Sleepy Hollow Thoughts & Open Thread: The Kindred

Sleepy Hollow[SPOILERS BELOW FOR LAST NIGHT’S SLEEPY HOLLOW]

The second episode of the Sleepy Hollow season, “The Kindred,” revolved around Crane and Abbie trying to rescue Katrina from Abraham and Henry – only to end with Katrina deciding not to go with them. More on that choice in a moment, but first, this plan leads to some interesting philosophical discussions between Crane and Abbie. She’s worried that his determination to rescue Katrina is getting in the way of their larger mission to stop the rise of evil and the end of the world, and he insists that he’s aware of his duty as a witness but that he also has a duty as a husband. It will be interesting to see what happens if those two duties ever really come into conflict, especially as, as Abbie says later, she believes her faith in Crane is her biggest weakness.

The way they decide to fight the Horseman of Death to get Katrina back is by following Ben Franklin’s plans to create the Kindred, a creature made from the parts of deceased soldiers – and, at least in this case, the Horseman’s head, of which Crane says: “This has brought nothing but pain and misery into our lives. For once, let it serve as a force for good.” He’s more gung-ho about this plan in general, insisting that they’re not just creating a monster, but their monster. Abbie, who has read Frankenstein (which, of course, didn’t exist yet in Crane and Franklin’s world), is more hesitant, and though she goes along with it, at the end of the episode she draws a line in the sand: “The way we fight monsters cannot be to create monsters. We must be better than them.” Good girl. But this whole question of whether evil intent is required to create a monster is a complex one, and I hope they come back to it.

Meanwhile, Abraham has been trying to win Katrina’s loyalty, and I was amused that one of his main techniques involves convincing Katrina that her husband is now in love with Abbie – has Headless been hanging out on Tumblr? He wants to do a binding ritual with Katrina, and she convinces him that it will be better if she goes into it willingly, and that she just needs time. And it’s completely in character for Abraham to believe her. Once Ichabod makes it into Abraham’s lair to save Katrina, Katrina tells him that she wants to stay there to spy on Abraham and Henry’s plan to raise Moloch. That seems like it could go badly very easily, but okay. From an out-of-world angle, it makes perfect sense: So much of this show relies on the Crane/Abbie dynamic, and having Crane’s wife around all the time would not really fit into that. That said, I’m not sure how many times the show can make a compelling plot point out of needing to rescue Katrina if she never really ends up rescued, so we’ll see where they go from here.

Elsewhere, we’ve got a new sheriff, Leena Reyes, played by Sakina Jaffrey – another woman of color; well done, show. She knew Abbie’s mother, and so she has some understanding for the Mills girls, but is determined not to cut them any slack. And she has no time for Crane: “You must be the history consultant.” That makes sense, since she has no idea what’s really going on in Sleepy Hollow, and it will be interesting watching Crane and Abbie deal with this new aspect of keeping their work secret from Abbie’s boss. “We are going to bring some sanity back to this town,” Reyes says. Good luck!

Irving’s back this week too! Yay! His fellow prisoners are not being super nice to the former sheriff, shockingly enough, and he attempts the interesting method of telling the truth about demons and everything to try to get transferred to a psych hospital. Reyes seems suspicious, though, and promises/threatens a variety of “new” treatments to take care of his hallucinations – including shock therapy. We’re calling that new? Anyway, before he can officially be transferred, Henry shows up, claiming to be Irving’s attorney – and getting him to sign a contract in blood. Oooh.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • “Martha who?” “She’s, uh, big in the wedding industry.” “Wedding . . . industry.”
  • “He once referred to the palace at Versailles as quaint.”
  • “This is insane!” “So much of my life can be characterized under these auspices.”
  • “You put the Headless Horseman’s head in a bank?”
  • “You founded a country. Figure it out.”
  • At the bank, Crane was using a lot of Adam Smith economics buzzwords, and – hm, I wonder if he knew Smith at Oxford?
  • “Nothing makes me happier than finding nothing exciting.”
  • “Remind me to make you another reading list.”
  • “It’s nice to know that even a man from the eighteenth century won’t ask for help with directions.”
  • Here’s a little about Galvani. That battery Franklin set up held its charge for a long time! Do you think I could get one for my mouse?
  • “Franklinstein’s monster.” “Charmed.”
  • “So do we need to light candles or something?” “Only if you wish to set a mood.”

Outlander Thoughts & Open Thread: Both Sides Now

Outlander[SPOILERS BELOW FOR THE MIDSEASON FINALE OF OUTLANDER]

The first half of Outlander‘s first season came to a close this weekend – it will be back for another eight episodes starting in April – and while “Both Sides Now” was a perfectly good midseason finale, much of the hour felt a bit anticlimactic after last week’s wedding episode.

The modern story has a quicker pace and more urgency for the first part of the episode. We pick back up with Frank, who is, of course, frantic with worry for his wife and convinced the police aren’t trying hard enough to find her. But I was actually impressed by how much it seemed the police had done, since there was no real evidence of foul play and they clearly thought Claire had run off. And of course people would try to take advantage of the reward Frank offered to rob him; a show less concerned with presenting both Jamie and Frank as viable, attractive options would have just let Frank be beaten up, but here he gets the better of his attackers.

Of course, that leads Rev. Wakefield to express his concern about what the search for Claire is doing to Frank’s moral compass, and also to opine a bit on the nature of good and evil, and the war they’ve just all fought: “Evil has but one cup. [The Nazis] drank long and deep. Yours was but a sip.” He wants Frank to accept that Claire has left him and move on with his life, but before Frank can be convinced, Mrs. Graham finally tells him about the stories of Craigh na Dun and that the people who go through the stones often come back. Frank scoffs at the superstition and says he’s leaving anyway – but he first heads for the stones. This whole question of whether Claire left him is an interesting one, because obviously that wasn’t her intention, but she is having feelings for another man.

Meanwhile, marriage has made Jamie even more concerned with getting the price off his head, but while meeting a supposed witness who could clear him, he and Claire walk into a trap. (Or, okay, the trap walks into them while they’re having sex in a meadow. Whatever.) Luckily, the Highlanders have been teaching Claire to defend herself, and she stabs the Redcoat who tries to rape her, while Jamie gets the better of the one holding him. Confession: at this point my notes say “aw, killing people together!” because I clearly have problems. In the aftermath of the attack, Claire’s in shock and mad at herself for forgetting her own plan to get back to Craigh na Dun, but winds up there anyway – and has to decide whether to try to get back to her own time. “The question was, who did I want to be?”

For now, at least, she wants to be Claire Randall, so we have Claire and Frank both running for the stones from opposite sides, and here is where I thought the episode picked up and started feeling like a finale. They’re yelling at each others’ names, but while Claire can hear Frank, Frank can’t hear Claire – or maybe his brain transposes her cries into bird songs, because he doesn’t really believe in the myths. I wasn’t looking at the clock and thought for a moment that the episode might end with Claire launching herself at the stone – that would have been a decent cliffhanger – but no, the Redcoats capture her and take her back to the other Randall at Fort William.

Claire is handed back over to Jack Randall, but at least the ride there has given her time to formulate a strategy: She once again uses information from Frank’s history lectures, as she guesses that Randall’s powerful patron is the Duke of Sandringham and tries to play him by implying that she’s a spy working on the same side. And it’s a testament to her intelligence and quick thinking that she almost gets away with it. But Randall figures out she’s lying, and clearly he’s not going to let her get away a second time. “What gentleman keeps a rope in his desk?” But Jamie shows up just in time: “I’ll thank you to take your hands off my wife.” With a gun! Randall’s response? He laughs. And that was a delightfully chilling moment on which to end this run of episodes.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • “Is it always so between a man and a woman?” “It’s often something like this . . . No, this isn’t usual.” Aw, she tried so hard to lie.
  • On Christmas: “Don’t suppose you hang stockings by the fire.” “To dry them off, you mean.” Hee.
  • Loved Wakefield quoting Sherlock Holmes.
  • “Now I know why the Church calls it a sacrament.” “Why?” “Because I feel like God himself when I’m inside you.”
  • Loved the news bulletin about the death of Patton on Frank’s car radio.
  • “I doubt you have a sentimental bone in your body.”
  • “You are going to regret this.” “I doubt it.”

