“Sleepy Hollow” 9/29/2014 (spoilers): Poor Richard’s Avenger

Ichabod Crane!

Sleepy Hollow DVD set: $50. Ichabod Crane T-shirt: $25. Watching Crane tear new holes in the credit card industry on network TV: priceless.

Previously on Sleepy Hollow: Crane and Abbie escaped from Purgatory with assistance from her sister Jenny, stymied Jeremy/Henry’s plans to aid Moloch in leading a zombie invasion into our dimension, and taught us all how Benjamin Franklin could be an annoying old perv.

This week’s new episode, “The Kindred”, sees an old friend returning, a new monster birthing, a new supporting character ruining things, and our man Crane denouncing not one but two modern industries for their dehumanizing practices. If you think your grandparents complain too much about things these days, just imagine how cranky they’d be after a two-century nap.

For those who missed out, my attempt to streamline the basic events follows after this courtesy spoiler alert for the sake of time-shifted viewers…

…Crane awakens from a dream in which his beloved wife Katrina (Katia Winter) is chained inside an evil ritual circle by her ex and his ex-best friend, Abraham van Brunt (Neil Jackson), better known now as Death the Headless Horseman. Together with the Cranes’ evil son Jeremy, “Bram” prepares an evil ritual guaranteed to help him woo Katrina and “more like him in every way.” Presumably this refers to resembling him in gruesome mystical ways rather than matching his taste in 18th-century fine art.

Duly frightened by this vision, Crane and Abbie set to more library work in Sheriff Corbin’s case files and find something interesting while flipping through an arcane printed edition of the Codex Tchacos, which is a real artifact whose transcriptions contain several of the Apocrypha, including the world’s oldest surviving edition of the Gospel of Judas. They pause for a quick digression to go errand-running and confirm Evil HQ is at Willow Point, van Brunt’s family estate in Dobbs Ferry, an easy five-mile drive due south of Tarrytown, a.k.a. Sleepy Hollow. They also find time in all of that to make jokes about the modern-day “wedding industry”, in Crane’s eyes a wretched big-business appropriation of a once-holy sacrament. (No argument here.)

Our Heroes meet up with sister Jenny at Corbin’s cabin, read further into this curiously illustrated archival edition, and discover a potentially useful item/ally that Crane also recalls spotting in Benjamin Franklin’s sketchbook from last week’s premiere. As we’re told, General George Washington and the Sisters of the Radiant Heart (Katrina’s witch coven) jointly commissioned a creation called the Kindred, basically a patchwork of dead body parts designed to come to life and rival Death’s own fighting prowess in supernatural combat. Rather than needing Victor Frankenstein’s fictional machinery or a chance lightning bolt, Franklin’s Kindred project never succeeded because it lacked one vital component that was a bit harder to come by in those days: a part from the body of Death himself.

The good news: season-1 viewers will recall Our Heroes took Death’s very skull to use as bait against him. The bad news: its current keeper is in jail. Cue a one-minute visit to our man Captain Irving (Orlando Jones returns at last!), still in prison for confessing to police murders committed by the demon who possessed his paraplegic young daughter. Irving is bruised and abused because jailed policeman, but he points them to the skull’s whereabouts: in a very large safe deposit box down at Sleepy Hollow Savings & Loan, which so far has weathered all manner of financial crises over the years just fine. One of their secrets: they’ll all too happy to sell you a credit card without first asking if you happen to be an early American with very strong opinions about the destructive notion of “credit without collateral” who freely quotes Thomas Jefferson in his opening rebuke: “Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.” Suffice it to say the symbolism of the bank’s pens-on-chains is not lost on an indignant Crane, and there’s one Sleepy Hollow bank manager who lost a commission and some sleep tonight.

Franklin’s sketchbook helpfully provides ambiguous directions to the burial place of the Kindred’s inanimate remains, down in Sleepy Hollow’s sewer tunnels, possibly not far from Corbin’s case files. After a quick run-in with another colony of frightened bats, not unlike the ones from Abbie’s scary day in Moloch’s lair, Our Heroes find the body in a coffin behind a metal wall plate bearing the family crest of Luigi Galvani, a contemporary physicist from Crane’s time whose vast research into bioelectrical shocks and the effects of electricity on the living are all the hints Crane needs to realize the plate is booby-trapped to electrocute anyone who touches it improperly. Sadly, Galvani died without explaining if his underground death trap was tied to the city’s grid in perpetuity or if he invented an amazing battery with a two-century shelf life. But obstinance beats deathtrap and the coffin is freed.

With completely collected Kindred kit in tow (some assembly required), Abbie and Crane return to Willow Point and take two tries to get the incantation right. Finally the Kindred rises. IT’S ALIVE. And just in time, because they’re beset by a dastardly dead duo — Death/Bram himself, and the animated armor with blazing sword that Moloch gifted to Jeremy last week. The three warriors fight and fight and fight. While Abbie runs to fetch their vehicle and play getaway driver, Crane runs inside to free his beloved Katrina. At last the Cranes can be together, and our entire team can unite against magical crime, like a new Scooby gang but with much better history-class cred.

