Recap/Review

‘Sleepy Hollow’ S2 Ep 16 recap: Thomas Jefferson’s Fortress of Solitude

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Has Ichabod Crane met his match? (Photo credit: Brownie Harris/FOX via FoxFlash)

Where to begin, Sleepy Heads! Monday night’s (Feb. 9) “What Lies Beneath” was everything we hoped for. This fantastic episode, brilliantly penned by Damian Kindler and Phillip Iscove, takes us back to “Sleepy Hollow’s” roots and captures everything we love about this awesome show. We get a dose of crazy twistory delivered by Thomas Jefferson’s hologram. (What?! Yeah! We can totally get on board with that.) Ichabod and Abbie are back to their sweet banter and totally in sync with each other. There’s a fun splash of flirty tension from photojournalist Calvin Riggs, which spawns some more of Crane’s beloved side-eye. We’re smacked with some epic Mr. and Mrs. BAMF action as Jenny uncovers Frank Irving’s big secret. Then we’re left slack-jawed with a very disturbing mother-son moment. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to see more? Even the haters who abandoned ship will be chomping at the bit to see what all the chatter is about.

The episode opens like a classic horror movie. A construction crew works through Sleepy Hollow’s underground tunnels and stumbles upon a sealed vault door covered in symbols. They open the door and are attacked by freaky orc-like creatures that pull them down. Yikes! Way to get our attention.

The pace mellows as Ichabod and Abbie take a stroll aboard a battleship. Crane wonders if he’s fully assimilated in this era, then he goes off on one of his classic tangents about “instant gram.” Abbie playfully teases him, saying not everyone has a photographic memory to permanently capture the moment. Adorable! Despite their cheeky chit chat, Team Witness is still worried about the war against evil and the toll fighting such battles take. Crane completes Abbie’s recollection of Corbin’s memories of war by saying, “At the edge of death, we’re never more alive.” As long as the apocalypse looms overhead, Ichabod and Abbie feel like they are living on the brink of death. The important things in life become very clear in such times and Ichabbie has never lost sense of their priorities.

Abbie wishes they knew exactly who they were fighting. Threats are coming from every direction now that the doors to Purgatory allowed all sorts of tortured souls to break through. Ichabod urges her to have faith. They know they are tasked with seven years of tribulation (cough Hey FOX! That means we should get seven seasons of awesomeness. cough), but you can’t blame them for wanting to know who their enemy is. Until they find out, they’ll just have to fight one battle at a time and this week’s battle is very unique.

When the construction crew goes missing in the tunnels, Reyes puts Ichabbie on the case. They arrive at the scene and Abbie spots a nosey photojournalist named Calvin. He pesters Abbie with questions and starts overstepping his bounds, so she keeps him in check. Calvin explains that his brother, Daniel, is one of the men down there. He just wants answers.

The interaction between Abbie and Calvin is so fun to watch. We’re all for Ichabbie, but you have to admit, there’s some sweet chemistry between Calvin and Abbie. He’s a much better love interest than Hawley ever was for her. There is a palpable spark. Calvin studies her, almost like he is trying to read her mind or get under skin. She tells him to stop looking at her face and to wait for the official briefing on the matter. Calvin tries establishing his legitimacy. He was an embedded journalist in Syria, Iraq and so on. Plus, he grew up in Sleepy Hollow and knows about the weird things that can happen. Clearly he’s is not going to let this go, so Abbie says she’ll get back to him when they have more information.

Ichabbie ventures into the tunnels. They see signs of witchcraft and claw marks on the trap door. They use the radar mapping equipment left behind to see what lies beneath and Ichabod identifies it as a secret chamber designed by master architect, Thomas Jefferson. They view footage of the monster attack captured on the cell phone and realize they need to know exactly what they’ll be heading into. Ichabod and Abbie return to the archives to do some proper research.

Jefferson built the fenestella for a classified mission to safeguard secrets. Abbie teases Crane about his BFFs, but his feelings were clearly hurt by Jefferson. He says, “To use common vernacular, Jefferson unfriended me.” Awww, poor Ichabod. Abbie finds more information about the fenestella in Grace Dixon’s journal. The chamber is guarded by dark, damned souls. Ichabbie decides to go on a recon mission to see what these creatures are.

Abbie is able to contact the captives with her walkie-talkie, but the monsters attack before they even get close to the chamber. When Ichabod and Abbie retreat to get more fire power, Calvin confronts them in the tunnels. He is pissed and threatens to call his New York editor and then the military. There should be the fire department or SWAT on site to help rescue these men. Ichabod tries talking him down, but Calvin demands answers. All he cares about is his four year old niece losing her father. Abbie trusts Calvin and agrees to give him limited access, so she can control the story. But Ichabod doesn’t like him. Hmmm, could Ichie be jealous? He’s been flashing an awful lot of judgmental side-eye at Calvin.

