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What's with the name?

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Recap

Sleepy Hollow Recap: John Doe


This episode was a step down from the previous ones, but it did give us Ichabod talking about which Founding Father liked dirty limericks. Even in a meh episode there will be a ridiculous silver lining.

The eponymous John Doe is a little pilgrim-looking befreckled kid who starts the episode wandering through the forest. He meets a little girl and starts playing tag with her, but she soon disappears and is replaced by a (non-headless) horseman. He chases the ginger moppet through the forest until they come to… a normal, modern-day road. This is some The Village stuff right here. When the horseman reaches it he’s unable to continue and vanishes in a puff of smoke.

Ichabod and Abbie get to the Sheriff’s old cabin, where Ichabod will be living from now on. Our friendly neighborhood time traveler gets confused by loofahs and plastic and asks Abbie whether she thinks he looks out of place in this century. Her response is that he looks good for 200 (and how) but that he could use a change of clothes. OK. The fact that Ichabod’s been wearing the same clothes since he came back to life has been addressed. I am placated.

Abbie gets a call about a little boy being found unconscious on the side of the road, and Ichabod insists on going with her even though it looks like there’s nothing supernatural-ish about it. Of course, there is something supernatural about it—when they get to the kid they see he’s been infected with some weird disease that makes his veins go black, plus he’s dressed in clothes that fell out of fashion a few centuries ago. Oh, and when he wakes up and says something he’s speaking Middle English, which hasn’t been spoken for centuries. But I’m imagining Ichabod going with Abbie on all her calls, including the ones that truly are non-Apocalypse-related. “What do you mean these young men aren’t of ‘legal age’ to procure alcohol? They are adults, are they not? Tyranny!

Back at the station Abbie looks through the register of missing kids while Ichabod plays with Scotch tape and explains that yes, he does know what “John Doe” means, that term predates him, thank you very much. Ichabod explains to Abbie and Irving that the kid said “evil girl,” and he knows that because he studied Middle English at Oxford. Of course he did. Ichabod Crane has a photographic memory and speaks Middle English. Embrace the cheese. Love it. Bring it in your life and make nachos with it. Eat the cheese. Invite it in your very soul.

On his way out of the room Luke asks Irving what the heck Ichabod’s doing hanging around, but Irving shuts that line of inquiry down right quick, asking whether his romantical history with Abbie will cause a problem and saying that Ichabod has knowledge of the beheadings. Later on Luke calls Oxford University to ask whether there is indeed a Professor Ichabod Crane there. He’s told by the lady on the other end of the phone—…Abbie doing a decidedly-better-than-a-few-episodes-ago British accent?—that Prof. Crane is completely legit.

Luke seems like he’s one of those characters you’re not supposed to like—none of the other characters do, and while Ichabod, Abbie, and Irving and BAMFing around dealing the supernatural Luke’s just butting his nose in—but he’s really started to grow on me. He has no way of knowing about the supernatural, but there’s clearly something not right with Ichabod. I don’t think he’s suspicious just because he used to date Abbie, even if things started that way. And sure, Irving told him to back off, but Luke’s a detective for Chrissakes. He has a hunch about Ichabod, so he’s going to do actual detective things and look into it.

In the hospital the kid has been put into quarantine, and Ichabod, being the only person who speaks his language, has to interrogate him via webcam. Cue hilarity with him getting right up into the camera. He also expresses disgust about the plastic sheeting used as part of quarantine procedures. Plastic, he says. How did we survive without it? Uh, I’m pretty sure with high morality rates due to illness, you adorable, sales-tax-and-plastic-hating man.

Ichabod finds out the kid’s name (Thomas Grey), that he wasn’t supposed to leave home, and that he’s from Roanoke. Oh, and then it turns out the EMT who treated Thomas is sick, too, so they might have an epidemic on their hands. Irving and Parsons the CDC guy—who, by the way, is played by Charles Malik Whitfield, aka Henriksen from Supernatural—go off to deal with it while Ichabod and Abbie chat about Roanoke. Ichabod explains to Abbie that it’s the site of the “lost colony,” a British settlement from back in the 1500s that completely disappeared, and no one knows what happened to it to this day. Ichabod proposes that Thomas is actually from the lost colony, the entirety of which may have relocated to Sleepy Hollow because of nice weather and good school districts.

