I’m going to do a rewatch of all the aired eps soon and probably expound on this but here are some things I’ve been mulling over.
- The show is very uneven with its character development. More specifics after aforementioned rewatch probably, but after mentally reviewing the episodes while staring down an episode list it jumps out at me that fully the first six episodes of the show were heavily Abbie-focused, episode 7 was still very Abbie, but switched slightly more towards team building, then episodes 8, 9, and 10 have been heavily Ichabod-focused. And with the resolution of much of the drama that has been driving that focus and the introduction of the Moloch Wants Abbie’s Soul plot point it’s seeming like 11, 12, and 13 will be swinging back in Abbie’s direction. Developing both of your leads is obviously not a bad thing, but they really need to work on smoothing it out and making it less modular.
- Along those same lines, please just make Jenny a regular already. Irving family values are amazeballs, but Jenny’s role in the story is such that her total absence becomes jarring.
- The mix-and-match pieces of Katrina’s backstory keep multiplying. This week instead of being held in Purgatory by Moloch as leverage for the Horseman, she was banished there by her own coven for going against their rules and ~destiny~ by interrupting Ichabod’s death. (Before anyone starts: yes, I too can come up with a fanwank to try to reconcile these two things. The point, as ever, is that we shouldn’t have to.) This is a lukewarm complaint from me, though, because I like the version presented in Golem about 100,000,000 times better and would like to pretend Katrina As The Headless Douchebro’s Prize never happened. And despite KW still whispering every single line (SERIOUSLY DIRECTOR SOMEONE ANYONE PLZ FIX THAT) and thus forcing me to rewind 900 times to make it out, I actually felt we got to really see something about Katrina’s inner life finally. Her leaving Jeremy behind was very affecting and the brief line about her coming to the shadow church again and again to light candles was probably more insight into her mental state than we’ve gotten this entire season.
- That said, I’ve come to the conclusion that the major problem with the last three episodes above all else is that: the Crane family’s drama is… boring. It’s just. Boring. Just good old fashioned not-very-interesting. It’s weighted down by the fact that all the major action is forced to happen in expository flashbacks and full of huge emotional beats that revolve around newly invented and/or long dead characters in whom we have no emotional investment. Then, we don’t get a chance to develop any emotional investment because they’re just tossed out and then resolved by the next episode so we can move on to the next big Crane Family Secret Drama as they throw every possible source of manpain possible at Ichabod in the hopes that something will stick. Then when it’s not doing that it’s basically just Ichabod and Katrina mincing around being unlikably smug Nice White People who are very confused about how much “choice” even freed black people in 1780 had regarding how to go about living their lives.
- Lastly there is the mixed bag that is the show’s relationships. The recent Irving Family stuff has been amazing, but we need more Abbie&Jenny ASAP. Though I have high hopes for that after the hiatus. We also need to pick the Abbie/Luke thread back up. Dude found out about all this demonic shit like four episodes ago and we haven’t heard a peep from him since. True, getting the fuck out of dodge would be any reasonable human being’s reaction in that situation, but that doesn’t make very good television. There have been some calls for backstory about Andy and Abbie, but I’ll pass tbqh. I love and adore John Cho as much as the next person and I think he’s done a wonderful job of making Andy conflicted and even sympathetic, but I’m not really here for anyone’s Nice Guy story time.
Then, of course, the undisputed champion of all the relationships on the show: Ichabbie or Ichabod&Abbie if you prefer. Either way, they remain fantastic. I know there’s been rumblings for the last few eps about Ichabod mistreating Abbie but ehhhh. The only thing I feel was genuinely out of line was his yelling about how calm he was in Necromancer, which the show also clearly presented as him being completely out of control. Everything else I’ve seen cited has basically been the same acerbity that he and Abbie have been trading back and forth since the pilot. Though I feel discontent with it has been amplified by the last few episodes’ Ichabod focus. I am, no bones about it, an ~Ichabbie shipper with a strong belief in it as endgame and here for the long haul and my view on it at this juncture is that they are obviously dear friends with a preternaturally strong bond that very important to them both (e.g. Abbie at the end of Sin Eater; Ichabod at the end of Golem literally weeping about Moloch’s pronouncement re: Abbie’s soul). I think Ichabod is frankly SO GONE on Abbie Mills (e.g. how badly he CLEARLY wanted a kiss under the mistletoe), but is also angry and frustrated as shit about it when he chances to remember that he is married. Abbie, I feel, is more benignly flirting as, while he is intensely important to her, if she’s considered it at all during all the craziness (and I think she has) she’s slotted him firmly into the “married, thus off-limits” category (e.g. her “ha ha nope” face at his mistletoe shenanigans). Obviously a good portion of that dynamic is both Tom and Nicole’s ridiculous chemistry and preparatory ship-baiting on the part of the writers, but it works.
Of course, that brings us to the elephant in the room: Ichabod/Katrina. I just… sigh. This SHOULD be a touching and tragic star-crossed romance, but it’s just… dull. Tom and Katia’s chemistry isn’t great and frankly they sell the relationship better apart than they ever do in their limited scenes together. I feel that the show hamstrung itself with Katrina’s trapped position and then just dropped the ball with regard to selling the relationship through the flashbacks. I want to care because, you know, it’s there and on paper is obviously hugely important to Ichabod’s character, but in practice it’s so lukewarmly acted and clumsily (and lazily) written that I can’t muster up a fuck to give. And at this point, it’s gotten so tedious that they’re starting to get dragged for it in otherwise hugely complimentary media about the show.
Though, what’s far more important to me than the relationship itself is what its less than compelling nature has meant to Katrina as a character. She’s floundered the entire season, first with literally no development and screentime, then with still limited screentime and development that makes little sense and is mostly not even about HER as a individual person unto herself. The writers have been all tell and no show with her and the character deserves better.
Unfortunately, I don’t really have a viable solution. I’ve campaigned for Evil Katrina who fell in love with the mark, but that seems increasingly impossible to make work. I guess there’s still room for a face heel turn, but I’m not hopeful. After Necromancer, I wanted Evil Katrina just to give her some fucking agency in her story which was presented as being entirely about men attempting to possess her/fighting over her, but the primary reason is that her role in the narrative is extremely limited. She’s the princess in the tower, except that can’t be maintained for a seasons long tv show without getting wearying (it’s already wearying) and the entire premise of the show revolves around the twin poles of Abbie and Ichabod, which makes Katrina joining them in non-Purgatory land on a regular basis highly unlikely on two fronts. Highly unlikely to happen and highly unlikely to work if it does. And not in a sense of MAN NOT CARE ABOUT TWO WOMEN AT ONCE WHAT UNPOSSIBLE, but in the sense of the narrative requires primacy to be on the Ichabod/Abbie relationship and not to mention has been very heavy-handed about Abbie representing his future and Katrina being part of the past that is forever lost to him/that he needs to let go. If she can’t reasonably get out of the tower then you’re left with few options, either she dies (terrible) or she takes up another role, but I cannot currently see my way out of the corner they’ve written themselves into in this regard. At least not any way that I like. So. SHRUG.
THAT’S ALL FOR NOW.