‘Sleepy Hollow’ S1 Ep 3 recap: Guilty conscience

Ichabod reaches out to Abbie’s sister, Jenny. (Photo credit: Brownie Harris/FOX via FoxFlash)

Get ready to hear this on a weekly basis Sleepy Heads: I love this show! All summer long I have been waiting for the return of several TV shows and most of them have let me down. ‘Sleepy Hollow’ has been the only series to exceed my expectations with every episode ever since this Fall TV season has started. Thankfully, the show is drawing in great ratings, so for the first time in years, my new favorite show will stand a chance and most likely be renewed sooner rather than later. Ok, now that my gush-fest is over, let’s chat about why “For the Triumph of Evil” is another stellar installment in this kick-ass series.

The spooky Sandman enters Sleepy Hollow this week, forcing his way into people’s dreams, preying on their guilty consciences and driving them to suicide. What’s cool about this episode is that the Sandman is not what you’d expect. He isn’t there feeding on your nightmares, instead he is making you confront a regretful past. Although ‘Sleepy Hollow’ is a fun-filled wild ride, it hits on some heavy issues. This week shines a light on justice, loyalty, and admitting when you are wrong.

“For the Triumph of Evil” opens with Abbie’s nightmare. Captain Irving and a forensic psychologist escort Abbie to an interrogation room where Ichabod is grilling young Abbie about what she saw in the woods. He knows she is lying and wants to hear her say that she saw the demon. Adult Abbie feels that she has not done anything wrong, but Irving suggests otherwise. Abbie approaches Ichabod and finds him seated at the desk. His eyes have glazed over in pure white and he urges Abbie to be honest, saying, “The truth will set you free.” Everyone disappears and the Sandman suddenly sneaks up behind Abbie. As sand pours from his eyes, she wakes up to her ringing cell phone and gets called in to an emergency situation.

When Abbie and Ichabod arrive at the scene, she learns that Dr. Vega is standing on the ledge of a building and wants to speak with Abbie alone. Abbie is shocked to see the psychiatrist from her dream, but it gets even weirder. Dr. Vega tells Abbie that she believed her sister Jenny, but lied about it to make it seem like Jenny was crazy. When Vega looks at Abbie, we see her eyes are white, like Ichabod’s were in the nightmare. Vega accepts the blame for her current situation and admits that she should have supported Jenny when she had the chance. Vega warns Abbie that they’ve had this coming. Then she leaps to her death, landing on a car below. Ichabod and Irving take a look at Vega’s body before the medic takes her away. One of her white eyes pops like a bubble and sand pours out of her eye socket. What did Vega mean? How did Abbie dream of her if they’ve never met before? Ichabod helps her find some answers.

When Abbie tells Ichabod the details of her dream, he believes she had a prophetic dream, rather than a typical nightmare. He says such things are part of the seven years of tribulation mentioned in the Book of Revelations. It is also part of being one of the two witnesses. Abbie immediately tells Ichabod to hold his horses. She may be a witness, but she’s not ready to label herself as an official “Witness.” But Abbie may be forced to have change of heart when she realizes how she is at the core of this week’s crazy case.

Abbie and Ichabod watch video tapes of Dr. Vega’s sessions with Jenny and Abbie explains to Crane that the doctor didn’t think Jenny was crazy, she was only acting out of fear. Ichabod wisely states, “Fear causes inaction. Inaction causes. QED fear causes pain.” When that doesn’t inspire Abbie to reach out to Jenny, Crane takes a slightly harsher approach. He says, “What time doesn’t change, death will.” With that said, Ichabod and Abbie head to the psych hospital.

On their way, Abbie explains how she views Jenny as a criminal because she stole $4,000 worth of supplies preparing for the End of Days. Ichabod sarcastically sets Abbie straight, clarifying that her sister clearly isn’t crazy since they are all working towards the same goal of thwarting the apocalypse. The receptionist calls extension 49 and Abbie has a flashback of Corbin’s ghost telling her not to be afraid of 49. Ichabod asks Abbie when she saw Jenny last and it was five years ago in the county court house when they locked Jenny up as a crazy thief. Which makes it easy to understand why Jenny doesn’t want to see Abbie, but she is open to seeing Ichabod, which makes for a hilarious encounter.

Jenny is a sharp-tongued, pistol of a tough girl. You can actually see how she and Abbie are sisters because they carry themselves with the same heaviness. Jenny says she let her curiosity get the better of her and wanted to see her sister’s new boyfriend. Ichabod understands what she means, but assures her that they are not an item. Dear old Crane holds his own, casting off quips like “tall, dark and British” and cleverly rebutting cut-down questions like if his friends call him “Icky.” If they did, they would no longer remain his friends. Once again, kudos to Tom Mison on his delivery, he makes old-fashioned jesting look so effortless. Anyway, he cuts to chase and tells Jenny that they don’t think she’s crazy, even Dr. Vega believed her. He catches her up to speed telling her that the first horseman has come and the other three are on their way, plus they’ve both seen the demon. Jenny says she can’t do much to help them. Whatever happens, Jenny says her conscience is clear, unlike Abbie’s. When Ichabod exits his visit with Jenny, he pesters Abbie for the whole story about their rift. Abbie’s secret is in the way of the truth they need to solve this case and her silence will have dire consequences, so she finally speaks up.

When Abbie and Jenny blacked out after seeing the demon in the woods, they woke up four days later. A search party had been sent after the missing girls. A local rancher named Garrett Gillespie saw the demon creep away when he found the girls in the woods. When the cops took the girls in for questioning, Abbie told Jenny not to tell the whole truth because nobody would believe them. When Jenny told the cops they saw a demon, Abbie denied it. Their parents were out of the picture and they were finally in a good foster home. Abbie did not want to risk losing everything they finally had in life. Abbie lied and stayed home, while Jenny told the truth and was institutionalized. Ichabod understands that Abbie feared the “earthly consequences” of speaking the truth. However, she did turn her back on her sister, which isn’t cool. When she says that even Mr. Gillespie kept quite about what he saw, they realize the Sandman’s pattern and decide to visit him next.

Cut to Gillespie under the Sandman’s attack. Ichabod and Abbie find Irving already on the scene in response to a 911 call claiming gun-shots were fired. Gillespie is holding his wife at gun-point, so Abbie gears up and goes inside to talk to him. As she walks through the house, she sees a bullet hole in the mirror, which makes you wonder if Gillespie saw something in it like the demon or the woods. She finds him and his wife sitting on the kitchen floor and his eyes are glazed over in white just like Dr. Vega. Gillespie says she can’t help him and fires shots into the air. Upon hearing the shots fired, Ichabod rushes towards the house to help Abbie. They make eye contact through the window and she tells him to stay back. Abbie tells Gillespie to stand down and he responds with an ominous warning: “He’s coming for you next…The Sandman…The next time you fall asleep, you’re dead.” Then Gillespie shoots himself. Creepy!

Ichabod tries comforting Abbie, assuring her that none of this is her fault. But Abbie doesn’t buy it. Based on the pattern, the Sandman has gone after everyone who chose not to help Jenny. Ichabod asks who the Sandman is and if that is the scary faceless monster from her dream. They go back to their bunker to do some research and see if there is a way to save Abbie.

Ichabod learns that this Sandman is a dream spirit out of an ancient Native American myth. When he fought alongside the natives during the war, they spoke of this spirit. It served as a warning to be sure to do right by your neighbors. They even drew the spirit’s symbol like one would draw the cross to ward off evil. Ichabod believes a shaman could help them figure out how to handle the dream spirit. Sadly, Crane is shocked to hear that there aren’t many Native American’s around in the area anymore. He is especially surprised because our founding fathers used the natives’ structure of civilization as a basis for our government. It is fun to see how ‘Sleepy Hollow’ gets creative with American history; so far all of Ichabod’s reactions are totally justified. Moving along…

Abbie takes Ichabod to see Seamus Duncan at Geronimotors (Hilarious! I wonder who thought of that one in the writer’s room because I laughed out loud.) He takes offense to their assumptions and refuses to help, until Ichabod persists. He tells Seamus that all it takes for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. With that, Seamus offers his assistance and much to Ichabod’s disappointment, it doesn’t include pow-wows.

The Sandman is not like other demons. This one drives you to suicide. Without redemption, your soul goes directly to Hell with the Sandman. Guess we know where Dr. Vega and Mr. Gillespie ended up. Seamus brews a special tea that will put Abbie to sleep and send her into the Sandman’s dream world. When Abbie drinks the tea, he warns her about the consequences. If her spirit loses the Sandman’s challenge in the dream and dies, then she dies in reality too. Without hesitation, Ichabod takes the pitcher of tea and gulps some of it down, noting all the ingredients he tasted. (Awww, so sweet!) Now there is just one more step left: venom. Abbie and Ichabod lay down shirtless on two slabs and a scorpion stings their stomachs, activating the tea and sending them into the dream world. (Guess that’s the first time Ichabod saw a modern bra. It wasn’t the appropriate moment for him to question or comment about Abbie’s undergarments, but I have a feeling it’ll be addressed eventually.)

Abbie and Ichabod awake in the Sandman’s world, which looks a lot like the wood where Abbie saw the demon and where Katrina first spoke with Ichabod. (Could Katrina be trapped in this purgatory-like dream world? Is her soul being judged by the Sandman? I wonder if Ichabod will look into this place in the future to see if there is any sign of Katrina.) The Sandman blows sand in Abbie’s eyes; elsewhere, Ichabod walks through a red door. Abbie ends up in the interrogation room. The Sandman tells Abbie that her soul has been “weighed on the scale” and “found wanting.” He repeatedly asks if she saw the demon. Meanwhile, Ichabod is transported to the police station. Vega and Gillespie are hanging from the ceiling and a third noose is ready for Abbie. He rushes to the interrogation room and opens the door while the Sandman continues to hound Abbie. He asks if she saw the monster and he stretches his long sharp tipped fingers through the two-way mirror, reaching for Abbie. When Ichabod intervenes to protect her, the Sandman casts him aside, shouting, “Your sins are not mine to punish!” (This is very interesting. We’ll discuss this in detail below.) Ichabod still fights for Abbie, commanding the Sandman to “leave her be.” When he reaches out his hand, the Sandman turns it to sand, so Abbie finally puts a stop to this nightmare. She confesses the truth to the Sandman. Abbie says she turned her back on Jenny years ago and she would not do it again. She is not afraid anymore. The Sandman turns into glass , which is awesome. (Fun fact: Sand turns into glass when struck by lightening and I know that thanks to ‘Sweet Home Alabama’.) Abbie shatters the glass figure and they wake up. Ichabod asks Abbie how she is doing and she feels better. Ichabod is pleased and vows, “No more scorpions…Ever.”

Later at the bunker, Ichabod tries to raise Abbie’s spirits by BS-ing that this fight will get easier with time, but he ultimately turns off the excessive charm and honestly says he’s too tired to lie to her. Suddenly, Captain Irving walks in and wonders how they found this location. Ichabod said he broke a wall and Abbie emphasizes why she thought it would be a good place to do their work since it is in the building, but out of the way. Irving agrees and says he’ll get them a key. He asks if their case is over. Once he learns that it’s taken care of he says that is all he wants to hear and takes off.

Abbie approaches Ichabod and says she’s not good at this, so he jumps in with a premature “you’re welcome.” He then suggests Abbie visit her sister, but she’s already ahead of him with car keys in hand. Abbie heads over to the hospital and has the nurse open the door since Jenny refuses to see her. When they open the door, they realize Jenny has escaped. It looks like Jenny climbed out of the vents in the ceiling, but where did she go? We’ll have to wait until next Monday to find out.


  • The Sandman: I really liked the concept of the Sandman in this episode. It was not about nightmares, like one would assume. It was about fear, guilt, and justice. Who sends the Sandman? Are there others like him? If you confess your sins, are you automatically redeemed? Was Abbie an exception to the rule? Dr. Vega and Mr. Gillespie told Abbie that they were wrong, so why wouldn’t they admit the same thing to the Sandman and save themselves? Were they just pawns in the demon’s endgame? Did the demon send the Sandman? They seem to be from the same creepy woods. Did ‘Sleepy Hollow’ just give us a taste of Judgment Day? There’s a lot to ponder here.
  • “Your sins are not mine to punish”: What did the Sandman mean when he said that to Ichabod? Who is supposed to punish Crane’s sins? What exactly are Crane’s sins? Is there something weighing on his conscience? Is there some kind of supernatural justice system that decides who punishes whom? If that is that case, then is Katrina serving out her punishment? Did the demon trap her in the wooded purgatory-like dream world or was it another entity? Does this mean something else will come after Ichabod and punish him in the future? So many questions! I know Ichabod is busy with Apocalypse and the army of evil, but this could be a good lead on his search for Katrina.
  • Captain Irving: He is still a mystery. When Det. Morales plays a newbie trick on the boss and places the headless horseman crossing in his office, Irving laughs it off and says he appreciates a good prank. But I’m not sure if I bought his reaction. Irving told Morales he knows about his past relationship with Abbie. He followed that up with what I understood to be a warning: “Assume I know everything.” How much does Irving know? He acted like he didn’t want to know the supernatural details of Abbie and Ichabod’s case. Did he want to stay in the dark to protect himself from legal implications? Does he not want to be bothered with inexplicable crazy stories? Or does Irving already know the whole truth of what they’re up to and he’s just playing dumb? Which again goes back to last week’s question: What is in Albany? Does it have something to do with Ichabod, Abbie or the demon? Irving seemed to be on Abbie and Ichabod’s side this week, but the jury is still out. What do you think? Can Irving be trusted?
  • Loyalty: Part of Abbie’s guilt was a lack of loyalty to her sister and Ichabod calls her out on it. He also proves to be a very loyal person. Ichabod is a partner you can count on. He and Abbie are in this crazy mess together, so they need to know they can rely on each other no matter what. They are starting to find their rhythm and I really like the dynamic that is building between the two of them. They both have very strong, yet different personalities, which complement each other nicely. It was cute to see Ichabod take a slightly paternal standing in this episode. In a sweet way, he conveyed the whole raised eye-brow, you-should-know-better sentiment without belittling Abbie. He wanted Abbie to make up with her sister before it is too late to make amends. Could Ichabod be speaking from experience? We know about his wife. We know he died in Katrina’s arms. What about the rest of Ichabod’s family? Crane defected in the Revolutionary War and switched sides. Were the Crane’s on board with his actions or did they cast him off as a traitor? It would be awesome to get a flashback of his family.

What did you think of “For the Triumph of Evil”? Did the Sandman scare you? Were you surprised by Abbie’s secret? Should she have stood by Jenny when they were younger? Where do you think Jenny went? Does Irving seem like he’s genuinely on Ichabod and Abbie’s side?

Share your thoughts below and stay tuned for more news!

‘Sleepy Hollow’ airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX.

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