Welcome to The Mary Sue’s very first recap of Fox’s freshman fantasy show Sleepy Hollow. We’re jumping right in with episode two, since when I watched the pilot episode last week I had no inkling of the brilliant mess of fun, drama, ridiculousness (Headless Horseman with an automatic rifle!), and racial diversity it would be.
In this episode: Ichabod Crane is outraged about sales tax, Abbie Mills continues not to take anyone’s crap, and John Cho‘s character has a head like a Pez dispenser. If you’re in America (or know your way around geoblocking) you can watch the first two episodes for free on Fox’s website. Give in.
In the pilot we met our main characters Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie), a levelheaded police lieutenant haunted (not literally) by a scary demon thing she and her sister saw when they were teens, and Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison), who killed and was killed by the Headless Horseman back during the American Revolution. Forces of darkness—the same ones Abbie saw when she was little—resurrected the Horseman, who in Sleepy Hollow just so happens to be one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Ichabod was brought back too, and now he and Abbie have to work together to stop the other Horsemen from rising and bringing about the apocalypse.
Blood Moon starts with Ichabod Crane’s long-dead wife, Katrina, coming to him in a dream to warn him that a non-Horseman evil spirit is going to come back and try to cause some trouble. Katrina was a witch, so she knows from supernatural forces. Ichabod tries to go tell Abbie about Katrina’s warning, but there’s that whole “material witness in a murder trial” thing, so there’s a guard posted outside his hotel room and he’s not allowed to leave.
Meanwhile Abbie’s talking with her supervisor Captain Irving (Orlando Jones) about the death of Sheriff Corbin (Clancy Brown), whom Abbie found out was investigating the supernatural after he was beheaded by the Horseman in the pilot. Irving still doesn’t believe all that stuff about a Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane coming back from the dead after 250 years because… no, I don’t have to explain why he doesn’t believe it. It’s obvious. The two policemen who saw the Headless Horsemen in the pilot (these clever dudes) recanted their testimony. Furthermore, security footage shows Andy, John Cho’s The Choverlord’s treacherous, evil minion police officer, killing himself by banging head head against a wall, when really it was that evil demon thing who got into his cell and snapped his head back “like a Pez dispenser.”
That quote’s from Abbie Mills, by the way. Who is better than you, forever and always.
Meanwhile Ichabod’s been exploring his hotel room, which Abbie has helpfully labelled with Post-It Notes to teach him how modern-day conveniences like coffee makers and hair dryers work. Showers are tough.
(Also: Ichabod watches Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which is a movie made by 20th Century Fox. Sleepy Hollow airs on Fox. I see what you did there, show. And I cannot help but be pleased by it, because in comparison with Teen Wolf‘s “You know what your relationship with your girlfriend is like, Derek? A Reese’s cup! Teen Wolf, sponsored by Reese’s!” it was downright subtle.)
When Abbie comes to get Ichabod he gets on her case about keeping him under guard, but she placates him by introducing him to the sweet, sweet world of doughnut holes. Wait’ll you get to Frosties, dude. They’ll blow your mind. He tells him about Katrina’s warning, and she’s skeptical but willing to listen.
But then. What light through yonder window breaks? It’s Andy coming back to life and flailing around the morgue, his head still in Pez dispenser mode. That would be this episode’s Headless-Horseman-with-an-automatic rifle moment, then. His head snaps back into position, and the devil thing tasks him with resurrecting the witch.
Abbie asks Ichabod about his wife, specifically how it is he didn’t know she was a witch, but he keeps getting distracted by sales tax. The tax on these delectable doughnut holes was almost ten percent, he exclaims, filled with righteous anger. Why are people not rioting in the streets over this outrage?! Ichabod reacting to modern-day things gives me life.
While hanging out at the cemetery during the Sheriff’s funeral it twigs that whatever evil spirit’s going to be resurrected is a witch, since when Katrina warned him about it she said it was “one of us.” Might’ve been a bit more clear if it took your hubby this long, Kat. Just sayin’. Meanwhile Andy resurrects the witch—who’s been roasted, toasted, and burned to a crisp—and gives her the message that she can get her flesh back by claiming the flesh of the pious. One of “the pious” is a guy named Jeremy, whom Andy pulls over and then leaves for the witch to burn alive.
Abbie and Ichabod talk about the supernatural some more, Ichabod explaining that he was just as lost as her before GENERAL WASHINGTON hand-picked him for a special evil-fighting mission, which he, GENERAL WASHINGTON, did because Ichabod and GENERAL WASHINGTON were totes BFFs who used to braid each other’s hair and gossip about the other officers.
Abbie shares some of her own backstory: After she and her sister Jenny saw the creepy devil thing when they were teens Jenny was sent to an institution and Abbie did a lot of stupid things to block out what she’d seen. To wit: Getting into drugs and trying to rob a pharmacy. The Sheriff caught her, but instead of sending her to jail he got her to turn her life around. He was more a father to her than anyone else in her whole life.
They get a call about the burned car, and when they get there Ichabod recognizes who did it: Serilda of Abaddon, the leader of a dark coven of witches. That meshes with with the Sheriff told Abbie about two rival covens, one good and one bad, so they head off to consult the Sheriff’s files. Only they’ve been moved to the archive, which they can’t get into without authorization, which they can’t get because Irving’s out of town. Luckily the archive’s in the old armory, so Ichabod knows how to bash his way into some secret underground tunnels and sneak the two of them in.
While they’re still in the station, though, Ichabod has some tense banter with a new character named Luke, who just so happens to be Abbie’s ex-boyfriend. Ichabod gets all excited and keeps asking Abbie about him: Were you betrothed? Why did you break up? Did you *giggle* kiss him? OK, the last question is an exaggeration, but Ichabod really is a primo slice of grade-A prime dork in this scene.
But to get serious for a moment: Abbie straight up tells him to stop teasing her about her ex and he just… does. He respects her and drops it like it’s the just-fired bullet from an automatic rifle wielded by a Headless Horseman (which is to say: Hot. I’m never going to get over the automatic rifle thing, guys).
They get through to the archive, passing crates of Revolutionary War-era gunpowder and the area where the bones of witched burned at the stake were left on the way. Hmmmm. I wonder if that will be relevant later on.
Ichabod figures out that back in the day Serilda was weakened by magic wielded by the good coven, called the Sisterhood of the Radiant Heart. To come back to life she needs the ashes of the descendants of the magistrate who sentenced her to death. One of those was the guy in the car. The other is presumably a little kid whom Andy’s just found and gone all creepy-police-officer-from-Terminator-2 on. Serilda has until the “turn of the blood moon,” which happens to be that night, to complete the ritual.
Abbie and Ichabod run to rescue the kid, who–PLOT TWIST!—is actually not the last descendant of the magistrate, because he’s adopted. The last descendant is the kid’s father, who died and was cremated. So all Serilda has to do is steal the ashes. That’s handy. Now she has everything she needs, and if Abbie and Ichabod don’t burn her before she completes the ritual then she comes back to life and they’re all screwed. The moment is lightened when Abbie channels her inner Jeeves and Ichabod tells her her fake accent sucks. (In polite, antiquated terms, of course. But basically: Your fake accent sucks.)
Andy digs up the bones, and it looks like Serilda’s able to complete the ritual. Ichabod drops the gun Abbie gave him, thinking it only fires one shot (hearts in my eyes, hearts in my eyes), and the two of them get chased by the witch. Serilda mentions that the head of the good coven is Ichabod’s wife Katrina, who’s trapped in a place between two worlds. She doesn’t say much else, though, as Ichabo lures her on top of the pile of gunpowder and lobs a torch to light it, and her, up real good.
Monster of the week: Defeated. Ichabod talks to Abbie about maybe rescuing his wife and says that, even though neither of them can go back to the way things were before at least they’re traveling down this strange road together.
It’s then that Abbie has a vision of her own: She looks into the Sheriff’s office and sees her old boss/father figure sitting there like he didn’t get his head chopped off by the Headless Horseman. She asks if she’s dreaming, and he says that it doesn’t really matter because he’s here, isn’t he? Her response? “If you’re going to haunt me, at least be helpful.”
Abbie. Freaking. Mills, everyone. Who meets a ghost/vision/whatever and within 30 seconds tells it to cut the cryptic Dumbledore crap and get on with providing spiritual guidance.
Abbie says she’s angry with the Sheriff for not telling her about the supernatural, and he responds that it’s good that she’s angry, since for too long she’s let herself be ruled by fear, and that’s kept her from seeing who she is and what she’s meant to do. She asks him what that is and he says “The only person who can tell you that is you,” because a ghost has to be at least a little cryptic, c’mon. He tells her not to be afraid of the number 49, as that’s where she’ll find out she’s not alone.
Do you realize what this means?! Clancy Brown and the Choverlord both died in the pilot, but we’re going to keep seeing both their characters. Who knows how long the Choverlord will hang around since he’s only credited as a “special guest,” but still. So happy.
The episode ends with us finding out what the Sheriff was talking about with 49: It’s the number Abbie’s sister Jennifer (Lyndie Greenwood) lives in at the mental institution. We only see her for a few minutes, but in that time she does push-ups, pull-ups, dry swallows her pills like a boss, and spits them onto the ground and grinds them beneath her heel after the nurse leaves, also like a boss.
Also the demon thing shows up behind her. Don’t die any time soon, Jenny Mills. I want to see much more of you. Something tells me you’re awesome.