Recap/Review

‘Sleepy Hollow’ S2 Ep 8 recap: What the heart wants

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Why is everyone a sucker for a succubus? (Photo credit: Fred Norris/FOX via FoxFlash)

Succubus storylines can be tricky. This supernatural creature taps into your deep, secret desires and becomes the person you have been longing for. Once you fall into the succubus’ trap, the monster sucks out your life force and leaves behind a bone-dry corpse. In some incarnations, the succubus boils down to a matter of fulfilling a victim’s hedonistic sexual desires. On occasion, the succubus reveals an unexpected secret desire. For example, on “Supernatural” Dean engaged in a bromance with a male siren, which played out like a succubus in “Sex and Violence”. It was a clever twist considering Dean’s womanizing ways and it exposed his deeper desire to have a stronger connection with his younger brother, Sam. As a genre fan, one cannot help but keep these things in mind while eagerly anticipating “Sleepy Hollow’s” twist on another classic mythical evil entity. Disclaimer: I’m not usually a fan of succubus storylines, but the Sleepy Writers thoughtfully use her to bring some very important issues and feelings to light.

In “Heartless,” we find a combination of the aforementioned succubus scenarios. Henry unleashes his succubus, Lillith, on the people of Sleepy Hollow. Once she claims her first victim, Ichabod and Abbie realize they have another one of Henry’s supernatural forces to reckon with. With Katrina and Nick’s help, the gang tracks down the succubus and discovers Henry’s latest clever plan to satisfy his Horrid King’s desires.

The beauty of “Sleepy Hollow” is that the writers continuously make sure these characters are having the conversations that are taking place among fans after each episode airs. Ever since Katrina re-entered Ichabod’s orbit, her loyalty to him has been questioned. If Ichabod has his doubts about his wife’s secrecy, then the fans do as well. That is why it is so validating to see husband and wife have a candid conversation about their relationship.

While sitting in bed and watching a reality show like “The Bachelor,” Ichabod and Katrina offer some colorful commentary on the behavior of the men and women on such a show. This casual pastime becomes a catalyst for a somewhat uncomfortable discussion. Katrina understands that Ichabod still has his doubts, but she needs him to realize that every lie she told him was truly out of love and for his protection. She reminds him again that she is acting as part of greater cause. Crane gets it, but fears that “secrecy is a hard habit to break.” Ouch! But true. So Katrina reasons with him. They need each other as husband and wife in order to win this war. She has a point. If Henry manages to break-up his parents, it will be even easier to get inside their heads and fulfill Moloch’s wishes. The Cranes will be stronger if they work together, questioning Katrina’s motives will only weaken their cause. As Katrina and Ichabod reach this understanding, Abbie bursts in with some news. Abbie has been tracing Henry’s computer’s activity and she’s starting to worry. We immediately discover what she should be concerned about.

Henry holds a human heart, recites an incantation and conjures a succubus. He mischievously tells her, “We have much to do.” Let the creepy games begin!

The succubus stalks her prey at a night club. She sees a stereotypical shy guy with glasses. As she walks over to him, she suddenly transforms into the kind girl he’s always desired. The guy hangs on every word she says. Next thing you know, they’re in the back seat of his car and she sucks the life force out of him.

Ichabod and Abbie are on the case. One look at the victim’s body and they can tell this is clearly Henry’s doing. As they’re about to enter the club, Abbie tries to describe the place to Ichabod, but he’s already familiar with “private dancing societies.” Abbie can’t resist and asks if Ichabod dances. Of course he enjoys all the good old-fashioned ballroom dances, but he playfully teases his partner, “Wouldn’t you like to see.” (Yes, we would! Please make this happen, Sleepy Writers! There are rumors of singing, so dancing doesn’t seem like too far of a stretch.)

But seriously, Abbie is really worried about how dangerous Henry is. He keeps claiming innocent lives in such wretched ways. Can there really be hope for him? Despite these horrible deaths, Ichabod still has faith in his son. Can’t blame Abbie for getting frustrated with the Cranes’ unconditional love for their evil spawn. Especially since Henry just keeps getting worse.

Abraham has another mirror chat with Henry. He’s still fighting for Katrina and wants to know more about Moloch’s plans, but Henry makes it clear that Abe is just there to do as he is told. He dismisses the Headless Horseman and collects the fresh dose of life force the succubus has brought for him. While Henry gathers his winnings in a jar, the gang tries to figure out what kind of creature they are dealing with.

