Sleepy Hollow Recap: Sanctuary

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In which Amandla Stenberg, best known as Rue from The Hunger Games, puts in an appearance. As does a homicidal mini-Ent. BAROOM.

We start off the episode by meeting Lena Gilbert, a rich socialite who’s decided to check out a creepy old home that’s been in her family for centuries. Her bodyguard Sam seems to have a sixth sense that he’s in a supernatural TV show and warns her that it’s haunted, but she doesn’t listen and goes in anyway. Surprisingly, nothing bad happens to the pretty blonde woman who decides to investigate a creepy abandon mans—wait. There are sentient vines in the closet? And they attack her?

Never saw that coming.

Over at the police station Ichabod is going off on McDonalds, saying fast food is everything that’s wrong with society and french fries aren’t even Scottish, they’re Austrian! Sigh. A man who knows the history of potato dishes is a man after my own heart. Over the last few episodes Ichabod’s been getting more and more pissy—which is going to happen when he’s brought back from the dead after 200 years and everyone he knows is dead, so kudos for Sleepy Hollow for being a ridiculous show with some measure of emotional realism.

Turns out this is the show’s Very Special Thanksgiving Episode: Ichabod explains that “all this talk of family time” just keeps drawing attention to the fact that his wife’s not there. Abbie says he’ll feel better after a night off, and wow, way to jinx it Abbie. ‘Cause that’s when Irving pops his head in and tells him they’re going hunting for a missing socialite.

The task wouldn’t normally fall on the shoulders of the two Witnesses, but included in Lena’s notes on the property is the name “Katrina C.,” which makes Irving think the supernatural might be involved. Hell, the supernatural is definitely involved. That’s his life right now.

A little bit of Internet research gives Lena a Founding Fathers connection: She’s the descendent of one Lachlan Fredericks, whose house she is currently trapped in. A quick trip to flashback land (starring Ichabod in a silly hat) shows us that Lachlan was a great dude with no slaves, only paid workers. His house was considered a sanctuary.

But that was then and this is now. Ichabod and Abbie go into the house and see that Bodyguard Sam has been killed by what appears to be some sort of wild animal. Lena is nowhere to be found. Abbie tries to radio for backup, but there’s no signal. And, for the final nail in the haunted house coffin, all the doors and windows slam shut, trapping them.

Abbie explains that she has a bit of a haunted house phobia, and though she’s at a mild-to-moderate level of freak out-age all through this episode, she powers through. Because she’s a Mills sister, dammit. But still, the ghost she sees ambling around the house doesn’t do her nerves any favors. Ichabod’s face when he sees Abbie having to physically collect herself is a thing of beauty:

“Oh, s**t, she’s losing it. Red alert, red alert. What do I do?

He jumps into reassurance mode, telling Abbie that all they need to do is find Lena and everything will be fine. But then he goes off on a tangent when he sees a copy of Katrina’s favorite book, Gulliver’s Travels, on the floor.

“I get that you miss your wife, but we’re in a haunted house right now. Do you think I care about her literature preferences?”

Turns out the book is the exact same copy Katrina owned, and in it is a letter alerting her to Ichabod’s death. This means that Katrina must’ve come back to the house after Ichabod was buried. I don’t understand, says Ichabod. It’s almost like I was supposed to find this.

Yep. Awwwwwfully convenient. *side-eyes writers*

In another flashback we’re introduced to Lachlan’s “house matron” Grace Dixon. Back in the present day Ichabod and Abbie come to the conclusion that just as Fredericks Manor was a safe haven for freed slaves, maybe it was also a safe haven for those on the run from supernatural evils. One of those evils must’ve caught up with Lachlan and Grace and turned the house into a crow-infested hellhole.

Ichabod and Abbie see a bloody handprint on the stairs leading down into the basement, and Ichabod tries to pull a “ladies first” but noooope. Nice try, fella. They find Lena in a closet, trapped by evil sentient vines but still alive. After they get her out a tree stump in the front yard comes to life. Evil. Mini. Ent.

Ichabod’s gets like he always gets when he’s in the presence of something Founding Father-related:

“Did you know your ancestor was a great man? Revolutionary War? History!” But she’s not too interested, probably because a house just tried to eat her.

After this whole haunted house debacle is over Ichabod goes back to the cabin and cries while eating a dessert of doughnut holes, sobbing as he rends his hair and screams unto the heavens “Why does no one care? Why does no one love history! Whyyyyyyy??!?!?!” Don’t try to convince me otherwise.

There’s a detour back to the police station, where Jenny/Irving (Jirving? I know Orlando Jones OK’ed a ship name, because he’s a gift, but I don’t remember what he said) is going strong. She returns some guns that she stole/borrowed the night the Horseman escaped, and while she’s there she invites him to a Thanksgiving dinner she and Abbie are hosting. Their banter is interrupted by the arrival of Irving’s ex-wife and daughter Rue Macy.

A few scenes later Macy’s rolling around the police station, running the joint, when she stops Jenny (who is clearly trying to sneak by) with an impish “Aren’t you gonna say hello?” That’s it. She can intimidate Jenny Mills. I’m sold. Macy thinks Jenny and her dad are dating, and after Jenny sets her straight they engage in a little banter about how Irving’s not the most likable person all the time. I’m not much of one for parents, Jenny says, but maybe you should cut your dad some slack. He’s not completely awful.

