Recap/Review

‘Sleepy Hollow’S2 Ep 9 recap: Mama said

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The Mills’ mother-daughter reunion had us in tears. (Photo credit: FOX via Twitter)

Wow Sleepy Heads! “Sleepy Hollow” delivered another stellar episode with “Mama.” Damian Kindler penned an intensely moving and illuminating hour of television which shed some much needed light on the Mills’ tumultuous and mysterious past. Just like most cases, learning more about the past provides vital help in their war against Moloch.

All week long Abbie has been rattled by troubling dreams of her mother, Lori. In this one, her Mama is singing “My Little Sunshine” and warns Abbie about demons while she’s stuck in Purgatory. Ichabod immediately takes notice and tries comforting his friend when she wakes, but she’s more concerned with his nasty cold. Her fellow Witness needs to get healthy if he’s going to help her, so she tells Sicabod to simmer down and get some much needed rest. Then Abbie heads back to the station to meet up with Sheriff Reyes.

Despite much skeptical speculation before Reyes’ arrival, the new sheriff has proven to be a trusted ally to Abbie. We still aren’t sure exactly how well she knew Mama Mills, but she’s trying to do right by the Mills family and you have to respect that. When Tarrytown Psych’s suicide rate suspiciously increases, Reyes immediately hands the case to Abbie. Miss Mills has proven to be a phenomenal force on the field, but Reyes also knows that Abbie would want in on this case and wouldn’t stop working until she got all the answers.

This is a wonderful scene between Sakina Jaffrey and Nicole Beharie. Both characters are strong, intelligent, motived, empowered and caring women. It is fantastic to see how they can get the job done while still being aware of the sensitivity and gravity of this immensely personal case. Sheriff Reyes keeps growing on us. Maybe one day Reyes will be aware of the true evil that threatens Sleepy Hollow. Until then, it is comforting to know that she will allow Abbie to do what she does best: kick demon ass.

Abbie brings Jenny along to Tarrytown. After all, Jenny knows this creepy place inside and out. Upon their arrival a patient named Walter tries speaking with them, but Nurse Lambert pulls him away. Rude! Clearly Walter had something important to say. He may look a little cuckoo, but his eyes were full of intent. Something is up. The Mills take notice, but move on and meet with Irving to see if he’s discovered anything from the inside.

Irving says their victim, Nelson, was prone to delusions and heavily medicated. He also found God shortly before committing suicide. Irving assures the Mills he had nothing to do with it. He doesn’t blame them for asking given his worrisome deal with Henry. For now, Irving swears he is still in control of his actions and he’s determined to find a way to save his soul. Poor Irving! He is in such a gut-wrenching situation. At least this case gives him a job to do and kind of puts him back to work.

As the Mills view security footage for some clear evidence of what happened to Nelson, we learn more about Jenny’s past. She really suffered in Tarrytown, but learned to deal with the abuse and misery. She recalls visiting her Mama at Tarrytown as a little girl. She hoped to have a real mother-daughter moment, but instead she watch the orderlies drag her screaming mother away. That is Jenny’s last memory of Mama Mills. Jenny argues that this case will not change what happened to their Mama. Abbie is still hoping to get some answers. She wants to know why she is a Witness. The sisters’ conversation is interrupted by a shocking revelation in the security footage. They see the ghost of Mama Mills screaming in the corner of Nelson’s room as he hangs himself. The girls fear their mother’s vengeful spirit is causing the suicides. Oh no! Abbie returns to the archives to do more research before jumping to conclusions.

Sicabod reluctantly sticks his face in a humidifier hoping to speed up his recovery. He desperately wants to help Abbie with this heartbreaking case, but until he’s well all he can do is provide moral support. Sigh. Ichabod is adorable even with the flu. Abbie reads through the files and sees that her mother was taking meds for her delusions. She struggles to recall her mom’s behavior in the past and wonders if she ever spoke of Moloch.

A flashback reveals an encounter between young Abbie and her mother. Mama Mills cryptically warns, “Demons have no mercy.” She fears the demons are trying to take Jenny and Abbie away from her. She gives Abbie a valuable piece of advice: “Eyes open. Heads up. Trust no one.” After the girls saw Moloch in the woods, Mama Mills probably reached her wit’s end. She needed to find a way to protect her girls and she was running out of options.

