SLEEPY HOLLOW 1.4: “The Lesser Key of Solomon”

SHkey1SLEEPY HOLLOW is really starting to pick up steam! This week’s bombastic installment gave us a great (hopefully recurring) ally in Abbie’s kick-ass sister Jenny, exposed a Hessian sleeper cell operating in town, uncovered the real reason (and name) for the Boston Tea Party — and revealed the name of the Big Bad: Moloch, the god of child sacrifice.

The story began with a reenactment of the Boston Tea Party — depicted as a diversionary tactic dreamed up by Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and Samuel Adams to distract the redcoats while Ichabod and a strike team board a British ship to steal a mysterious box. However, it is guarded by a Hessian who blows himself up rather than hand over the box. Nevertheless, Ichabod gets his hands on it and sends the cargo off to Gen. George Washington. In the present day, Abbie (Nicole Beharie) discovers that her sister has escaped from the asylum.

The trail leads to a cabin that secretly belonged to the late Sheriff Corbin. There, they find the gun-toting Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood) and in between the ladies’ bickering, they find the mystery cargo from Boston: a sextant that reveals the hiding place of The Lesser Key of Solomon, a book explaining how to raise 72 demons. Suddenly, a group of modern Hessians attack and make off with the book, but Ichabod and Abbie capture the leader (Carsten Norgaard) who brags about his cult’s plan and then crunches a cyanide tooth. Using his photographic memory (remember that?), Ichabod recreates the map and the team traces the book to an abandoned church. There, the cult has already begun raising the demons, but they haven’t quite made it into our world yet. Abbie hurls The Lesser Key of Solomon into the demon pit, where it burns up and the portal is sealed. Our world is safe again. Later, Abbie apologizes to Jenny and starts the process to get her sprung from the asylum within six months.

SHkey2STARGATE SG-1 and ATLANTIS veteran Damian Kindler penned this week’s episode, which may account for its higher-than-usual quotable-line quotient, as well as the breakneck pace. He info-dumped a lot mythology while creating a family dynamic for Abbie, so it’s little wonder the confrontation with the demons was handled in such a perfunctory manner — there were more important fish to fry. Still, despite all the exposition, the story never bogged down, thanks to clever writing and deft direction by Paul A. Edwards, whose experiences helming episodes of ONCE UPON A TIME, LOST, FRINGE, PUSHING DAISIES and HEROES doubtless helped him keep the action moving here.

Sadly, this episode was hurt by its chintzy special-effects budget, from the blurry fake Boston Harbor scenes in the beginning to the sketchy demons writhing on the floor of the church at the end. Either the writers have to scale back what they’re envisioning, or the producers need to wheedle more money out of the network for CGI. (And, c’mon, SH is the network’s only bona fide fall hit, so crack open the wallet, Fox!)

As a matter of necessity, Ichabod had to take a back seat for a lot of the episode to give the sisters room to take swings at each other, so Mison’s big moment came in the opening tease, when Ichabod waxed poetic about the meaning of love and reduced the “NorthStar” operator to tears. He is, as Blue Velvet’s Frank Booth would say, “so f***ing suave!”

If the Shadow Warriors group is made up of Hessians, they’re going to be pretty easy to spot in Westchester County, N.Y. Just look for guys with TV German accents and funky sun tattoos.

SHkey3I love that SH is determined to pursue its “secret history” of the birth of our nation by recounting a Fractured Fairy Tales version of American history in which George Washington was secretly the Leonardo da Vinci of the Revolutionary War. The conceit that Ichabod hatched the Boston Tea Party as a distraction so he could steal the sarcophagus with the book inside was a wonderfully wacky idea.

Interestingly, the image of Moloch that is supposed to be in The Lesser Key of Solomon is actually a watercolor called The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun, painted by William Blake around 1805 as part of a series illustrating scenes from the Bible. The Red Dragon image is from the Book of Revelations. The painting also figured in the 2002 version of the Hannibal Lecter prequel film Red Dragon.

The sextant is a projector because, of course. Look, one of the bad guys doesn’t have a head, and you’re gonna lose yours over some miniaturized glass etching and lens technology in the 18th century?

Quotables

“I will reign legal brimstone down on you so hard it will make God jealous.” — Abbie

“Imagine the delinquency we could perpetrate if we really put our minds to it.” — Ichabod

“At the time it was referred to as the Destruction of the Tea, you’ve coined a far more festive name.” — Ichabod

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2 thoughts on “SLEEPY HOLLOW 1.4: “The Lesser Key of Solomon”

  1. Awesome recap! I wasn’t sure if I would like this show or not, but the more I watch, the better it is. I fee like just like movies, TV shows are being spat out without much thought. But this is an excellent show so far. And is it just me or did Carsten look like Anthony Head and talk like Alan Rickman? Random, I know. But anyways, good job!

    Like

    • Thanks for the kind words — and for reading! I fall in love with this show a little more every week because it is so unabashedly loopy and not afraid to embrace the implications of its premise, which are, basically, that anything can happen.
      Yeah, Carsten did remind me a bit of Tony Head, and perhaps he and Rickman went to the same dialogue coach for the faux German accents.

      Like

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