TV Corner: Sleepy Hollow

[Content note: Racism, Cultural appropriations, depictions of suicide, domestic violence, gun violence, ableism]

SO! Apparently the writers of this show have decided to up the ante. It’s not enough just to be terribad, they need to be terri-racist. THAT SEEMS LIKE A GOOD IDEA! If we also up the violence, this should make for a suuuuper neat combination!

The show opens with Abbie watching Ichabod working for the police force. She is seeing herself and her sister being interrogated for lying about the Demon Covered in White Paint (DCIWP) they saw in the woods. And eyeless people. Whoooops it’s a nightmare! Ichabod working for the police was definitely scary!

In the waking world, Abbie responds to a call regarding a suicidal woman who demands to talk to Abbie. She is a psychologist who has been treating Abbie’s sister Jennie. Turns out Jennie isn’t really crazy! There ARE REALLY DCIWPs OUT THERE! And the doctor is in the grip of them… JUST LIKE IN ABBIE’S NIGHTMARE! She’s eyeless! She kills herself, which is all kinds of fucked up. After she dies, she still has white film covering her eyes. The film pops! The socket is empty! It is gross!

Captain “Grumpy” Orlando Jones is notably grumpy. “Last thing we need around here is an episode from the Twilight Zone.” Hahaha SO TRUE! Because most of those were pretty well-written! We don’t need any of that, thankyouverymuch!

Ichabod and Abbie have a conversation. It goes something like this:

Ichabod: LEFTENANT! The Book of Revelation! George Washington’s Magic Bible!

Abbie: “Unless you have an encyclopedia of faceless nightmare monsters, let’s use a little old-fashioned detective work.”

Ichabod: QED! Prophetic dreams! Witness to the Apocalypse! TV is puzzling! WHAT TIME DOESN’T CHANGE, DEATH WILL!

(I swear his lines were written by randomly mashing up old epsiodes from X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)

Next, Ichabod and Abbie go to visit Abbie’s sister, Jennie, in the mental institution. (The number 49 is significant! Flashback to Sherriff Kindly! We will never explain this!) Their conversation goes something like this:

ICHABOD: Apocalypse! Horsemen! Your doctor is dead! Help us! I certainly have a way with mentally ill people!

Jennie: Here is some useful information. Also, you are very weird, Tall Dark and British!

ICHABOD: Consequences! Your sister! I am definitely Tall Dark and British! In fact, it’s my entire character concept!

Afterwards, Abbie confesses to lying about what she saw in the woods in order to stay in her nice foster home. They decide to visit Farmer Eccentric who resuced Abbie and Jennie from the woods and saw the DCIWP too.

Flash to Farmer Eccentric, who spends a lot of time making birdhouses and shooting at DCIWPs. The police show up at Farmer E’s house, where he is holding his wife hostage at gunpoint. Abbie enters the house with her gun. The mirror is broken, so SPOOKY! Farmer Eccentric is now Farmer White-Eyed Spook Seer! He tells Abbie THE SANDMAN is coming for her next! Then he shoots himself. Which is all kind of fucked up.

Ichabod does not understand the Sandman! Or receptionists! Or energy drinks! So back to the police "archives" (aka, a dusty, musty old room with shit piled up every which way) it is. (By the way, they really need a federal grant to maybe climate-control that room and hire an archivist. CURSE YOU JOHN BOEHNER!)

Abbie finds that the DCIWP / Sandman is referenced in a Mohawk legend. Ichabod proudly explains that he fought alongside his Mohawk allies for George Washington. WHOOOOOOOOOPS your sides of the American Revolution, Ichabod!

Ichabod says they should visit a Mohawk shaman, and Abbie says there aren’t very many Native Americans any more. OH MY FUCKING GOD. WHO IS WRITING THIS? You are describing Stephen Harper’s wet dream. You are not describing reality. WHOOOOOOOOPS your racism.

Further, Abbie explains that it’s almost impossible to find a Mohawk these days! UNLESS YOU, OH, SAY, VISIT ONE OF THE MOHAWK NATION’S EIGHT COMMUNITIES. The next best thing, of course, is the local used car salesman.

Car Guy is Native, I guess, because of the Navajo(?) silver he’s wearing? He is offended when Ichabod asks him to do a ritual. GEE I CANNOT IMAGINE WHY.

Ichabod: Let me misquote Edmund Burke! That should convince you!

(It totally convinces him.)

Car guy agrees to help, but tells Ichabod to can it with the Indian stereotypes, which makes me YAY for a millisecond until he continues, “No one’s a chief, no one lives in tipis, no one has pow-wows.” OH MY FUCKING GOD. It is possible to be more racist, but you are going to have to work. Please stop doing your research in old Lone Ranger episodes. By the way, here is a thing you should Google.

Ok, so Car Guy has Abbie and Ichabod drink tea to enter the Dreamworld. The ritual also requires that they be stung by scorpions, because that is OBVIOUSLY part of traditional beliefs in fucking New York.

The Dreamworld goes something like this:

Ichabod: “LEFTENANT!”

Paint-Demon-Sandman: Growl! I can turn into water!

Abbie: Memories and gunfire! Creepy Sandman!

Ichabod: Let me finally try something useful (Tries something useful, gets his arm turned into sand for it.)

Abbie: I lied! I’ll do better!

THE SANDMAN TURNS TO GLASS BECAUSE OF HER TRANSPARENCY. Or something. Abbie shatters him(it?) with a chair.

She and Ichabod wake up. Ichabod: “No more scorpions!” (I’ve got an idea! How about no more racist appropriations!)

They are back at the archive. Captain Grumpy enters the archive. He is notably grumpy. Tells them to go home.


Abbie goes to visit Jennie. Jennie’s room is empty! Whoooooops! The End.

Also, John Cho was not in this.

If you can’t tell, the show really jumped the shark for me this week. The level of racism was utterly appalling; I cannot even fathom writing that garbage rendering millions of people invisible (dead, even!) while the continent is in the midst of Idle No More, one of the most sweeping civil rights movements in a generation. On top of that, the violence was really ramped up this week, with some truly needless shit in there. I didn’t like having the doctor kill herself in front of Abbie, and I really, really didn’t like seeing Farmer Eccentric holding is wife hostage.

I’m not even sure I want to watch again. If I do, it will mainly be for Abbie, who is emerging as the centre of the show, and I really do like the way her story is developing. The production values are still slick, and there is some great acting. But yeah, the racist shit. DON’T DO THAT, ‘K?

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