The best (ok first but it’s still pretty darn good) new show of the season returned this week with its second episode, Blood Moon, and, thankfully, it managed to retain the fun, chills, interesting mythology and great chemistry that made its pilot so entertaining. Looks like this one’s a keeper, Sleepy Heads (fandom is crazy fast, right?).
Even better than maintaining the quality of the pilot this episode also resolved the one big upset so far, the death of John Cho’s Andy, reviving him in gleefully gory fashion and leaving the erstwhile Sulu jelly-necked and cranky. They even brought back the fantastic Clancy Brown for flashbacks and hauntings (was that man not just born to play a ghost?!).
The episode kicked off with Ichabod experiencing a dream/vision of the four horsemen (looking very cool), reunited and gunning for him, fortunately (this being the only time ever that being swallowed up by creepy tree roots is fortunate) he finds himself deposited in an underground tunnel (CLUE Ichabod, CLUE!) and face-to-face with the exception-to-the-rule of characters being pretty great on this show, his dead witch wife Katrina who lets Ichabod know that a horde of evil is on its way, obliquely stating that the first shall be “one of us”. Argh. In an unfortunate turn of events (for me) the ok/nicely atmospheric/very boring sounding title sequence features Katrina but not John Cho. Whaaa? Fingers crossed with a bit more back-story she’ll turn out better. We can only hope.
In a cute contrast, Ichabod wakes to his motel room which has been plastered with super adorable and actually helpful sticky notes from Abbie including such gems as “television, it’s like theatre”. I’m probably reading too much into it at this point but it almost feels as though he’s waking from a dysfunctional and confusing relationship to the beginnings of a more sweet and supportive one. This also seems to be backed up by his refusal to discuss Katrina with Abbie any more than saying that she ‘disliked [him] intensely’ to begin with. Then again maybe when we hear more, which we surely will, this might change (but I’ll probably always be irritated at least by Katrina’s goth gown attire). Again there’s a nice link here when Ichabod runs into Abbie’s ex, Officer Luke, and after witnessing he and Abbie exchange looks, asks her, in a hilarious sort of camp wedding planner voice, ‘are you betroooothed?’. Super cute.
It turns out, thanks to a handy/magical gust of wind blowing dirt off a gravestone (could you not just have told him, Katrina?!), that the evil-of-the-week is in fact a witch (which we all knew cause even though “one of us” was irritatingly phrased and unnecessarily cryptic it was actually pretty easy for viewers to decipher). Said witch is Serilda of Abaddon who, with the help of re-uniformed John Cho, is off to fetch the ashes of her persecutor’s descendents in order to regain her fleshy form and become ridiculously pretty once more. Descendent #1 is some middle aged driver who rudely asks John Cho what’s up with his neck. Intriguingly Officer Andy (yep I did just remember John Cho’s character name) apologises to soon-to-be-ashes guy before leaving Serilda to do her thing, which is nice and reaffirms that there is some sympathy to be found in this character who seems to have made a deal with the devil (he really ought to have watched Supernatural before doing that).
Thankfully upon witnessing the murder scene Ichabod remembers the modus operandi from back in the day as Serilda’s and tells Abbie that, after wiping out a whole troop with her witchcraft, she was burnt at the stake. Ichabod shows Abbie an underground tunnel (!) which belongs to a network they dug ‘back in the day’ and this leads to a room full of everything they could ever possibly need for case-solving! Hurrah! Amazingly, within seconds they find out who was present at the burning of Serilda and, with a quick spot of modern policing from Abbie, track down the details of modern descendent #2, who happens to be an adorable/creepy-haired (delete one) child who obviously isn’t going to die. What follows is a pretty delightful horror sequence with Serilda, and a cat, appearing in the little boy’s home but, shock horror, leaving not with the ashes of a dead kid but instead having pilfered his father’s ashes from an urn. Nice twist, show.
The denouement, which sees Abbie and Ichabod track down Serilda in the underground tunnels (ta-da!) felt just a tiny bit underwhelming; there didn’t seem any big threat to either of the two and Serilda was taken out with a swift gunpowder explosion. Still, her transformation was pretty cool-looking and very nicely shot and we did get a fun ‘bit’ with Ichabod not understanding that there’s more than one bullet in a gun.
I was happy to give up a more satisfying fight for the next scene of Abbie in the police station walking into the sheriff’s office to be greeted by the ghost of Clancy Brown. An earlier, really affecting scene in the episode fleshed out the relationship between these two, as a younger Abbie, having been involved with drugs after her Blurry Man experience was taken to a café by the Sheriff and encouraged to change her life. It was great to see that this relationship is still going to be built on after one half’s death. And especially great as Clancy offered up a juicy clue: “don't be afraid of number 49. That's where you'll find you're not alone”. Cue a cut to that very number itself adorning the room of none other than long-lost, supposedly crazy sister Jenny who looks ready for battle, and a quick jump scare from Blurry Man before the credits roll. Looks like this series is not planning on slowing the pace and I’m certainly excited for next week’s episode. Obviously not just for shirtless Ichabod.
Coincidence? Captain Irving’s trip to Albany seemed a tad suspicious considering Ichabod had only just told us that that’s where his troop were stationed. Hmmm. As someone who lives a few thousand miles from NY I assumed that maybe Albany was really nearby but a quick google maps check tells me that it’s over 2 hours drive. Hmmmmm.
Soundtrack: You know that this show is having as much fun as you are from the tongue-in-cheek song choices, this week being Frank Sinatra’s ‘Witchcraft’
Best lines: Ichabod – “a ten percent levy on baked goods?!”
Abbie - “I will literally pay you to stop talking”, Ichabod - “I would happily accept as I am in need of currency”
Abbie - “jolly good”, Ichabod - “that was not an accurate impersonation”
Worst line: Ichabod - “her remains remain a mystery” (oh Ichabod, that was not cute)
Addendum, in which I shall make a weird, pretty grasping Harry Potter comparison: John Cho = Wormtail. Obviously. Headless/Blurry Man = Voldemort. Ichabod/Abbie (and maybe Jenny) = Harry. Ichabod and Headless are intrinsically joined; when one awoke the other did too. Ichabod, literally, has a piece of Headless AKA a horcrux. Blurry Man has seemingly had a beef with Abbie and Jenny since they encountered him when they were little but he/it didn’t do anything to them then and appears powerless against them. What does it all mean?!?! Nothing really but, y’know, Harry Potter…