At the archives, Katrina sees a photo of the victim’s body and recognizes the wounds. The punctures are vitae vis points, which means that the life source was drained out of his body. Suddenly Katrina has a vision of Henry in Frederick’s Manor, a baby’s crib, and a heart. The vision brings on a headache and Ichabod drops everything to rush beside her. Abbie asks if she wants aspirin and Katrina requests tea instead. Abraham would bring her tea and it would make her feel better. (Yeah, that’s the kind of thing Ichabod loves to hear.) Ichabod takes Katrina back to the cabin to rest, while Abbie keeps working away at the archives. Poor Abbie. Sure, Katrina’s powers and supernatural knowledge are an asset, but she’s also a hindering distraction for Ichabod. It sucks to see Abbie left behind like that.

During their investigation, the succubus strikes again. Three friends are grabbing a bite at a diner. Melissa and her boyfriend and their buddy, Becky. When Melissa steps away, the dude assumes Becky is crushing on him, so he sets her straight. Becky rushes out in tears and the succubus catches her in a moment of weakness. It turns out Becky was pining after Melissa, not Mr. Full-Of-Himself. Melissa finds the body and Abbie calls Ichabod about their new victim.

Katrina believes there is a mystical artifact that Henry could be using. Ichabod looks through Benjamin Franklin’s journal and says that many items were unaccounted for, so it is possible. Since Nick is the connoisseur of supernatural artifacts, Abbie meets with him.

Nick is already drinking at the bar when Abbie joins him. She clarifies that this meeting is not a date, she just urgently needs his help. Nick is still hesitant after the previous encounters with scary supernatural creatures. He wonders if Abbie is asking as a cop or as a personal favor. She goes with whatever will get him to say, “Yes.” She shows him photos of the victims and he has no clue what could cause it. He asks Abbie to stay for a drink, but she turns him down and says she has more work to do. So Nick instantly moves onto a gaggle of bimbos at the other end of the bar. Rude, dude!

Back at the cabin, Abbie works with Ichabod as they try to identify their supernatural suspect. While expressing her disappointment in Nick’s womanizing behavior, she realizes what the victims have in common. What creature could be the cause of such deadly macking? Katrina steps out of the bedroom and joins their conversation when Abbie excitedly figures out that Henry is using a succubus. Go Abbie! She’s been learning a lot in those archives. It is so nice to see her take pride in expanding her knowledge of the supernatural. It gives her a moment to shine and show Katrina that she is privy to some unique knowledge as well. They are aware of the succubus’ catch: the more secret the desire, the stronger the pull. Luckily, Katrina can track the succubus with a location spell. While they work on that, the succubus finds her next target.

The succubus eerily mimics Abbie’s style: her clothes, hair and attitude are spot on. She walks up to Nick and buys him a drink. He is instantly sucked into her illusion and starts taking Succubbie back to his place. Fortunately, Katrina’s cool spell works quickly. The magical markings on the map track the succubus’ location to the harbor. The look on Abbie’s face is perfect in this moment. Of course Nick would fall for it.

The succubus has fully transformed into a scary looking she devil. Once again, excellent make-up by Corey Castellano. She starts sucking up Nick’s life force, he burns her with something and buys a moment until Ichabod and Abbie show up. Phew!

Ichabod strikes a solid blow and Abbie shoots until the succubus gets away. Nick keeps a Netheos Crystal on hand for such an occasion, the artifact was sanctified by the blood of an Arabian sheik and causes quite a blow on supernatural creatures. Abbie starts heading back to the car and Ichabod stays behind for a moment with Nick. He examines how Nick watches Abbie as she walks away. Crane realizes that Nick desires Abbie and he isn’t quite sure what to make of it at first. He simply points out the fact that Abbie and Nick have now saved each other’s lives, so she is no longer in his debt.

Could this be Crane’s gentlemanly way of saying that Abbie doesn’t owe Nick anything cough, cough for playing the part of her hero? Crane is mildly defensive of Abbie with Nick, but then he has a very surprising conversation with his partner in the car.