Ichabod and Abbie return to the archives and discover that the fenestella is protected by George Washington’s secret forces. Over the centuries the men turned into reavers, amped up starving monsters who have now eaten one of the construction crew guys. Yeah, it was super disgusting. (Anyone else notice that the white guy died first? Take that, slasher flick stereotype!) At least now Ichabod and Abbie know what they’re up against.

Calvin assures Team Witness that he can be trusted, so he tags along, but Abbie keeps him at a safe distance. Crane confiscates his very expensive camera and turbo charges the flash with some powder so that the glaring light-show sends the reavers scattering away long enough for Ichabbie to make it to the chamber door. The door opens on its own and we’re in for a big surprise.

Thomas Jefferson lives! Well, sort of. It’s more like a hologram of his consciousness. Ichabod bows to greet his old friend. Jefferson explains his current situation. He worked with the Order of the Sacred Heart. Through a combination of witchcraft and science, they supernaturally harnessed his energy and created this projection containing his knowledge and personality. Basically, Jefferson pulled a Jor-El in a move straight out of ‘Man of Steel.’ Some might think it’s silly, but this Sleepy Head is loving every second of this! Ichabod looks like a kid in candy store. It is so cute how he pokes his hand through the hologram. But there is no time for games. Team Witness must get down to business.

Ichabbie asks Jefferson how they can find the missing men, but the ex-President has different priorities. The purpose of the fenestella is to assist the Witnesses. While he fills Ichabod in on the details, Abbie starts exploring the chamber and searching for the guys. She finds two survivors cornered in the reavers’ nest and knows rescuing them will not be easy. Abbie returns in the middle of Jefferson’s explanation.

This place is a safe haven and research center for the Witnesses to study the End of Days. The chamber holds all of the answers they seek and Jefferson is prepared to sacrifice a few lives, so that Ichabod and Abbie can keep this invaluable resource. Jefferson even sacrificed his friendship with Ichabod to build this place for him. The prophecy said there could be no interference until second the Witness appeared, which is why Ichabod had been kept in the dark about all of this. Now Team Witness’s mission begins in earnest. The chamber even contains a folio of their mentors to help guide them on their path. We see moving flashbacks of Corbin, Washington, and everyone who has been lost to them. Sniff Jefferson wanted to be among the men in that folio, but he had to keep Ichabod at arm’s length.

A heartbreaking flashback shows how Jefferson coldly rebuffed Crane when he came close to discovering his friend’s secret. And all of this happened while they were proof reading the Declaration of Independence! This chamber is Jefferson’s proudest achievement and the dude did a lot.

Founding Father or not, Abbie doesn’t shy away from speaking her mind and doing the right thing. She can’t understand protecting research over saving lives. She was chosen to win a war they could not. For Team Witness, the choice is clear, they must save the men. Ichabod and Abbie enter the reavers’ nest and rescue the men. As they nearly escape the dangers of the chamber, Ichabod lingers and looks at Jefferson before running to safety.

Calvin happily greets Daniel and they barely make it out of the tunnel. Ichabod and Abbie know the only way to stop the reavers for good is by destroying their power source and blowing up Jefferson’s chamber. They’ll lose all of that vital information, but like Ichabod says, they have internet. Abbie ushers Calvin and Daniel to safety, while Ichabod takes care of business below. Before she leaves Crane, reassures her, “I’ve got this.” Awesome!

Ichabod tosses grenades down to clear a path to the chamber, where he has a heart-to heart with Jefferson. He explains how much America has changed and recalls how Jefferson himself had said, “A single life is worth more than a thousand books.” You can’t blame Jefferson for being bummed. His purpose in all of this was to deliver the chamber of knowledge to the Witnesses and now it must be destroyed. Ichabod assures Jefferson that his ideals will not be lost. Jefferson just regrets having paid the price of their friendship to build something that ends up being useless. But he has no hard feelings. Jefferson reminds Ichabod that he is also a Founding Father of this great nation. Aww. So sweet! Then he tells Crane where to set up the bomb. Ichabod bids his old friend farewell with another bow. Sigh. Crane bolts out of there, calling out “Leftenant” as he scurries up the ladder. Just as he makes it to safety, you hear the blast go off with a roaring boom. If it is any consolation, Jefferson insisted that they blow up his cherished fenestella.

It is so sad to see Jefferson go. Steven Weber did a fantastic job and nailed this role. Hopefully, we’ll see more flashbacks in the future. He is such an interesting character to explore. Side-note: Did anyone else expect Jefferson to hit on Abbie? It would’ve been inappropriate, yet hilarious. Especially coming from Weber. Imagine the look Abbie would’ve shot at him if he did. It would have been priceless. Moving on…

Calvin and Abbie get the official story straight before he heads off with his brother. As far as the rest of the world knows, rabid animal got loose in the tunnels and a gas main ruptured, causing crazy hallucinations. Calvin says he’ll keep quiet for now and assures Abbie that he’s on their side. One day he’ll hear the whole wild story. As he walks away he tells Abbie to check her e-mail. He sent a photo of her and texts: “Trust me. I never reveal my sources.”