Turns out Irving’s been shirking on his fatherly duties, and we know he has a good reason for wanting to keep his daughter out of Sleepy Hollow, but all his ex-wife Cynthia sees is the father of her child making excuses to cancel visits. “What happened happened,” Cynthia explains, “We’re dealing with it. She’s dealing with it. She’s doing well, but it won’t last if you hide from your responsibilities as a father.” My first thought was the thing they’re “dealing” with is some accident that put Macy in a wheelchair, though it could just be the Irvings’ separation. Aside from that possible-reference, Macy being in a wheelchair isn’t even mentioned. Nobody makes a big deal out of it, like it’s the only thing about Macy that matters. It’s just there. Four for you, Sleepy Hollow.

Cynthia lays down the law, telling Irving that if he cancels one more weekend she’s going to demand full custody. Does this mean more Macy and Jenny interaction down the line?

Back in the haunted house Ichabod asks Lena about the “Katrina C.” written in her notes. Turns out good ol’ Mrs. Crane was the last person to visit the house before it was abandoned. There’s some awkward conversational shuffle where Abbie manages to get Ichabod not to blurt out “Katrina! From 200 years ago! My wife!,” but he still lets slip that Kat was a member of a coven, and that Lachlan might’ve been too.

Here I will pause to note how much I love that Sleepy Hollow has a rich female socialite character who’s not presented as some Paris Hilton-esque bubblehead. Lena is sensible. She’s good at historical research. Hell, she’s interested in historical research in the first place. I have similar feels about Cynthia, because she’s not some “shrew ex-wife” stereotype.

The house starts to go ape and the three of them duck into an underground passage, where Abbie is promptly separated from the other two. Ichabod and Lena kick their way out, but Lena is promptly whisked away by a cloud of crows. Abbie finds herself in the kitchen, where she sees the ghost again—only this time she recognizes it as Grace Dixon, Lachlan’s house matron.

Grace shows Abbie a vision of the night the house was taken over by the forces of evil. Turns out the event that caused it was…

…drumroll please…

Katrina giving birth to Ichabod’s son.

Remember all the baby stuff in the creepy dream version of Katrina and Ichabod’s house back in episode six? Foreshadowing! (Not particularly subtle foreshadowing, but this is the show that bent John Cho’s head back like a Pez dispenser. I don’t always expect subtlety.)

Post-vision Abbie goes to find Ichabod, who’s knocked out of “We must find Lena!” mode when Abbie tells him “Hey, you know your wife? Katrina? It’s the damndest thing. She was pregnant. You had a son.”

Ichabod refuses to believe that Katrina wouldn’t have written him a letter or something, but Abbie explains that she probably needed to keep it a secret, like so much else in her life. That’s why she came to give birth at Lachlan’s place. If he was a warlock it means his house had a protective spell on it. Only the evil Ent attacked right after the baby was born, breaking the spell. It killed Lachlan and went after the baby, but Abbie’s vision stopped before she could see what happened next.

Ichabod looks a bit… wait for it… gutted (because the Ent killed Lachlan by putting its arm through his stomach, ba-doom-tish), and even I get a bit

because Ichabod had a son! A son he never got to meet or was even told about!

The emotional moment is interrupted by a scream from Lena, who’s in the hands branches of the evil Ent. At Ichabod’s suggestion Abbie starts shooting the roots that are all over the room, which hurts the Ent and makes it let go of Lena. Yeah, teamwork! Abbie sees another vision of Grace leading Katrina and her son out of the house through a secret tunnel, so she in turn gets Ichabod and Lena out the same way.

They’ve escaped the haunted house, but Ichabod’s not done yet. The evil Ent tried to kill his kid, so he grabs an axe from the trunk of the car and goes back to mulch the sucker. After deploying some flares for moody lighting visibility purposes he proceeds to flip his lid, and I’m not gonna lie, angry Ichabod is really working for me.

He kills Treebeard Jr., breaking the enchantment on the house.

The final scene is one I’ve come to expect from Sleepy Hollow: An emotional moment between Ichabod and Abbie in the history Batcave. Abbie invites him to Thanksgiving, but he declines, saying in his present state he doubts he’d be pleasant company. Dude, Jenny’s gonna be there. Maybe Irving. Have you met them? You won’t have to be chipper.

They share a bit of backstory, Abbie talking about how as a child she was envious up of people with family to spend time with during the holidays, Ichabod reflecting on his own childhood and explaining how he’d always wanted a son. In looking over Lena’s research they find that Grace Dixon, who delivered Ichabod’s son, is one of Abbie’s ancestors.

Welp, there goes the theory that Abbie’s descended from Ichabod. It could still be true, I guess—there’s a lot of room on the family tree, especially now that Ichabod has a son. But I doubt they’ll go in that direction. Abbie being descended from the sidekick of a powerful warlock is certainly interesting. Maybe Grace had magical powers herself? Or was at least in touch with magic in some way? That might explain why Abbie’s one of the witnesses.

The episode ends on the slightly cheesy note of Ichabod and Abbie making a toast to family, both having it and finding it. (Abbie got Ichabod’s favorite rum! Aww, nice.) But whatever. It’s the Very Special Thanksgiving Episode, and this is Sleepy Hollow. I’m OK with some cheese.

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