Legitimate question time: American readers, do you know about the lost colony? When Abbie didn’t I was a little ???, because everyone knows about it, right? But then I realized, hey, Rebecca, you’re from North Carolina and Roanoke was in all the state history textbooks. So ease my unsettled mind and tell me whether or not this is something all li’l American history students get told about at some point.

Abbie and Ichabod go off to investigate the woods where Thomas was found. It turns out that Ichabod’s an excellent tracker, but the real wonderful, creamy center at the heart of this scene is the conversation they have about sarcasm. Abbie asks Ichabod who was more sarcastic, Adams or Jefferson, and Ichabod thinks she’s being sarcastic even though, dude, it’s a completely legitimate question, who wouldn’t want to know that? Ichabod goes all coy and refuses to say (not that he needs to, because Hamilton was clearly more sarcastic than Adams and Jefferson combined, c’mon), but he does offer than Jefferson loved puns and Adams loved dirty limericks.

Punster Jefferson is a thing in this show.


Parsons—who is involved in the whole apocalypse conspiracy somehow, I’m calling it, and it’s not just because I’m projecting that I wish he’d been in Supernatural more, no sirree—tells Irving that the disease is like nothing they’ve ever seen before, and unless they figure out what it is there’ll be no way to innoculate against it.

Ichabod and Abbie, meanwhile, have found the island that’s actually the lost colony of Roanoke. Um. OK. Ichabod figures out that there’s a secret passageway through the water to get there, and him appearing to literally walk on water is a nice sight gag. In the colony everyone’s infected but they don’t seem to be sick; the elder explains that the spirit of Virginia Dare, a little girl who died there, guided the colonists to Sleepy Hollow to protect them from the plague left by (dun dun DUNNNNN) the Horseman of Pestilence. As long as they stay in the colony they’re fine. When Thomas left not only did he doom himself, but he also brought the plague to the rest of the world, which means Pestilence will also break through if it’s allowed to spread. The only way to prevent that from happening is for Thomas to be brought back to the colony.

When they get back to the hospital they discover that Ichabod’s been infected, and against his and Abbie’s wishes he’s sedated and quarantined, leaving Abbie to figure out how to cure him and Thomas by herself. She and Ichabod earlier theorized that there’s some sort of cure inside the colony, but they don’t know what it is. She asks Irving to let her take Thomas and Ichabod out to the colony, but his response is, um, no, that’s stupid. They have the plague. Abbie ducks into a room to avoid Irving and Luke, and when she turns around she realizes that she’s actually in the hospital’s chapel. So she decides, screw it, she’ll pray for a sign as to what she should do. She doesn’t appear to get one, but when she gets up to leave some old lady with really convenient (or supernatural, tweedle-deedle-tweedle-deedle…) timing comes in and dips her fingers in the holy water. That twigs Abbie to the idea that maybe it’s the spring in the colony that can cure Thomas and Ichabod, so she goes to tell Irving she needs to get them there.

Curiously, he agrees this time, even though he doesn’t seem to have a reason to. Not a reason that we know of, anyway. Hmmm. Not sure if foreshadowing that Irving knows more than we think or does or bad writing. I kind of want it to be the latter, as I’d like Irving to stay a completely normal police captain who doesn’t give a crap about witches or horsemen or demons or whatever but still manages to safe the town multiple times over with the sheer power of badassness. Anywhoodle, Abbie gets Ichabod and Thomas, both of whom are at those point barely conscious, and helps them through the forest to the colony.

All this time Ichabod’s been away in la-la land—or, well, Purgatory—with his dead wife Katrina, who’s none too happy to see him because he can only come to Purgatory A) if she summoned him, which she didn’t, or B) if he’s about to die. She gets in her requisite cryptic dialogue, saying that a bunch of souls are in purgatory and Moloch decides what happens to them, blah de blah blah. Ichabod asks why she’s been trapped, and she clearly knows and is keeping some big secret and is about to tell before he gets pulled back to consciousness.

