Recap/Review

‘Sleepy Hollow’ Season 3 premiere recap: Back in black

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Ichabbie’s back in action in ‘Sleepy Hollow’s’ Season 3 premiere. (Photo credit: Tina Rowden/FOX via FoxFlash)

Our beloved “Sleepy Hollow” has returned! “I,Witness” had it all (to be read in the tone of “SNL’s” Stefon): Ichabbie sweetness, Abbie badassery, nods to Jenny’s BAMF-iness, awesomely hilarious Ichabod moments, a Big Bad that makes your skin crawl, a demonic monster that will haunt you in your dreams, a legit FBI case with supernatural interference, and an ancient prophecy that propels Team Witness back into action. It’s time to stop the Second Tribulation, y’all!

Season 3 opens on an ominous note. A cloaked Pandora opens her cursed box and captures the Headless Horseman. It’s Death in a box! (Couldn’t resist). So, Pandora is officially the Big Bad who is taking Moloch’s place and she seemingly has the same goal. Moloch gathered the Horsemen of the Apocalypse to do his evil bidding, but Pandora has a different strategy. She’s collecting them all in her box and using other demonic creatures to gradually accumulate the things she needs to create chaos. This week, Pandora focuses on fear and conjures the Yaoguai. We learn that he is a demon that feeds off of fear and causes people to turn against each other, especially in tense situations with high stakes.

It is interesting to see that Pandora’s Box seems to operate on some kind of barter system. She feeds it Death and receives Fear in return. When she gazes into the box, we see some sort of stormy abyss. You can’t help but wonder, what’s in the box?! Does the box serve as a portal to Hell through which high level demons like Moloch can keep their apocalyptic plans on track? Or is Greek mythology coming into more focus this season and the thunderous lightening indicates the presence of Zeus? Or is the box a portal to Hades and the Underworld (Shout-out to Len Wiseman!)? How many different kinds of things can she trap in that thing? What kind of monsters can she raise if she captures War 2.0, Pestilence, and Famine? Is it always that easy to capture a Horseman or powerful supernatural being? She sang a song, worked some magic and just sucked the Horseman in. Seriously, what gives? “Sleepy Hollow” has certainly peaked our interest with this new twist. Now that we know a bit our Big Bad, let’s focus on our heroes.

Abbie is back in black as an official G-Lady. We see her in an action with her FBI mentor, Agent Mitch Granger (C. Thomas Howell. Stay gold, Ponyboy!). They’re chasing down her informant, Johnny, who promises to give them some important scoop on a drug ring the feds have been tracking. Abbie is confident in her skills and instincts, so she stands by her CI. She had no probable kicking ass and taking names while working in the sheriff’s department, but Granger is quick to remind her that she’s in the big leagues now. Ha! If only he knew. The Apocalypse is the real big leagues here, buddy. He says that someone high up really likes her, so she’s climbing the FBI ladder pretty quickly. Well that explains why she came so far from Quantico in the course of only 9 months. He just wants her to be careful not to slip-up in anyway. Suddenly, Abbie receives an unexpected call and learns that Ichabod Crane is in jail.

Ichabod Crane got locked up for smuggling a questionable artifact into the U.S. He’s spent the last five days in prison and finally contacts his partner after 9 months of radio silence. Ichabod left Abbie in the dark for months?! How rude! He totally deserves all the shade she is throwing his way. You don’t leave your partner in the dust like that. It is very ungentlemanly. Nonetheless, Crane had his reasons. He explains how he had to clear his head after watching his family die like that. Then he grew accustomed to the solitude. He admits that he regrets staying out of touch with Abbie for so long. Well at least he apologized. Now onto the crazy supernatural stuff!

Ichabod held onto Katrina’s amulet. Last night, while Crane was having a philosophical conversation with his cell-mate Jesus (so much awesomeness), the necklace burned his chest, then the emerald cracked and transformed into onyx. All of the energy has been drained from the amulet, which is their only connection to Abraham. Ichabod knows that something is going on with the Horseman of Death. But before Crane gets too carried away, Abbie needs to get him out there. A few lovable moments to note during this delightful transition: Abbie informing Ichabod of her upgraded status from Leftenant to Special Agent with a side of sass (go girl!), the silhouette of Ichabod suiting up in his cell (swoon!), and Ichabod’s farewell peace-out to his homies in the joint (hilarious!). Thank you, Albert Kim and Peter Weller for all of that deliciousness.

