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Sleepy Hollow - Awakening - Review: "For Whom the Bell Tolls"


2.17 - "Awakening"
Directed by Doug Aarniokoski
Written by M. Raven Metzner
Reviewed by Gavin Hetherington

I'm not going to be doing my usual recap and running commentary for this week, mainly because there is so much I want to discuss that it would only bloat the article. Instead, it's more of a review with little parts of a recap to connect the dots. Remember, if you want to see the show renewed, be sure to read this campaign article and sign this petition!

Season Guide

Click on the episode title to be taken to that review of the episode. Advance previews will be linked in paranthesis after the episode titles. Some episodes did not get an advance preview. Episodes 1-13 were covered by Romain Ossust.

2.01 - "This Is War" (Advance Preview)
2.02 - "The Kindred" (Advance Preview)
2.03 - "Root of All Evil"
2.04 - "Go Where I Send Thee..." (Advance Preview)
2.05 - "The Weeping Lady"
2.06 - "And the Abyss Gazes Back"
2.07 - "Deliverance" (Advance Preview)
2.08 - "Heartless" (Advance Preview)
2.09 - "Mama" (Advance Preview)
2.10 - "Magnum Opus"
2.11 - "The Akeda" (Advance Preview)
2.12 - "Paradise Lost"
2.13 - "Pittura Infamante"
2.14 - "Kali Yuga"
2.15 - "Spellcaster" (Advance Preview)
2.16 - "What Lies Beneath"
2.17 - "Awakening" (Advance Preview)
2.18 - "Tempus Fugit" (Advance Preview)


'Awakening' Review

You guys don't understand how much of a huge relief it is when an episode you have an advanced screening of has aired. Especially this kind of episode where so much happens (well, more towards the end) and I end up having huge, conflicting feelings that I can't tell whether I loved it or not. I really did enjoy this episode and it had some great, great moments, but there's some things that bother me and I need to get through them and talk about it with you lovely viewers so I can work through those feelings before the finale next week.

ACT I - SOMETHING WICCA THIS WAY COMES

The main problem Abbie and Ichabod face in this episode is the looming threat of thousands of coven descendants being awakened by the Liberty Bell. We start the episode with Abbie and Ichabod in a library, a very quiet start to what turns into a hell-ride of an episode. I loved that Abbie compares Ichabod to Marty McFly and we can still get those nice little moments in before shit hits the fan. It really is a shame they couldn't have taken books from the Fenestellar before they blew it up and I'm pretty sure they could have grabbed a couple before they left. It also makes me sad that libraries are becoming obsolete but it's a growing problem and I digress because that's not relevant to this episode haha, but yes it makes me sad.

"We should refrain from spoiling the ends of motion pictures! Thank you Rosebud."

We then get to three separate people who each go through something stressful - one person tells the woman that he spent every cent they had, one gets ran over but the driver is shouting at them because he wasn't looking and one is at a funeral home. The crazy white demon eyes come back that first made its appearance with Katrina in Spellcaster. I don't know about other people but they remind me of Lilith from Supernatural. Alas, Henry's spell didn't really work as only three people were affected, something Abbie and Ichabod get wind of from Reyes. Speaking of, why is she never in this show anymore? She hasn't been in it for a few episodes now and she's only ever spoken of, never seen. Budget cuts? I dunno. Our Jenny comes out of nowhere to tell Abbie and Ichabod about Irving and what he's done, that he got her to get his family out of town before the Evil Irving takes over. I love that they are incorporating elements from past episodes to help out, like the Gorgan's head.

It really does feel like a normal episode when Abbie and Ichabod go to the town square. More connections to the past are brought forward and we see a couple of flashbacks, one including Andy Brooks who I've pretty much missed on the show. Ichabod's amazing deduction skills lead them to the Liberty Bell and a revelation that Ichabod cracked the original. Abbie honestly doesn't know how to take that and I love that. Cue the amazing opening sequence that never gets old. We are treated to a flashback to Ichabod acting like a ninja by creating a diversion so he could destroy the original bell. We first see the decoy dummy technique that ends up saving Abbie's life later on. Ichabod and Abbie find that if the bell rings, thousands could turn into witches which would have been an awesome, Walking Dead-esque moment for the show but it's a shame it didn't live up to that potential.

The trip to the department store was very enjoyable. Especially when Ichabod picks up the Garden Gnome with a bopping head and starts bopping his head along with it. I honestly would watch a whole series of just Abbie and Ichabod shopping. Ichabod's reactions and what he would come out with would be television gold. "Sometimes old school is the best school." Love that line so much.

