This week’s Sleepy Hollow rose from the smoking ashes of “Deliverance” with a more acceptable episode. Katrina, finally, is given a real chance to show off her skills and personality, making “Heartless” a worthy entry to the series even with the cliche’ succubus plot and the tiresome presence of Hawley.
The skinny of “Heartless” is that Henry recruits a succubus to gather souls with which to feed the wee baby Moloch. Despite the fact that Katrina’s mystical pregnancy was stopped just in time, Moloch still managed to manifest as a horrifying baby monstrosity. Without Katrina to care for him, Moloch gains sustenance from his succubus nurse’s kills.
The succubus storyline isn’t particularly exciting. The idea of a succubus wet nurse is kind of intriguing, but it doesn’t really play out beyond the scope of your average succubus story. The demoness scopes out sad, lonely folks (both men and women, so that’s cool), sucks out their life force, and regurgitates it for Moloch. She’s a pretty standard Sleepy Hollow villain, all in all.
What “Heartless” lacks in chills and thrills, it makes up for in genuine character development, most notably for Katrina. As she recovers from the events of “Deliverance”, Katrina enjoys spending quality time with Ichabod. She discovers the joys of reality television, a cute character quirk that gives her personality some substance. Katrina is portrayed as an impossibly graceful, ethereal woman. Seeing her become invested in The Bachelor brings her down to everyone else’s level.
Katrina uses her magical skills several times throughout the episode, finally proving that she’s as powerful as everyone keeps saying she is. She and Abbie end up being the key to defeating the succubus, and while their partnership gets a little rocky, they nevertheless form a powerful bond. With Jenny relegated to the background, Katrina and Abbie’s friendship is a welcome development.
Sleepy Hollow could have mined the succubus story for drama by having Ichabod see Abbie instead of Katrina, but luckily, they take a less contentious route. Instead of furthering the rift between Ichabod and Katrina, Sleepy Hollow addresses the trust issues between them in a mature, thoughtful series of conversations. Katrina recognizes that she’s hurt Ichabod and that he may require time to trust her again, while Ichabod realizes that Katrina is a capable spy, and witch. Sometimes, she may have to put the mission before him. This mutual understanding does more to endear their relationship to me than any of their other moments have. Well, this and the reality TV thing.
The new understanding between Katrina and Ichabod comes just in time for her to make the decision to go back to Abraham (as creepy and pathetic as ever) and Henry. Katrina believes that if she can get close to baby Moloch, she can kill him. Unfortunately, Moloch appears as an adorable, chubby baby under the influence of Katrina’s amulet, which potentially causes her to waver in her convictions. It’s unclear whether Katrina’s sudden infatuation with the baby is genuine or a ploy. I hope, for the sake of the mission, that its the latter.
“Heartless”‘ weakest aspect is Hawley, who I’ve come to solidly regard as unnecessary. In addition to being bland, Hawley garners my resentment for his unofficial replacement of Jenny in the storyline. Hawley’s “information broker” angle is similar to Jenny’s role in the story, but he doesn’t have the charisma or intrigue that Jenny does. As a result, he feels like a bit of an interloper. If Sleepy Hollow has some kind of grand plan for Hawley, I hope they put it into motion soon. Right how, he’s just a guy to takes screentime away from characters I care about.
Overall, “Heartless” is a decent episode, and a definite step up from “Deliverance”. I appreciate that Katrina is now more obviously involved in the story, though I question her decision to return to Abraham. Hopefully she can overcome the overwhelming cuteness of baby Moloch and strike a devastating blow against the forces of evil.
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