During an exceptional carversation, Crane fills Abbie in on a bit of his solo adventures. We love how Abbie still wants him to call her “leftenant.” We can only handle so much change, after all. We also totally agree with Abbie, we’ve got to see Crane on a plane! So, he went overseas to see if he has any descendants running around out there. Ichabod feels adrift and alone. The poor guy is grasping at straws to find family and purpose. (Side-note: It would be fun to see what a new generation of Cranes would be like.) You have to love the look Abbie gives him. Ichabod is not alone and still has family. Why? Because as Bobby Singer says on “Supernatural,” “Family don’t end with blood.” Sigh. Ichabod traveled to Scotland to check out his old tomb. Creepy. He found a tablet inscribed with a prophecy about Sleepy Hollow and their mission as Witnesses. He’s thrilled because Team Witness still has more work to do. Abbie thinks all the apocalyptic hoopla is over and she wants to focus on her work as FBI agent, which she is super busy with at the moment.

Just like the good old days, Abbie gets a call on the job and Crane tags along. The cops think it is an animal attack, but we all know it is Pandora’s fear monster. Team Witness also suspects something supernatural at play. Ichabod uses some dragon’s breathe which he picked up along his travels. The powder goes boom, indicating a demonic presence. And with that, Team Witness is sure that “Evil has returned to Sleepy Hollow.” Yay!

We get a look at Abbie’s new office at the local FBI branch in Westchester. Abbie is moving on up! Ichabod is proud of his friend. Abbie and Ichabod have another heart to heart. She doesn’t hold a grudge against him, if anything, his absence made her realize that it was time to move on with her life. Now she’s working on a big case called Anaconda. The FBI is tracking down a drug trafficking ring and there’s a big meet tomorrow. Agent Granger steps in and tells Abbie to get the task force together to prep for their meet. After a brief introduction, Ichabod reminds Abbie of her far greater purpose in life.

There are Seven Tribulations, so the war can’t be over yet. As Ichabod pleads his case, Dani enters with test results for the dead guys found in the woods. They were scared to death. While Abbie scans the results, Dani examines Ichabod’s hot bod. (We need a doctor stat, this girls got a case of Crane on the Brain. The cure? More Ichabod Crane. Hey, you can’t blame the girl.) Ichabod catching her mid-stare is adorable. Surely, he must know by now that he’s considered to be eye-candy. Such fun! On a more serious note, Ichabod wants to get to work on taking down the fear monster, so Abbie takes him to the archives.

The building is scheduled for demolition. They’re going to pave a part of history and put up a mini-mart. Jenny enters and gives Ichabod a big hug. Then she fills us in on Irving. He up and left, with Jenny’s help of course. So, Irving has gone underground, in some sort of supernatural witness protection. Let’s see if he’ll ever resurface in Sleepy Hollow. We miss Orlando Jones, already! Ichabod fills Jenny in on their new case and she’s game to help figure out what this creature is. Meanwhile, Pandora is still working on her evil plan.

She recites some incantation, “One for sorrow, two for mirth, three for a wedding, four for birth, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret not to be told.” Not sure what we’re supposed to make of that quite yet, but it’ll probably be revealed soon enough. For now, there is great power to be drawn from fear and Pandora wants more of it. Yikes! Also, what’s with the black plant she’s watering? Is it like the anti-Tree of Life? This is some weird and confusing stuff. At least Team Witness is starting to find answers.

As we said before, the creature is a battlefield demon called the Yaoguai and it paralyzes people with fear. The demons are servants, so Team Witness realizes there’s a new Big Bad in Sleepy Hollow. Now that they’ve got a lead, we know an Ichabod flashback isn’t far behind. And so Ichabod tells the story of the Red Devil in the Battle of Bunker Hill, where a Yaoguai took out many of their men. Washington and Franklin discovered the creature’s weakness and had one of their most skilled operatives carry the message to warn Colonel Prescott. Yup you guessed it, he’s talking about Betsy Ross.