I’m not sure what to think about Katrina, to be honest. She’s in the opening credits, but she’s hardly been in the show except to be Ichabod’s cryptic spirit guide every few episodes. She’s one of the main character’s spouses, so she’s a pretty important person! And she’s a super-powerful badass witch! I want to see her do more stuff! Granted, she’s trapped in purgatory, so I don’t know what she could do, but we’re almost halfway through the season and this major character has had hardly any love from the writers yet. Give me something, show.

Over in Roanoke Ichabod and Thomas get baptized in the magical spring water just in time, causing the Horseman of Pestilence, who was chasing them, to go poof once again. Back in the hospital everyone who was sick, which is a lot of people by this point, get better, which is handy. The entire colony of Roanoke disappeared because, as Ichabod says, they were never there to begin with—Thomas only became real when he passed into our world. It’s kind of a blah end-of-episode revelation, to be honest. Yeah, the lost colonists were spirits. I kind of figured. It doesn’t really matter anyway. Ichabod compliments Abbie for figuring out how to stop the plague with the power of faith. Abbie tells Ichabod she was worried he might stay in Roanoke, but he belongs in Sleepy Hollow. The last thing we see before the episode ends is the Headless Horseman popping up from the river on a dark and stormy night.

General thoughts on this episode:

Meh. It was OK. There were some good Ichabod-is-confused-by-modern-technology moments (him hopped up on adrenaline was chuckle-worthy), but I hope the show doesn’t start to rely on those too heavily. Abbie’s faith vs reason conflict is one that’s been handled before—and better—in other episodes, so it didn’t really add anything here. Pestilence was cool, though.

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  • http://twitter.com/#!/scarletsherlock scarletsherlock

    I missed the episode, but Virginia Dare was a real person. She was the first child born to English parents in the Americas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Dare She disappeared with everybody else in Roanoke. So that’s cool, Sleepy Hollow writers.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I know! Loving all these real-life history mentions!

  • http://twitter.com/#!/scarletsherlock scarletsherlock

    That jumped right out at me! Even in what sounds like a mediocre episode, yay!

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I love that they did a Roanoke episode. That’s some scary stuff.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/scarletsherlock scarletsherlock

    I LOVE IT. It scares me so much! And Henriksen being in it AND a disease? Have the Supernatural Croatoan crossovers started yet? haha!

  • Melissa Bramble

    I’m from Maryland originally, and I knew about the Lost Colony. Of course, I was reminded of it relatively recently in Neil Gaiman’s 1602. I’m actually an Old English and Middle English geek, so I was LOVING both the Middle English dialogue and the Lost Colony stuff. The combination of the two made this ep a winner in my book. :-)

  • AshVeridian

    The whole “the colonists were actually spirits and somehow one kid’s spirit became real by coming to our world” deal was really weak and wishy washy and confusing, which is what I think hurt this episode the most. Thankfully the dialogue saves this episode. More gossip on the Founders, damnit!

  • Valerie C.

    Am I the only one who wonders why the police Captain lets Abbie get away with what should seem to him like the weirdest impossible stuff? She never does things by the book and yet it’s almost like he’s encouraging her. Aso with his excuses to explain Crane’s presence in police business all the time. Anyone else think he might be in on the whole apocalypse thing? And if so, good guy or bad guy?

  • CyberIstari

    *I* know about the Lost Colony, and did before moving to North Carolina, but then I’ve always read Weird Stuff. ;)

  • CyberIstari

    I was wondering myself. I hope good guy, but would be creepy to not be.

  • Indigo

    I was thinking he seems willing to let her get away with stuff because he’s pretty much desperate, and all this woo-woo stuff is not what his regular, rational, reasonable police officers (and him) want to be dealing with. He has one cop who seems willing and capable of handling supernatural weirdness, and he lets Abbie be that one cop so it doesn’t splash over the rest of the force.

  • Indigo

    Apparently in three weeks we get an all flashback episode that’s pretty much Ichatrina centered.

    THREE WEEKS.

