Tensions are rising as Moloch and Henry continue to unleash evil on “Sleepy Hollow.” They are using the past to prey on Ichabod, Abbie, and Irving’s weakness. “And the Abyss Gazes Back” reveals more about Abbie’s history with Sheriff Corbin when we meet his son, Joe. As we come to realize, poor Joe is just another pawn in Moloch’s master plan. As Crane & Co. try to fight off evil, Henry persistently tries to drag more people into the darkness. He presents Irving with a temptation that is really hard to resist, but like Ichabbie, the captain keeps his faith when he is faced with pure evil.
Abbie introduces Ichabod to yoga. She believes this will help them relax, get focused, stay in shape and feel more bonded. But it has the opposite effect on Crane because he just feels more agitated. Working on his “double jugs” isn’t taking his mind off of Katrina’s deception. Ichabod is vexed by Katrina’s increasing number of lies. He fears he may not be able to trust her. The increasing strain on their relationship cannot be taken lightly. Abbie understands, so she asks what would make him feel better. Booze, of course! Alcohol over yoga. Oh Ichabod, this just makes us love you even more.
Ichabod lets his hair down and enjoys a drink with Abbie at the tavern. A fight breaks out after Crane’s amusing toast. Abbie walks over to do some damage control and finds Joe Corbin in the middle of the tussle. We quickly realize Corbin’s son has a major bone to pick with his former babysitter.
Joe, a Marine, was discharged from his tour in Afghanistan after a suspicious incident. He was the sole survivor of a bizarre attack on his platoon and he isn’t happy with the circumstances under which he was sent home. Now that he’s back, he just wants to blow off some steam with his buddies and he tells Abbie to keep her distance. Young Joe harbors a great deal resentment towards his father’s protégé. He also callously blames Abbie for Sheriff Corbin’s death. He lashes out at Abbie and takes off with his friends.
Abbie recalls how Joe was a sweet boy. He’d pretend to be Superman and say he’d save Abbie. Aww. Crane says, “Once a hero always a hero.” Then he checks with Abbie to see if he’s got his superheroes set straight. Peter Parker is the “arachnid fellow.” Hilarious! Then a tipsy Ichabod starts playing around with the breathalyzer when a call comes in saying there was a disturbance in the woods and Joe’s car was at the scene.
A fearsome creature brushes up against their car as Ichabod and Abbie drive into the woods. Crane sees the beast’s bizarre footprint and tracks the unusual animal. They find one of the monster’s victims and it is a gruesome sight. The man’s chest has been ripped open and hollowed out as though his organs have been consumed. Eww! They find Joe half naked beneath a tree. He cryptically says his dad knew. Yeah, something’s definitely fishy here. Abbie takes him to the hospital and tries to get answers.
History has repeated itself and Joe is once again the only man left alive without a scratch on him. When Abbie asks about what his father knew, Joe gives her a heap of attitude. Joe always felt like he was living in Abbie’s shadow. He’d wait around to spend time with his father, while the sheriff was off training Abbie. Wow. Joe has some major daddy issues. Their tumultuous relationship was even his deciding factor for joining the Marines. Given the sweet flashbacks we’ve seen between Sheriff Corbin and Abbie, it is sad to learn how neglected and hurt his own son feels. Corbin saved Abbie’s life and Joe makes it seem like he suffered for her salvation. After throwing years’ worth of anger and resentment in her face, Joe has nothing left to say to Officer Mills, so Abbie returns to the archives.
Ichabod has been researching woodland creatures from Sasquatch to Smokey the Bear, but they don’t match the description of the beast they saw. After mulling over the facts, Crane suspects Joe may be the culprit. Especially when Abbie reads Joe’s military files and discovers the same creature attacked his platoon. This violent account reminds Ichabod of an experience in his past.
Back in the day Crane served with his old pal, Daniel Boone. Yup, the raccoon hat wearing frontiersman. Daniel’s brother, Squire, suffered from PTSD or “nostalgia” as they used to call it. Rumor had it that Squire turned into a cannibal, but it was much worse than that. During the war, Squire was plagued by the curse of the Wendigo.
Daniel Boone lived with the Shawnee and learned about an ancient Native American curse that transformed men into a bloodthirsty creature that was part man and part beast. The transformation was triggered by blood, once the Wendigo consumed human organs, the man would return back into his natural form. As a Wendigo, Squire had even attacked his own brother. Daniel wore that goofy furry hat to conceal the wounds his brother caused. Abbie and Ichabod conclude that Joe must be a Wendigo.
When Abbie learns that Joe fled from the hospital, she checks out his house and searches for clues. She finds Sheriff Corbin’s will. He left Joe a few valuable and rare items to protect. He enclosed a code leading Joe to the items’ hiding place in Pioneer Point. Ichabod and Abbie find Joe digging in the woods and confront him. Joe finds the hidden item, sees Ichabbie coming and makes a run for it. He knows he’s dangerous and he’s trying to protect them, but he only ends up causing more trouble. When Crane catches up with him, Joe smacks him in the face and draws blood. This awakens the Wendigo.
Ichabod and Abbie call Jenny and Nick for help. They chain WendiJoe up in their Masonic cell. Jenny brings him some human organs to eat, once he’s finished his fleshy feast, Joe returns to his human form. Joe explains how everything changed after he received a letter. When Henry crushed the Pied Piper’s bone pipe, he was using it to cast the Wendigo curse. He laced the letter with the powder like anthrax and plagued Joe with this brutal curse. Joe says Henry will cure him in exchange for Corbin’s valuable mystery item.
