I’m still fawning over Monday night’s “The Midnight Ride.” As we reach Season One’s half-way point, ‘Sleepy Hollow’ delivers an exceptional episode full of everything we needed to see at this time. Episode 7 provides another unique and fascinating twist on a classic tale from American history, a major turning point for resident steady skeptic, Captain Irving, loads of laughs and a killer dose of action.
Boston April 18, 1875
Paul Revere’s midnight ride is revealed in a new light. He wasn’t bellowing, “The British are coming!” because that wouldn’t have made any sense. At that point in history, Americans were Brits, so it would’ve lead to much confusion, as Ichabod Crane later points out in a perturbed fashion. Revere warned that the “Regulars” were coming. It might sound strange, but we’ll take it. Chalk it up to Americans being extraordinary. (Update: A reader informed me that “Regulars” referred to the British Army as opposed to the local militia. Here’s a little Wiki history lesson on the British Army, if you’re interested.) As Revere and his men keep riding until daylight, the Headless Horseman catches up and takes out a few of Paul’s buddies. That can’t be good…
Sleepy Hollow Present Day
We chuckle over Crane’s bewilderment by the vast amount of Abbie’s wholesale reserves and wasted spending on bottled water (first taxes, now water, Crane does have a point, but c’est la vie). Then things get down to business and Abbie is worried about Ichabod’s safety. Now that the blood tie has been severed, Crane is vulnerable. He asks her to accompany him to the Free Mason’s meeting and discuss their findings on how to destroy Headless, but Abbie passes on the their prejudiced “no women allowed” sausage fest. Their misogyny would only get under her skin. (I love how Crane understands where Abbie is coming from in this moment and has a modern way of thinking; Ichabod sees his partner as an equal. In a quirky way, Ichabod Crane does represent the important ideals the founding fathers strived for when establishing this great nation.) With that said, our favorite duo parts ways.
Abbie bumps into her ex, Det. Luke Morales, on her way to the station. He corners her and says he’d like to be friends and at least grab a cup of coffee and catch-up. She agrees to meet up the next day and tells him she’s been busy getting ready for Jenny to move in. (Did six months fly by or did Irving pull some strings? I thought Jenny’s release was going to take a while, but I’m glad to see her free so soon. Ichabod and Abbie need all the help they can get. It’ll also be interesting to see the Mills sisters adjust to living together after so many years apart.) A little while later Morales gets a creepy surprise visit from deceased officer Andy Brooks. He warns Morales to stay away from Abbie. Brooks is trying to protect her and wants to be sure Abbie will be among the chosen few who can be saved during the Apocalypse. He warns Morales that he will need to choose a side soon because war is near. Will Morales be on the side of Good or Evil? We’ll just have to wait and see. Meanwhile, Abbie receives a hilarious and sweet voicemail from Crane. (This kind of reminded me of the voicemail the angel Castiel left Dean on CW’s ‘Supernatural,’ it is always fun to see someone adjust to things we’ve grown so accustomed to. Except, Crane was much more cordial, “Most respectfully, Ichabod Crane.” I can already see that trending on voicemail messages.) Ichabod got Abbie into the Mason’s meeting. Aw, way to step up, Crane.
Unfortunately, when they arrive at the Masons’ they’re in for a grisly shock. Inside, Ichabod slowly goes room through room with sword in hand as he finds his decapitated friends. Outside, Abbie’s locked and loaded, ready to have her partner’s back as she catches up with Crane and sees Headless’ carnage. Crane then takes a gun and Abbie covers him as they search the rest of the house. Abbie calls it in and Irving shows up.