Abbie has been slighted by Katrina’s arrival. She feels reduced to a third wheel, even though she’s maintained her composure about it. She has been completely focused on stopping Henry and Moloch, whereas the Cranes have been distracted by their own familial drama. For example, Katrina gets excited over reality TV and Abbie brings her back to their reality. There’s no time for trashy shows when you’re fighting a war against evil. Come on! As Abbie talks about the succubus’ threat, Crane admits his shortcomings. His mind has been plagued by Katrina-centric thoughts. He worries about their relationship, if he can really trust her. Abbie helps put thing in perspective for him. People and relationships change and evolve. Ichabod just needs to learn how to go with the flow. Ichabod understands and appreciates Abbie’s input, so he offers his own.

Abbie has put her life on hold since she became a Witness. She puts all of her energy into saving the world. Despite their difficulties, Ichabod is happy with Katrina. He wants Abbie to find such happiness as well. He urges Abbie to open her heart up to love, even if it is with Nick. You have to admit, that’s pretty surprising. Nick has really fallen into Crane’s good graces for him to encourage Abbie to pursue a relationship with the roustabout bounty hunter. Honestly, Abbie could probably do a lot better than Nick, but given the circumstance, he would at least be an understanding boyfriend privy to this epic secret. It will be very interesting to see how Abbie and Nick’s relationship evolves hereafter. Right now, Abbie still doesn’t have time to entertain the idea of a potential lover-boy.

Katrina has another vision of Henry. She still has some sort of mysterious connection to Moloch. She sees Henry feeding the life force into a baby and the atmosphere has changed to vine covered Frederick’s Manor in the present day. Katrina focuses her vision and realizes that Henry is feeding Baby Moloch. Nooo! How could this be? Where did Baby Moloch go after the aurora prism expelled it from Katrina’s body? How did he enter this world? This just doesn’t make sense. Despite all of this, Katrina is still fighting to save her son’s soul. Ugh, here we go again.

This time Abbie stands her ground. (Yes!) She’s been kind and understanding, but this is too much. Abbie gives Katrina a piece of her mind. Crane and Abbie were doing just fine fighting together as two Witnesses before Katrina entered the picture. Oh snap! Katrina’s taken aback and prepares to snap back, but Ichabod steps in and stops the fight. He assures both ladies that the lethal combo of two Witnesses and a witch is unstoppable. They are better off working together and should not jeopardize the good thing they have going on. Ichabod diffuses the situation and they shift their focus back to the case. Katrina reads through some mystical texts, while Abbie examines her files.

At the archives, Abbie discovers more details on the succubus, also known as the Incordata, meaning “heartless.” The creature literally has no heart. She hunts and consumes the desires of others. If her heart is destroyed, her body will die along with it. Cue Crane’s history lesson!

To sum up, St. Valentine was the first priest to have killed a succubus, hence the holiday of recognition and heart decor. And another commercialized holiday bites the dust. The more you know…

The succubus’ heart is hidden in Shady Hills cemetery. Abbie and Katrina go to retrieve the heart, while Ichabod and Nick return to Club Twerk to find the creature. As always, seeing Crane out of his atmosphere is a delight. The blinding lights, the abhorrently loud music violent enough to bring down the Walls of Jericho, pretty much everything he criticizes is all true. There’s a reason why clubs aren’t for everyone. As they make their way through the crowd, Ichabod makes a bold gesture.

Crane asks Hawley about his intentions towards Abbie. Are they honorable? How so “Pride and Prejudice” of him! This is too cute and a little unexpected. Initially it seemed like Ichabod would never condone their relationship, but he really just wants to see Abbie be happy and have a fulfilling life. It doesn’t necessarily mean she needs a man, but if Abbie is smitten with Nick, a little romantic dalliance couldn’t hurt. Nick quips back that it’s none of his business. Then he wonders if Abbie was asking about him. It’s fun to see a wise-cracking tough-guy turn into a love-sick puppy. Meanwhile, Katrina and Abbie venture into the cemetery in search of the succubus’ heart.

Katrina admits to Abbie that she’s trying to hold onto hope, so much is slipping away from her and she really doesn’t want to lose her son too. She’s hoping their parental love will be enough to turn Henry’s heart. Abbie warns her that love isn’t always enough. Mama Mills loved Abbie and Jenny, but in the end that love didn’t save her. Their heart-to-heart is cut short when they notice some symbols and enter a tomb. Back at Club Twerk, Crane and Nick try to stay strong when confronted by the succubus.

