“I think routine is a thing of the past for us,” Ichabod Crane says at the start of last week’s episode, “John Doe.” You can say that again. There’s nothing routine on this show. After all the satisfying mythology-setting of the previous episode, “The Lesser Key of Solomon,” we’re back to another lunatic entry in the season. As I wrote in my previous blog entry, it seems the writers haven’t quite settled on a rhythm yet, whether in terms of tone or narrative. I can’t quite figure out whether this is a good or bad thing.
One of the perils of writing these weekly blog entry squibs is that one ends up paying more critical attention to narrative logic — not necessarily a virtue compatible with something as loony as Sleepy Hollow. I have no doubt that subjecting some of my other favorite shows, like Grimm, to closer scrutiny would make it fall apart as Sleepy Hollow has — but still, it’s a total hoot, isn’t it? Even if I can’t figure out what’s going on anymore.
“The last thing we need around here is another episode of [the] Twilight Zone,” says Washington Irving at the beginning of last week’s small disaster of a Sleepy Hollow episode. Actually, The Twilight Zone, with its subtle, smart teleplays, would have been a good thing. Instead we got a microwaved cultural-poaching episode straight out of The X-Files.
After wondering how the Sleepy Hollow writers would top the insanity of the pilot, I’m pleased to report that the second episode is even better. Its lunatic premise out of the way, the writers settle for a more relaxed (well, barely) police procedural episode. The headless horseman makes a brief cameo appearance in the prologue, along with his fellow Nazgul-like comrades, but now the episode features your stereotypical witch about to be burned at the stake but not before she utters a curse on the audience and their descendants. (Not sure why witch-burners always seem to forget to bring a gag or something; seriously, a little planning goes a long way.)
Fox’s new TV series Sleepy Hollow works nicely as something to satisfy my horror-fantasy cravings, and after seeing the extended preview I knew I was going to have to catch the pilot. Not sure what to make of it yet, as it’s only been one episode.
Best part: Sleepy Hollow is admirably nutty fun — as much fun as a headless guy wielding a broad axe and looking for his head would be — and part of the humor comes from the fact that the show is presenting this all with a straight face.
The most welcome surprise in James Wan’s The Conjuring isn’t the fact that Wan, purveyor of torture-porn cinema, can be capable of a fairly quiet, almost elegant horror film. The Conjuring was, after all, preceded by Dead Silence (2007) and the surprise hit Insidious (2010) — three relatively calm films that couldn’t be farther from the depredations of Saw (2004) and its sequels. The shocker here is how much mileage Wan gets from restraint and the power of suggestion: from deep blacks to tight close-ups, teasing the viewer with what lies beyond the frame.
In an earlier entry I wrote that those water cooler moments in Breaking Bad were, inevitably, the action set pieces and the sudden bursts of violence, but it’s the quiet moments that resonate the most.
Okay, I lied, because this episode ends in a sequence* that had me yelling Holy freaking Mexican cousins! all alone at home.
The funniest scene of the show so far — though the memory may be heightened by the fact that I was watching this right after surgery, and that I probably shouldn’t have been laughing — is of Walt trying helplessly to chuck a potted plant through an office window in the episode “Green Light“. Impotent (in a general sense) and frustrated, Walt clumsily fails in his mission, and, in an even funnier scene a minute later, ends up lunging after the oily Saul Goodman instead.