    Damn you, baseball!!! *shakes fist*

  • Katy

    So, I read on ew.com that Crane will be staying in his period clothes forever in order to remind the audience that he is a man out of time and he doesn’t feel comfortable in the modern world. Well with 200 year old underwear I’d feel pretty uncomfortable too! I mean, if they can show funny moments where he is confused by modern technology (the adrenaline bit was humourous, but not as funny as the 10% tax on baked goods) doesn’t that act as a reminder that he’s a man outside of time?

  • Trask

    We learned about Roanoke in elementary school during our Colonial days. It was right after we learned about Columbus (we didn’t learn ’til much later about the genocide and rape) but before we learned about the Revolutionary War. I thought it was a story that everybody knew. I’m from Michigan, btw, so it’s not just an East Coast thing.

  • Melynda

    Ichabod says in the pilot, I think, that he speaks many languages. It would make sense given his noble upbringing and the Middle English would make sense because he was a history professor and apparently likes Chaucer. As for him having a photographic memory, that hasn’t been utilized that much thank goodness.
    I knew CDC guy looked familiar but I couldn’t figure out why.
    Irving is totally more in the know than he seems to be. He accepts Abbie and Ichabod’s shenanigans way too easily and told annoying guy to back off. He’s either with or against them. That I haven’t figured out yet.
    When Ichabod asked if he looked out of place all I kept thinking was DON’T CUT YOUR HAIR because Abbie had those scissors. I was afraid.
    I haven’t seen an episode of this show I have disliked yet. I liked this one. Hearing Middle English is always fun.
    Also I’m in Ohio and am totally aware of the Lost Colony. I really wanted the villagers to be infected with something they could call Croatoan, but they never even brought that up. I guess Supernatural has that covered.

  • delia

    i thought it was weird that when abbie first asks about removing thomas and ichabod, he’s all “you’re crazy; they have plague” and “i don’t even have time to listen to you.” then post-chapel, he not only has time to listen (we don’t see or hear any allusions to how she convinced him to) he immediately thinks the EXACT SAME PLAN he dismissed earlier is a great one. wtf, show. him having more insider info could be an explanation, but it feels a little too sloppily done to be that.

  • delia

    i’m from boston and was similarly confused that abbie didn’t know about roanoak. i wasn’t sure if they just hammer more history into our brains around here because we have so much of america’s old shit, but it seemed pretty basic to me.

  • re M

    I thought the episode wasn’t too bad. Yes I knew about the Lost Colony but probably from random reading over my many years on the planet. I’m from CA and I don’t remember it being in history class.

    Thanks for the review I got a little lost about Thomas being a ghost. And was the little girl in the forest Abbie from childhood? I wonder if we’ll get to find out who she is.

  • Trask

    I love the real-life history mentions as well, but I could live without those mentions being muddled by all of the not so subtle conspiracy theory angles.

  • Trask

    My theory is that he’s sort of a Guardian Angel or supernatural spirit sent to make sure Abbie doesn’t stray too far from the right path

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I get their reasoning, and I’m not going to say seeing Ichabod in jeans wouldn’t be completely weird. But… but this is not Scooby Doo! You can’t have one your main characters wear the same outfit *every single episode*. Put him in an old-fashioned suit or something.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Pffft. SPORTS.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I assumed she was just some random vision the Horseman conjured up to lure Thomas out of the town.

  • Travis

    When your show centers around early American history, Roanoke is pretty low hanging fruit. I’m actually surprised they resorted to using it so soon.

  • Glitchy

    I’ve gotten the impression since day 1 that he knows more about what’s going on than he should. I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that his last name is “Irving” like “Washington Irving”.

  • Anonymous
  • Katy

    I know. Or if they must show him in the same episode, at least show him washing it, or mixing it up a little. He could raid a vintage store, or the Sleepy Hollow museum! I mean there must be a museum in Sleepy Hollow that would have period garb?

  • Rebecca Pahle

    That’s in line what with I assume. He knows there’s supernatural stuff going on, and he trusts Abbie to be able to handle it. Plus I’d imagine he wants to minimize his involvement as much as possible lest it comes back to bite him—in a previous episode he basically said I don’t want you to tell me specifically what you’re doing, just handle it, I don’t wanna know. Because what if he’s asked about it and he has to admit to HIS boss (or the FBI or whatever), “There’s a headless horsemen and Witnesses and witches and all this other stuff.” I see him as distancing himself and establishing plausible deniability so he doesn’t find himself in the same situation Abbie was in after seeing Moloch in the forest.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Same. That spirit revelation meant nothing for the overall plot. So they were spirits instead of people trapped on a mystical island? Who cares? They could be secret llamas, it still wouldn’t have any bearing on the episode (though it would be cool).