This next part of the episode is very well maneuvered. Our attention shifts back and forth between Nicabod and Kabbie as they work together to destroy the succubus. Nick arms Crane with a Nordic blade that fights against all kinds of demons. Let’s hope it works on the succubus. Ichabod follows the succubus down a corridor and she locks him in a storage room. While the succubus has Crane cornered, Katrina and Abbie make headway in the tombs.

The succubus’ heart is in a jar cloaked with a perception spell that disguises the heart as something they individually fear. Maggots for Abbie and rats for Katrina. Knowing this is just an illusion, Abbie grabs the heart out of the jar and Katrina starts casting the spell. Meanwhile at the bar, the succubus is trying to cast her own spell on Ichabod.

Evoking Katrina’s essence, the succubus toys with Ichabod. She can sense that the emotion in his heart has soured towards Katrina. She can taste the bitterness of his doubt. As she steps closer towards Crane, she assures him that he doesn’t have to pretend anymore. It is alright for Crane to feel scared of losing all he loves. She comes face-to-face with Crane and he stabs her with Nick’s knife.

Side-bar Sleepy Heads: This doubt Succtrina speaks of can be open to interpretation. Most likely, she means Crane has his reservations toward Katrina because he is having trouble trusting her after all the lies. He has lost faith in his wife, but he hasn’t stopped loving her. After all, the succubus’ form confirms that Ichabod still desires his wife. On the other hand, Ichabbie hopefuls can argue that Ichabod doubts his love for Katrina because he’s developing romantic feelings for Abbie. That could also be the reason why he is encouraging her to find happiness of a romantic nature, even if it is with Nick. If Abbie is also taken, it will be easier for him to deny his feelings. The whole thing is up for debate, so share your thoughts in the comments below. Moving on…

The scene flashes back to the tombs where Katrina is in the middle of reciting a spell over the heart. Once Crane strikes the succubus, Katrina receives a shock and falls unconsciousness. Abbie calls Nick, tells him to get in position with the succubus and she resumes the incantation. Meanwhile, the succubus is in her true horrifying form, sucking the life out of Crane. Nick finds them and attacks the succubus. Abbie completes the spell and the heart catches on fire. Simultaneously, Nick and Crane work together to take down the succubus. Once her heart is smoking, Ichabod shoots at the succubus with Nick’s gun and it does the trick. The succubus shatters and the good guys have won again.

Over at the cemetery, Katrina confides in Abbie. Miss Mills can see how they are a stronger with a witch fighting by their side, but Katrina feels her powers can be put to better use elsewhere. She can sense Moloch’s growing power and he must be destroyed. She knows Abraham is still in love with her, so she will use the blindness of that love to her advantage. As we have seen before, “Love can be a dangerous weapon.” Katrina asks Abbie to tell Ichabod about her new plan to return to Abraham.

Abbie returns to the cabin and helps half-naked Nick bandage the rest of his ribs. She gives him what’s left of the succubus’ singed heart and figures he can make some money off of it. He teases, “It’s not every day a girl gives me her heart.” Abbie fires back, “I’ll have to punch you in the throat.” Wise-ass flirting is always entertaining. This could be the start of something good. She finds Crane and fills him in on Katrina’s plan. He agrees that if this works, it will cause a decisive blow against Moloch & Co. Ichabod says that Abbie was right, he needs to allow his relationship with Katrina to evolve and grow. She is more than just his wife and a witch. Katrina is a skilled operative with a deep and mysterious heart that she can use to her advantage. Let’s hope this works, Sleepy Heads!

Katrina returns to Abe and tells him she has had a change of heart because Ichabod has fallen for Abbie, as he suspected. Abraham takes her to Henry at Frederick’s Manor and he seems on board with his mother’s return. He asks Abe if she is still wearing the enchanted necklace, since she is he delightfully invites her into the nursery. He sneers, “Good to see you mother.” John Noble is perfectly chilling. Katrina peers into the crib. Instead of seeing evil demon Baby Moloch, she gazes upon an adorable little baby. Uh oh!

