Sleepy Hollow 1.05 "John Doe"A tv review article by: Jeffrey Roth
The Rundown: This episode finally gets back to the Horsemen and the impending apocalypse, giving us a glimpse at Conquest (Pestilence?). It has good pacing, though the story they choose to tell seems like another contrived way for Ichabod to be relevant in a show that, so far, has had to force plot points into its episodes to justify his very presence. Still, getting back into the meat of the story is a welcome change of pace, and ramping up to more horsemen is just what the show needed.
Finally! In a show about a headless horseman, there has not been a lot of horseman-ing, and this episode is a welcome return to what intrigued me about the show in the first place. In this episode a young boy is found nearly collapsed, speaking a language no one can understand. Ichabod identifies this language as Middle-English, the English spoken during the Middle Ages. The unidentified boy has a mysterious disease which is quickly spreading through the small town of Sleepy Hollow, and it's up to the spunky Abbie Mills and the brilliant Ichabod Crane to stop it before everyone is consumed.
While Jenny Mills is unfortunately absent from this episode, getting a storyline focused around the Horsemen of the Apocalypse again is well worth the missed excitement from her presence. Added to this is a character lightly introduced in previous episodes, now taking a more forward role. This character is Abbie Mills' buff ex-boyfriend who wants to know more about the creepy guy hanging around his girl. His machismo is definitely meant to contrast Ichabod's intellect in the classic 'brains vs. brawn' struggle, but there's not a lot of interaction between the two to really highlight this.
Macho boyfriend's obvious suspicion of Ichabod looks like it could lead to some interesting questions about how Ichabod can do anything in the modern world, considering he lacks a lot of the necessary documentation to have a real identity. This could lead to some awesome confrontations when he finds out that Ichabod does not, in fact, legally exist. This episode doesn't really get into it, but I am intrigued to see the bigger part his character will play in future episodes.
Getting back to the horsemen is definitely a welcome change, and while they don't confront Pestilence directly in battle, the trappings of the episode bring back that 'bigger picture' feel that the first two episodes started with. Pestilence is definitely a constant threat, and the plague carries with it dangers that seem at once biological as well as supernatural. Katrina makes another appearance, and we get a little deeper insight into the nature of her imprisonment.
While this episode continues the trend of making each threat of historical significance, it doesn't feel quite as forced, except for the fact that they make the strange boy speak a version of English that's been dead for centuries, and Ichabod just happens to know it. The device goes on a bit too long in my opinion, but it doesn't really force itself as badly upon the episode as the Hessians felt in the previous one. The boy is only important because of the disease he carries, so conversing with him isn't really that important to the story.
Overall, this episode is a step in the right direction for the show. With the introduction of the second horseman and a return to the war at hand and the apocalypse, the feel of this episode is definitely a step up from what I was beginning to expect from this show. I am eager to see where they go from here, hopefully on to the bigger conflict at hand: the Apocalypse itself.
Jeffrey Roth, is an award winning animator, all around badass, and is now writing for your amusement. When not wrestling with the mysteries of the universe, he is watching anything and everything and having opinions on it. ALL THE OPINIONS.