Being a seamstress was just a cover, Betsy was a total badass behind the scenes. The Mills Sisters give Crane a hard time. He admits “there may have been moments,” but insists she was mostly his “partner in crime.” Before Betsy heads out to deliver Washington’s message to Colonel Prescott she gives Crane a kiss for luck. Wonder how many other “moments” like that they shared. Hmmm. Jenny does a quick online search and learns that the message is at Colonial Times, a super cheesy themed restaurant. Oh how we’ve missed Ichabod’s tirades. You can’t blame him for being peeved, it is a ridiculous place. “For shame,” indeed. Abbie snatches the satchel and Ichabod says he can decode Betsy’s cypher with a little time, so Ichabbie splits up. Abbie goes off to take down Chang’s drug ring, while Crane works on their supernatural mission. Now here’s where it gets annoying.

Pandora starts walking towards Sleepy Hollow in her cloak when she’s stopped by a patrol car. Suddenly she changes into modern day apparel before the cop’s eyes and he doesn’t even flinch. Ugh. Pandora’s going to be hiding in plain sight?! How frustrating!

Back at the archives, Jenny looks through a box of Sheriff Corbin’s belongings and stumbles across a rock of some sort. We know that Jenny and Joe will do some digging into the Sheriff’s past, so we can probably expect to see this rock come into play again. She sets it aside when Ichabod returns and they bond over their mutual difficulty of finding a role in society. Then they move on to work. The Yaoguai senses aggression like a dog and they are drawn to gunpowder. When Ichabod says that Abbie is at the drug ring meet, Jenny realizes that it’s the perfect place for the next Yaoguai attack. Hopefully they’ll be able to stop the creature before too many people get hurt.

Looks like we spoke too soon. Agent Granger is goner! Well Howell’s guest appearance was even shorter than we expected. Guess this now opens the door for Abbie’s former flame to swoop in. At least Abbie was able to wound the Yaoguai. Apparently, the monster is vulnerable when its eyes turn white. In the middle of their debrief Abbie gets news of Chang’s whereabouts. He’s in the midst of a stand-off and has taken hostages, so Ichabod and Jenny get armed while Abbie heads into the battle-zone.

In an attempt to calm Chang during a highly intense hostage situation, Abbie comes clean about all of the crazy things she sees. She distracts Chang by telling him about her role as a Witness and she gets the hostages to escape. When they flee, Chang opens fire, luring the Yaoguai. As the creature approaches, Ichabod and Jenny prepare to attack. An FBI swat team comes in and cuffs Chang, while Ichabod and Jenny handle the monster.

Ichabod draws him out with a shot in the air. Its eyes turn white, Jenny takes aim, but doesn’t succeed. As the Yaoguai is about to pounce on Ichabod, Abbie makes a BAMF move and shoots it mid-air. Phew! The partners have done it again. Finally, we get the super sweet hug we’ve been waiting for. Welcome back, Ichabbie!

Now that the monster-of-the-week has been dealt with, Abbie and Ichabod have a chance to retrieve his tablet. The inscription includes a sketch of the Witnesses and they look a lot like Ichabbie. The translation says they are the “Destroyers.” Team Witness discusses their new mission over beers at the tavern, where Jenny is now a bartender. Abbie tells Crane that just because Katrina and Henry are dead, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a family. Awww. Then she goes to the bar to settle their tab, since Ichabod chugged so much of their brew. Now for the kicker!

Abbie literally bumps into Pandora at the bar. They introduce themselves, Abbie comments on Pandora’s Box and the Big Bad gives us a clue. The box is a dowry. Interesting! So is Pandora accumulating all of this power to give it to a husband? Is her fiancé the one she’s speaking to through the box? Is she trapped in a role she did not want? Has she been promised to Hades? Are they plotting to rule the Underworld together? There are so many possibilities! This is a fascinating twist.

“Hard knocked life” plays as the episode closes and we know for sure that Team Witness is about to get hood-winked. We warned you that the ending was going to make you scream at the TV. Let’s hope Team Witness puts the pieces together sooner rather than later. They are too smart to get tricked by Pandora. Regardless, this is so annoying, but in a good way. Can’t wait to see what mythology lie ahead. This is fun thread to follow, especially if you are into the Classics.

What do you think, Sleepy Heads? Do you like the new direction “Sleepy Hollow” is taking this season? Are you bothered by any of the changes so far? Did the episode live up to your expectations? Do you have any theories yet? What are your first impressions of Betsy Ross and Pandora? Share your thoughts below!

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

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