Monday night’s “John Doe” was bittersweet. We watched this spectacular episode knowing that it would have to hold us over for three weeks while ‘Sleepy Hollow’ goes on hiatus for the World Series (curse you baseball!) Despite my disappointment in missing my favorite new show over the break, I have to admit that this season has been very well planned. This pivotal episode gave us delightful moments to relish and plenty of food for thought to hold us over until November 4.
The episode opens with a young boy chasing after a little girl in the woods. One of the Four Horsemen gallops after the boy and that’s when the light bulb goes off. We know this boy brings a plague to Sleepy Hollow, so surely this dark rider is Pestilence! While the boy makes his way into town, we see that Ichabod is making changes and adapting to our times.
Abbie helps Ichabod move into Sheriff Corbin’s rustic cabin, which is an ideal fit compared to a crappy motel room. In another classically cute Crane moment, we see our time-traveler puzzle over a luffa’s use, be confounded by the impenetrable plastic wrap on a razor, and pensively gaze at his reflection in a hand mirror as he asks Abbie if he looks too out-dated. Abbie admits he could update his wardrobe change eventually, but a call interrupts their conversation and they venture back into town.
They see the boy from the woods. The child is severely ill with never-before-seen black veins. Ichabod leans in to speak with the boy and realizes he speaks Middle English, a language used during the Middle Ages. Luckily, Ichabod studied the ancient language at Oxford, so he can communicate with boy. The child mentions something about an “evil girl” before they quarantine him. Captain Irving calls in the Center for Disease Control to monitor the boy’s health, but they have no idea what his illness is. Irving has Crane speak with the boy via video, which makes for more fish-out-of-water hilarity. During their chat, Ichabod discovers the following information: the boy’s name is Thomas and he apologizes for following the girl out of the woods because he is forbidden to leave his home in Roanoke. This is where things start getting really interesting.
Ichabod explains that Roanoke is America’s lost colony. Back in 1587 John White established a community on Roanoke Island in North Carolina. He had a family, which included a daughter named Virginia. However, three years later in 1590, the entire community mysteriously disappeared. Ichabod believes they may have relocated to Sleepy Hollow and he wants to investigate. The boy’s illness spreads, causing an outbreak and prompting people to leave Sleepy Hollow. Crane fears the Apocalyptic effects of the plague, so he and Abbie set out to find the lost colony.
Ichabod tracks Thomas’ path through the woods and Abbie is very impressed by his skills. We discover that Ichabod Crane was born a nobleman, he had a regal upbringing which included fox hunting, hence his astute tracking abilities. Interestingly, Ichabod was happy to leave his regal life behind. (I can’t wait to hear more about that!) He also notices that there is only one set of footprints, which means the girl was never there. They follow the steps all the way to a marsh-like lake surrounding a small island. The boy wasn’t wet, so he didn’t swim across. Ichabod looks around and notices markings on the trees. He steps out onto the lake and it looks like he is walking on water. Abbie is stunned and Crane reveals that there is a hidden path. He sweetly takes Abbie’s hand in his and guides her across the water. They step onto the island and see that Ichabod’s theory was right. They have found Roanoke and Ichabod appears to be back in his element.
Everyone on the island has black veins like Thomas. The land of Roanoke was cursed by Pestilence. John’s daughter, Virginia, was the first to die from this evil plague. After her death, Virginia’s spirit led the community to this new land and she has been protecting them from Pestilence ever since. The Horsemen lured Thomas out of the colony so that the boy could infect the people of Sleepy Hollow. If they return Thomas to Roanoke, he will be cured and the outbreak will be stopped. Abbie remarks that the spirit of Virginia watches over Roanoke the same way Katrina cast the spell on Crane to protect him. Ichabod agrees and says Pestilence (a.k.a. Conquest) must be stopped before he joins Death in Sleepy Hollow, bringing the town even closer to the Apocalypse. They hurry back to the hospital to get Thomas.
When they reach the hospital, Abbie notices that Ichabod has been infected. CDC officer Parsons immediately quarantines Crane, disregarding Abbie’s plea to leave him be. While in quarantine, Ichabod loses consciousness and slips away into Katrina’s realm. This time he doesn’t waste a second and immediately kisses his beloved wife. She fears the worst because his presence is different this time around. Katrina did not summon him, so it must mean he is close to death. Katrina explains that she is trapped in Purgatory with other souls. Although there are many souls around, every one remains isolated, awaiting judgment. Moloch is the demon who determines their fate, deciding where their souls go next. Meanwhile, Abbie fights for Ichabod’s life in the real world.