(It’s odd for Abbie not to be right there in the fray, but there’s a moment earlier when she admits to Crane that her time in Purgatory was more harrowing than she’s had time to discuss. Crane understand, as Purgatory “finds your weakness, plucks at it.” This quote from Crane invites speculation as to why a faux Crane appeared to her instead of a more obvious point of weakness. Presumably an allusion to their deepening friendship and whatever else lies ahead for them. Insert meaningful pause followed by story interruption.)

Katrina has a surprise for Ichabod: she’s not leaving. She’s overheard plans being made for Moloch’s next infiltration attempt and wants to stay captured as a mole for Our Heroes. She also strongly believes that, as a mother, she owes it to their family to see if their aging baby boy might have any redeemable shred left inside. Besides, if she leaves now, she reckons Death will go all-out General Sherman on all of Sleepy Hollow until he’s retrieved her. After one long-overdue kiss between husband and wife, Crane sees her wisdom and reluctantly takes his leave. Thus is the stage set for our first potential spinoff, Katrina Crane, Spy Witch.

Abbie and Crane flee on wheels, the Kindred runs off into the forest, and Death and the Blazing Sword Armor Golem stand victorious in everyone else’s retreat. Bram is even more delighted that Katrina has chosen him over the rest: “You are wise not to acclimate to this world. It will not exist much longer.”

Meanwhile throughout the rest of the episode, Jenny has stuck by their side for a while, but staffing needs toss a monkey wrench into the wide latitude they’ve had for a while in their wild, magical chases. Enter Irving’s replacement, new Sleepy Hollow town sheriff Leena Reyes (Sakina Jaffrey from House of Cards), who’s basically the same character Irving was in the first several episodes, the obligatory irritating authority figure who doesn’t get any of this and complicates everything they do. She’s a no-nonsense law-and-order candidate thinks Sleepy Hollow’s strange shenanigans are no more unbelievable that the stunts she’s seen pulled by Mexican cartels during her past career in Border Patrol. Something in this analogy feels uncomfortable and/or skewed to me, but that was the gist of the words that were written for her.

Reyes asserts her presence by snapping unhelpfully about all the strange goings-on and the weird books and the underground tunnels that shouldn’t be open to civilians and the ponytailed staff history professor who has no place on a police force. Her resume clearly matched the job description’s requirements to be the complete opposite of fun. In her first official act as a total, regressive downer of a character, she arrests Jenny for weapons possession and grounds her from the rest of the episode, save a single prison visit from Abbie at the end that literally lasts about twenty seconds and wasn’t worth the gas she spent getting there.

Meanwhile, after Abbie convinces Captain Irving that he’ll be much easier to visit in a mental ward than in a maximum security pen, he submits to a polygraph test and and answers every single truthfully, even about the impossible acts of season one. He technically aces the test, but when he hits them with the truth that the real killer was the demon Ancitif, they junk the polygraph results and prepare to commit him to the proverbial Cuckoo’s Nest. Irving loves it when a plan comes together.

Irving’s “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” sendoff would be Reyes’ second official act as the new town wet-blanket, but she’s interrupted by a face familiar to us but not to her or Irving: Jeremy Crane introducing himself once again as Henry Parish, pretending to be an attorney hired by Irving’s wife. Jeremy’s clever disguise is a standard business suit and a smile, both probably ordered from the Boris Badenov Flimsy Disguise Catalog. But they’re all he needs to slap Reyes with an injunction barring any “involuntary treatments”. Reyes slinks away and vows to oppress another day.

To confirm their new business relationship, Jeremy/Henry passes Irving a contract and a pen. As Irving signs, a rough edge on the old pen pricks his hand, dripping blood into the ink as Irving writes. Thankfully Henry doesn’t have Boris Badenov’s suspicious laugh of evil triumph. Perhaps Abbie would’ve had time to warn Irving about Henry if prison visits in TV or movies were ever permitted to last for more than a minute.

This scene also confirms what we learn from Jeremy earlier in the episode: he now hates being called “Jeremy” and prefers his former Henry Parish alias, even though the phrase was taken off a random road sign.

In other words…Henry wants to be called by his “street name”.

(Thank you! Thanks for coming out! I’ll be here all week and quite possibly the rest of my life!)

To be continued!

[If you missed any previous episodes of Sleepy Hollow, you can see what’s available online at Fox’s official site, or check out MCC’s own season-one recaps. Enjoy!]

3 responses

    • See, I’ve been doing the Sleepy Hollow recaps since the beginning, so they’re priority one TV in our house. Our TV time is packed tomorrow, but Scorpion is on my docket for Wednesday night catch-up along with the Once Upon a Time premiere. And somewhere in all of this I’ll be trying to cram in a few more pilots that debut this week, plus one from last week that I keep procrastinating, all for the “Pilot Binge” project.

      Eventually it’ll all get watched. Maybe. I’m tiring myself out just typing about all this. And then someday I’ll let myself go back to writing about anything but TV!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are a great writer. Very informative as well. We go to my mother’s (She has two TV’s) to watch the previews, It’s a good thing. I don’t get as distracted during the day and she gets our company and chat when we get to her place.. All is good. SH is a good show. Just got away from me for a bit. 🙂


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