Sleepy Hollow 1×06 Review: The Sin Eater
This week, FOX welcomed back Sleepy Hollow after a three week hiatus. They promised some serious plot development before the break, and they did not disappoint. Not only did “Sin Eater” provide some interesting back story for Ichabod, it had Katrina, Abbie and Jenny team up to save him when he gets kidnapped.
This episode uses the “Damsel in Distress” trope and flips it on its head, which is quite refreshing. It puts together the strengths of three incredibly resilient women and has them rescue a man who’s been captured by a perceived enemy. While the “captured by the enemy” plot line isn’t exactly a new or original idea, this tweak made it more interesting than it would have been had they kept it close to how most narratives treat the trope. The fact that these characters are already so thoroughly fleshed out kept the story fresh and kept me intensely engaged for the entire episode.
Sleepy Hollow has never shied away from displaying Abbie and Jenny as strong, independent, and extremely capable women, but this episode gave them a chance to exercise those traits on screen together in an effort to save Ichabod. Up until now the sisters have utilized their strength in different ways. Jenny has been on her own from a young age exploring the world. This exploration was inspired by pursuing the truth of her childhood trauma. Meanwhile, Abbie took her search for truth and focused it in a career in law enforcement, partially as a way to deny the mystical elements of the event by working in a logic based field. But in this episode they put their unique skill sets together to save a captured Ichabod. It made them the heroes in a plot that would typically leave them as the damsels and for that subversion, I can’t thank the writers enough. We already knew that the Mills sisters were strong, but this episode gave them a chance to showcase that strength.
Katrina’s contributions to saving Damsel Ichabod shouldn’t be ignored here. In an earlier review, I mentioned that I was afraid that Katrina was going to turn into a depressing display of the “Damsel in the Refrigerator” trope (as Anita Sarkeesian puts it). Katrina’s already dead and her only other option seems to be to get even more dead by moving on from Purgatory. There’s always a chance she can be resurrected, sure, but my gut tells me that’s not going to happen. I’ve been unfair to her, though. I’ve been placing the story that I see unfolding with her ahead of what she’s actually doing on screen. Even though she’s stuck in Purgatory she’s not exactly helpless. In fact, Katrina is incredibly powerful despite being in a very clear state of distress. She’s managed to push through Purgatory several times to visit Ichabod and now she does the same to visit Abbie. It’s a strength of will just as much as it is a strength of power and when I look at it from that perspective my appreciation for Katrina as a character intensifies. She’s pretty awesome, honestly.
So basically one woman trapped in a realm of the dead uses all of her strength to reach out to another woman who then enlists the help of her sister (another woman) to save a man. How cool is that?
While the plot was incredibly female driven, I can’t let this review end without giving a nod to one man who made me incredibly giddy and verging on fangirl-y in this episode. The appearance by John Noble was an amazing treat. I loved him on Fringe and he managed to blow my socks off in this episode as well. I’m a proud member of the “Give John Noble an Emmy” Facebook group and seeing his performance as the Sin Eater in this episode strengthened my feelings towards the man’s acting power. The show started off with a fabulous appearance by Clancy Brown, another actor whom I greatly admire, and now they’ve brought in another powerhouse performer. I only hope that these impressive guest stars are a sign that this show has a long lifespan ahead of it.
I enjoy the show for its fun elements in much the same way I enjoy Supernatural. It’s good, often cheesy, apocalyptic fun (and yes, “apocalyptic fun” is a thing). But where Supernatural often leaves me disappointed in the area of representation for anyone who isn’t a cis, straight, white male (save Charlie and Kevin, currently), Sleepy Hollow has been delivering characters outside of this narrow focus that are consistently satisfying, unique, and enjoyable. I hope it continues to deliver strong, diverse characters played by awesome people. I’m as excited about this show as I was for Elementary last season. I hope my gut feeling about Sleepy Hollow is correct and this show continues to impress as well.
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Author: Angel Wilson
Stephanie “Angel” Wilson is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and has essays published in Fandom Frontlines.
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