The mid-season finale last month proved to be a major game-changer. The show had been building up to this one big epic confrontation between the heroes and the villains and it all finally happened as Moloch succeeded in manifesting himself on Earth and began to bring about a merging of Earth with Purgatory, over which he held dominion. But then, something really incredible happened, and it was all for naught because the great demon overlooked something quite… human, which proved to be his terrible downfall.
And that brings us to this week’s episode, “Paradise Lost“, the mid-season premiere of a great show. In this new episode, we find out what happened to the heroes after their big confrontation with Moloch, and how the span of time since then has changed them all. Moloch is gone, good and proper, and so a semblance of normality is returning to their lives, but an evil like Moloch doesn’t go out all the way and Team Witness’ bad time is about to get a whole lot worse because there are many more dangers out there now, now that many of the denizens of Purgatory have fled to Earth and have begun to cause mayhem.
Note: This review contains spoilers for the mid-season finale, episode 11.
The mid-season premiere has a big challenge ahead of it. At the end of the mid-season finale, we saw that Henry had changed colours once again, and that he was finally sick of how Moloch treated him. He was a character who turned to evil because his parents forsook him, whether out of forced choice or unfortunate circumstances, and he never forgave them for that abandonment. And Moloch provided him with a convenient enough illusion that fed those feelings and made him fall deeper into the hole that that the so-called Horrid King had been making for him.
But, the character had a moment of redemption there at the end, and it was actually kind of surprising that the writers wrote the episode as a season finale, killing off Moloch and everything. So episode 12 has an uphill battle to fight, and while it doesn’t exactly pass with flying colours, it does at least get a few things right and also sets the stage for some major changes in status quo even beyond Moloch’s “death”.
The opening minutes of the episode are very rushed. We are at the scene of Moloch’s fall and the heroes are just waking from the magic explosion-thingamajig that knocked them all out cold when Henry killed Moloch. Henry is, of course, missing entirely and presumed dead. The characters have a brief moment of reconnection and then the story jumps six weeks into the future and we see that while things are kind of getting normal for them, there are still signs of something untoward happening, with Ichabod being obsessed about there still being some evil at work. And yes, it all comes true when they run up against some demons, servants of Moloch, who have escaped Purgatory and are looking for a new Master, the Horseman of Death.
It was a pretty interesting episode, but I can’t say really if it was all that good actually. I mean, I liked it a fair bit, but it seemed to be moving too fast for me, and the story was a bit haphazard as well. I get the change after the death of Moloch, but it feels that the episode didn’t really connect with the characters so much in the wake of that, and that they were basically “rebooted” to serve a new purpose against a new villain. Might that be Abraham himself? He is the top dog in Moloch’s hierarchy now, and given some of the things that happen in the episode I can very well think of him as becoming the villain I’ve always expected and wanted him to be.
But there’s still a certain dissonance in the episode. And a new character is introduced who falls in the ally-turned-enemy camp, and I was thinking, “well that was over fast, what next?”.
My thinking is that this episode should have been rather sedate in its pacing and that it should have taken the time to show how the characters are leading normal everyday lives before throwing everything in the air and introducing the new threats, especially those that have escaped Purgatory. But that’s not what happens here unfortunately.
All the same though, I liked that there was some indication that the characters were leading normal lives. Going to bars, going to farmer’s market, enjoying each other’s company, and so on. And that there was some healing going on between them in the wake of their recent shared experiences. That kind of healing is very important after the ordeal that they have all gone through.
The episode ends on a fairly positive note, but it also shows that things are definitely changing for the characters, good or bad. They have choices in front of them that will define their next few steps and they need to proceed with caution. I liked that bit to the overall story. There needs to be a compelling reason for the show to exist now that its mega-bad villain is done and gone for the foreseeable future. And the way that matters ultimately turn out, I think the next phase of Sleepy Hollow is going to be very interesting indeed.
Not to mention the particular ending with a certain character, which came completely out of the blue and definitely shocked me. The angle is intriguing, so I’m hopeful for the future of the show. I think the writers just need to find their groove quickly lest they run the very real risk of viewer-burnout.
So yeah, a pretty decent episode that could have been a fair bit better, but is still good.
More Sleepy Hollow: Season 1.