Sleepy Hollow S1 Ep10: The Golem

Sleep Hollow has been, in the early episodes of the first season, good at building characters we care about. In the two episode arc that ends with “The Golem,” they’ve introduced us to Captain Irving’s daughter and ex-wife, interesting characters whose screen time has been a welcome break from the ridiculous mess that’s been created in building Ichabod’s backstory. That secondary storyline aside, Sleepy Hollow has been failing lately.

Sleepy Hollow, S1E10That sounds harsh, but the “son of Ichabod” arc did little to move the story forward, introduced characters with no depth, and still leaves Katrina painfully undeveloped (Irving’s daughter Maisie is more developed after maybe five minutes of screen time, total, so it’s not like they don’t know how). Not only that, but the two episodes, especially “The Golem,” are Abbie-lite episodes. Abbie and Ichabod — whether you want them to be in love and have a million babies or prefer a purely professional partnership — can carry the show, even when it’s over-the-top silly. Ichabod and Katrina can’t. It’s been established now.

The episode begins with Katrina explaining that she found out she was pregnant after burying Ichabod in the cave, and how she had to escape her own coven to give birth at the Fredricks’ estate. She gave up the baby, named Jeremy (which sounds like a 1980s kid, but whatever, I’m sure the name existed in the 18th Century), to Grace, who, if you’ll recall, is Abbie’s ancestor. This could have been an interesting, if predictable, twist, but it turns out that Jeremy could start fires with his tears due to being a son of a witch, and he killed Grace in a fire as a toddler. He was put into an orphanage where he was treated badly, and where he created his own Golem out of a creepy rag doll and his own blood. Though the Golem, a creature made of inanimate materials that comes to life to do a person’s bidding, comes from Jewish folklore, Judaism is never mentioned (unless I nodded off). Also, the Golem, who starts to stalk Sleepy Hollow as soon as Ichabod learns about Jeremy, looks pretty much exactly like the Pale Orc Azog in The Hobbit movies.

The Golem is going after members of Katrina’s coven, because apparently it was the coven that trapped Katrina in Purgatory, not The Headless Horseman/Brom. See, this is why Katrina’s story is frustrating. It changes from week to week as if she’s written from scratch for each episode. I like to think Katrina’s glaring inconsistencies are parts of a puzzle that we’re supposed to be solving as we watch (and, in fact, the Sin Eater, who returned to help Ichabod in this episode, says something about solving puzzles that makes me think this might be true), but damned if I can make sense of it. Anyway, Ichabod visits four witches from the coven who, no lie, work the carnival circuit now (and are conveniently working the next town over). He learns more about Jeremy, and the Golem, and how the coven killed Jeremy when he was still a young man because Katrina wouldn’t give them Ichabod. The Golem shows up at the carnival, and Ichabod defeats him, essentially laying Jeremy to rest. So, for all that setup, the whole “son of Ichabod” arc is tied up, and we probably won’t hear much from Ichabod about his son, or about Grace, for a while. What have we learned? Ichabod and Abbie have been connected since before they met. Katrina can maybe be saved from Purgatory, but maybe not, but probably she can be, if anyone cares. Moving on.

The good news is, it looks like the show really is moving on from Katrina-centric, Abbie-lite episodes. In the final scene of “The Golem,” Ichabod is drawn into the mirror world, where Moloch tells him that he will deliver to him Abbie’s soul himself. Horrified, he returns to the police station, and, for the first time in several episodes, it’s all about Abbie.