With Sicabod out of the game, Abbie calls Nick for some help. He comes to the archives bearing a gift for Ichabod: matzo ball soup. Crane scoffs at first, but can’t help admit that the soup is “somewhat comforting.” Then we realize Nick’s soup packs a punch. Since Ichabod was resistant to stay put, Nick dosed the soup to makes sure Crane recharges with some much needed sleep. Aww poor Ichabod. He’ll be ready to raise hell once he comes to. In the meantime, Nick and the Mills sisters head back into Tarrytown.

They view the security surveillance and hope to find their mother’s ghost before she causes more harm. Jenny believes Tarrytown turned Mama into a monster, so they need to put her tortured soul to rest immediately. Abbie still has faith in Mama and says they don’t know the whole story, so they shouldn’t assume Mama is the sole cause of these suicides. Suddenly they see Walter shatter a mirror in his room. He’s about to cut himself with a shard of glass. The Mills and Nick rush over to stop him. While Nick and Jenny restrain him, Walter cries that he needs to die. Mama Mills’ ghost shockingly appears. Once she sees Abbie, Mama transports her to a closed wing in Tarrytown. Jenny and Nick save Walter, then split-up to search for Abbie.

Mama warns Abbie that it isn’t safe for her here. Suddenly Nurse Lambert appears and questions Abbie’s presence in the abandoned wing. She notices that Abbie is unsettled and is starting to give off a super creepy vibe. Abbie cuts the nurse’s questioning short, rushes out and looks for the others. Meanwhile, Mama reaches out to Jenny. She just wants to be left alone, so Mama leaves a clue on the window. Abbie finds Jenny and realizes that Mama gave them the code for her recorded hospital sessions.

The Mills sisters return to the archives. Abbie asked the guys for some privacy, so they can watch the video by themselves. She is eager to learn the truth about their Mama, but Jenny remains reluctant. She’s teary-eyed just from rereading her mother’s file. Mama’s last note to the girls said she tried to fight it, but Jenny has her doubts. She mostly remembers being scared as little girl. Abbie understands, but Mama is trying to tell them something important. They need to get answers.

It is interesting to see the differences in Abbie and Jenny’s views of their mother. Abbie tries to be objective about it and gives Mama the benefit of the doubt, whereas Jenny feelings toward Mama are like a sorely open wound. Lyndie Greenwood and Beharie are absolutely brilliant together in this episode. Abbie tells her little sister that they will do this together, the way they did when thing got bad as little girls. Abbie and Jenny face the past together and clasp hands as they watch Mama’s video.

Lori Mills tells the psychiatrist that the demons followed her into Tarrytown. She’s been trying to protect her daughters from the demons and fears she can’t anymore. Then she explains how Nurse Lambert said she wasn’t a good mother. Yeah, never trust the spooky nurse. The nurse has been telling Lori that she needs to end her pain. Now Mama believes the nurse is right. The shrink tells her that Nurse Lambert doesn’t exist, she’s a delusion like the demons. But Abbie and Jenny now know the truth: Nurse Lambert is behind the Tarrytown suicides and she is about to add another victim to her list.

Nurse Lambert has been wearing Irving down. She gives him a couple of red pills and tells him it is time. He just has to do it. Irving shockingly starts drowning himself in a tub when Nick and the Mills rescue him. Irving is in hysterics and all he can say is “I need to die.” How horrifying! Great work from Orlando Jones in this scene. Irving’s pain is so palpable. Once they get him settled, Abbie fills him in on what they’ve learned.

Irving’s toxicology report showed traces of a drug that opens the mind to suggestion, especially those with demonic influence. Abbie promises they are going to get Nurse Lambert. Irving expresses his gratitude before Abbie heads out to get the dirt on Nurse Lambert.

Nurse Lambert viewed herself as an “angel of mercy.” She claimed 22 lives in the 1950s before they finally caught her in 1958 at Tarrytown. She was executed by electric chair in 1959, but death could not stop her. The Mills sisters realize that Mama is still fighting to save them. They find Mama’s old room in Tarrytown and discover a huge drawing that covers the walls. They peel back layers of paint to reveal a mural of the girls with “You are my sunshine” inscribed below. Goosebumps!!!