What did you think of the finale? Are you eager for the show to come back in the spring?

Outlander Return Date & Midseason Finale Clips

OutlanderWe’ve known from the beginning that Outlander‘s first season would be split into two eight-episode sections – the midseason finale, “Both Sides Now,” airs tomorrow – but now we know exactly when that second set of eight episodes will begin on Starz: April 4th. (And to clear up any confusion, the show has already been renewed for a second season, which will be after these first sixteen episodes. The second eight aren’t the second season.)


So, that’s a bit of a wait, but about what I expected. How about a few clips from tomorrow’s “Both Sides Now” to tide you over?

Be Here When I Get Back:

Removing the Price on My Head:

Bones Thoughts & Open Thread: The Conspiracy in the Corpse

Bones[MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW FOR THE SEASON PREMIERE OF BONES]

(I’m putting in some text here so the link preview on Facebook doesn’t spoil everyone. La la la. Can you believe we’re on season ten? Ten! And I still haven’t learned not to eat dinner while watching! I guess I should give up on that one.)

Noooooooooooooooooo.

That’s my main reaction to last night’s Bones premiere. Sweets was one of my favorite characters on the show, and I’m so sad and upset that he’s gone, emotionally, though intellectually I think it’s great that that showrunners are giving John Francis Daley the freedom to pursue other parts of his career rather than making him stay on the show. For more about that and the way they decided exactly how to treat his departure, I recommend this piece at Give Me My Remote.

I loved that Sweets got some great moments in this episode before his death, including with Brennan – “I’m surprised you want an opinion from a psychologist.” “I don’t. I want an opinion from a friend.” – and especially with Booth. Their developing friendship has been one of my favorite parts of the show in recent seasons, and I’m so sad that’s gone now. When Sweets brushes off Booth’s thanks for helping Brennan and Christine while Booth was in prison with “It’s nothing you wouldn’t have done for me,” it’s a symbol of how close-knit this team has become in general – Brennan says something similar – but also of this specific friendship. Daisy’s pregnancy surprised me (I somehow hadn’t heard that the actress was pregnant) and I loved Booth’s disbelief that Sweets hadn’t told him: “You just got out. I figured my life wasn’t that important.” “Seriously?” I’m sure Booth (and the rest of the team, of course) will want to help take care of Daisy and the baby, and I hope we see some of that.

Sweets’s dying words to Booth were “The world’s a lot better than you think it is,” but I think Booth’s going to be too focused on solving his friends murder to really consider that for a while. The scene in which Sweets’s body was brought into the lab was one of the most moving ones the show has done, and I loved that Daisy was there and wanted to help – it seemed very in character for her to react that way to her grief. It was also perfect that Cam hesitated before cutting into Sweets’s body and that Brennan convinced her: “This is not Sweets. This is a set of remains that will give us the man who killed Sweets.” This is an interesting set-up for the beginning of the season – a murder they all really care about, that’s tied to a bigger conspiracy they also really care about. And I’m curious if Booth and Sweets’s argument over who should go on the errand on which Sweets was killed will come back in the form of more guilt for Booth.

Elsewhere: I was happy Booth got out of prison so quickly – the show is really better when he’s there to interact with Brennan and the team. And I thought the show did a good job of showing that he’s honestly happy to be home with Brennan and Christine but still messed up about everything and obsessed with vengeance and protecting his family. The new apartment stuff and Brennan finding Christine and Booth asleep on the couch were both adorable moments, and I’m glad Brennan let people in and talked to both Angela and Sweets (sob) about what was going on. As Sweets pointed out, Booth has always lived for honor and service, and the system he works for and within betraying him makes it as though someone has died. It will be interesting to see how he deals with this, and the question of justice vs. vengeance, as the season progresses, especially now that his friend is dead.

