Previously on Sleepy Hollow: Root of All Evil.
Early mid season episodes can be tough, both on the characters and on the set-up of the plot arc, so I figured it’d be best to let two or three weeks go by — watching week to week is great for suspense, but sometimes giving it two or more episodes at a time can be helpful to feel out where things are going. Since I’ll be in London over the weekend and then going back to work, I didn’t relish the prospect of coming home to sets of three new episodes per show, so two will have to suffice. Here we go.
Based on the fairy tale the Pied Piper of Hameln,
what we’ve got here is not just a costumed kidnapper, but a mercenary who sold his soul to a demon and is now on Moloch’s pay roll. Job description: luring children into the woods to make flutes of their bones. Messing with the two Witnesses to the Apocalypse is really just a bonus.
“Yo, Pride and Prejudice. You mind not touching anything in there? Some of it goes, boom.”
You know, as much as I enjoyed that line, I’m not sure I don’t just want Hawley to go away. He’s a walking trope chest, that one. Well, perhaps the writers intended him as the Indiana Jones caricature he is, but it doesn’t seem like to waste their (and our) time on something like that. At least I get Ichabod ripping him to shreds every chance he gets, but that’s going to get old soon, too. Give it a rest or send on his way, I say, if he doesn’t develop a few more personality facets. Or a backbone. Or a conscience. Or some loyalty. Or a reality check re: the seriousness of the end of days.
Make the car your steed, Ichabod
The intro scene with Abbie and Ichabod as he proves that he can, in fact, drive a car (though I wouldn’t necessarily call that driving), was a little over the top funny, what with the overly dramatic monologue Ichabod delivered and the swishy manoeuvres… it was meant to showcase that, impending destruction of the earth or not, they can have fun and they can have it together, no matter when reality crashes in. The moment quickly turns sincere when Ichabod calls Abbie out on her intentions to prepare him for going it alone if something should happen to her, and he tells her what he’s always told her: together, or not at all. Ichabod is still so convinced that his affection for her could never be a weakness, whereas we still see Abbie struggle with that. She feels that how much she likes Crane, how much she needs him, is her biggest weakness because that bond can be so easily used to jerk them around and force them into dangerous situations with and for each other. She’s always been guarded with her emotions, but it’s obvious how she’s trying to pull herself together, trying to play her cards closer to her chest. It’s not always working, not with how well Ichabod knows her already and with how often she has, in the past, been honest about her regard for him.
The Piper’s Curse
Reality does crash — in the form of an Amber Alert, and Abbie revisiting another part of her childhood. Sarah’s mother was her and Jenny’s caseworker as they were separated from their mother and placed into foster care, and I love how Abbie gives her credit for helping her keep her life together, unwilling to give it all to Sheriff Corbin, just one man. That’s where we meet Hawley again.
The other problem: Beth, Sarah’s mum, believes that her family, specifically, is cursed, and she’s right. Every generation, a Lancaster girl goes missing, only one to be recovered, which led to her siblings coming down with a lethal fever. The Piper’s curse means that, unless one child is sacrificed, the others will die; leaving Beth with the worst possible dilemma.
The best bit: Ichabod waits for Abbie’s command before going after the Piper. Once she gives it, he goes without question. The final battle is brutal and terrifying and such a close call, and in the end it’s Abbie who saves Ichabod. They save the child, and they kill the Piper, and it warrants Abbie taking Ichabod out for a cappuccino. Too cute. Too cute.
Irving’s lost his soul — and that bodes ill for us all
In the meantime, Captain Irving researches what he can about the end of days, only to get caught up in a… actually, what the heck was that?! Captain Irving as Rocky Balboa of the Apocalypse, clearing the way for his master, the Horseman of War. Man, he shouldn’t have signed that contract without reading it first… I’m still mad about that. Who does that? My disbelief ain’t hanging under the ceiling for shits and giggles, writers. (Cue Ichabod getting excited about noise-cancelling earbuds. He looks like a Cyberman!) Confronting Henry doesn’t go so well, but at least Irving is gathering some information. Henry trying to turn Irving around, trying to turn him against Abbie and Ichabod, is taking hold since he took his signature in his blood, and now Irving is soulless, and he didn’t even know it at first.
“Miss Mills, are you gloating?”
One thing, though: where the hell’s Katrina been all episode?
New clothes for Ichabod
Ichabod is getting his wildest dreams handed on a plate when Caroline, no doubt a participant of the local colonial reenaction society and/or Renaissance fairs, brings him new authentic clothes worthy of a revolutionary soldier. I think we’ll all be old and grey before we see Ichabod Crane stepping into actual skinny denims again… pity. He’s also in for a lot of second-hand embarrassment, however, when it becomes apparent that Caroline has a bit of a crush on him — and boy, is his 18th-century butt not equipped for getting out of such a situation in 500 words or less. Thankfully, before he launches into a longwinded explanation on how he’s flattered, but he couldn’t possibly, he simply throws it out there that he’s married. And that’s where Caroline hits a nerve: he never talks about her, there are no photographs around — well, that’s not his fault — and there’s generally no indication that he’s with anyone. Riiight up until Abbie walks into the cottage, and suddenly it all makes sense. While Ichabod is rather embarrassed, Abbie is highly amused. Bless Ichabod for going to apologise to Caroline, though, and bless Caroline for being so kind — both with him and with herself. She had a crush, it didn’t pan out, but they’re still friends and they’re still going to the Battle of Saratoga together. Now, when was the last time something like this was so easy on television?
But of course, nothing is ever that easy, albeit through no fault of Caroline’s. Drawn to her by the sheer circumstance of Ichabod caring for her, the Weeping Lady chooses Caroline has her first victim. Dear Caroline, I am so sorry. I would have loved to see more of you.
The “sins” of one Katrina Crane
Now, what Henry would love to do is to sever the bond between his parents, to separate them or turn them against each other. And apparently, the right way to go is the weeping lady, who we soon find out shares a connection with Ichabod and Katrina.
Now this is where the shows treads perilously close to frigding, but it’s averted at the last second when Ichabod doesn’t for one minute presume that Caroline killed herself because he rejected her, thank God. Instead, he is upset about losing a good friend to murder, devastated at the thought that someone could have wished her ill and that her life was so brutally ended. It’s not manpain that ensues, it’s perfectly understandable grief. Ichabod has lost many friends and family throughout his life, but it’s the first time, I think, that someone he’s known for a while has been taken from him like this — by something that he doesn’t immediately assume has to do with the coming Apocalypse, something that he believes to be the banality of murder — in the new Sleepy Hollow, in that new life he has made for himself. He’s used to death and loss, but it still comes as a shock.
Have fun with the Dewey Decimal System, Ichabod.
I’m a bit disappointed that Katrina’s first letter doesn’t contain anything actually useful — of course knowing that she’s fine means the world to Ichabod, but, hello, the plot is dangling in mid-air there. We need spy knowledge!
Also, Hawley, toddle off. Seriously — is he actually trying to flirt with Abbie? Ow, that is gonna hurt. That icy wind you’re feeling is your own ego farting in your face, Nick, I’m just saying. I really hope they’re not going to end up going out, please no. Thank goodness he was on hand when the Weeping Lady got her hands on Abbie, though — Ichabod, you really need to learn CPR. Stat. God, his desperate cry of her name. Fantastic acting by Tom Mison there.
The idea of the jilted woman, crazed, coming back to avenge her suffering… a well-known and singularly terrible trope. I suppose Mary is to Ichabod what Abraham is to Katrina — but the odds are unfair, because they both have it out for her. That’s where Katrina’s sin comes in… Mary didn’t just drown herself. And that’s what Henry’s been waiting for, the thing to separate his parents. She tried to attack Katrina, but tripped and fell and died. It was an accident, but Katrina nevertheless faked the letter Ichabod received. To ease his mind, surely, and to keep him from returning to England. She did it not out of mere selfishness, but because she knew of his destiny as a Witness and that Ichabod can understand, rationally, but there’ve been too many secrets. Her being a witch, being pregnant with Jeremy, being a spy for Washington, knowing of this whole Apocalypse business and knowing of her husband’s role, yet never breathing a word about it. It is understandable that she kept it from him — but it still hurts Ichabod, undermines his trust in her, and this was one secret too many. And now that Katrina goes back to the cottage with the Horseman — having no other choice — the hurt just gets worse.
“Our duty must be to one another. Before anything, before anyone.”
“This is another Katrina thing, isn’t it?”
“Marriage is difficult on the best day. But without trust, without honesty… How can a union between two people hope to survive?”
It’s not even anyone’s fault. Katrina had two paths to choose, and she chose not telling Ichabod to protect him, to keep him in America. We cannot know if telling him all would have been the wiser choice. In hindsight only, and that’s a catch-22. Now, Abbie and Ichabod’s relationship is based in trust and honesty out of part coincidence, part choice, part lack of choice. And Ichabod knows they must preserve their friendship before anything else if this should have any chance of going their way. As it is now, the question is whether Katrina is still playing Abraham to the best of her abilities — of course, that scene suggests she’s losing her faith in Ichabod, but the camera lies. It shows us things to confuse us, to make us doubt, and we mustn’t. Even if Ichabod and Katrina’s relationship doesn’t come out of this entirely unharmed, Katrina wouldn’t fight for any side but the right one, even if the choices she must make are tough.
Moloch, meanwhie, is not happy with Henry taking the initiative in this war. His plans for tearing his parents apart must wait.
Next on Sleepy Hollow: And the Abyss Gazes Back.