ACT II - THE THREE CARD TRICK

Last we saw of Katrina, she was visited by Henry in her dream before he gives her a black rose. Now, she's using blood magic to find her son who she thinks is still alive. The door opens and at first I thought it was Ichabod and I was thinking "oh shit she's so caught" but it turns out it's Henry. She echoes what he told her in her dream, about Henry killing Moloch to save her life, and he confirms it, saying "I have so much to tell you." I don't know what but you really can see that Henry loves his mother here. He takes her to his home which honestly looks so much nicer. Katrina hesitates believing her son after everything he has done, though Henry explains he was misguided and it was Moloch's apocalypse that was coming, not his. Now he doesn't want destruction, he wants to bring their coven to fruition with his mother's help and gives her the Grimoire. He speaks of the end of witches being hunted and they'd be able to live in peace with mother and son at the center of it. "We can't do this without you mother". Okay. So when I first watched this part, I was pissed that Katrina would be so easily persuaded. Another watch and I can see that Henry really manipulates her ambition to be a good mother to a son she has lost numerous times.

Night falls and thus the true horror of the episode is going to unfold. Ichabod, Abbie and Jenny knock down a wall to pull the Bell through but a red dot is noticed by Jenny. I discuss the Jenny and Irving parts in Act IV so be sure to read my thoughts on their moments in this episode. Henry and Katrina show up and here begins the descent. I thought, you know what, the whole awakening the coven thing isn't really evil if they just want some companions to cast harmless spells with and brew love potions. I can totally get on board with a Sleepy Hollow full of witches as long as no one is harmed, so what is the harm? But that line, when Katrina says "we are the innocents that have been wronged" just left a sour taste in my mouth. That does not sound like Katrina at all. Yes, witches have been as victimised as any other minority group in existance but Katrina never believed in hurting innocents. Katrina wants witches to reintegrate into society after Washington promised they would be. Ichabod pleads with the reason within Katrina and says she is just doing this as guilt for failing as a mother - words you should never really say to a mother to be fair haha - but Henry tightens his grip on Katrina.

"I am sorry it took me so long to see the truth: the idea that a mortal man and I could truly make a life together."

Those who wanted to see Katrina and Ichabod split up got their wish with that line. That was Katrina basically divorcing her husband in that very moment. After nearly two whole seasons of Katrina and Ichabod being so infatuated with each other, with Ichabod risking his life time and time again to save her and she spent two-hundred years in Purgatory for him, that's how they end it. I'd have been fine with this if there was some build-up to it. Instead, it came completely out of the blue and it become a total 180 on Katrina's character. Know what that is? Shoddy writing. We all knew the writers would eventually do this but it's happened out of nowhere and I just can't process it. I'd have totally been for it had this moment been built up to. I understand Katrina not feeling like she belongs in that time but seriously, that's it for Ichabod and Katrina? In basically 10 minutes she went from lovesick wife to I-couldn't-care-less-if-I-killed-you-right-now ex-wife. No. I don't buy it. It stinks of desperation of the writers wanting to satisfy the masses. I honestly would have been fine with this but due to poor writing, I cannot get on board right now. I always love when she uses her powers and Henry bricking Ichabod and Abbie inside the wall was pretty cool.

Abbie is sweet though, trying to rationalise Katrina's thinking, wondering if Henry cast a spell on her. It would have made sense if he did but he didn't, instead this new Evil Katrina came so abruptly it would have anyone think she's under the influence. One good thing that has come from that confrontation was that Ichabod will not hesitate to dispatch his own son should the time come - this was something he should have done long before now but fortunately, we have Abbie and Ichabod completely on the same page. "I'm glad I'm not in this alone." We officially have returned to that unbreakable bond Abbie and Ichabod shared in the first season. I have missed it and this has definitely been building for a few episodes now so at least it didn't come out of the blue.

ACT III - THE SPIRAL EVER DOWNWARD

At least we get some more insight to what the hell is going through Katrina's mind - it's not about power or being evil or whatever, it's about her son. Regrets. I'm not a mother, obviously, so I can't fully understand her logic. Would she really choose somebody like Henry, her "son" who she hasn't known or loved nearly as long as her husband? Could someone enlighten me if this choice is logical? Ichabod shows up and shouts for Henry from outside. All he needed was a boombox playing a love song for this scene to be totally great though. Henry says he will take care of Ichabod and they touch hands before he leaves, something else that totally pisses me off. We know Henry wouldn't be successful in killing Ichabod or anything but Katrina lets him, even sort of encouraging him by touching his hand. That really pisses me off, Katrina would have never done that.

