This night, Abbie and Ichabod prepare to battle the Headless Horseman, for better or for worse. But that’s not all — the evening’s frivolities also include Ichabod having his heart broken about Thomas Jefferson.
Just in time, Captain Irving is, (un)fortunately for him, confronted with undeniable evidence that Abbie and Ichabod are not crazy, are not lying, and that the Headless Horseman is, indeed real, very much alive and kicking. Or, rather, shooting bullets and throwing his axe around — nice moves, Captain.
Using the legend of Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride and the line, “One if by land, two if by sea,” from the poem Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the episode recounts the events surrounding the battles of Lexington and Concord during the Revolutionary War, tying them to Abbie and Ichabod’s present via the lanterns the Horseman fashions out of the heads he took his Crane’s Free Mason brothers. The keepers of secrets and artefacts for the good side of the fight have also passed on, through generations, a manuscript that details how the Horseman can be, if not killed, then at least trapped.
Now that summoning a witch isn’t all that easy, what with covens being all but driven underground and Katrina being held captive in purgatory, UV light will have to do the trick. See, Ichabod, our generation pilfering and exploiting the planet had some uses… (no, it really didn’t).
John Cho makes another guest appearance as undead Andy Brooks, whose motives are now more obscure than ever. Chances are that he’s had enough of having to walk around with an elongated neck and doing the Horseman’s bidding. Abbie’s right, that’s what you get for selling your soul — and I’m not sold on him really wanting to help her. Sure, having a closer but, in turn, even more strained relationship with Luke wouldn’t actually benefit her cause, but he could be an asset, with time. Isolating her from everyone who could possibly help her doesn’t exactly count as ‘helping.’
Meanwhile, Ichabod learns more about modern technology and the “in-a-net.” I’m not really surprised he’s this good with mobile phones already, but his computer skills are not yet up to snuff. These little nuggets of him trying to figure out our ways are so much fun — especially because they’re pitted against the times when living in the 21st century is inspiring grief and helplessness rather than humour. Everyone he cared about his dead, all his friends, his collaborators, his mentors, they’re all gone. To us, they’re distant figures, and we speak their names with reverence — Thomas Jefferson, George Washington. But to him, they’re, well General Washington, sure, but there’s also just Thomas. (Good old Thomas, who repeatedly raped a 14-year-old slave girl.*)
Also, is it just me, or does Abbie and Ichabod trying to smash/explode/dissolve the skull just make this episode look like a spin-off of Mythbusters?
Perhaps this is the sacrifice all Witnesses must carry. All we really get is one another.
And that’s not so bad, is it? In the end, this episode is powered less by Abbie and Ichabod’s relationship than last week’s Sin Eater, and more by the race against time in finding a way to fight the Horseman and possibly actually win. Taunting the Horseman with plasticine skulls all over the secret tunnels underneath Sleepy Hollow, they lure him deeper and deeper until he’s standing right where they want him and the Captain can pull the lever. Fizzling and frazzling in UV light, caught, the Horseman can do nothing as Ichabod and Abbie put shackles on him. And then — the credits.
Again, the writing team has managed to end just right on a suspense-laden scene, only to leave us dangling until the next episode. Showing us an iconic image in Captain Irving, Ichabod, and Abbie side by side.
* A note from your blogger: when I wrote this post last night, there was some more humorous language included involving Thomas Jefferson. I removed it this evening, after I’d read this piece by Orlando Jones, on his tumblr, about the controversy that was sparked by one of his tweets during the Monday airing of the episode — which I wasn’t aware of (I live under a rock for most of the day). I was also, and I want to emphasise this, ignorant of the things Jefferson had done to Sally Hemings. I simply did not know until now. If I had, I wouldn’t have called Jefferson a cad, I’d have called him an asshole. That’s all I wanted to add, to make sure my readers understand I didn’t intend to make light of what happened.