I’ve seen a lot of discussion of the fact that Brennan used blackmail to get Booth out of prison. And I get that it’s often uncomfortable or disappointing to see characters we like do things we think are wrong. But I thought it was actually completely in character for Brennan. She’s never had a lot of regard for following laws for the sake of it, for following any sort of custom or rule that doesn’t make sense to her. And we’ve seen before that she thinks her intelligence gives her the authority to make decisions according to her own sense of right and wrong. So I was fine with all that.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • “You promised.” “No, you ordered me not to. There’s a distinct difference.”
  • “I didn’t just use my money. I spent some of yours too. A lot, actually.” Hee.
  • I know it would prevent the audience from seeing what’s going on, but whenever TV people start having sex in front of windows I yell “Don’t you people have curtains???”
  • The new FBI guy seems fine so far, I guess?
  • I loved that Hodgins’s conspiracy paranoia was totally helpful here, for once.
  • I loved Brennan picking up on how lying about J. Edgar Hoover (!) would get them what they wanted at the nursing home.

What did you think of this premiere?

Outlander Thoughts & Open Thread: The Wedding

Outlander[SPOILERS BELOW FOR THE MOST RECENT EPISODE OF OUTLANDER]

(Sorry this post is so late this week! I’ve been writing about all the new show premieres over at TheTelevixen.com and that has eaten all my time.)

So! The wedding episode of Outlander! The circumstances were different from the book, but I thought it was a lovely episode and made perfect sense in the context of the show’s plot. And the format here was a bit unexpected – we start with some of Claire’s modern wedding to Frank, and then jump right to the end of her wedding with Jamie. I found it slightly bewildering at first that they showed so little of the wedding, but, of course, they showed more of it in flashbacks later, and it all makes sense when we find out that Claire was drunk and doesn’t actually remember much of it. And, you know, fair enough: She’s completely torn about this wedding because she obviously likes Jamie and understands the need to marry him in order to survive, but she’s already married. (And it’s nice of Jamie not to be upset that she had to get drunk to marry him.) Claire feeling guilty about her sort-of bigamy is a theme throughout the episode, so it’s interesting that at the beginning, her modern, “real” wedding is made to look very casual and unserious compared to the ritual and tradition of her marriage of convenience to Jamie. (And speaking of the ritual, did they warn her that she’d have to speak Scottish? And that there were knives involved? Poor thing.)

And then, of course, we’re on to the wedding night; they need to consummate the marriage (or at least convince everyone) so Claire can be sure of Jamie and his clan’s protection. They’re both adorably awkward and nervous and stall a lot, mainly by telling stories about their pasts and their families. And really, it’s great that they got a chance to actually get to know each other better, though I’m impressed and slightly suspicious that Claire was able to talk about her family for hours without messing up and giving anything away. Jamie is incredibly sweet throughout this whole thing, and he gives Claire his mother’s pearls, even. How long until Claire figures out that he’s actually in love with her, I realize? And how long until she tells him the truth about herself? I am very curious to see whether the show follows the book in that regard.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • “Eventually you forget what the pearls even look like. At least you try.”
  • “You’re a regular Bob Hope.” “Is he a funny man?”
  • “I said I was a virgin, not a monk.”
  • “I said I was completely under your power and happy to be there.” Swoon.
  • “Do you think my mother would have approved?” “Do I look like a gypsy to you? Able to commune with the spirits?”
  • “Christ, it would be easier if I kill you both.”
  • What do we think the key Jamie had Claire’s wedding ring made from is for? Interesting that he avoided telling her.
  • “I remember every moment. Every second.” SWOON again.
  • “It was as if I stepped outside on a cloudy day and suddenly the sun came out.” OKAY, Jamie, you’re killing us here.
  • “Take off your shirt. I want to look at you.” In which Claire speaks for much of the audience.
  • Dougal, I’m not sure you’re supposed to hit on brides on their wedding nights.