Sleepy Hollow, Ep. 2.05, “The Weeping Lady”: Cry me (into) a river

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Sleepy Hollow, Season 2, Episode 5, “The Weeping Lady”
Written by M. Raven Metzner
Directed by Larry Teng
Airs Mondays at 9pm (ET) on Fox

One of the most interesting choices the Sleepy Hollow creative team made early in the show’s life was making Ichabod Crane a faithfully married man. While lesser shows would keep him single for the purposes of unresolved sexual tension, Ichabod is entirely devoted to his wife Katrina and wouldn’t even consider looking at another woman. It was a decision that paid dividends early on, both in convincing the audience how principled of a man he was and allowing the partnership between him and Abbie to take on deeper meaning. (True, the Ichabbie hordes continue to grow, but their partnership remains interesting enough to transcend basic shipping.)

That doesn’t mean that the writers have presented the marriage of the Cranes as entirely harmonious, and “The Weeping Lady” is proof that this marriage has more deception in it than is healthy for anyone. Recovering Katrina from Purgatory was a huge step for Ichabod, and the events of this episode reveal that having her close by may be hard for many reasons beyond interloping Horsemen.

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Once again, the episode has a monster-of-the-week feel, only this time it’s one more closely intertwined with the main plot. Henry decides to stir up some trouble by reading his mother for sin, and he uncovers an old girlfriend of Ichabod’s—who just so happened to die under mysterious circumstances and became a local spirit. The special effects team earns major points for character design two weeks in a row, as the Weeping Lady might be their most terrifically creepy creation yet. Her surroundings appearing as though she is underwater makes her seem a true horror from the depths, particularly with the black ichor floating alongside and her green eyes glowing bright in the dark. The tension ratchets up a level every time she moves to claim a victim, drowning them in the water and the viewer in atmosphere.

Those victims all turn out to be connected to Ichabod, which leads him to make the connection between paramour and monster. Indignation and guilt are Ichabod’s two best avenues, and this story gives plenty of instances for the latter, as well as some flashbacks to show his initial efforts to break the relationship off. These flashbacks are less noteworthy than they’ve been previously—no jovially nude Ben Franklin this time around—but they do try Ichabod’s regal manners and work to provide a human dimension for Mary (the latter being a bit less effective, as Mary is more catalytic than realistic in her shrill clinginess and jealousy).

While the actual dispatch of the Weeping Lady is disappointingly anticlimactic—one ineffective bolt to the chest followed by one spell to put her to sleep—the emotional denouement of the third act is a tremendous success. Katrina’s deceit in what happened to Mary pales in comparison to the other lies she told Ichabod (lies he reminds her of in a neat bit of exposition that also brings the viewer up to speed), but the difference here is that she now has to explain them to his face. While in Purgatory she was his ideal, his mission; in this world, she’s a real person with motivations that run counter to his. And neither of them seem particularly pleased by this turn of events.

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The respective looks of betrayal and guilt on Tom Mison and Katia Winter’s faces are so palpable that by the time Death swoops in and carries Katrina off, it’s a relief to both parties. The last time the two were kept apart because of Katrina’s espionage plan it felt contrived; here, both sides share an unspoken agreement that they need some time alone. Katrina’s reaction to Abraham is the most genuine she’s seemed with the Horseman and the moment of reflection at Caroline’s wake is so bleak that neither Ichabod nor Abbie can muster up a topic for a toast. The Crane marriage needed to ramp up its game once Katrina was freed, and this increase in tension certainly pulls that off.

In other Sleepy Hollow developments, Hawley shows up again, this time to loan a crossbow reportedly owned by Van Helsing (hopefully not that one) and enjoy some flirtation with Jenny. This is now his third appearance in as many weeks, and the returns are diminishing each time—his character has yet to develop beyond “bad boy treasure hunter,” and the love triangle between the him and the Mills sisters is so clearly telegraphed that it would be more of a surprise if the writers didn’t go that route. Yes, they haven’t gone with a cliched change of heart, but there’s not enough there to justify giving him screen time over regulars like Irving or Jenny.

More effective is Moloch’s smackdown of Henry, whose summoning of the Weeping Lady is too much of a display of initiative for the servant. While the humanization of the Horsemen has been one of season two’s best moves, it’s worth reminding both of them—and the audience—that they remain subservient to their demonic lord. “The Weeping Lady” doesn’t tip the scales one way or another in Moloch’s grand design, but it effectively heightens the emotional stakes for both sides of the larger conflict.

Other thoughts:

  • This Week In Ominous John Noble Arts and Crafts: There’s a moment of Henry lording over his miniature city like the world’s most sinister model train enthusiast, but no new projects as of yet.
  • This Week In Ichabod Hates Ben Franklin: Disappointingly, nothing. Surely he could have walked by sans pants in one of the flashbacks.
  • RIP Caroline. Truly, you were meant for a richer time of history. Her flirtations in the opening scene give the episode a charmingly lighthearted start, so much so that the mourning period begins immediately once the tonal shift augurs something otherworldly in the next room.
  • One additional gripe re: Katrina’s character choices. You go to all that trouble to send a message to Ichabod via the Westeros postal service of ravens, and all you have is a reassurance of love? Share some intel, why don’t you.
  • So according to Moloch, Katrina is apparently a “Hellfire Shard”. Do we really need another reason for her to be important to Moloch’s hordes? This move reeks of MacGuffin.
  • “She could be a literal green-eyed monster.” Ugh. Normally Sleepy Hollow is better with its dialogue, but this line is entirely too on the nose.
  • Ichabod on text messages: “A missive composed by thumb cannot accurately convey emotion!” He also refers to emoticons as “grimacing lemon-faced caricature.”
  • “Marriage is difficult on the best days.”
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