Sleepy Hollow: The Sin Eater.

Previously on Sleepy Hollow: John Doe.

Sleepy Hollow returns from its hiatus with baseball, a punch in the gut, and dark memories.

Abbie and Ichabod

Abbie and Ichabod catch a game of baseball

Basketface? Ichabod, honestly!

It’s a delight seeing Abbie relax, to see her and Ichabod get a respite from the danger they’re in, constantly — and to see them let go around each other. What I love about the two of them is that Crane makes Abbie laugh, freely and from the heart, while Abbie makes him feel welcome and as at home as he can feel in a world he doesn’t really understand. While he always feels the pull of the past and that of his heart to Katrina, but the comfort he takes in Abbie’s friendship is real. As Abbie explains to Jenny, they met when they needed each other most. For Abbie, he’s someone who makes her feel like she isn’t an outcast, not belonging anywhere.

Very real is also Mr Rutledge (James Frain, The Tudors, Fringe), who abducts Ichabod and keeps him captive. Crane recognises him immediately — or, rather, his ancestry. Descendant of the youngest signatory of the Declaration of the Independence, Rutledge has in his possession the true account of Ichabod Crane’s life. Apparently, the Freemasons have had to deal with demons and spirits impersonating Ichabod Crane for ages, and now he’s testing this one for identity fraud. As it turns out, Crane didn’t become a turncoat until he first meets his wife — a quaker, who gives his conscience a good kick up the arse. A conscience he’d been feeling, but hadn’t dared — refused — to give a voice. Until he met Katrina and Arthur Bernard, people who sought the truth above all else.

Ordo ab chao — order from chaos.

Meanwhile, Abbie has another encounter with the Headless Horseman and a strung-up puppet of George Washington — lovely image, that. Then, the bird turns up — the token of Katrina’s presence. Using the house she lived in with Ichabod as a doorway, she warns Abbie that the Horseman will return, soon, and that the someone has taken Crane.

Jenny and Abbie search in the tunnels

The deal is this: the Sin Eater is the only one who can separate Crane and the Horseman, which he must. If they remain linked, one can not be killed without the other dying with them. To that purpose, Captain Irving grants Abbie and Jenny 24 hours, to find Crane and the Sin Eater — Henry Parrish (John Noble, All SaintsFringe). After spending years purging the sins of death row inmates, he’s the only one who can sanctify Ichabod. His sin: not being able to save Bernard’s life. (There, we also see another reason why Ichabod so readily believes in demons and all things spooky: he’s seen those creatures long before encountering the Horseman for the first time.)

John Noble plays Henry ParrishNow, the trouble is: if one cannot be killed without the other dying, too, then of course the simplest way of averting this whole Apocalypse shenanigans by not tracking the Horseman down — but, quite simply, killing Crane. That’s why the Freemasons wanted him in the first place, as their sacrificial lamb. But of course, they’re not going to get their hands dirty by murdering him. They’re giving him the choice of killing himself, dying for the greater good, or condemning the world to hellfire and damnation. Except that’s when Abbie barges in, and she’s not going to take any of his crap about sacrificing himself. She refuses to let him go, even if that means having to continue the fight against the Horseman; but he won’t be dissuaded.

I’ve lived on borrowed time, more than any man deserves. I’ve seen wonders beyond my wildest imaginings. And through these centuries, against the possibility that we would find each other — we did. And I am most grateful for it.

In a heartwarming moment worthy of TvTropes, Ichabod forgoes his usual ‘Miss Mills’ or ‘Leftenant’ and calls her Abbie — and she doesn’t fail to notice. It’s a very powerful moment between the two of them, when she refuses to leave and stays with him, determined to hold his hand as he commits suicide to save the world. She isn’t afraid to show her emotions around Ichabod anymore, she’s more open with him than with anyone, and staying by his side is the only way she can think to bear this.

Too many people I never got the chance to say goodbye to. You’re not gonna be one of them.

At the last moment, the Sin Eater arrives and helps Ichabod summon the spirit of Arthur Bernard, who urges him to forgive himself for what happened, because it wasn’t Ichabod’s fault.

I purge the wicked from my blood,
Our spirits severed,
My soul sanctified,
Death, leave me now,
I command you.

Abbie hugs Crane after he is saved

When he is saved, the embrace that Abbie seeks is the cementation of their friendship and their commitment to each other and to what they must — and will be able to — do together, to save humanity, to weather the storm. Ichabod says yes when Abbie admonishes him, and it’s a vow.

And then, it is upon them: the coming battle with the Horseman.

Next: The Midnight Ride.


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