‘Sleepy Hollow’ S3 Ep 9 mid-season premiere recap: Through the looking glass

Team Witness has a new recruit. (Photo credit: Tina Rowden/FOX via FoxFlash)

Well, well, well… “Sleepy Hollow” sure knows how to come back from a hellish hiatus. “One Life” picks up a month after the cliffhanging mid-season finale, which ended with Abbie entering the great unknown with the exploding “Eye of Provenance.” We know that Sleepy Writers wouldn’t dare to kill one half of our beloved Ichabbie. Nonetheless, we’re dying to find out where she’s stranded and how she can get out of there. One thing is for sure, everybody is a hot mess without Miss Mills around. Reynolds has retreated to a cabin because he can’t keep it together at work and has no clue how someone can just disappear into thin air. Jenny wants her sister back and isn’t afraid to kick some ass in the process of getting answers. Joe has Jenny’s back no matter what. And our dear Ichabod Crane just wants to be reunited with his “better half.” Plus, there is trouble in paradise for Pandora and The Hidden One. That dude is a royal jerk! When people are desperate, they tend to make mistakes. When dealing with the supernatural, we’ve learned that some mistakes cannot be undone. In this case, something pretty bad has been set into motion. Let’s roll!

Right off the bat, Sleepy Writers rev our engines. The episode opens with a flashback to Flushing Bay, New York in 1776. Young Nathan Hail is failing at Washington’s latest mission for his spy ring. The boy is just too visible for a covert look-out. Betsy Ross is quick to quip at him, while Crane uses this as a teaching lesson. After Ichabod advises to use caution and patience, we cut to him dangerously speeding on a motorcycle in the present day. Oh my! We can get used to seeing him all hot and bothered like this. Bring on Bad Boy Crane, anytime. After that titillating action sequence, Jenny snaps us back to “reality.” She gets a bit testy with Crane and reminds him that they all want to find Abbie. He doesn’t need to go out on careless solo missions. Jenny and Joe are working as a team, but you can’t help but wonder if that makes Ichabod even more sensitive to Abbie’s absence. Jenny has found her partner in crime, while he’s lost his.

Crane is flailing and desperate to find his partner. He fears the worst. Whereas Jenny’s faith is unwavering. Abbie will be saved. Why? Because there is no other option. Hell yeah! Virtual fist bump for some solid sisterly love. Way to keep the faith. Unfortunately, Ichabod goes out on a dangerous limb and casts a location spell at the sight of Abbie’s disappearance using a mystical jug. It doesn’t seem to work and Crane turns his back to the tree in despair. Then his eyes fall upon Sophie. She’s been following him because he’s a person of interest regarding Abbie’s bizarre disappearance. As they leave Pandora’s lair, a face appears in the tree. Creepy! Unless the tree is a helpful Ent, that face is not good news.

While Crane struggles to heat up a frozen lasagna in anguish and frustration, Sophie checks in with her boss. She tells Reynolds that she’s been keeping tabs on their “international man of mystery.” Yeah, baby! But she’s more concerned with Reynolds’ state of mind at the moment. This guy is a hot mess. Abbie seems to have that effect on men, eh? Just look at Crane and Reynolds without her. Since Reynolds is a wreck, she suggests he take some time off to regroup. So he retreats to his cabin and continues his search for Abbie on the down-low. Now Sophie can focus on Crane without worrying about Reynolds getting into any trouble at the office. Of course, her timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Crane’s lasagna is put on the back-burner when strange noises in the house draw his attention and little breadcrumbs lead him upstairs to her bedroom. This sequence is just asking for a kinky Ichabbie break-down, no? Abbie’s lingerie is the only clue to leave on the stairs as he is lured to her bedroom? Oh come on! Alas, this is “Sleepy Hollow,” so things get very scary before we can even consider getting swept up in a sexy alternative. Back to reality, sort of.

Here’s where things get super freaky. Sophie and Crane simultaneously receive cool/creepy messages from the other side. It looks like the spell worked because Abbie is obviously reaching out to them. For Sophie, “HELP ME CRANE” is carved into her hardwood floor. Crane’s memo is much more subtle; a hand punches through a mirror and grabs him. Yikes! Then their wrists are branded with mirror images of the same symbol. Is Abbie is dying?! What does this all mean? Okay, this is getting really spooky and we are loving it! Crane and Sophie hit the library to see if they can figure this enigma out.