  • AshVeridian

    Go visit a Ren Faire! Learn to make his own clothes. Hell, there’s places that make and sell decently accurate reproductions. Eventually he will wear a hole in those trousers.

  • AshVeridian

    Actually, Abbie’s ???? over Roanoke makes sense when you consider how she was supposedly in and out of school and a delinquent, even when a kid.

    CONTINUITY.

  • Katy

    This was a pretty meh episode, but Crane playing with a piece of tape made me laugh.

  • http://ghilbrae.com/ ghilbrae

    At this point I just consider his clothes as some kind of Doctor Who thing. He is sort of a time traveller, so no change of clothes!

  • Runekaster

    The kid who speaks Middle English is from 1587-90.
    Christopher Marlowe was writing plays in early Modern English in the 1580s. Similarily, Shakepseare was writing in early Modern English in the 1590s.
    Chaucer’s Middle English poems were written in the 1380s &’90s.
    Are you starting to see the discrepancy here?

    If you’re going to go to the effort of translating dialogue into Middle English, you can at least do a quick Google search to see when the language was actually used.
    I’m usually don’t care too much about historical discrepancies, but this one is huge and glaring and ruined all my suspension of disbelief.

  • Runekaster

    What I want to know is why his clothes didn’t rot away when he was sleeping under ground for a few centuries.

  • Valerie C.

    Him wearing the same clothes hasn’t bugged me the slightest so far. Didn’t we see him getting them back from the cleaners in the 1st or 2nd episode? So we know at least it gets washed. I think it’s part of his persona and it wouldn’t feel the same if he wore contemporary clothing.

  • Valerie C.

    For the same reason his flesh didn’t rot I imagine, the spell.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    There ya go. Makes sense.

  • Melissa Bramble

    Gotta say, I was so tickled by hearing “Chaucer’s English” that I didn’t really care! :-)

  • Katy

    I know, I see your point, but I think a mix of old and new would work. Part of his character is that he was considered modern in his time and he’s open minded. Why not have him try some more modern clothes then have him keep some of his wardrobe (the coat, definitely the coat) and add some new pieces (modern underwear and trousers)? Let his character grow and evolve a little

  • Indigo

    Whereas I was in Elementary school in Long Island, NY and don’t recall anything from history about Roanoke being a Lost Colony.

  • Anonymous

    I just decided that they must have been a really reeeaally backwards bunch of puritans living in the sticks who upped and moved to America because they couldn’t deal with this newfangled ‘modern’ English

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, that was . . . dumb. That was the time of Shakespeare. Let’s look at some typical English circa 1590, shall we?

    England ne’er had a king until his time.
    Virtue he had, deserving to command:
    His brandish’d sword did blind men with his beams:
    His arms spread wider than a dragon’s wings;

  • Anonymous

    I was confused by the end. So are they still trapped? If they’re actually dead, than how can they be infected with a disease? Why are they infected if the water is a cure? Also, how did Ichabod possibly make the leap to thinking it was?

  • Alana Beltzer

    THANK YOU! That bugged me so much that it made it hard for me to pay attention to anything else in this ep. Sigh…Renaissance History geek problems ;)

  • Anonymous

    I went to grade school in CA and do not recall learning about Roanoke (I guess it’s possible I forgot). I knew about it from Marvel’s 1602.

  • Winter

    That’s what broke me as well. I could suspend my disbelief to accept the headless horseman, time travel, etc. but Middle English spewed forth from a kid from the 16th century? I tuned out and concentrated on my knitting instead. ;)

  • Anonymous

    I’m waiting to see someone hook him up with a sutler who supplies 18th century gear to Colonial reenactors. Plus an expert dry cleaner. Clean up Crane and he’ll come across as a hottie with a side of eccentric. Babe magnet.