Crane takes a look at the item and identifies it as Jincan, a potent toxin. Henry could cause a lot of pain if he got ahold of this. Ichabod apologizes to Joe for all of the suffering he has endured. He explains how Henry is his son, so he feels somewhat responsible for what has happened to Joe. Fraternal relationships can be a strange thing. No matter what happened, Corbin always loved and cared about Joe. When Joe asks Ichabod if he still loves Henry, Crane confesses, “Inspite of everything, yes I do.” Joe recognizes Ichabod as a fellow soldier and realizes that he is truly engaged in a dangerous war. He asks for Joe’s trust and patience. They will find a cure.
Nick has some Shawnee contacts, but they aren’t fond of the bounty hunter. Ichabod believes his lack of decorum is the cause of their rift. When they meet the Shawnee, Crane insists on doing the talking. He speaks of Daniel Boone and the origins of the curse, so the Shawnee realize that Crane knows what he’s talking about. They tell him about a cure, which involves a human skull and the Wendigo’s blood. There is a catch though. After the fourth turn, the Wendigo curse cannot be cured. Joe has turned thrice already, so time is running out.
Ichabod has the cure, but that doesn’t mean things can simply go smoothly. Just when hope is in sight, Henry barges into the cell. Shouldn’t there be some reinforcements? Henry stormed the castle way too easily. Joe is left with no choice and goes with Henry. He hands over the Jincan and expects a cure in return. Instead, Henry cuts Joe and causes his fourth transformation. Henry menacingly taunts Joe, “Now Abigail will see you for what you truly are, a creature of war.” Damn Henry that’s so cold!
Abbie and Ichabod track WendiJoe down. Ichabod fears there is no hope left for poor young Corbin. But Abbie refuses to give up on her friend. She treasures the history she shares with Joe, despite his hard feeling now. The Corbins were like family to her and she won’t let him go without a fight. When the cure doesn’t immediately take effect, Ichabod is prepared to kill WendiJoe before he takes anymore innocent lives. But Abbie has faith and Joe eventually pulls through. Joe has been cured. Phew!
Later at the archives, Abbie and Joe find Ichabod “unwinding” with a video game. We will never tire of his old-fashioned insults. It is also impressive to see how quickly Ichabod catches on to modern technology. He became a gamer in no time! While Ichabod finishes his game, Abbie and Joe take a moment to say goodbye. This experience with Abbie has inspired Joe. He asks her for a letter of recommendation for Quantico. He would like to follow Abbie’s path and hopes to see her again soon. Perhaps Joe will team up with the gang after he becomes a federal agent. He’d be a great asset in the future. Plus, Ichabod and Abbie will need all the help they can get. Henry has a lot more evil to unleash.
During the case of WendiJoe, Henry presents Irving with an ultimatum. Irving can save his soul by giving Henry another one. Frank refuses to take an innocent’s man life, just to spare his own soul. But Henry said nothing about an innocent soul. Henry challenges Irving to take the life of another one of his clients, more specifically, the drunk driver who injured Frank’s little girl. Still, Irving will not lower himself to Henry’s level. He won’t kill a man out of revenge.
Irving does not make this decision lightly. He speaks with the man who paralyzed his baby girl and the jerk shows no signs of remorse. Instead he taunts Irving. You have to give Frank a lot of credit. He comes close to giving into temptation, but then he visualizes the demonic monster he will become by taking this evil man’s life. Irving roughs the guy up a bit, but ultimately walks away. Irving has a stare-off with abyss and wins. Henry isn’t creating any more monsters today…or is he?
Henry may not have been able to make Joe a permanent Wendigo, but he did get what he was searching for. He has the Jincan. He pours out the jar’s contents, releasing two critters that merge to create a spider. Something tells us this insect will not create a heroic arachnid fellow like Spiderman. Could this creepy crawler be part of the Hellfire Shard/vessel plans Moloch has set into motion for Katrina? That’s what the “Deliverance” promo suggests. All we know is that Abbie and the Cranes are destined to face greater evil than ever before.
One would think Henry has proven himself to be beyond redemption at this point. Unfortunately, Ichabod thinks otherwise. He tells Abbie that he will not give up hope on his son. Despite everything, the Cranes’ still believe Henry’s soul can be saved.
“And the Abyss Gazes Back” was so well done. Wonderful writing, brilliant acting as always, and stunning special effects. Shout out to Zach Appleman who delivered an engaging and heartfelt performance as Joe Corbin and we hope to see him again.
This heavy episode once again highlights the importance of family relationships. In a way, Joe could have sympathized with Henry. Both felt neglected by their parents, yet both were very much loved. After this experience, Joe is set on the right path and realizes how much his father cared for him. Henry is still out for revenge. He wants to torture his parents, even though they still have his best interest at heart. If it comes down to it, would the Cranes’ be able to kill their son? Will their supernatural calling and duty outweigh their parental instincts? Abbie tries being a voice of reason for Ichabod, but it may take something more drastic than what has already transpired to convince the Cranes that Henry’s soul may be beyond redemption.
Sidenote: Jenny threw a little attitude towards Nick for flirting with Abbie. Will Nick come between the Mills sisters? Should he pursue a relationship with Abbie when he has so much history with Jenny?
What do you think Sleepy Heads? Are you surprised to see that Ichabod still has faith in Henry? Do you think the Cranes’ will waiver when faced with their worst fears? Do you hope to see more of Joe in the future? Were you fascinated by the Wendigo’s origin story? Did you love the make-up and graphics of WendiJoe’s transformation? Are you proud of Irving’s strength? Will Henry find another way to get what he wants from Irving?
“Sleepy Hollow” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX.