TV Corner: Sleepy Hollow Recap and Review

[Content Note: This post contains mentions of infectious disease, child endangerment, and child loss. There are also spoilers for episode "John Doe."]

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“Your Smokey Grey eyeshadow matches the fog, Beloved!”

Goosebumptastic Gauge: 5/5

Historical Facepalm Level: 3/5

Awesome Abbie-ness Rating: 3/5

Intriguing Ichabod-ery Rating: 5/5

Mytharc Meter: 3/5

This week in scary openings: A young African-American girl dressed in a short white dress is walking in the forest. A white boy dressed in a puffy short and breeches is watching as she picks random stuff. Because poison ivy is fun, kids! As the children start playing, a Horseperson wearing either a feathered or horned hemet appears. I guess zie’s supposed to be Vercingetorix? Or maybe Suenaga. Wevs! It’s scary and the boy runs. There is dramatic horn music. And then boy runs onto a modern highway with cars! POOF! The Horned (feathered?) Horseperson disappears.

Commercial time!

After the fabric softener advertisement, we find the Bickersons Abbie and Ichabod, entering Sherrif Kindly’s abandoned cabin with groceries. Ichabod prefers to stay here rather than his motel. He has a different definition of “old” than Abbie. *imaginary laughtrack* He is confused by spackle and plastic. *imaginary laughtrack* He looks in a mirror and wonders if he looks out of place. Abbie tells him he looks good for 200 years but a change of clothes would be good. *imaginary laughtack*

Just as the dialogue threatens to go full-tilt 1950s sitcom, Abbie gets an emergency call. They leave the cabin, where it is daytime. At the emergency scene, it is night. (Because in Sleepy Hollow, like Narnia, time runs differently, see?) It is Breeches Boy from the opening! Detective Vaguely Douchey is there.

Abbie: Was he alone?

Detective Vaguely Douchey: He was unaccompanied. Wish I could say the same for you, in order to establish my continuing hostility towards Ichabod!

Ichabod: Your continuing hostility is duly noted. LEFTENANT (obligatory), has anyone else noticed this kid is dressed in the style of another time and place and covered in black veins?

(No-one has noticed.)

Boy: Something something archaic language!

Abbie: wtf was that?

Ichy: It is MIDDLE English. Spoken in the MIDDLE Ages. Thus the term MIDDLE. I studied it at Oxford, ya know. Something something LANGUAGE OF CHAUCER. The kid said, (and I quote), “Something something EVIL.” Also, MIDDLE MIDDLE MIDDLE.

Abbie: We get the extremely weird idea.

Abbie, Ichy, and Captain “Grumpy” Orlando Jones are discussing the kid. Detective Vaguely Douchey is still hostile towards Ichabod.

Detective Vaguely Douchey: There’s been a lot of talk. He was a suspect. Now he’s a consultant. I am not only establishing my hostility, I’ve decided to expand on it, maybe build a hostile sunroom with a special hostility deck where I can throw hostility parties.

Captain Grumpy: You remain a douchebag who is jealous because you and Abbie broke up. I remain the one who calls the shots, and I call Ichabod as useful. You remain an asshat who should probably slink away now.

Detective Vaguely Douchey: (slinks)

Then Captain Orlando Jones stops looking grumpy and looks…. Furtive? Whatever it is, it is definitely not-Grumpy! Surely, This Will Be Significant. ANYWAY! The CDC arrives, quarantines the place, Ichabod continues to be baffled by plastic. But not, apparently, germ theory, which he doesn’t even ask about. (Ooookay!)The kid is in quarantine but hooked up to a video link. The CDC dude asks Ichabod to help them find out more.

CDC Dude: I’m going to keep calling the kid “the vector” in order to underline that I am a soulless bureaucrat. Because Republicans know we definitely should all be hostile towards the CDfrigginC.

Ichabod: He’s a CHILD. One who speaks CHAUCER. A Chaucerchild, as it were.

Chaucerchild: Something something Middle English.

Ichabod: (translating) His name is Thomas, he’s sorry he followed the EVIL GIRL into the woods, he left home, he’s from Roanoke. Not THAT Roanoke, probably the colonial one from 1588. Something something, Virginia Dare, AND THIS TOTALLY EXPLAINS THE MIDDLE ENGLISH.

(Now, if you are thinking to yourself, “Uh, shouldn’t that be more like the language of Shakespeare then and not the language of Chaucer? YOUR EXPLANATION IS FULL OF FAIL,” then you win a prize. I’m not sure what prize—the Orb of Obviousness, perhaps?—but you do win a prize. I’ll send it to you some time after my teeth stop grinding, which will be around the 24th century. When we’re all speaking STAR TREK ENGLISH.)

Captain Grumpy: The disease is spreading. Outbreak!

Ichabod: Plague! Apocalypse!

Infected Guy in Bed: It’s the Horned Horseperson!

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“I can also find north using moss and start tiny campfires using only some string and a stick!”

Abbie and Ichabod return to the forest to investigate the site of the boy’s appearance. There is sarcasm and bickering. (Also, Jefferson and Adams were loveable, sarcastic goofwads – keep watching for their spinoff show! *imaginary laughtrack*) Ichabod uses his Boy-Scout-before-the-Boy-Scouts skillz to track Thomas’ path and to reveal the SECRET PATH to an island in the lake. It is all very Arthurian (and possibly MIDDLE ENGLISH, who knows?) Ichabod reveals that he learned his tracking skills while fox hunting (okay?) and his father was a nobleman but Ichabod is totally against that aristocracy stuff. Also, freedom.

Abbie and Ichabod apparently walk on water, with no savior symbolism whatsoever (I kid! It’s very Jesus-ish!) They find people dressed like they were at a Shakespeare festival but talking like they were at a Chaucer festival. WELP! Must be Roanoke!

Abbie: They have the black veins of the plague but they don’t seem sick.

Ichabod: Let me ask this helpful extra from King Lear about that.

HEFKL: Roanoke was cursed. With the Black Vein Plague. Virginia Dare died, but ghost Virginia Dare led us here, where the sickness cannot touch us. This is all part of Horned Horseperson Conquest/Plague/Vercing-naga’s plan for the Apocalypse. Exposition in Middle English is fun!

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“Thanks for the flower, creepy kid, but I’m pretty sure they need it for Act V of Romeo and Juliet!”

Abbie wanders around, looking at people; a young girl offers her a flower but she does not take it. She and Ichabod discuss how they are supposed to break Thomas out of quarantine. And that gets way more complicated when they discovers ICHY IS INFECTED OMG OMG! CDC –dude is unsympathetic, orders Ichabod seized and sedated and quarantined. Things go all slo-mo for Ichabod and he takes a trip to Vision Land, where Katrina awaits. She has used her awesome witch powers to determine that HE IS SICK. Way to go, witch powers! You keep determining the Very Obvious without fail!

Meanwhile, Detective Vaguely Douchey is on the phone with an Oxford-accented woman who confirms that Ichabod is a professor at Merton College on leave working with the Sleepy Hollow PD. Whaaaaaa??? This will surely Be Significant!

Back in Vision Land, Katrina confirms she is in purgatory, trapped by Moloch “the Beast,” along with other miserable souls who don’t even get any lines because they’re not union. (All of that sounds totally like what I learned about Purgatory in Catholic school, btw.) Ichabod wonders why Moloch wants her soul, wakes up. Meanwhile Abbie has entered the hospital chapel to talk to Nonspecific Deity, who is represented by the chapel’s cross, star of David, and candles.

Abbie: Nonspecific Deity! Show me a sign!

NSD: ….

Abbie turns to exit, as she goes drags her hand through the baptismal font water (uh, like you do?) when A Thought Hits Her! Was it a sign from Nonspecific Deity?

NSD: ….

Abbie tells Captain Grumpy/Furtive Orlando Jones that spring water will heal Thomas, water is used in religion to purify, and they need to be baptized in it. (Did you follow any of that? I DID NOT FOLLOW ANY OF THAT.) Captain G/F OJ agrees to cover for her if she can get Ichabod and Thomas out. Soon Abbie, Ichabod, and Thomas are walking to the woods, when Ichabod falters.

Abbie: Let me give you some adrenaline.


They make it to Roanoke just before Vercing-naga; Ichabod jumps into the baptismal font/pool, with Thomas, for a total immersion baptism, just like you do in the Anglican church of 1588. WEV! It works! The Horseperson dissolves into a blur of smoke. And then the village fades out too!

Ichabod: That was Signifiant! Thomas was dead all along! They all were!

Abbie: Oh, not the hackneyed old they-were-dead-all-along shit! If this show gets a vanishing hitchhiker I am SO OUTTA HERE.

Ichabod: Abbie, you stopped him by your FAITH in being one of the witnesses to the Revelation. FAITH allowed you to see what was not. Now don’t keep going all Scully on me, because this show is nothing like the X-Files.

Abbie: This show is actually a lot like the X-Files.

Captain Grumpy: I AM NOT GRUMPY! Because everyone is recovering!


Ichabod: (ruining everybody’s day) But! Something Something Horseman of Death! Don’t forget, Horseman of Death!

The Horseman of Death stumbles out of the (holy? purifying?) water and rides his RED-EYED HORSE out of the park, in flames. The End.

PS: Smokey the Bear is going to be pissed, Horseman Firebug!


So what did you think, Shakers? I liked a number of things about this episode, but I really wanted more about the developing mythos. No Hessianados this time, and no human conspiracies. There’s a hint that Ichabod’s wife may have Done Something she’s not telling him about; thus her presence in Purgatory. And then there’s the hints at Orlando Jones Knowing Something and what about the Oxford call? I would really like those plot elements to start to come together. Instead, we got a so-so Monster of the Week, and yeah, I did find the Middle English nonsense distracting. It was a completely unnecessary historical aberration, so wev. OTOH, all the stuff filmed in the woods was very creepy to look at. The design for the villagers was great; they seemed "off," but nothing that telegraphed their true fate until the end. Are they simply out of time? Sickly? Pale? Great, great atmosphere.

Definitely an Ichabod-centric ep, and while I find Abbie's story more engrossing, I enjoyed seeing Tom Mison take center stage and dash off the Middle English (argh) with aplomb. Ichabod grows more Benton Fraser-esque with every new skill reveal; if only he’d managed to pick up some dirt and taste it while they were tracking in the woods, that would have made things complete. The Abbie-Ichy interplay is fun; how many fans were squee-ing at Abbie’s fashion advice? Can a clothes shopping expedition be far behind?

Feel free to share your reactions, theories, and looking-for-John-Cho in comments!

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