Sin, regret and forgiveness: these are the themes of Sleepy Hollow’s “The Sin Eater.”
Or most of our lives in general.
“The Sin Eater” delves deep into the past of our favorite 250-year-old historian, Ichabod Crane. Most notably, his transgressions and punishment as a member of the Queen’s Royal Regiment during the War of Independence. An aspiring soldier, Crane was given the task of interrogating an American, Arthur Bernard, for treason. As a result, Crane comes to believe he can bare witness to demons or shape shifters among the average citizens. Order from chaos is the mantra Bernard pleads as Crane is forced to choose between a life of servitude and pomp in the Queen’s Regiment or doing what is right and following his conscience.
During the interrogation Crane meets Katrina, who questions the moral implications of what he is doing. It is their first meeting and I have to say, not overly memorable. I didn’t feel the chemistry between the two soul mates, not nearly as much as can be detected from Ichabod and Abbie. It is always a let down when you are told of the love between two characters, yet as a viewer, you can’t see it. Some couples have it and some don’t. Ichabod and Katrina are definitely the latter.
Abbie sets out with her sister, Jenny, for the only person who can help Ichabod sever his blood tie with the Headless Horseman. His name is Henry Parrish and he’s The Sin Eater. Abbie must persuade Parrish to come out of retirement, or Ichabod will surely find his doom at the end of the Horseman’s axe.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone could take away our sins, swallow them whole, and absolve us of evil? In “The Sin Eater” we are shown how. Although Henry Parrish is able to remove sin, the process getting to that magic moment isn’t quite that simple. The sinner must forgive himself in order to set up the release. There must be that moment of letting go of regret to allow The Sin Eater to do his work. It is an interesting concept, and as with all good art, there is a kernel of truth in it for us to munch on. If we are the only ones who can release ourselves from bondage, then the key to our salvation is not outside of us. It’s all an internal job.
John Noble is a terrific actor and he is in fine form as The Sin Eater. He’s a seasoned performer; a master craftsman. Living in Vancouver, I ran into him at a local grocery store a few years back when he was in town filming Fringe. For the few of you who have followed my articles, you may remember how my interactions with celebrities tend to become distinct awkward moments. This was no exception. I stopped Mr. Noble and let him know how much I appreciated his work in Lord of the Rings. “You were a great Boromir,” I said proudly. “I didn’t play Boromir,” said Noble, looking puzzled. There was an awkward silence between us as my mind raced to avert my blushing. “Oh yeah, you played…” The funny thing was Noble couldn’t remember either! “I played…” Finally, I reached the answer. “Denethor!” I said. He agreed. Quickly, we shook hands and I retreated into total embarrassment.
Of special note, there is something happening with Sleepy Hollow. Could it be the surprise hit of the Fall season? I believe so. As reported by Entertainment Weekly, this past week Sleepy Hollow was tied with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. for top spot in the ratings war. What is interesting is that Sleepy Hollow gained in ratings while S.H.E.I.L.D. dropped causing the tie. Sleepy Hollow has proven to be a mighty adversary in the battle over ratings and a delightful surprise overall.