Sleepy Hollow Recap: The Lesser Key of Solomon
George Washington was name-checked like six times this episode. Even Samuel Adams got in on the action. I want a flashback scene where John Adams randomly shows up and starts screaming at people while Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton have a slap fight in the background and Ichabod looks at the camera like he’s on The Office.
We start out at the Boston Harbor on December 16th, 1773. Time for a (tea) par-taaaay! Ichabod’s there on a mission to retrieve a crate and bring it to Washington, but things are complicated by the presence of an extremely metal (In the modern colloquial sense of the word. Look at this dude) Hessian, or a German mercenary working for the Redcoats, who blows Ichabod’s allies—and himself—up.
Then we switch gears completely when we hear Ichabod waxing rhapsodic about his love of Katrina to, of all people, the OnStar lady, who’s apparently been having some relationship troubles of her own. He needed her to fix his radio… but he ended up fixing her heart. I ship it. Ichabod/Yolanda the OnStar lady OTP. Who’s with me?
This episode takes place right after the previous one ended, so Jenny’s just escaped from the psychiatric hospital. Captain Irving’s ready to issue a state-wide alert, but Abbie begs to be allowed to look for her sister on her own. Jenny’s escape relates to the murders somehow, she explains, so if I can find her and get her to tell me what she thinks is happening it might help. Irving gives her a 12 hour head start, but after that he’s sending in the big dogs.
Jenny, meanwhile, has made her way to a bar where she picks up a bag of supplies (money, a passport, guns) she left with the bartender, who appears to be a friend of hers. In another part of town an innocuous-looking piano teacher—hey there, Hessian! I almost didn’t recognize you without your lovely curls!—gets a call that Jenny has escaped and she knows where “item 37” is located. He and a team of pals head to the bar and torture the poor bartender into telling them Jenny’s whereabouts. After they’re done they murder him, which gets Irving and the rest of the Sleepy Hollow police involved. The bartender’s head was cut off, so it looks like the same person who killed the Sheriff and the Reverend, but Irving says it can’t be because the would wasn’t cauterized.
In examining Jenny’s police records Abbie and Ichabod discover that she’s been all over: Mexico, Guatemala, Somalia. She’s a regular jet-setter, and that makes Ichabod curious, because why would Jenny come back to the States if she was going to be locked up? Ichabod gets this episode’s meddling on by asking about Jenny and Abbie’s family life, and Abbie tells him that their dad left and their mom had a nervous breakdown, which is why she and her sister were sent into foster care. Ichabod realizes that Jenny was in her last foster home for a full year, so maybe her most recent guardian will have an idea as to where she might’ve run off to.
Turns out the foster mom is a total scumbag, one of those people who takes in kids for the monthly stipend and they doesn’t spend the money on things like, oh, feeding them. Abbie, who’s seeing red over how her sister must’ve been treated, threatens to call child protective services if the foster mom doesn’t give them some info on where Jenny might be. When the foster mom spills about a cabin Jenny used to go to Abbie says she’s still calling child protective services, because you think Abbie’s going to let this woman keep mistreating her foster kids? No blinking way. This is Abbie Mills we’re talking about.
Several times throughout this scene Ichabod has to practically physically hold Abbie back from popping this woman in the jaw. I love it. She’s the hot-headed rebel and he’s the even-tempered friend who’s like “Just walk away, brah! Just walk away!”
Ichabod and Abbie get to the cabin and discover that it was owned by Sheriff Corbin, who had a really close father-daughter relationship with Jenny even though Jenny told Ichabod they’d never met. Turns out Jenny’s at the cabin too, and she and Abbie have the following exchange (paraphrased):
Abbie: Put your gun down.
Jenny: No, put your gun down!
Abbie: I said it first!
Jenny: Well I said it second!
Ichabod: This is awkward.
Ichabod gets them to stow their bickering sister routine, not to mention their guns (they lower their guns the exact same way—such sisters!), so they can get some actual work done. Turns out the Sheriff believed in what Jenny said she saw and sent her around the world to get rare artifacts and such. He visited her the night before he died and said that he thought something—specifically, Death—was coming for him, and that if he died she needed to come to the cabin and pick something up.
That something is a sextant, or a tool for mapping sea travel. Ichabod recognizes it as being from the Revolutionary War and says that General Washington often hid maps on sextants, using them as secret projectors. The map on this particular sextant shows the location of the crate Ichabod was sent to get during the Boston Tea Party.
Back in flashback land we discover that Ichabod actually caused the Tea Party as a way to get the crate, which held some weapon the Redcoats were planning to use. Once he stole the crate—which he was able to do because neither it nor he were destroyed by the explosion. Way to go Hessian failwhale, you just managed to kill the crate’s guards—he delivered it to Washington, never knowing what was in it or where it ended up.
That’s when the Hessians arrive at the cabin. There’s a shootout, and Jenny manages to capture the main Hessian, but the others get away with the sextant and, therefore, the location of the secret weapon.
