Previously on Sleepy Hollow: Captain Irving was committed to Tarrytown Psychiatric for easier visitation rights and unknowingly signed a contract with War in blood; Jenny Mills was sent back to jail by Abbie’s clueless new boss; Our Heroes reassembled Ben Franklin’s American Frankenstein using Death’s skull, but forgot to put a leash on it; and Ichabod’s wife pitched her new spinoff Katrina Crane, Spy Witch, which might have a shot when Fox pulls the plug on Utopia.
In this week’s new episode, “Root of All Evil”, family secrets are revealed, money is the bad guy, small-town law firms are shady, trust is a commodity, and Crane recoils from an abomination that the rest of society too easily tolerates: men who wear hats indoors.
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…
…as we learned last week, Henry Parish has transformed into something much darker than the Horseman of War, the herald of the demon Moloch, the killer of innocents, and the betrayer of parents: now he’s a lawyer. He walks around in business suits in broad daylight, makes small talk with Our Heroes where they can’t touch him, and even has business cards printed up for his firm, “Parish & Cipher, P.A.” I’m not sure if “Cipher” is Moloch’s street name or if there is no Cipher, just like the nonexistent “Eisenhower” in Eisenhower and Lutz. (Look, if Crane can prattle on about obscure trivia from two hundred years ago, I can reference obscure TV shows from thirty years ago. It’s only fair.)
Sadly, Captain Irving once again remains on the sidelines this week at the sanitarium, though he’s mollified by his new attorney’s promise to negotiate his freedom. Before that can happen, our man Crane tricks his way inside and updates Irving on the true nature of his would-be hero. Irving’s mind won’t stop exploding at the revelations, especially when Crane tells him he might be safer locked up than free. I think Crane just doesn’t want Irving to steal his spotlight and take over the show, but Irving doesn’t have the presence of mind for a sound rebuttal.
Meanwhile, Sleepy Hollow’s speedy-delivery court systems have already taken the arrested Jenny from processing to hearing to plea bargaining to swift community-service sentencing. Once Abbie and Jenny meet up at the Corbin-Cave, they learn new, disappointing things about their mom and about Abbie’s new C.O., Captain Reyes. What little we now know: when they were kids, Mama Mills was arrested for unspecified bad deeds. Thanks to the testimony of Reyes, who was on the Sleepy Hollow police force way back then, Mama Mills went to Tarrytown Psychiatric instead, raving about “demons”. She later committed suicide. The Mills sisters thought very little of Mom ever after (there’s an explicit line about their opinion of her “taking the coward’s way out”), but were unaware that she maybe wasn’t crazy after all, that she was part of something bigger and more dastardly. They also didn’t know the full extent of Reyes’ role in their mom’s fate until just now, when Jenny uses Abbie’s login ID to snoop through personnel files. It’s a round of unhappiness for all the show’s women this week.
That just barely includes Katrina, who pops in for a few seconds to remind us she’s still Bram the Horseman’s captive, but trying her best to root around for intel or look for ways to drive a wedge between Bram and Henry. Katrina finds it most curious that, rather than move into Bram’s family home, he’s taken up residence in Fredericks Manor, where he was born under his Christian name of Jeremy Crane. Katrina wonders if the move is a subconscious expression on Henry’s part of his secret yearning to reconnect with his mommy. Meanwhile at Fredericks Manor, Henry sees the frame from his birthing bed still standing, grimaces, and mentally sets it ablaze in what may or may not be a fit of denial. It’s a good thing Henry didn’t use his Firestarter powers in previous episodes to turn Our Heroes into kindling, but never mind that now.
Very little of any of this has anything to do with the Freak of the Week, which in this case is a Tyrian shekel. You may be familiar with its origin story from 2000+ years ago, when thirty of its kind were gathered in a bag and tossed to the Apostle Judas as payment for backstabbing services rendered. We have no idea yet if all thirty of those infamous pieces of silver escaped burial or museum consignment, but Crane personally knows more than one survived into the eighteenth century, where they found their way into a British treasure trove he helped acquire on orders from General Washington. Along with Crane on that same counterfeiters’ ring raid was good friend Benedict Arnold, who was an upstanding American citizen until that fateful day. Arnold nabbed one of the sinister shekels without realizing its secret power: whosoever lays hands upon one of those coins will see their most selfish desire brought to the surface and their thoughts warped into committing unconscionable acts of evil. And that is the true story of how Benedict Arnold became America’s first traitor, the story The MAN didn’t want you to hear in school.
Fast-forward another two hundred years, when at least one of them come into the possession of that nefarious coin collector, Henry Parish, P.A., who’s prompted by Moloch to tarnish townspeople’s souls to build them an army. Patient Zero is one Lydia Galway, a teller down at Sleepy Hollow Savings & Loan (the same sainted institution that let Captain Irving keep Death’s skull in a safe deposit box). Henry makes a deposit and drops off a demonic dinero with Lydia, who crosses over to the Dark Side, shoots a guard, and stages an impromptu stickup. Abbie arrives on the scene and tries to negotiate a peaceful surrender, but Captain Reyes brooks no levelheaded tomfoolery and guns Miss Galway down. Thus the day is saved thanks to old-fashioned police work.