Does this mean Calvin will return to court our sweet leftenant? Perhaps. Sharif Atkins has great chemistry with Nicole Beharie and there is a flirty, yet respectful dynamic between Calvin and Abbie. This relationship is worth exploring, even if it doesn’t take a romantic turn. Calvin is a solid asset to have on Team Witness. Plus, he’ll keep Ichabod on his toes…right, Ichabbie fans?

While Abbie and Ichabod save the day, Jenny uncovers Irving’s big secret. She meets him for drinks and notices the Hellfire Club brand on his arm. She plays along and helps him break into the police evidence lock-up to retrieve his personal belongings. But once they are inside, Jenny confronts Frank about the markings. In a shocking twist, we come to realize that our dear Captain may not be as evil as he seemed.

Irving explains how his soul has been tarnished since his rebirth. There is another evil version of him inside and it takes over. He only remembers fragments of what Evil Irving does. He says the mark on his hand helped him pass Katrina’s soul exam. Once Irving realized the truth about his deal with Henry, he decided to buy his soul some temporary salvation by shielding the true nature of the curse.

In a flashback, we see Irving brand a rune into his hand and a light shines through him as it burns the Hellfire Club markings onto his arm. He finally felt human again and had some clarity. He found the Hellfire Club ledger in Henry’s desk and discovered that there is over a million dollars tied to the Club. He placed all the banking information on a USB for Cynthia and Macy to get far away and save themselves from this chaos.

Irving makes his case to Jenny: He lost his job, soul, and family. Now his time is running out and he can feel power of the rune fading. Evil Irving is about to replace Frank forever. Jenny is the only one who understands. His family needs protection.

Wow! This is brilliant. We wrote Irving off after last week’s encounter with Henry. This is so much better than just having Irving go all Dark Side. What a clever twist! Of course Irving wouldn’t go down without a fight and he is grasping at every last bit of his humanity. There must be a way to save him! This was such a powerful and intense scene with Lyndie Greenwood and Orlando Jones. Glad to see these wonderful actors have their chance to shine on the show. Jones has a lot of juicy emotions to work with here and he’s been bringing his A game. Well done!

Well, now that we have a glimmer of hope, it is time for “Sleepy” to damper our spirits with an ominous ending. In the final moments of “What Lies Beneath,” Katrina wakes up in the cabin and finds Henry sitting next to her. He explains how he laid low after killing Moloch. After his “father’s” betrayal, Henry wasn’t sure what he should do. He confesses that he killed Moloch for Katrina and for the sake of their kind. He hands her a black rose and the thorn pricks her palm. As she bleeds, he says it is time to begin their work. Uh oh!

Katrina awakes again, thinking this was all just dream. Then we see her bleeding hand and the black rose left behind on her stool. This is all real. Henry has a new cause to fight for and he wants his mother on his side. The time has come for dark magic to rule the world. Dun, dun, dun!

Katrina has always found it difficult to resist Henry. After “Spellcaster,” she now knows how powerful she can truly be if she taps into her innate blood magic instincts. Once again, we are left with more questions: Will Katrina turn to the Dark Side? Will she play a double agent again and pretend to be on Henry’s side, so Team Witness can finally take him down? Will this finally push Ichabod over the edge? Will he completely lose faith in his family and eliminate them as a threat?

Judging by the trailer for Monday’s “Awakening,” it looks like Katrina and Henry quickly go to work on their plan for dark magic domination. How far is Ichabod willing to go to stop them? Will this mother and son alliance make Ichabbie’s bond even stronger? Will Crane hesitate and cause a rift between Team Witness?

What did you think of “What Lies Beneath”? Did it feel like the good old times? Did you love Irving’s twist? What are your thoughts on Jefferson’s hologram? Would you want to see Calvin return? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

This episode brought out the best in “Sleepy Hollow.” This is the show millions of people passionately fell in love with a year ago. The series may have stumbled a bit in its sophomore season. The writers took some chances and many fans did not like the changes they were making. But “Sleepy Hollow” never got bad enough to write-off. These final batch of episodes capture the true spirit of “Sleepy Hollow.” We are seeing more of the Ichabbie dynamic that we cherish so much. This is the time for Sleepy Heads to band together and fight for our show. Those who lost faith should come back and see that there is still so much to love. Give “Sleepy Hollow” the chance to fulfill its potential. Allow Ichabod and Abbie’s story to be told to completion. This show is too good to lose. We cannot let their story stop open-ended. Watch the remaining episodes live and keep tweeting! Tell @FOXTV that we want more “Sleepy Hollow”with #RenewSleepyHollow!

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

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