough sexy young people to pack into a nightclub of this size.) A few bodies turned up charred and crispy, and with the same set of suspicious small wounds. Katrina, Crane, and Abbie work “together” (hold thoughts till the Sass section, please) to identify the creature they’re dealing with. By the time they do, the succubus has already set her sights on Hawley, who’s got a serious case of the Abbies.
Another point of contention: I think the writers missed a huge opportunity to play with gender and desire a bit in this storyline. I don’t think Sleepy has an obligation to be terribly accurate when it comes to its use of folklore. So wouldn’t it have been fun to switch up the succubus’s perceived gender at least once? I’d give more points to the lesbian encounter if the approach hadn’t read so strongly as GIRLS=EMOTION, BOYS=BONERS. What’s the point of being a show with so few rules if you’re going to stick so soundly to the dumb ones? /rant.
Oh, and between conquests, the succubus meets up with Henremy to vomit the life force of her victims into his handy collection jar. See, kids? This is where babies come from.
For continuing a long tradition of stoking a healthy fear of murderous vaginas, this episode gets 5/10 Sandmen for creepiness.
Abbie is the audience this season – she’s reacting to the Cranes’ staying willfully blinded to reality just as we would: by rolling her eyes so far into her head that they might not ever come down. We compare Crane and Abbie to Mulder and Scully a lot, because they’ve got that mutual respect down pat. The main difference between the two pairs is that Crane and Abbie are both believers. When even the audience was screaming at Scully to LOOK UP JUST LOOK UP AND SEE THE SPACESHIP IT’S RIGHT THERE, we don’t have to do that with Abbie. But Abbie is the skeptic when it comes to Henremy’s redemption. There are no spaceships to narrowly miss or alien corpses to explain away with science (hard, hard science). There is no indication that Henremy can be saved and every indication that Katrina is being played. This episode should have just been called “Abbie Has Had It.” Before I watched the episode, Kim texted me to say that “There were scenes that NEEDED TO HAPPEN.” She also texted me “YOU NEVER KNOW WHO IS A SUCCUBUS, SAGE,” but that’s a whole different thing. The point is, “But he’s our son…” isn’t going to help Katrina’s case here.
Elsewhere, Hawley is cool and devil-may-care even after nearly boning a hell-beast. Abbie emasculates Hawley when he gets too cocky on her. (“I’m sure you’ve misread women before.”) Katrina and Crane cozy up to watch a janky Bachelor parody, which Katrina finds romantic and means their relationship is already doomed. (“This is not romance. This is shameless groundling kabuki.”) Do kabuki performances even have groundlings? Crane is mixing his theater references and I love it. He also feels the same way about clubs that I do, so he’s welcome to come to my house for Friday night Netflix and ice cream and bed by 10:30pm.
I give “Heartless” 7/10 Donut Holes for Sass, almost entirely due to Nicole Beharie’s face-acting.
“Love is born out of mutual acceptance. It is commitment and it is sacrifice.”
This line led into the cold-open joke of the Cranes getting hooked on reality dating shows, but I don’t think the sentiment was arbitrary. “Heartless” may not have shown much in outright Ichabbie shippiness, but, being that the entire episode was about secret desires and secret doubts, I think we can infer some meaning.
Abbie Mills has a ragtag, mostly non-biological family that she’s truly fought for. So again, it’s frustrating for her to watch Katrina cling so tightly to something as meaningless as blood. And when she tries to talk some sense into them in this episode, she’s urging them to put loyalty and action over blind faith. Meanwhile Katrina is stressing to Ichabod that what she does doesn’t truly represent who she is. What a convenient way to throw off responsibility. All the oaths that Crane has made to her won’t mean a thing if he doesn’t follow through on them. Family is a choice you make, over and over again. And Abbie is doing her best to remind him of that.
Also assisting in this endeavor: our friend, the succubus. She not only senses acute desire, but also fear and doubt. When Hawley and Crane track her down at Club Twerk (bless), she calls him out on those niggling questions about his wife that he’s been trying to push to the back of his brain. (“The emotion in your heart has soured.”) Maybe that’s why Crane didn’t seem too upset when Abbie broke the news that Katrina had gone back to Henremy and Abraham. At the beginning of the episode, he describes their reunion as “a reality of most exquisite beauty” (which sounds like a sex thing to me), but by the end, sounds much more pragmatic about his lovely wife. (“Katrina is the love of my life, but she is also a highly skilled operative.” Her heart is “deep and mysterious.”) Also, wife in town or not, macking game still strong:
Nothing fans the flames of a non-canon ship like references to “secret desires.” 6/10 fist bumps, if you please.
We knew where this was going, didn’t we? But it didn’t diminish the impact of that final shot.
Henremy was utilizing the succubus to collect the life force necessary to raise Baby Moloch. Abbie and Katrina met with one of Henremy’s tools – a perception filter – when searching for the Incordata’s heart. (Friendly reminder that Abbie Mills stuck her hand into what she perceived as a jar full of squirming maggots like it ain’t no thing.) By the time Katrina returned to Abraham, the deed was already done. She approached the crib, her necklace started to glow, and she looked into Tim Burton nightmare of a crib to see….a cherubic human baby. And the camera cut to her warm yet creepy Rosemary’s Baby smile. How you gonna combat a mother’s love, Team Witness?
TAKE OFF THE NECKLACE, YOU DUMMIE and collect 8/10 Golems.
- “Would you perhaps have some quince tea?” “Ummmm, that hasn’t caught on yet.”
- Abbie throws around Crane’s favorite take-out order just to let Katrina know who’s in charge here.
- Crane’s sass-brow went up in pride when Abbie identified the succubus as their target.
- “A vow made in the heat of the moment that one never intends to keep.” = Crane on one night stands.
- “Might be a good idea to stay in tonight. Read a book.” = “Don’t fuck anything until we know it’s safe.”
- WHY give Abbie that line about single people and ice cream on Valentine’s Day? WHY.
- Round of applause to Hawley for this response: “Mr. hawley. what are your intentions toward Lieutenant Mills?” “I’m pretty damn certain it’s none of your business.” You’re not her dad, Crane. Calm down.
- “Didn’t think you could handle the firepower, Crane.” Friiiiiiends.
- “You’re betting a lot on Abraham’s love for you. And Crane’s.” “Perhaps. But I’ve learned that love can be a dangerous weapon.” Anyone else concerned about this?
FINALLY a Mills sisters-centric story this week! Kim will be back to walk us through “Mama.” In the meantime, let me know in the comments what you thought of “Heartless.”