“Sleepy Hollow” has done it again! “Magnum Opus” was perfect from start to finish. This episode had it all: gripping drama, exquisite action sequences, engaging twistory, pivotal apocalyptic prophecy, a surprising dash of Greek mythology, stunning make-up and visual effects, laugh-out-loud comedic beats, brilliant acting, beautiful directing, clever writing and the list goes on. Bottom line: Sleepy Heads can’t stop gushing about this phenomenal episode. Love it!
Abbie and Ichabod have been examining Grace Dixon’s journal for more clues and they’ve reached a dead end. Abbie uses a profiler’s trick and plays a game of heads-up with Ichabod in hopes of tapping into their subconscious and figuring things out. Ichabod loses the game and before they play another round, Katrina calls in from a nearby mirror. So mirrors have become the supernatural/magical version of facetime or skype. Be sure to always look your best because you never know who might come calling, Sleepy Heads.
Katrina urgently warns them about Moloch’s new status: he’s alive and growing too quickly for comfort. She hears Henry approaching and abruptly hangs-up, so to speak. Katrina thinks she pulled one over on Henry, but unfortunately her son had been anticipating this conversation all along. When Katrina leaves the room, Henry holds the edge of the mirror. His eyes turn black and he can hear Ichabbie’s conversation in the archives. Crap, now Henry will be privy to the Witnesses’ plan and it’s a doozy too.
Ichabod and Abbie hit their journals again and see something in a new light. A passage says to heed the chosen words of the watchers or fallen angels/demons. Ichabod looks more closely and discovers an anagram for Enoch’s Sword, also known as the Sword of Methuselah.
Ichabod explains how Methuselah was blessed with this divine sword and he used it to destroy a thousand demons. This is the weapon Mama Mills told them about. They continue looking through the journals and come across Benjamin Franklin’s “Join or Die” cartoon depicting America’s first colonies as a segregated serpent. They look at a map and find a river in the same serpentine shape. Of course Franklin’s illustration serves as treasure map and secret message to the Free Masons! Very clever. There is a prophecy accompanying the map and it warns: know yourself completely or perish. As Ichabod says, “clarity of purpose is a rare gift” and luckily the two Witnesses have it. So they head out to find the sword. But they aren’t the only ones embarking on this treasure hunt.
Henry heard everything and instructs Abraham to get the sword before Ichabbie. The Headless Horseman is concerned about the impending sunrise, but Henry just sneers at him to act fast before he gets burned. Abraham hops on his red-eyed demon horse. He’s locked and loaded all ready to go when Katrina tries distracting him. He will not be swayed. Abraham says Katrina is his greatest treasure and Crane stole her away. He will be damned if he lets Ichabod take the sword too. Oooh those are fighting words! Abraham is itching to take Ichabod out and have Katrina all to himself. Brace yourselves, Sleepy Heads!
Ichabod and Abbie arrive at the “X” marked on the map and she recognizes this place from her dream in “Mama.” Another nice touch, Sleepy Writers. Everything is so carefully planned on “Sleepy Hollow” and that tact is greatly appreciated. Suddenly the Headless Horseman charges onto the scene. Ichabod urges Abbie to have patience and wait until daybreak when the sun will eliminate this problem for them. Yeah, have you met Abbie? She isn’t going to sit around and wait.
Abbie moves in closer and Abraham hears her when she accidently nudges a brick. He is on the brink of catching her when Ichabod steps out of the shadows and calls out to his nemesis. He successfully distracts the Horseman and takes cover just as the sun begins to rise. A steaming Abraham rides away in failure and Ichabod celebrates with a cheeky quip: “Good morning, sunshine.” Adorable! So Ichabod was right and Abbie teases about how he must planned the time of sunrise. Turns out he just followed the weather app Abbie installed on his cell. Well done, Ichabod. He catches on really fast and has made so much progress adjusting to modern technology. Loving it!
The Witnesses are happy to have a head start before the Horseman returns at nightfall, but Ichabod still feels bittersweet about his soured friendship with Abraham. He lamentingly tells Abbie about the way in which Abraham convinced Ichabod to join him in America. Ichabod Crane ironically owes his identity to Abraham. Cue the flashback!
In a swashbuckling scene featuring delightfully choreographed swordplay, Abraham urges Ichabod to break away from his boring life. Why follow in his father’s footsteps and become a professor when he can explore the New World and fight for freedom? Of course, Abraham boasts his accomplishments and holds them over Ichabod in a teasing way. Crane quips back: “Whatever man I may be, I’m still your better.” So true!
Abraham and Ichabod’s journeys and fates have been intertwined from the start. The prophecy is real and self-fulfilling. Ichabod must know himself completely and he knows that he is now being challenged by the man who shaped his destiny. Abraham has had a crucial and definitive influence throughout Ichabod’s life.
