Sleepy Hollow review: Sanctuary.

Previously on Sleepy Hollow: Necromancer.

After last week’s horrific revelation as to the Headless Horseman’s identity, this Thanksgiving episode holds even more dark secrets and pain. Lots of pain.

Ichabod (Tom Mison)
Ichabod’s business with the demon isn’t finished yet.

As if we hadn’t had enough heartbreak yet, this time it just gets worse: not only does Abbie find out that she’s the descendant of Grace Dickson, but that it was Grace who saved Katrina Crane’s life 250 years ago — and that of Ichabod’s only-just-born son. For all we know, that doesn’t tell us only little more about how they were chosen as Witnesses, exactly, especially in light of the fact that we do not yet know what became of the Cranes’ child. We know that Katrina was never burnt for witchcraft, but that she was imprisoned by Moloch, so what does that mean? Might there be a chance that their son survived in some different part of purgatory as well? Or perhaps got to, at least, lead a good life somewhere? Somehow, I doubt the latter part…

Now, two who are definitely flirting are Captain Irving and Jenny… too bad that, with his ex-wife Cynthia threatening to file for full custody, the Captain is thrown between a rock and a hard place. To avert this crisis, Frank would have to tell her the truth about what’s going on — but he wants to protect his family, so he can’t. (It’s also not really likely that she’d believe him.)

That’s what this episode is, really, a study in dysfunctional families that work and stick together anyway. Abbie and her sister, Jenny who gives Macey, his daugther, some friendly advice, and then there’s Abbie and Ichabod, who realise they’ve been drawn together not only by Abbie’s childhood demon experience and his undeadness. Maybe their ancestors were just in the right place at the right time, or perhaps it’s more, some grand design that will unravel the further we get. The point is, they toast to family and to finding family. Ichabod has every reason to loathe the holiday season, to be miserable. Abbie won’t begrudge him that and doesn’t take it for ingratitude, because she knows he values her. But in the end, she also wants him to have hope and to feel better after what he’s just been through, so she won’t leave him on his own until she knows he’s at least mostly fine. There are tough times to come and it will be hard and painful and possibly tragic, but they’re not alone in this, and that in itself counts for a lot.

Also: I like how Abbie is allowed, by the narrative, to draw the line at haunted houses. It’s not about being fearless in order to create a “strong female character,” because that on its own is another nonsensical drawer/mould to push characters into that doesn’t work. Instead, she’s allowed that fear, and shown to have the courage to push through it, under completely justified protest. Ichabod is surprised at first, perhaps, because he has come to see her as something akin to fearless, but she schools him that what one person is or is not afraid doesn’t necessarily count for the next. Fear is fear, some of it primal, some of it irrational, some of it universal. We, as an audience, can certainly identify with that (I’d shit bricks in a haunted house, let me tell you), and Ichabod accepts it and doesn’t say another word about it, because there is nothing to say (except perhaps, Well, we’ve got to get on with it anyway because the bloody doors are locked).

Sleepy Hollow continues to open doors of investigation, new mysteries to follow. This new mystery of Ichabod’s son promises a lot of emotional turmoil for all involved.

Next: The Golem.

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