Then Jenny recalls a disturbing memory. Mama nearly killed herself and Jenny by poising her car with carbon monoxide. No matter how hard Mama tried to protect her girls, they were never safe. Mama reappears and tells the girls to find an ancient hex in a journal passed down by their ancestors. Nurse Lambert comes after Mama and Abbie, so Jenny and Nick quickly search Tarrytown archives for Mama’s box.

Nurse Lambert corners Abbie, she brought Mama peace and plans to do the same for her daughter. She straps Abbie down and says there is no escape. In a wonderful paralleling sequence flashing back and forth between Mama’s past and Abbie’s present, we see how both women try to resist Nurse Lambert.

Mama tried so hard, but was forced to surrender in the end. It was the only way she could find freedom from the pain. As Lambert forces the red pills on Abbie, Mama tackles the nurse and desperately tries to save her daughter. Meanwhile, Jenny finds Grace Dixon’s journal in Mama’s box and immediately begins reading a West African spell that expels witch doctors. As Jenny reads, Mama remains fearless in her confrontation. By working together, the Mills tear Nurse Lambert’s spirit apart, banishing her once and for all.

Nick and Jenny find Abbie and untie her, but Mama has vanished. Abbie is devastated, she wanted to at least thank her and see her one more time. She tells Jenny that Mama was fighting for them until the very end. Luckily, they still have another way of reconnecting with Mama.

Crane brings the needed supplies and joins Nick and the Mills in Mama’s old Tarrytown room to perform a séance to summon Mama’s spirit. They stand in a circle where Ichabod ends up being a buffer between Abbie and Nick. Little silly moments like forcing Nicabod to hold hands are so adorably priceless and offer a bit of levity in the midst of such great drama. The séance works and Lori Mills’ spirit appears.

Mama knew all along that Abbie was a Witness. She tells Abbie and Jenny they need to keep fighting. All she ever did was fight against evil and try to protect her babies. She illuminates Jenny with the truth about what happened that day in the car. Mama woke up and saw a demon who wanted to take the girls away from her. The second she realized what was happening, Mama slammed on the gas and drove away. She wasn’t trying to kill Jenny or herself, she was always saving the girls. She also watched over Jenny during her time in Tarrytown. Mama’s Purgatory was being trapped in Tarrytown, but the good that came from it was that she was able to keep watch over her girl. She tried to help them as much as possible. Then she gives them hope.

Abbie is destined to win this war. There is a weapon hidden in the pages of Dixon’s journal. If they find this weapon, they can use it to defeat Moloch. Abbie wants to know how they can free her from this place, but Mama says they already have. With tears streaming down their faces, the Mills say one last goodbye before Mama vanishes.

Again, stunning performances. Beharie, Greendwood and Aunjanue Ellis poured their souls out in this episode. Every emotion was painfully sincere. “Mama” was a sob fest in such a good way. Can’t say it enough: Well Done!!!

We are in for one more treat before the gang leaves Tarrytown. As they drive away, Irving breaks free and joins them in the car. That’s right. Captain Irving is now a fugitive. Woohoo! The whole gang is back together at last! There are going to need to pool all of their special skills too because they are in for a heap of trouble.

During this whole ordeal with Mama, Katrina has been playing mommy to Baby Moloch. Henry is vindictively manipulating his mother with every conceivable guilt trip. As she cradles the evil baby, Henry is amused to see that Katrina has a maternal instinct after all. So cold and calculated. John Noble and Katia Winter are chilling and brilliant in these spine-tingling scenes.

After Katrina puts the baby down she feels that is has sucked out her energy and left a dark imprint on her. She is not fooled by the illusion and quickly casts a spell to send the demon spawn back to his forsaken home. When Katrina returns to complete the spell and cast Moloch away, she discovers that he has suddenly aged into a grown boy. Noooo! At this rate, Moloch will be a grown man in a matter of days.

This is not good, Sleepy Heads. Thankfully the Witnesses know they can find a weapon that will stop Moloch. The two-part fall finale is going to be riveting and intense. What did you think of “Mama”? Were you moved by the Mills’ story? Were you disappointed by the surprising lack of Ichabod’s presence in this episode? Do you think we will see Mama’s spirit again?

Share your thoughts and stay tuned for more scoop!

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

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