Another flashback reveals the happy time when Ichabod had freshly joined Abraham in the New World. They are celebrating over drinks when Crane goes to get another round and bumps into Katrina at the bar. Abraham walks over and gleefully introduces his dear friend to his fiancée. What he doesn’t realize yet is that Katrina and Ichabod had already begun to fall for each other when she turned him during his days in Boston. Now an ignorant Abraham celebrates the thought of the three of them being BFFs.
None of this was Ichabod’s fault, but he almost seems to carry guilt for what happened. The saga of their friendship is epic and profound. It is not easy for Ichabod to see how vastly far away Abraham has strayed from the honorable man and loyal friend he used to be. Crane ponders how he can know himself when at every turn he was shaped by others. Poor Ichabod. He needs to buck-up because he can’t lose faith now. Thankfully Abbie comfortingly reassures her partner and helps keep his head in the game.
Abbie saw Abraham take a plaque away. It was engraved with the image of a snake eating its tail, a symbol of the Knights Templar. They piece together the clue, “As above, so below.” Ichabod thinks in terms of heaven and earth, but Abbie looks at it literally: the sword is beneath them underground. They uncover a spiraling stone stairway and venture into the dark depths below. The tunnels contain what appears to be an “It’s a Small World” diverse collection of statues all striking the same terrorized pose. We see a variety of international soldiers and warriors spanning the centuries. Then Abbie discovers her ancestor, one of Grace Dixon’s daughters, holding a lamp in horror. These are not mere statues. They are humans who have been turned into stone. All of these people came searching for the sword and died trying to get. Only one creature can turn a person into stone: a gorgon. This just keeps getting better! “Sleepy Hollow” is adding classic Greek mythology to the canon. Who is ready for some Medusa-style action?
Ichabod and Abbie now realize what the prophecy meant when it warned that you will perish when you attempt to see. Locking eyes with a gorgon turns you into stone. In hindsight it seems like the New World was discovered as part of everyone’s search for the sword. So many lives have been lost for this cause, including most of Abbie’s ancestors. From Grace Dixon to Mama Mills. Abbie fears that it is her destiny to die as well. Crane immediately tells her to banish the thought. Ichabbie will face their fears together and they will win. They can start by letting Abraham take care of the gorgon for them. It makes sense, the gorgon will be no match for an axe-wielding Headless Horseman: no eyes, no problem.
Back at Camp Evil, Henry breaks out the grand trumpet, the instrument that brought down the Walls of Jericho and will summon the start of the Apocalypse. When Moloch is fully grown, Henry will sound the trumpet. Uh oh. Katrina sees this and taunts her son, asking if there will be a recital later this evening. Oh this is getting juicy. She’s starting to throw some of Henry’s nastiness back at him. Henry snaps back that Katrina should be more concerned with what she’ll have for her last meal. Then he goes in for the knock-out punch: unlike Katrina, Henry would never poison his own flesh and blood. Katia Winter and John Noble play so wonderfully together. Their scenes are always wrought with tension. Katrina sees that Moloch has already grown into a teenager and knows it won’t be much longer now. So she has a real mother-son heart to heart with Henry.
Henry views Katrina’s humanity as a weakness, but she argues that her love for Henry is what allowed her to save him as a baby when her coven wanted him dead. But Henry was not spared from harm. She should’ve let Ichabod die and raised her son instead. Katrina implores Henry to search for the humanity that lingers deep within his soul. Henry flat out renounces his humanity. Just like he did with Ichabod, Henry tells Katrina the he is happy with the choice he has made. Tonight he shall sound the horn three times and summon the End of Days. Gulp! As if we weren’t already on the edge of our seats. Let’s hope Ichabbie’s plan works.
Darkness falls and Ichabod has prepared homemade torches fashioned out of his socks. Aww super cute, but Abbie went with flares that are simply lit. They realize this plan seems nuts, but it is still sound. Before taking action, Ichabod assures Abbie that Mama Mills would be very proud of her. So sweet! This episode shows Ichabbie’s friendship, partnership and Witness-ship at its best. We are loving every second of Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison’s moving and emotionally charged scenes together.
The Headless Horseman arrives and they throw a flare into the pit, luring him down. They let Abraham battle the gorgon while they find the sword’s hiding place. They discover a circle of swords surround a basin of water. Ichabod ventures back out to buy Abbie more time to pick the right sword, she probably has one chance, so she must choose wisely. No pressure. Abbie examines her options and Ichabod finds himself in another duel.
Ichabod conceals the gorgon’s decapitated head with his coat and averts her deadly gaze. At least that part of their plan went off without a hitch. He comes face-to-face with Abraham and is surprised to see the Headless Horseman in his true form. The lair has been enchanted by the prophecy, so that everyone is seen in their true form. Cool! But that may make this harder on Ichabod given how he’s been wrestling with his history with Abraham. And Abe is rubbing it all in now that he’s got the chance.