Afterthoughts

There is a lot to digest after “Heartless.” Pretty much all of the central relationships were addressed. In a way, this episode was almost a bit “meta” because these characters are very self-aware. They basically engaged in the conversations we have been having as viewers. Albert Kim did a great job of organically creating a dialogue about the Cranes’ relationship, Nick’s feelings for Abbie, Ichabod’s opinion of a possible Nick and Abbie pairing, and Abbie’s struggle to adjust to all of the relationships around her.

We also should address the #AbbieMillsDeservesBetter debate that transpired over the course of the week. Fans reached out to Sleepy Writers on Twitter and demanded more for their heroine. She is not just a side-kick to Ichabod Crane. Personally, I never viewed her as a side-kick. The writers have spent more time developing the Cranes’ relationship during the first half of this season, but strangely enough, it reflects favorably on Abbie. Let’s face it, Crane trusts Abbie more than he trusts his own wife right now and that makes a big statement. Abbie and Crane stand equally side-by-side as Witnesses. He has even said so much. As the season goes on, I’m sure we’ll see more layers to Abbie’s complex character (we got a sweet glimpse of her past in “The Abyss Gazes Back” and we’d love to see more moments like that) but I have never felt like this was simply the Ichabod Crane Show. Ichabod wouldn’t be the same without Abbie as his partner and foil, which is why they are such a dynamic duo. Plus, this episode also has Crane telling Abbie that she needs to get a life outside of the Apocalypse. This could be some foreshadowing. We just need to have patience. Although I do agree that Abbie deserves better than Jenny’s secondhand boy-toy. Nick hasn’t won me over just yet. What do you think, Sleepy Heads? The irony is that if fans just held on for one more week, they would see that Abbie is about to take center stage.

On the next “Sleepy Hollow”

This Monday (Nov. 17), we will finally learn more about the Mills sisters and their mysterious mother. Here is a detailed synopsis for “Mama”:

When a rash of suicides at Tarrytown Psychiatric Hospital results in staffers calling the police for help, Sheriff Reyes, knowing Abbie’s familial connection to both the circumstances and the institution – her mother killed herself while she was a patient there – assigns Mills to the case. With Crane suffering from and debilitated by a seasonal cold, Abbie enlists the help of her sister, Jenny (also a former Tarrytown patient) and Nick Hawley, in her investigation. The Mills sisters’ first stop is to visit former Police Captain Frank Irving, who, despite being an unwilling minion of the Horseman of War, maintains that his soul is – for the moment, at least – still his own, and offers to aid in whatever way he can… an offer that may come back to haunt him. As they investigate the recent deaths, Abbie and Jenny also try to learn whatever they can about their mother’s time at Tarrytown leading up to her suicide, knowing now what they never believed in the past… that the demons she feared were in fact real. As they delve deeper into their case, Abbie and Jenny make a startling discovery, leading them to believe that Moloch’s handiwork is again at play, and forcing them to once more face their past as they find themselves in an all-too-familiar battle for their survival… but this time, they may have an unexpected but determined ally.

Meanwhile, in Fredericks Manor, Henry continues in his plans to strengthen the infant demon creature which will, in time, grow to become Moloch, and he uses the unaware Katrina – who, due to the effect of the spell-casting amulet she wears, sees the creature as nothing more than a normal human baby – to aid in his rearing.

After weeks of the Cranes, we finally get a good dose of the Mills sisters and Captain Irving. Woohoo! We’ve been itching for this storyline for quite some time and it seems like it will be worth the wait. Could Sheriff Reyes be the Mills’ unexpected ally?

“Sleepy Hollow” Sneak Peeks (Click the hyperlinked titles below to watch the scene.)

In “Do What It Takes,” Reyes assigns the suspicious Tarrytown case to Abbie. She trusts Abbie’s instincts and knows she would want to get to the bottom of these bizarre suicides given her personal history. It looks like Reyes is shaping up to be that unexpected ally. What do you think, Sleepy Heads?

We Do This Together” showcases the Mills sisters’ vulnerability as they face the past. Jenny and Abbie hold onto each other as they watch a troubling video interview with their mother. We’ve already got goosebumps! This going to be an emotional roller coaster ride.

What did you think about “Heartless”? Did any of the conversations surprise you? Are you excited for “Mama”? How do you feel about the #AbbieMillsDeservesBetter debate?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

“Sleepy Hollow” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX.

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