The Ichabod and Henry stand-off begins, with Abbie as back-up. Very nice. We start with the one problem Ichabod has never overcome - violence to his only son. But Ichabod shoots and he shoots to kill. Ichabod shows he wasn't bullshitting when he said he was standing with Abbie before. But of course Henry stops the bullet. We see Abbie get back in the car when Ichabod and Henry talk through their issues. "I did not abandon you Henry... I did not know you existed!" No truer words so why is Henry so intent on his hate for Ichabod. The world would have been a happier place if Henry just accepted that fact but he's too proud. "You cling to the past like an angry, unruly child." Yes. This! The car Abbie was in speeds towards Henry and we see Katrina arrive by stopping the car - then blowing it up. I mean, this was a totally bad-ass scene had what come before it not fuck up her character development. I just can't imagine Katrian would have no quarrel with killing Abbie just like that. She can't! She would save her son, yes, but if she thought Abbie was in that car and blew it up anyway, that's pretty unforgiveable. What my hopeful little mind is thinking is that Katrina knew she wasn't inside it but stopped the car anyway because it was about to run over her son? Maybe. Like a lioness protecting her cub. Surely she would have seen nobody was driving the car. She just looks so unfeeling. She speaks with Ichabod that her course is noble and Ichabod asks the question we're all asking - "how can you disregard all that you were?" Henry realises the car was a decoy and our sneaky, smart little Abbie has planted the bomb on the bell inside the bell tower. We knew she wouldn't die in that car explosion but it was still a bit of a shock to the system. Henry stops her but doesn't see the bomb.

Both Ichabod and Abbie are tied to a stake (poetic justice to the witches) while Katrina and Henry are ready for the incantation. The line Katrina says "why stop with Sleepy Hollow when we can have so much more?" made me initially think on first viewing that the power had went to her had and she wanted world domination, but now I understand it's to awaken all witches regardless of whether they live in Sleepy Hollow or not. I just hate how Katrina just doesn't give two shits about Abbie and her husband now. Just no. But fortunately Katrina and Henry didn't think to check them for weapons. Abbie said they were weaponless one minute, yet she has something to break free with in her pocket. Katrina and Henry are the worst hostage-takers ever. While they try to escape, the bell begins to ring and we see people in the town start to turn into witches, including that lovely librarian at the beginning.

The one good thing to come from the car blowing up is that it revealed Henry is mortal. "Duty above all else", Ichabod says. Katrina chose her son yet Ichabod chooses his role as a Witness. After all Henry has done, it's clear why. Ichabod shoots at the bell but Henry stops it. Abbie takes her shot at Henry and BULLSEYE! 100 points to Gryffindor. I can't tell you how relieved I am that Henry is dying. I love John Noble and I thought maybe if he was given a redemption arc I'd want his character to stick around but all he's done is drove a wedge between the main characters and it's clear he does need to go for the show to move past this whole ordeal of Season 2. That's not to say this scene isn't touching, because it is. "This coven means nothing without you," Katrina tells him. It's sweet that he wants the name Katrina originally chose for him - Jeremy. Ichabod kneels beside him and Henry seems to be happy to be surrounded by his family. They share a moment and Henry's last word becomes "father". He vanishes as he dies.

ACT IV - A GAME OF CAT AND MOUSE

Jenny delivers in this episode. She's spontaneous and jumps on the offence even when Abbie pulls her back. When Irving attacks them, Jenny doesn't just let him. I love the little shootout between the two characters we ultimately root for. It's pretty intense as we don't really want either to bite the bullet (a-thank-you). They take a break and Irving wants to know where his family is - "and next time I shoot to kill." Surely that's a hollow threat since if he kills her, then he'll never find out where his family is. But it was a very scary line and a scary thought to think Irving could kill Jenny. It would definitely be a horrifying moment. But Jenny is stronger than that, she stands up and shoots Irving a few times. I honestly thought they would have been fatal shots, but because he's not quite human, he's totally immune. I did sigh with relief. Also, Irving looks amazing in his ninja outfit.

It gets a bit scary when they're in the tunnels under the Archives. I feel this is a bit of a missed opportunity though as they could have made this scene so scary. Remember Gale's chase in Scream 2? Could have made it like that. Jenny makes it to safety and gets the Gorgan's head ready, looking through the glass to Irving. It's a great moment as they talk and Jenny has that head in her hands. You can tell she doesn't want to use it against him but she's delaying it. Irving reveals witchcraft is in his wife's and daughter's blood which was a nice little revelation, I did not know that.

Once Henry is dead, Irving falls to the ground and a black smoke escapes his mouth. I am so bloody relieved Irving will finally be back to himself. For too long he's been missing from this show as his true self that I really have missed him. Jenny hesitates believing him, as she should, but she finally puts the Gorgan's head away and goes to him. She isn't one-hundred percent sure it's really him but she goes out anyway, risking it because she truly cares for him. The happiness on both of their faces is a relief and it makes me relieved too. They could have done more with Jenny and Irving in this episode but if they had of, we would have been distracted from the main issue at hand.