Abraham calls Ichabod a betrayer and picks up his shotgun to kill his former friend. Ichabod alerts him to the lack of honor in such a death. Each has won a duel in the past, so they should have one more deciding match. Squee! No words have been truer: “Our story is forever to be told by swordplay.” Poetry in motion, people! You’ve got to love this. Fighting axe versus sword, the scene plays out magnificently flashing back and forth between the present and past duels. Doug Aarniokoski’s direction and the choreography is spectacular!
As Ichabod fights his old friend, he still hopes there can be redemption for Abraham. Crane says this visage of Abraham is the ghost of who he once was. He has become a creature of darkness. Abe lays on the guilt, shouting back, “I am what you made.” Everything changed the moment Ichabod stole Katrina’s heart. Abraham continues: “I was supposed to be the hero of this story. NOT the villain!” Ichabod replies: “You CHOSE the mantle of death!” By choosing Moloch, Abe ensured that Katrina would never want to be with him. Yet she keeps returning to Abraham. We know that quip won’t get under Crane’s skin because she is playing the Headless Horseman. Nonetheless, Abe has had enough and starts shooting at Ichabod. Poor form!
Running out of time, Ichabod pressures Abbie into picking a sword. She grabs one and it turns into a snake. All the swords turn into snakes and slither tough a hole in the wall. (Insert inappropriate Samuel L. Jackson snake joke of your choosing.) Abraham is ready to take them both out with one shot. Abbie is surprised to see his face and catches up on the enchantment deal. She laments that they came here for nothing. Abraham menacingly says, “You came to die.” Neil Jackson is bringing it in this episode. You do not want to cross him. Abe’s about to strike when he hears Henry sound the Trumpet of Doom. Moloch calls Abraham away, but before he takes-off Crane leaves his frenemy with a parting thought. Ichabod assures Abe, “Your jealousy made you this, not I.” In response, Abraham choose to watch Crane suffer in Hell, while he rides away with Katrina. Without the sword, Crane has nothing. With that, Abraham returns to Moloch feeling victorious.
Ichabbie’s worst fear is coming to life, the trumpet sounds just as the Book of Revelations had said. What can they do to stop the Apocalypse now? Abbie hasn’t given up hope. They can choose to live and fight. Ichabod’s life has been made from a series of choices. He decided to be a patriot and hero. Ichabod absorbs Abbie’s words and sweetly replies, “Through your eyes I see myself clearly.” Sigh! Again, Ichabbie’s relationship is deeper than any kind of romance. Love them!
Ichabod looks into the basin of water and sees his reflection. The sword is underwater! Ichabod touches the liquid and realizes it is oil. He takes his handy torch and goes to light it, but it extinguishes the fire instead. Both Witnesses have each other for a reason, they must work together. Abbie and Ichabod simultaneously dip their torches into the oil and a fire ignites. They see the sword underneath. Abbie insists on having Crane do the honors and we get a little taste of iconic Excalibur action. A bright white light shines down on Ichabbie as he holds the sword. Ichabod victoriously declares, “Moloch shall not rise.” But they may be too late, but we’ll get back to that in a moment.
Another perk of this episode is that it featured all of “Sleepy Hollow’s” series regulars. While Ichabbie went on their epic adventure, Jenny was trying to get Irving to safety. They are driving towards the Canadian border when Abbie tells them the bad news: Sheriff Reyes has set up check points all over the place in hopes of capturing their fugitive Captain. As they approach a check point, Irving insists on cutting Jenny loose. It will be safer for both of them if he ventures through the woods on foot. Jenny gives him a burner phone and promises to meet up with him soon.
Irving is going to such great lengths to protect his family and they don’t even know the truth about what’s happening. He doesn’t want to cause any more trouble or pain. Irving leaves Jenny a voicemail that says he’s going to continue to fight, but he needs to stay underground. He’ll see Jenny again soon, hopefully in a better world.
During Monday’s highly anticipated fall finale, Irving will play a pivotal role in the Apocalypse. So do not despair after “Magnum Opus’” jaw-dropping final scene.
The episode concludes with Moloch standing before Henry in his full frightening form. The Horsemen of War and Death surround the Horrid King in all their evil glory. And we are left speechless, anxiously awaiting to see what happens in “The Akeda” next Monday.
Can’t stop gushing over this fantastic episode, Sleepy Heads! It is one of the best of this season, so far. Judging from the trailer, Monday’s conclusion will be mind-blowing.
What did you think of “Magnum Opus”? What were your favorite moments? Did you love all of the Ichabbie scenes? Are you intrigued by the irony of Henry and Abraham’s descent into evil? Both men were driven into darkness as a result of some intensely negative and primal human emotions. If human emotions drove them into a life of evil, can humanity bring them back into the light? Henry and Abraham have made their chose clear, is it still worth fighting for their souls? Will Katrina and Ichabod be able to let them go for good?
Share your thoughts below and stay tuned for more scoop!
“Sleepy Hollow’s” mid-season finale airs Monday, Dec. 1 at 9 p.m. on FOX.