Once again, Irving doesn’t buy the Headless Horseman angle, at least not enough to put it in a police report. For 500 years the Freemasons fought a secret war against evil, but now it written off as a case of “cult ritual suicide.” As Irving says he needs concrete proof of Headless’ existence, Crane sadly removes a ring from his fallen comrade’s hand. He finds the Masons’ book containing answers on how to stop Headless, but the pages have been torn out. Crane says he knew he was a dead man when the Horseman injured him in 1782, but even as he fell to the ground, his last thought was: “If I die, he’s coming with me.” Ichabod knows that the Horseman is coming for him because he wants his head back. Headless came to the Masons thinking they would’ve held onto it like all of the other supernatural/historical artifacts they’ve collected during the war between Good and Evil. They need to keep his head in their possession. After a motivational and moving nudge from Crane, Capt. Irving goes to retrieve it from the lab he sent it to.
Irving chats with the lab tech. He hasn’t been able to learn much about the skull during the course of his research. The skull doesn’t even have DNA. (That’s because he’s Death, people! Did you really expect the Grim Reaper to have genetic calling card? I think not.) While Irving collects the caged head, the Horseman bursts in, guns blazing. He takes out the lab tech, but Irving pulls some badass Matrix moves and Neo-s his way out of there. When shooting at Headless doesn’t work, Irving shoots the pipe and releases smoke. Somehow it blinds the Headless Horseman and slows him down a bit. (I’m still not sure how this worked. It was very cool, but he doesn’t have a head: no eyes to blur, no nose or mouth to smother…you get the idea. Does the Horseman suffer from phantom limb syndrome? Not criticizing, I’m just curious. Send me your theories.)
Captain Irving returns to Abbie and Ichabod as a changed man. I guess this skeptic is now a believer. He looked back at the surveillance footage and it was altered just like it had been when Moloch killed Brooks in his cell during the pilot. Irving’s mind is blown. It’s insane, but all true. He admits he wanted the whole thing to be a lie. Now he has no idea what to do, should they call the governor? Nope. Just destroy the damn thing and get it over with. Cut to a laugh-out-loud funny montage of trying to destroy the skull with a mallet, acid and explosives. When all those fail, Abbie thinks a junkyard car compressor could work. As they walk to the car, Crane notices something in the distance. Four lanterns are illuminated in the car port. Abbie even remembers the significance of Revere’s signal: one if by land, two if by sea, but what does four mean? They grow close and find the four Masons’ heads. According to Ichabod, this is a super low blow. Freemasons considered their minds to be a temple, they were sacred and holy. He also notices the use of silver. Revere lined the lanterns with silver to make the light shine brighter and Headless has done the same to Crane’s friends. Ichabod recalls a meeting in the past which pertained to a manuscript labeled with a demonic symbol, a Devil’s Trap of sorts meant to ward off evil (Again, awesomely, ‘Supernatural’-esque). The manuscript contained secrets for conquering evil. Now Crane realizes that Death was there when Paul Revere went to get the manuscript. The Masons updated the document after Crane beheaded the Hessian mercenary. If they can find it, then they can figure how to stop Headless. Abbie takes Ichabod to the museum to track it down.
Crane cringes at the way history has been corrupted over the years. The museum tour guide has it all wrong and Ichabod isn’t afraid to correct him. Paul Revere was not a dentist, he was a silversmith, etc. Abbie passes him off as a crazy cousin off his meds (Crane: “I’m the only one who doesn’t require medication!” Hilarious) and tells Ichabod that they can access the manuscript online since it is kept in London. Finally, we get to see Ichabod Crane face the challenges of using a laptop in general and dodging internet porn pop-up ads (Yes they are “wildly inappropriate,” but that is the cutest and most polite prostitution refusal ever. I couldn’t stop laughing!) While Ichabod works on cracking the cipher, he tells Abbie to properly cancel her coffee date with Morales. She heads into the tunnels to make the call and Crane examines the skull for a password to help unlock the code. Behind Headless’ front teeth, Revere penned a word in silver: “Cicero.” Last week we discovered “Cicero” was what members of the rebellion called themselves. Now it will help Crane defeat Death.