ACT V - WELCOME TO SLEEPY HOLLOW

Now for the final act. Henry is dead and Katrina is pissed. She actually scares me when she stands up and attacks Abbie and Ichabod. Katrina blames Ichabod for her sorrow, and because of him she was not there to raise her son. She says some truly awful stuff to him, saying she should have let him die. Honestly, this is scary stuff and Katrina looks furious and deadly. She tells him she won't let it happen again and uses the Grimoire to summon that Time Door we heard of a few episodes ago. The scene is pretty gripping and intense and I don't know where to look. Abbie stands up and runs to Katrina. She grabs hold just as Katrina disappears with the time door. Both women in Ichabod's life leave him in the present while we take a little trip into the past. It's interesting that Ichabod shouted out for Abbie - we see here that Ichabod is definitely more concerned about her than Katrina. After what Katrina has done and said in this episode, it pains me to say it, but I do not blame him.

We're now outside with Abbie. She isn't with Katrina and her mobile phone just doesn't have the service she needs. Damn. She leaves the trees to a main road and here we get those parallels to that Pilot episode when Ichabod arrived in our time. It's actually really beautiful and such a rush to see this happen but with Abbie this time. The first sign we are in the past is a horse and carriage that almost runs Abbie over, much like the car in the Pilot with Ichabod. That sweet, sweet music starts and Abbie begins to walk away and we pan to an old sign of Sleepy Hollow. Definitely in the past. Just to clarify, I LOVE THIS SHOT. Katrina finds herself in a hospital tent and, unlike Abbie, is in different clothes. I'm guessing she has inhabited her past self whereas Abbie doesn't belong in that time so she's herself.

Speaking of Abbie, as we approach the end, we see just how bad this situation is for her. She has now seen it's 1781 on a declaration and she sees everybody is looking at her. She's stopped by two guards asking for papers. "I must have left them in my sock drawer, you know how that is." Even in the face of this kind of situation, Abbie still manages to get in a damn good joke. The men act awful towards her and we understand why, even Abbie does. They're being historically accurate so the attitudes toward Abbie are bound to be disgusting. I feel unclean watching this. "This is wrong on so many levels." They take her to a cell and Abbie says she can change the course of the war. That's one of the good things about going into the past, something I've always wanted to do, to use my knowledge from the future to change things. That would be awesome. I love this sort of plot point in this show. Abbie will only talk to Ichabod Crane and that's where we end our episode.


Episode Verdict

First the good. I loved that Abbie and Ichabod are 100% on the same page and they work together in the best way they've had in a while. I am also totally glad that Irving is back to his old self and he and Jenny had some great scenes in this episode. I loved the ending by going back in time and having Abbie separated from present day Ichabod and promises some adventures with the past Ichabod. That is surely going to be an amazing treat. Henry dying means we are moving past the Crane family drama and once the finale is resolved, I'm sure some of the nightmare that was Season 2 will be over and we can start fresh. And can I just say the ending with Abbie and the parallels to the pilot were amazing.

I did enjoy the episode but the whole crappy direction they've taken Katrina dampened my enjoyment. I was totally on board for an Evil Katrina arc but the way they've written it, especially in this episode, made some of it unwatchable. I would have believed her when she said her mission to bring about the covens was moral and she wasn't going to hurt anyone anyway, she just wanted to do this with her son to bring back the witches. But the things she says and does makes that totally contradictory and in doing so, it undermines everything she has stood for in the past, everything that her character is about. I loved when she turned angry after Henry's death and went back in time but her resentment of Ichabod before that was unjust. She never would have said those things.

It became clear in this episode that the writers chose to listen to the masses by ruining Katrina's character. Everyone knows, since my controversial preview of Spellcaster, that I'm a fan of Katrina. This episode made me question that and I hate that. I hate feeling this mixed about someone who I really did like and enjoy watching. At the same time though, I like that she went ballistic after Henry's death and brought her and Abbie back in time. It's going to make one hell of a finale that I worry about.

I feel a bit mixed but I know I liked this episode. I just wish things were handled better and the whole Evil Katrina was more built up to instead of her doing a complete 180 in this episode. I do apologise if I talked too much about Katrina but seriously, it's messing with my head now. I do comment on a lot of stuff in my full review above if you read that to get more of my thoughts on the entire episode. Other than that, Abbie really shone in this episode and the separation from present day Ichabod is probably what she needs to move forward in this finale. The thing I look forward to most in this finale will be to see how Abbie and Past Ichabod interact. Man I can't wait. 

What did you think of 'Awakening'? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments and be sure to watch the season two finale on February 23 at 9pm of FOX.

About the Author - Gavin Hetherington
Award-winning author of 'Abyssal Sanctuary: Remnants of the Damned'. Gavin joined SpoilerTV on August 9, 2014 and will be reviewing 2 Broke Girls, Mistresses, Orange is the New Black, Pretty Little Liars, Salem and Sleepy Hollow in the 2014-15 season. Gavin's favourite shows include Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Desperate Housewives, The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Scandal and much more. You can contact him at gavin@spoilertv.com.
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