Season 2, Episode 9
Air Date: Monday, November 17, 2014 at 9/8c on Fox
[warning] SPOILERS AHEAD [/warning]
“Eyes open; head up; trust no one.” — Young Abbie and Jenny
Grab some tissues and your binky because “Mama” is not only a tear jerker, it is one heck of a frightening episode. The acting is top notch as the race to find out why patients at Tarrytown Psychiatric Hospital are killing themselves comes to a riveting and ghostly head.
If the title doesn’t clue you in, this episode is about mothers, specifically Abbie (Nicole Beharie) and Jenny’s (Lyndie Greenwood) “mama.” Lori Mills (guest star Aunjanue Ellis) supposedly committed suicide while she was a patient at Tarrytown Psychiatric Hospital nearly 15 years ago, and now more patients are following suit. Is Lori assisting in these deaths or is something more sinister at work?
Sleepy Hollow ups the ante in “Mama.” The drama, fear factor, and emotions are kicked into high gear with just enough humor thrown in to soothe your aching nerves. As Ichabod (Tom Mison) takes a backseat throughout “Mama” due to his being ill (yes, Ichabod has caught a cold), Abbie must try to riddle out these murders with the help of Nick Hawley (Matt Barr) and her sister Jenny.
I know what you might be thinking because I was thinking it too, but this case of patients committing suicide by hanging keeps all thoughts and emotions fixed on what’s happening right now. No time for love triangles in “Mama.” But I can’t ignore how Hawley becomes very agitated when Abbie goes missing during their sweep of the patients’ rooms. I think Jenny noticed it as well.
The flashbacks of Abbie and Jenny when they were kids tell a profound story; it pains me to see how frightened these girls were of their own mother. Young Abbie (Haley Walker) and young Jenny (Melannie Sanchez) weren’t simply afraid of their mother’s seemingly unexplained behavior, they were traumatized. Coming home after school was mired with making sure doors were locked and not taking public transit. We also learn how Lori nearly killed herself and Jenny years ago by running the car inside a locked garage. It’s no wonder Jenny is more apprehensive about seeing her mother again, ghost or not.
As Abbie, Jenny, and Hawley investigate the hospital after hours, strange things begin happening, and suddenly Abbie disappears after seeing her mother’s ghost. Abbie is now in an abandoned area of the hospital when she runs into Nurse Lambert (guest star Cynthia Stevenson). “Mama” is so chilling in the way the cinematography gives you the impression of being in some bygone era with hazy outlines and shadows. Stevenson’s performance as Nurse Lambert is outstanding. I would never want her to be my caregiver.
As the mystery begins to unfold, Abbie and Jenny realize that perhaps their mother isn’t responsible for the sudden uptick of deaths at Tarrytown. When Jenny sees her mother’s ghost, she’s obviously frightened, but Lori Mills leaves a message behind – a clue about what is really happening in Tarrytown Psychiatric. The clue leads Abbie and Jenny to a video recording of their mother’s last sessions with her doctor. As disturbing as it is to watch, the result pays off in the end.
Abbie, Jenny, and Hawley visit the abandoned ward of the hospital and go to Lori’s old room. Things take a violent turn when they realize Nurse Lambert isn’t as helpful as she appears to be. Lambert was a nurse at the hospital back in the 1950s, and also a serial killer known as the “Angel of Mercy.” She captures Abbie, then locks up Jenny and Hawley in Lori’s old room. Lori goes to help Abbie while Jenny tries to figure out a spell from her mother’s journal to stop Nurse Lambert.
After all is said and done, Abbie is saved but the spell to vanquish Nurse Lambert sends Lori away as well. Abbie, overcome with emotion after her near demise says she wishes she could see her mother one last time to thank her. So, in true supernatural Sleepy Hollow fashion, Jenny, Abbie, Hawley, and a recovered Ichabod, hold a small séance to summon Lori back for a final farewell. This scene is wrought with raw emotion. I didn’t know I was holding my breath until I began tearing up. I was caught off guard by the depth of feelings coming through my screen. Beharie, Greenwood, and Ellis all give compelling and heart wrenching performances. After everything Abbie and Jenny went through as children, their separation after seeing the four white trees during their adolescent years, and their eventual reunion, to know what their mother went through to protect them from Moloch (Derek Mears) is touching.
Meanwhile, Katrina deals with her own offspring drama with Henry (John Noble). Henry is so sharp yet condescending. “The presence of a needy child upsets you? My … how telling.” His disdain for his mother knows no bounds. As he berates her, he also encourages her to pick up the infant we met in last week’s “Heartless.” All of us know this is no ordinary baby but with the pendant Katrina wears around her neck, she can’t see the child for what it truly is – a monster.
Bravo to the special effects team because what they show us makes me cringe in fear. The baby is blackened and looks grotesque. When Katrina picks up the child, its hand or tentacle reaches out and begins sucking on her shoulder but she can’t seem to feel it. It isn’t until later when she looks in the mirror and sees her neck and shoulders that she understands what’s happening. Is it me or does Henry look jealous as Katrina holds the baby?
The end of “Mama” is quite shocking when Katrina tries to give the baby a potion she concocted only to find the infant missing from its cradle. As she follows a noise from the kitchen, she is startled to find not a baby but a young boy (Grant Springate) about ten years of age standing there. “I’m hungry, mother.” Boy Moloch has spoken.
Hawley brings a very congested Ichabod some Matzo ball soup laced, of course, with a sleeping agent so Ichabod can rest. Watching an unsuspecting Ichabod try to resist drinking the delicious soup, then succumbing to the hidden medicine contained within is hilarious.
Hawley takes a note from Jane Austen when he tells Abbie he’s willing to help since “Mr. Woodhouse” is down for the count. These little bonding moments between them make me smile.
“Mama” is an excellent episode answering questions about Abbie and her role of being a “witness.” “Mama” also sheds light on the Mills family’s past and connection with Katrina. On their way back to town, Abbie picks up a very familiar hitchhiker who’s just escaped from Tarrytown. What the heck is Irving (Orlando Jones) thinking? Now that Moloch is reborn, will the other two Horsemen of the Apocalypse show up in Sleepy Hollow too?
What did you think of “Mama?” Leave me a comment below and/or tweet me @judybopp.
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Photos ©2014 FOX Broadcasting Co. All Rights Reserved.
© 2014, Judy Manning. All rights reserved.
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