Too bad the coin was passed along before her death to a son and lowly assistant from the family-owned Webster’s Flower Shop. Formerly mild-mannered Dave Webster leaves the bank a minor Dark Lord, goes home, assembles a bomb using common household items and weaponry probably purchased from Walmart (where does he acquire these skills? No time to explain! There’s explodin’ to be done!), adds a pretty rose to the volatile assortment, and goes ‘n’ blows up the family business. Once poor Demolition Dave is in custody, that terrible Tyrian shekel ends up in the evidence locker, but is swapped out from under the nose of the guard on duty by a seemingly legitimate visitor: Dave’s lawyer, Henry Parish, P.A.! He’s everywhere at once! Dude’s so speedy, ambulances chase him.
Henry later tosses the corrupting coin on the ground near where Jenny is later spending some time scrubbing a brick wall for the community good, using a Cinderella scrub brush instead of a modern power sprayer. Henry’s fiendish plan depends on Jenny looking down around her, seeing a penny and picking it up. This plan could’ve taken hours or even days, but it’s his lucky day and her unlucky one. She picks it up and then decides Captain Reyes must die. It’s not the broadest logical leap we’ve seen on this show.
Crane and Abbie have kept abreast of all this with outside assistance: a young guy named Nick Hawley (Matt Barr from Hatfield & McCoys) who specializes in magic items. Crane writes him off as a “privateer” who seeks to get rich from his arcane knowledge and therefore isn’t noble enough to join Team Crane. But Jenny vouches for him. For now that’ll do. Hawley knows the shekel’s story and capabilities. He knows they can’t just grab it and declare the day saved without themselves being brainwashed. And he knows its one weakness: it’s powerless against consecrated glass.
Since none of them own any consecrated glass, they stop for a quick heist at the nearest old Catholic church, because there are no other churches on TV. While Hawley engages in some surreptitious glass-cutting, Crane distracts the priest on duty by asking to go to confession. They adjourn to the booth, where Crane confesses for his first time in over two centuries. Quoth Crane as he lists his woes in all honesty: “My son abhors me, my wife is living with another man…” (That’s not actually a confession per se, but the priest doesn’t exactly nail his script, either.) Crane’s litany continues until the distant sound of crashing and tinkling cues him to bail out. Side quest: completed!
Using the GPS tracking software at police HQ, Abbie, Crane, and Hawley locate Jenny’s car out at Sterling Forest, where Captain Reyes is accompanying a local politician on a courtesy hunting trip for police fundraising purposes. (It’s our first real sign that the Sleepy Hollow PD don’t operate on an infinite budget. All those bizarre autopsies and confusing crime scenes cost money to sweep under the rug.) Using a rifle she stole from Hawley, Jenny is setting up to take out Reyes sniper-style until Our Heroes intervene. After three seconds of sis-fight, Abbie tries to appeal to her sister’s inner goodness, to sympathize with her rage at their mother’s fate, to bring her back from the Manchurian Candidate precipice.
The sisterly tension is cut short by a flying tackle from the guys. As the coin flies out of Jenny’s grasp and through the air in climactic slow motion, it speaks to Abbie using The One Ring telepathic whispering or modified Parseltongue or whatever. But the day is saved when Hawley catches the shekel using two shards of stained glass like oven mitts. That shuts it up. Overhead, a flock of evil angry birds screech and fly away before anyone can start aiming things at them.
Hawley puts the piece of silver away in secret safekeeping, but wishes he had the entire set so he could sell it on black-market eBay. In exchange for keeping this treasure item, Hawley extends a gesture of goodwill toward Crane by giving him something he’s needed since episode one: a complete set of fake IDs! Sure, they’re all counterfeit, but on paper Crane is now legit and Reyes can stop hassling him for ID at Police HQ. Now he can even register to vote, apply for that driver’s license he mentioned two episodes ago, and complete the necessary legal paperwork for employment without arousing suspicion. And he can prove his age to the local bartenders so he can order a Sam Adams beer on his own, though he makes a face when he sees a bottle and notices the label art looks more like Paul Revere.
For Ichabbie ‘shippers, there’s also a sweet moment when Crane admits he’s having trouble figuring out who he can trust among the cast, but he sees Abbie as his one unconditional friend. As he puts it, “Trust is the only currency with any value. All other forms are too easily counterfeited.”
Speaking of which: are you having trouble with counterfeiters? Other people’s magical shenanigans got you down? Are people around you dying mysteriously, and you suspect you may be their murderer? Have no fear! Call the law offices of Parish & Cipher, P.A., today! Remember their motto: “Think there’s no way out? Parish the thought!”
To be continued!
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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 ongoing recaps. Visit our season-one recap checklist, or this season’s recaps linked below for handy reference. Enjoy!