Abbie calls Morales, but he doesn’t answer. It seems like Brooks did something to him. He is rattled by visions and everything seems hazy. Is evil taking a hold of Morales? Can he fight it? What’s the deal?! Hopefully we’ll find out more in the next episode. After Abbie leaves a voicemail, she’s confronted by Brooks in the tunnels. He tells her that you can’t kill Death, which theoretically makes sense. But, you can trap him. Silver-lining! Brooks says he cares about Abbie and wants to protect her. Crane steps in to present Abbie with the good news and is surprised to see the “sheriff’s turncoat.” He asks Brooks to deliver a message to the Horseman: If he wants his head back, he can meet Crane in the cemetery at night fall. Ichabod then steps in real close to Brooks and warns: “If you return here, there will be consequences.” Brooks stoically replies, “Don’t threaten me.” But Crane holds a steady glare and means business. (Swoon! You know that’s right. Don’t mess with Crane.) Brooks vanishes and Ichabod makes sure Abbie is alright before they move on with their epic takedown plan.
Crane tells Abbie about what he read in the manuscript. In 1782 the Masons discovered they could cage and capture Headless against his “fire-y will.” Sunlight is his weakness, so they could use a witch to turn the moon to sun. Too bad they can’t call upon Katrina, but Abbie has something better, ultraviolet light which simulates the sun. They enlist Irving’s help to get ready in time by sundown.
While they work, Irving and Abbie have an illuminating conversation with Crane regarding the truth about Thomas Jefferson. Sorry to burst Crane’s bubble, but Jefferson was a cad who fathered six kids with his slave, Sally Hemmings, and plagiarized Crane’s clever quip. Poor Ichabod is so disappointed and feels betrayed by someone he trusted. At least Jefferson designed a supernatural cell that can contain the Headless Horseman. (If this was ‘Supernatural,’ we would’ve discovered that Jefferson was a hunter back in the day. In this case, he’s a philandering Freemason. Either way, evil will be vanquished!) Once everything is set up, Ichabod asks Abbie if she ever heard back from Morales. She hasn’t and thinks it is for the best. They couldn’t really be friends anyway since she’s harboring so many secrets. The part she would want to share most is the same part of her that’s off limits. Ichabod says Katrina had a similar viewpoint and thought their relationship would complicate their mission in life, but he eventually proved her wrong and won her over. Abbie admits that she feels pretty alone sometimes, but it is one of the sacrifices of being a Witness. Crane offers some comfort by saying that perhaps, all they really get is one another. (Sigh.) After a super sweet and vulnerable bonding moment, Ichabod and Abbie proceed with their plan.
In an impressive action-sequence, Ichabod meets Headless in the cemetery and dangerously lures him into the tunnels, all while dodging bullets and a burning blade. Headless walks through the maze of tunnels, picking up one laughing, illuminated skull at a time. Crane taunts him, asking if he’s “feeling mocked yet?” Abbie fakes an injury and calls for Crane, leading Headless into the Devil’s Trap. Irving flips the UV switch and Crane shackles smoking Death.
Cut to black and cue the goosebumps! Until next week, Sleepy Heads…
- A love letter to ‘Sleepy Hollow’: Oh ‘Sleepy Hollow,’ how I love thee. Let me count the ways… It is no surprise that I love this show. I’ve tweeted it and written about it after every episode. What is surprising is how quickly I was taken with this show. I developed a crush on ‘Sleepy Hollow’ when I first watched the trailer over summer. With each episode, I grew increasingly smitten with the series. At this point, I am head over heels. It might sound weird, but I take my TV very seriously. I watch a lot of things and I’ve felt passionate about many shows over the years, but this one truly has it all. Maybe it is because ‘Sleepy Hollow’ captures everything I’ve loved about my favorite shows and even some movies over the years. It has the cool haunting feel of ‘Supernatural’ and ‘Grimm,’ the sweet/romantic old-fashioned sentiments/flashbacks reminiscent of ‘Kate & Leopold’ and sometimes ‘Moonlight,’ the detailed brilliant exposition of ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Elementary’ and I could go on, but I think you get the picture. ‘Sleepy Hollow’ is nailing it on all levels. After every episode, I am mesmerized, thrilled, stunned, swooning, smiling and thoroughly entertained. You feel transported when you watch this show. You get sucked into their world. Even if things don’t always make sense, you still go with it because you’re emotionally invested already. Some shows take a while to get sucked into, but ‘Sleepy Hollow’ isn’t one of them. This show is an instant hit for a reason. What do you love most about ‘Sleepy Hollow’? Feel free to gush over ‘Sleepy Hollow’ in the comments below!