Abbie asks Irving to release Ichabod, but he tells her to return to her post and do her job while the CDC figures it out. Abbie stumbles upon the hospital chapel and sarcastically quips, “Really?” Nonetheless, she goes inside and asks God for a sign. Something that will help her save Crane, Thomas and Sleepy Hollow. After a few minutes she begins walking out, just then a woman enters the chapel and dips her fingers in the holy water, reminding Abbie of the well of water in Roanoke. She tells Irving about her theory and he has “no choice but to believe” so he helps her get Crane out. When Parsons orders Crane’s transfer, Irving makes sure she is there to take Ichabod and Thomas back to Roanoke. Meanwhile in Purgatory, Katrina tells Crane that she knows why she is stuck in limbo. Suddenly Moloch approaches, so Katrina tells Ichabod to fight for his life. He leaves Purgatory and wakes up before hearing the reason for Katrina’s punishment.
Ichabod holds onto Thomas as Abbie helps them through the woods towards Roanoke. Crane is losing strength and Abbie refuses to return to the island without him, so she gives him a shot of adrenaline. Ichabod gets the boost he needs and snaps back into action. With Pestilence hot on their heels, Ichabod grabs Thomas and submerges into the well, stopping the Horseman in his tracks. Abbie looks up to the heavens in gratitude. When she looks back down, the entire town has disappeared. Ichabod realizes that Thomas was dead all along. The boy turned into flesh and blood when he was lured into Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod says that Abbie’s faith saved them. When they return to Sleepy Hollow, they see that everyone is recovering from the outbreak. Abbie tells Ichabod that she was worried he wanted to stay behind in the colony because it felt familiar. She assures him that he belongs in Sleepy Hollow, “in the here and now.” Ichabod has no inclination to leave and insists that they have much work to do. He says it will require much more than faith to thwart the Apocalypse when Death returns.
The episode eerily ends with Death emerging from the river and riding through the fiery woods. Dun, dun, dun…
As for the non-life-threatening storyline: Abbie’s ex-boyfriend, Det. Morales is bad news. He questions Irving on allowing Crane to stay on as a consultant. Irving basically tells Morales to stop acting like a jealous ex and mind his own business. Even his partner, Det. Jones, thinks Irving has his reasons and says to let it go. Unfortunately, Morales does some digging of his own and discovers that Crane doesn’t have any current ties to Oxford. Ugh. Stay out of it, Morales!
Once again, I loved this episode. ‘Sleepy Hollow’ never disappoints. The story-telling has been gripping. Every case is fascinating. The pacing of this season feels just right. It is going to be a long three weeks, especially after seeing the promo for the next episode. Abbie’s in tears. Ichabod’s willing to die. John Nobel is a sin-eater who can save Crane. James Frain is a new recurring baddie. Can’t it be November 4 already?!
- ‘Sleepy Hollow’ just keeps getting better: The cast chemistry keeps improving. Even Crane’s wondrous amusement at the little modern things remains refreshing, new and hilarious: sarcasm, plastic, adrenaline, Canterbury Tales, etc. All of the fish-out-of-water jokes land every time and it is because of the way Tom Mison plays each scene just right. It never comes off as campy or hammy.
- Keep the Faith: This episode also gave me some major goose-bumps (emotional, not scary.) I really like this new element of Abbie’s faith having power. She has been weary of calling herself an official “Witness,” but there is a reason why she was chosen to be paired with Ichabod. Last week we learned that Jenny and Abbie’s mother was a woman of great faith. Both girls know the Bible very well, which counts for something, especially when you’re fighting evil head-on.
- Bad Morales: I don’t like where this is heading. Morales’ behavior just spells trouble. Is he acting out of jealousy? Will this make him open to being controlled by Moloch? Is he still in love with Abbie?
- Irving has Abbie’s back: We are supposed to be on the fence about Irving. Even Orlando Jones teased that he can’t tell the Captain’s true intentions. So far, he’s been really understanding and helpful. Does he believe in Abbie and Crane? Or does he have another agenda in mind? Is he secretly working for Moloch? There may be a huge twist down the road, but for now, I’m digging Irving’s attitude. I especially like the way he put Morales in his place.
- Pestilence: I should’ve seen this coming the first time I saw “John Doe” was about a plague- Duh! How will the other Horsemen present themselves to Sleepy Hollow? Will Pestilence make another attempt to penetrate this town? Can Death help get the other Horsemen into Sleepy Hollow?
What did you think of “John Doe”? What were your favorite moments? What do you hope to see when the show returns in November?
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‘Sleepy Hollow’ airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX.