Review: Sleepy Hollow 2.11 - The Akeda

The Sleepy Hollow midseason finale was certainly an emotional roller coaster; the kind of roller coaster that goes up, down, loops around, goes up- and then stops abruptly. And you’re stuck at the top, wondering why this is happening to you, and the maintenance guy is like, “I’m doing great, aren’t I?” That metaphor got away from me, but hopefully you get the idea. This episode certainly had its twists and turns. There was plenty of action, drama, and that pinch of humor we’ve all come to expect from this delightful show. That said, this episode had quite a few problems. It was hasty, it was incomplete, and more than anything, it was just plain unsatisfying.

This episode was lacking. I get it, they were trying for a great cliffhanger; the thing is, they missed the mark. Nothing is wrapped up, but even more unravelled than ever before. What should have been great moments in this episode felt anticlimactic. This is what happens, kids, when you try to do too much in too short a time. A two-part episode might have allowed the writers to fit in everything, without making it all rushed and cheap. Frank’s death? Cheap. We knew it was coming, but that shouldn’t have diminished the impact. And yet, when he died, I was in disbelief, not because they killed off a wonderful character still full of potential, but because it ended in such a rushed, uneventful, and unemotional way. Not all deaths need to be a spectacle to be dramatic, but dramatic is clearly what the writers were going for, and it didn’t quite get there.

I don’t protest Irving’s death because I was attached to the character; I protest because there was so much to be done with him, and he ended up woefully under-utilized this season. He literally signed his soul off to a Horseman of the Apocalypse, and the writers left him in a psychiatric unit until the very last minute? He better not be gone for good, because there was just so much that could have been done with Frank Irving, and instead he was pushed out of the picture.

This episode had many great moments, but overall was extremely unsatisfying. I don’t need a fall finale to give me all the answers and wrap everything up in a perfect bow, but I do need a little more than the half-story that this episode presented. There was a lot of build in this episode, but it had nowhere to go. Abbie was hurt, it was dramatic, but then she was fine. Ichabod chose this episode to bring up his marital issues with Katrina, they fought for an absurd minute, then it was over. Abraham is their captive, and… that’s it. Abraham nearly died about three times this episode… but didn’t. Surfer Dude was recruited in a dramatic fashion, but then was left to babysit Abraham, and neither are heard from again. There was just too much to be done, and not enough time to do it, leaving too many storylines paused mid-step.

As far as episodes go, this one was pretty good. But as far as midseason finales go, this one needed improvement. So many minor plot points needed to be fleshed out. So many moments that could have been impactful lost meaning because of how rushed and incomplete they were. Some parts needed more build up to have a more meaningful conclusion; others had too much build and were left unresolved. This episode needed a bit more balance.

I’m knocking this pretty hard, I know. It was a good episode, with some solid action sequences and rather cool concepts (Hailing blood? Hell yeah.). And I know- rather I hope- we’ll pick up where we left off, whenever Sleepy Hollow comes back. But overall, I felt this episode didn’t quite deliver. I’m certainly looking forward to what’s next, and I’ll be crossing my fingers in the hopes that Irving isn’t gone for good. But I won’t be obsessing over the ending in the way the writers probably intended.

Here’s what I hope for with the rest of season two: Irving, not gone. John Cho’s character comes back. Henry, not necessarily gone, but can we please stop the debate as to whether he can be saved? At this point, who cares? (Though I guess, with the sword thing, he’s probably gone? Again, though: who cares?) Surfer Dude can stay. Abraham, gone. He’s overstayed his welcome, and his only purpose really is to cause a rift between Katrina and Ichabod, which isn’t even all that interesting, as far as rifts go. Some basic marriage counseling will do the trick. Or some polyamory.

Score: 3/5

Sleepy Hollow returns January 5, 2015 on Fox.