Dark Mirror is an episode that really sums up what Sleepy Hollow has become. There was so much potential in this episode. We had a monster ripped from American Folklore: The Jersey Devil. The monster was brilliantly woven into the Sleepy Hollow world by being a former adversary of Benjamin Franklin named Leeds who turned to alchemy and experimented on himself turning himself into The Jersey Devil. We had the team working together to find out about the beast. Abbie was called to investigate a strange double homicide committed by the Jersey Devil. Ichabod recalled his meeting with Leeds in Colonial times, and Jenny researched the artifacts that were stolen from the double homicide Abbie was investigating.
So how did this episode go so terribly wrong? Well for starters, the “monster of the week” formula works when the heros need to stop the monsters killing spree. There really was no killing spree here. Sure the Jersey Devil killed a couple hikers in the beginning of the episode, and then he killed the professor couple to steal some artifacts, but then it was all about stopping him from using those artifacts to get the Hidden One’s hourglass back.
What is the Hidden Ones hourglass you ask? Well lucky for us, Leeds / The Jersey Devil also invented movies hundreds of years ago, and he made a movie about the Hidden One and Pandora. In his movie (because when you are a monster living in the Jersey woods, you might as well make documentaries about ancient gods) we learn that the Hidden One gave Pandora her box to destroy the Hidden Ones brother who originally had the all powerful hourglass. Unfortunately, the hourglass was destroyed as well. Luckily for Leeds, and the Hidden One, parts of the destroyed hourglass were later forged into the artifacts that Leeds stole from the professors he killed earlier.
Ichabod figures out that Leeds is the Jersey Devil, and remembers where his laboratory was. Abbie and Ichabod go there, find the lab, and watch the movie before Leeds shows up to collect his magical lightning rod (that he thinks is far superior to Franklins unmagical lightning rod) so that he can turn the artifacts back into the sand for the hourglass.
(stray observation… what was Leeds doing from the time he acquired the artifacts until he showed up to get his lightning rod? Reshoots for his Hidden One movie?)
Abbie and Crane manage to stop Leeds a minute to late (the sands of time are made, and returned to the Hidden One), and Abbie jams Leeds lightning rod into his chest. After the lightning rod gets hit by lightning, Leeds explodes into red CGI muck.
Honestly, I think Leeds was a great Jersey Devil. He was a pompous arrogant ass who let his inner ugly show on the outside as well. He was more goofy then scary, but I didn’t mind. He had a “Scooby Doo” villain thing going on. My problem with him was he wasn’t very threatening either. Abbie and Ichabod weren’t trying to save lives, they were trying to foil the Hidden Ones plot. That just didn’t work well for me.
Also, what didn’t work for me was the Joe / Jenny sitcom subplot. Joe bought Jenny a new trailer, and Jenny got all upset because he overstepped his bounds. This was awful filler that could have been better used giving the Jersey Devil more people to kill.
On a good note, The episode went into Abbies obsession with that symbol from her year in the catacombs. She admitted her problem to Ichabod, and they had some good dialog about it. Those scenes showed some great depth, and amazing acting in an episode that didn’t have much of either.
Dark Mirror had a good monster, and a great idea that was dragged down by a poor execution, bad subplots, and an annoying season arc.
One last stray observation: Can anyone explain to me what “Dark Mirror” had to do with this episode? Was there even a mirror in this episode? Was it dark? Was the title supposed to be some vague reference to the Hidden One, and his brother being opposites, like a mirror image? I’m confused by the title.