Sleepy Hollow Episode Review: 2×10 “Magnum Opus” and 2×11 “Akeda”

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Sleepy Hollow wraps up the first half of the season with the start (and potential end) of the End of Days. As Henry and Moloch put their plan to raise Hell into motion, Abbie, Ichabod, Jenny, Katrina, and Irving look for a way to defeat them. 

“Magnum Opus” brings Ichabod and Abbie back to the forefront with their search for the Sword of Methuselah. After reading about it in Abbie’s mother’s journal, the duo believe they’ve found the perfect weapon with which to dispatch Moloch and set out to find it.

Abbie and Ichabod’s partnership is the focus of the episode, with the cryptic stipulations surrounding the sword forcing them to examine themselves and each other. After reviewing the circumstances of their respective pasts and how they came to be Witnesses, Abbie and Ichabod touchingly reaffirm that they’re better together than apart. Their true companionship is the main draw of Sleepy Hollow and, as the situation with the sword demonstrates, a major source of power.

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My best friend and I don’t have a friendship sword. 😦

 

Their excellent teamwork is put into motion with their ingenious plan to lure Abraham – also looking for the sword – into facing the Gorgon that guards the weapon. Without eyes to look upon the Gorgon, Abraham is immune to its effects, making him the perfect distraction while Abbie and Ichabod retrieve the sword.

Abraham and Ichabod’s relationship is the other big plot point of “Magnum Opus”, as Abraham is largely the reason Ichabod ended up in America in the first place. The exploration of their past does a lot to bring complexity to Abraham’s character, especially when he begins to twist the events of the past as if Ichabod had forced himself onto Abraham’s destiny. Abraham seems more than happy to believe his own lies in order to fuel his resentment of Ichabod, evident when he declares himself the “hero” of the story. If the point of “Magnum Opus” is to reveal to the characters their true selves, then Abraham is the foil, clouded with delusion as he is.

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“Abraham, I’m gonna need you to Google the term “Nice Guy” and read what comes up.”

 

Henry’s main purpose in the episode is to sound the beginning of the End with his ancient horn, and he conveniently does so right before Abraham is about to kill Ichabod. Abraham returns to his Moloch’s side, allowing Abbie and Ichabod to retrieve the sword – with the power of friendship, of course – uninhibited.

The acquisition of the sword leads in to “Akeda”, during which Abbie, Ichabod, Irving, Jenny, and Katrina make their final stand against Moloch. As lightning and bloody hail rain down on them, Abbie and Ichabod desperately try to make it to Katrina before something happens to her. They manage to make it in time to stop Abraham from making her his headless bride, but an attempt to kill Abraham once-and-for-all goes awry when he reveals that using the Sword of Methuselah will kill both the target and the user. Convenient.

Sick of being held up at every turn by the sword’s numerous rules and regulations, the Witnesses enlist the help of Irving, who went into hiding in “Magnum Opus”. With his soul already claimed by Henry, Irving can wield the sword without consequence. Unfortunately, after an epic showdown with the Horseman of War, Irving dies from a sustained wound, leaving the Witnesses without a champion.

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“Using this magic sword isn’t going to lead to my premature and idiotic death, is it?”

 

Irving’s death doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll never be seen again, but it is quite frustrating that he died so soon after being drawn back into the main story. It feels like the writers never figured out what to do with him after his incarceration, which is a shame. He has a lot of potential that got squandered when the focus shifted to Hawley, and Ichabod and Katrina’s marital issues (see: things on Sleepy Hollow that I don’t care about). Still, the manner of his soul remains unresolved, as far as I’m aware. Hopefully that will lead to more from Irving, even if he no longer exists on this earthly plane.

Without Irving, Abbie, Ichabod, Katrina, and Jenny resolve to sacrifice themselves to wield the sword against Moloch. Their conversation about self-sacrifice and the sacrifice of loved ones serves to solidify Ichabod’s resolve to kill Henry should there be no other way. Luckily for them, Henry becomes sick of being Moloch’s pawn and turns on his master, presumably killing him with the sword. It’s unclear whether Henry is moved to betrayal by his parent’s unconditional love for him, or if he just doesn’t want to be under Moloch’s thumb any longer. Either way, I hope he doesn’t get off scot free. He did, after all, just kill Irving.

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“Look son, why don’t you…I dunno, go get yourself killed or something. I’m busy.”

 

“Akeda” is a fitting enough mid-season finale, even if the ending feels abrupt. Moloch’s death is left as a cliffhanger, giving the episode an unfinished vibe. Moloch himself never truly feels like the ultimate threat he’s made out to be. With little screen time and a wasted “demonic child” storyline, Moloch feels more like a plot device than a character. His defeat feels too easy. Of course, it’s possible that he may not be defeated at all. But seeing as how Moloch is only one demon, it might be a nice change of pace to reveal an enemy even more powerful than he. Hopefully the back half of Sleepy Hollow will up the stakes.

Images are copyright of FOX.

 

 

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