After researching the symbols on their wrists, they use mirrors to create a gateway to other side within the safe confine of the Masonic cell. Crane believes he can walk through it and retrieve Abbie. Ha! Like it would ever be that easy. He harnesses himself to Sophie with a rope because that’s totally stable when supernatural forces play tug of war with Witnesses. Geesh, this is not Crane’s A-game, huh? They bring their wrists together and activate the mirror portal, Wonder Twins style. Then he enters through the looking glass and returns with a woman in his arms.

Sadly, that woman is not Abbie. Come on, Crane! You don’t go grabbing the first chick you see or feel. Now there’s a psycho demon lady loose in Sleepy Hollow. That’s never good. Ugh. This mess just keeps getting hotter. Sophie chastises Crane for messing with dark magic and releasing this evil into Sleepy Hollow. It is heartbreaking to see how desperate he is to bring Abbie back. Things are looking grim. But all of this leads to a magnificent moment when Crane gazes upon Abbie’s photos and candidly speaks with his dear friend. He knows what he did was wrong and Abbie wouldn’t approve. This sweet moment is cut short when Sophie knocks on the door.

Sophie is in it now. There’s no turning back after that dance with the supernatural. There was a grizzly and bizarre murder just outside of town, clearly the demon’s doing. Sophie has a gist of the supernatural, but doesn’t know nearly enough to figure this all out. She enlists Crane’s expertise. According to his research, the demon is an onryo, a vengeful spirit from Japanese lore that preys on the desperate. Crane was cat-fished by the onryo and Sophie was tagged because she was present when he cast the location spell and the onryo probably thought they were partners. Sophie knows she is no Abbie Mills, especially not in Ichabod’s eyes. He says, “It is only recently that I truly understood what a partner is.” He then refers to Abbie as his “better half.” Sigh. We are putty in your hands yet again, Good Sir. Also, we doubt that he ever considered Betsy Ross to be his better. Right? That is it! Ichabbie must be reunited ASAP because this is torture. At least Sophie understands where Crane is coming from.

It looks like Agent Foster is joining Team Witness and it is a bit unnerving. Sophie is riding in the car, working alongside Crane, teasing him about being cat-fished, and knows a lot of strange mythological trivia. It’s almost like she’s Abbie’s place-holder while our beloved leftenant is stranded in the great unknown. We have mixed emotions about this.

Sure, Team Witness needs help. But we won’t be comfortable with Sophie until we figure what her real agenda is. She already doesn’t seem very phased by the creepy, inexplicable metaphysical things they’re dealing with. We are used to a little head-scratching from newbies. Episode writer, Albert Kim tweeted that a deleted scene shows the full impact of all of this on Sophie. Even so, we can tell this isn’t her first rodeo.

And our hunch is right! Her family actually did have a brush with the supernatural when she was a kid. It doesn’t compare to the Sisters Mills’ trauma, but it still counts for something. Sophie tells Crane that her parents were archaeologists who strangely disappeared while on a dig in the Mayan ruins. Locals claimed they were dragged away by demons. Sophie has been looking into the supernatural ever since.

Now she encounters Crane, a man who has been living in that world for all of this time. Suddenly, Sophie receives a phone call, informing her that the onryo has claimed another victim even further away from town. Sophie figures out that the onryo is after the people who are specifically desperate to find Abbie, so it is headed towards Reynolds. (You can just imagine the side-eye Crane is giving Reynolds in his head for coveting his cherished partner so.) Off to save the day!

Crane shoots the onryo with glass from the mirror she came out of. With a clever optical illusion, Sophie lures the creature back into the mirror. Crane hands her the crowbar and she does the honors of banishing the onryo for good. “Welcome to the other world,” indeed. One question: Will all this mirror shattering bring Team Witness decades of bad luck? We sure hope not! While Sophie and Crane have been battling the onryo, Jenny and Joe have been working on their own mission to find Pandora and help save Abbie.

The former antiques bounty hunter and her new beau are tracking down a Russian map. Unfortunately, they need to go through Randall (aka the big guy Jenny kicked in the giblets earlier this season) to get it. He finally coughs up the info after being a douche about it. They find the map in a storage locker when they are suddenly ambushed by Randall and is henchmen. Just when we think there’s no escaping this one, Joe knocks out “dumb and dumber” and takes out smug Randall. Way to kick ass, Joe! Jenny throws her arms around him in a tight embrace. Phew! That was too close for comfort and stirred up a lot of emotions.

Afterwards, Jenny lays all her cards on the table and explains why she’s so reluctant to get attached to anyone. The girl has severe abandonment issues, rightfully so. Her father bailed, her mother got locked-up in the loony bin, and her sister betrayed her as a kids. Now she’s afraid of losing Abbie all over again. She can’t handle losing anyone else. It’s like everyone she has ever loved, leaves her. That’s why she is so afraid to love Joe. Hello! She just admitted that she is in love with Joe. This is huge, people! You all know what follows a passionate declaration of love, so we’ll give the love birds some privacy and check in on this season’s big baddies.

Pandora must have Stockholm syndrome. Why else would she seek out such an abusive brute? He has been nothing but threatening and demeaning. Pandora’s Box is broken, but she’s trying to salvage what she can and wants to remedy this catastrophe. Even when it’s in pieces, the box still has some magical mojo. They need to find the Eye to fully recharge The Hidden One’s batteries. When Pandora reminds her cruel lover that Abbie is no longer in this world, he makes it clear that her location is of no consequence. Pandora must retrieve the Eye or else. She assures THO that as long as Abbie is still alive, the Eye can be found. That’s good news for Pandora because The Hidden One wasn’t about to “suffer alone.” Wow! This guy sucks big time. On the bright side, if Pandora can track down Abbie’s location, then Team Witness must be able to find a way to save her too. Right?!

In this week’s flashback, Betsy and Ichabod’s mission ends up being a bust. The guards changed their pattern, so they cannot infiltrate the British headquarters. However, ambitious Nathan Hale disregards Betsy’s orders to stay at their base and gets caught by British soldiers. The boy will hang, for spies do not receive a fair trial. Hale’s capture eats away at Crane. Betsy remains stoic about the situation. There’s nothing they can do about it now. If they try rescuing Hale, their whole operation and covers will be exposed. Several men will die in Hale’s stead. All they can do is be there for Hale in final moments, so he doesn’t feel alone.

In an incredibly moving and powerful moment, Hale leaves the world with one of the most patriotic notions expressed in history. He proudly says, “My only regret is that I have but one life to give for my country.” Hale gives Crane an assuring nod before dying a hero. Wow. This was one of “Sleepy Hollow’s” heavier flashbacks. Major goosebumps! Crane cannot believe they just let their partner die, but Betsy speaks frankly. Not all of their partners will survive. They can’t always count on miracles to save the day. All they can do is complete their mission. Oh hell no! That is not Team Witness’ philosophy. There is always a way.

Team Witness regroups at the archives and Joe and Jenny realize that Sophie has been initiated into their circle of trust. Given the way Sophie convinced Reynolds’ to lay off of Crane (sure, he “talks like a Jane Austen novel,” but he’s a stand-up guy who could never hurt Abbie), it seems like Agent Foster should be okay in our book too. We’ll cut her some slack until she gives us reason to be suspicious. Let’s hope Reynolds listens to Sophie’s advice or else Team Witness will just keep on growing…either that or Reynolds will bust them all up.

Anyway, Crane believes Abbie would’ve agreed with Betsy and would not want Team Witness to lose sight of the bigger picture. They still need to find Pandora and The Hidden One (Sophie has a lot of catching-up to do). Jenny and Joe explain how their map is supposed to reveal the location of demonic entities like a monster radar. They expected it to expose Pandora and The Hidden One, but it showed them something else instead. Pandora is summoning supernatural creatures from all over the world and they are gathering in Sleepy Hollow. Uh-oh! Get ready for messy monster mash. Crane believes that if Abbie were there, she’d encourage them to “kick some demon ass.” Adorable and so true!

As the episode closes, we finally get our first real glimpse of Abbie. Halleluiah! She’s alive and unharmed. Now all we need to find out is where the hell she is. It looks like Team Witness will be getting to the bottom of that question in the next episode.

FOX’s official press release for “Incident at Stone Manor” reveals:

“In the quest to save Abbie, Crane and Sophie are forced to battle a supernatural force targeting the citizens of Sleepy Hollow, while Pandora and The Hidden One only grow stronger. Meanwhile, in an effort to find out what truly happened to her sister, Jenny faces an old foe: her father. Can our heroes solve their most personal case yet? Find out in the all-new “Incident At Stone Manor” episode of SLEEPY HOLLOW airing Friday, Feb. 12 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.”

What do you think, Sleepy Heads? How did you like the mid-season premiere? Do you trust Sophie? Do you feel like she’s acting as Abbie’s replacement for the time being? Were you loving all of those touching Ichabbie sentiments? Are you glad Jenny confessed her feelings to Joe? Do you like them together as a couple? Do you think Reynolds will take Sophie’s advice and leave Crane alone? Are you excited to meet Papa Mills? Share your thoughts below and on Twitter (@TalkTVwTiffany)!

“Sleepy Hollow” airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on FOX.


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