Abbie interrogates the Hessian as to what’s in the crate, and Jenny wants to beat it out of him, but in the end it takes Ichabod realizing that the Hessian was in the Horseman’s battalion—Hessian bros for life!—to get him to open up. He says that the crate contains “a doorway to the seven circles of hell, where 72 condemned souls wait upon a shore of flaming sand.” Ichabod’s response is to accuse the Hessian of having “a flair for the dramatic.” You’re one to talk, dude.
Cutting past all the fancy language, what’s in the crate is the Lesser Key of Solomon, a book filled with rituals that can conjure 72 demons. (That bit of info comes from Jenny, who knows her stuff.) The Hessian is only one member of a whole network that’s been engineering the apocalypse for centuries. Abbie goes into detective mode and questions him about who’s at the top of their evil demon sleeper cell, and the Hessian tells her it’s the forest demon, whose name is Moloch, before biting into a cyanide capsule and killing himself.
Abbie wants to go to the police—there’s a dead body, after all—but Jenny objects, saying they have no idea who they can trust and that they just need to do this themselves. They both have a point. We already know of one police officer who’s secretly with Moloch, but on the other hand the police are already involved. As the cabin scene goes down we see that Captain Irving’s investigation of the bartender’s murder has led him to the Hessian’s house, where Irving finds a quite well equipped torture dungeon in the basement. There’s no way they can keep the authorities out entirely.
Ichabod yells at them to stow their crap so he can concentrate on replicating the sextant’s map, because photographic memory, thank you very much. I’m a bit iffy on this photographic memory thing. It was a bit cheesy when it was introduced in episode two, but hey, Sleepy Hollow has a Headless Horseman with an automatic weapon and a Revolutionary War soldier giving romance advice to an OnStar representative. I embrace the cheese. But if it’s going to be used like this–crap, we’ve written ourselves into a corner. Wait, photographic memory!—then that’s just lazy.
The remaining two Hessians—or are they Hessians? Maybe they’re just regular minions—head to the church where the Lesser Key of Solomon is kept and start with the dem0n-raising. Ichabod, Abbie, and Jenny are on the way too, and in the car Ichabod asks Jenny where she got her combat training. The answer is that while she was getting ancient artifacts from far-off countries she was also engaging in a bit of freedom-fighting. “If you don’t fight for the things you stand for,” she says, “you don’t really stand for them.” Ooh, Ichabod’s impressed. I think the Jenny Mills Fan Club might have found its President.
The good guys get to the church and fight the Hessians; one of them makes to throw Jenny into the fiery demon pit, but Ichabod tackles him because No, you do not mess with Jenny Mills! Teamwork, yeah! Abbie grabs the book, but one of the Hessians has Jenny at gunpoint and threatens to shoot her unless Abbie hands it over. Jenny tells her not to give in, but for a second it looks like she will… until she throws the book into the fire. Jenny takes advantage of her captor’s momentary distraction to kick as hiss, and both Hessians get pitched into the fire as well. The demon pit closes; the day is saved.
Sister feels! I love that, even though Abbie and Jenny spent this entire episode seeming to hate each other, Abbie just knew that if she threw that book into the fire Jenny would be able to save herself. For all that there’s bad blood between them, no one knows Jenny like Abbie does, and I’d guess that the reverse is true, too. Sister feels!
(Also: It’s mentioned early in the episode that the Knights Templar originally found the Lesser Key of Solomon and kept it hidden. Why did you not burn the demon book, Knights Templar? What possible non-evil use could it have had? Did someone really like the look of it for their coffee table? Evil artifacts: Burn them, drop them in the sea, encase them in concrete, throw them in a volcano. Destroy them. I know Lord of the Rings wasn’t around back then to show you the way, but dang, it’s common sense!)
Abbie has a heart-to-heart with Jenny and tells her that she and Ichabod are the two Witnesses. It makes Jenny bitter—she’s the one who’s been fighting the good fight her whole life, who actually believed in the demon when Abbie turned her back. And now Abbie’s the one with the sacred destiny? I feel you, Jenny. I’d be mad, too. She says she doesn’t know if she can ever forgive Abbie, and Abbie doesn’t challenge that, doesn’t dismiss her sister’s feelings of betrayal. She just says that the two of them are all the family they have left, and she’s going to try and make up for what she did by getting Jenny out of the psych hospital and into her legal conservatorship. It’ll take a few months, but Jenny’s a problem that the hospital doesn’t want to deal with, so they probably won’t put up much of a fight.
The episode ends with Ichabod doing some research on Moloch in that rollicking tome Paradise Lost. In addition to being the creepy forest demon he’s also the god of child sacrifice and the one who’s keeping Katrina trapped.
It had a few off notes, but generally this episode was good. Where the heck is Katrina? She’s in the opening credits and has only appeared in the last few episodes for a combined total of a few seconds. Hopefully now that Abbie and Ichabod know who they’re fighting things will start to kick into high gear.
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