- Why ‘Sleepy Hollow’ works so well: You can tell the creators have a well mapped out game plan. I’m sad that we only get 13 episodes this season because I’d obviously love to watch more, but I also believe in quality over quantity. Each episode feels like a season finale. We learn a lot of things that move the story forward and see growth in these characters. There is no time for “filler” BS that clouds the mythology or waters down the show’s essence by hamming things up. Some of my favorite long-running shows were and are wonderful, but they hit severe rough patches which made me miss the glory days. I don’t think that will happen with ‘Sleepy Hollow’ because it is so focused and streamlined. I hope it stays that way. The charismatic cast, top notch acting, ingenious writing, artful directing and eye-candy action and CGI also take ‘Sleepy Hollow’ to a whole new level. This show should get some serious award nominations in 2014.
- Captain Irving: He has seen the light! Orlando Jones kicked ass in this episode. I’m still a little skeptical of Irving, but if he was a full-on bad guy, he seemed pretty sincerely surprised to see that the Headless Horseman is real. He could be like Morales and get corrupted by evil, but for now, I’d still like to think he’s on Ichabod and Abbie’s side. What do you guys think?
- The Headless Horseman:How does he work? He doesn’t have a head, yet seems to be effected like he does have one. Next week, Crane will interrogate him, but how will he “talk”? Through visions? Will he communicate through Brooks? Death is an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, cloaked in a huge question mark. Seriously, what is this dude’s deal? I can’t wait to find out!
- Tom Misonand Nicole Beharie: They are awesome. Their chemistry is a delight. They pull off comedy and intense drama equally well. They get better with every episode. It is such a treat to watch them play together for our amusement. Mison doesn’t even have to utter a single syllable; the twinkle in his eye speaks volumes alone. Beharie has created a beautifully balanced character in Abbie. She’s the perfect blend of tough cop, loyal partner and playful pal. I love watching their partnership evolve.
- American History Uncovered:I love these historical teasers before new episodes. Can this please be a real show? It would seriously pair well with something like ‘Haunted History’ on H2. Part history, part supernatural tale and 100% awesome.
- Supernatural references:FYI, I know fans of this genre may watch both shows and this episode in particular had a lot of moments that just reminded me of ‘Supernatural.’ After a while, all of these kinds of shows spill into each other. By no means am I saying that ‘Sleepy Hollow’ is trying to copy ‘Supernatural.’ They share similar thematic undertones, but are totally different. With that said, I would love to see a crossover. I love both shows and all of the characters, so I think it would be so awesome to see them interact. During the first couple of episodes of ‘Sleepy Hollow,’ I kept waiting for Sam and Dean Winchester to cruise the impala into Sleepy Hollow and check out their haunt of the week. Plus, could you just imagine their hilarious interaction. Dean would laugh at Ichabod’s peculiarity and hit on Abbie. Crane would be puzzled by Dean’s relaxed vernacular and Abbie would shut him down with attitude. Meanwhile, Sam would geek out over Crane’s “beautiful mind” and he’d want to learn as much as possible from someone so uniquely knowledgeable. They could bond as bookworms. I know it will probably never happen, but it is still fun to think about. It also makes me wonder why the Winchesters never had a case in Sleepy Hollow. Someone should get on that, then bring in Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie to guest star. Chime in below if you’re a fan of both shows and agree.
Were you rendered speechless by “The Midnight Ride”? Are you happy Irving is finally on board with Ichabod and Abbie? Do you trust him? How awesome was Death’s takedown? Do you think Crane will be able to get him to “talk”?
Join me in the gush-fest below and share your love for ‘Sleepy Hollow.’
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‘Sleepy Hollow’ airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX.