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“Sleepy Hollow” 10/20/2014 (spoilers): The Daughter in the Water is the Plotter of Slaughter

Bram and Katrina!

A not-quite-tender moment between Abraham van Brunt (Neil Jackson), a.k.a. the Headless Horseman, a.k.a. Death, and Katrina Crane, Spy Witch (Katia Winter).

(…because it would’ve been too easy to run with “The Rain of Pain Falls Mainly on Crane”.)

Anyway. Previously on Sleepy Hollow: Our Heroes killed a Pied Piper, our man Crane (Tom Mison) became an unlicensed stunt driver, Nick Hawley (Matt Barr) got paid for broken merchandise, Henry Parish (John Noble) added some crushed bone flute to his pantry, and the Sleepy Hollow Word of the Day was “gillygaupus”, which means “a stupid, awkward person”. Did you use it in a sentence this week? Good job! Was it directed at someone else online? If so, why am I not surprised?

In tonight’s new episode, “The Weeping Lady”, mean Captain Reyes and the entire Irving family remain offstage as Our Heroes must face the undead threat of…Ichabod Crane’s evil ex-girlfriend!

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…

…the impetus of our tale is a conflict dating back to at least 1779, when young Katrina Van Tassel was betrothed to the still-living, still-pompous Abraham van Brunt, but was already good friends with our man Crane. Now we learn for the first time Crane had a previous fianceé named Mary Wells (Heather Lind from AMC’s American Revolution drama Turn), whom he’d tried to dump like a gentleman because he thought of her more like a sister, and possibly also because she had jealousy and denial issues. Mary journeyed all the way to America to drag him back for the wedding, and ended her demand there as an empty ultimatum without a solid “or else” attached. Crane had to remind her he dumped her a year ago. Her denial turned to rage, which turned back to jealousy as she accused him of having a thing with Katrina. They didn’t officially at the time, but they were one of those couples that everyone just knew were meant for each other. Eventually Mary was right, but she was ahead of her time.

Mary later confronted Katrina by the banks of the Blind Brook River (a real waterway that runs through Westchester County in upstate New York, though it’s usually just “Blind Brook”), accused her of using witchcraft to steal away her beloved, and warned her to back off. In her unobservant histrionics, Mary slipped off the nearest cliff, hit her head on the way down, and drowned in the river. Somehow Katrina got away with either hiding the body or burying her in a unmarked kidnap victim’s mound, and then forged a letter in Mary’s handwriting to Crane, telling him that she returned to England and would never bother him again. Katrina’s reasoning was that Crane had more important things needing his attention such as saving the world. So Katrina figured, what’s one little black lie to cover up an accidental death?

Somehow this secret, never-before-revealed incident was adapted into a 1779 short story by a local innkeeper named Obadiah Saunders, whose clearly unauthorized version rewrote Mary as a jilted lover who ended her cursed fate with suicidal drowning, then returned as a ghost called the Weeping Lady, who would haunt the area and cry a lot but seemed mostly harmless unless the sound of a crying woman bothers you. The legends don’t say if anyone was ever nice enough to ask her if she was okay or offer her a tissue. The story wasn’t famous enough to launch a lucrative writing career for Saunders (otherwise the whole “innkeeper” career track would’ve been left out of his bio), but someone thought well enough that to this day a copy exists in the Sleepy Hollow Public Library. If you search their musty old card catalog under “Legends –> Local –> Women –> Deaths — > Water-based”, you just might be surprised at what you’ll find.

Fast-forward 200+ years:

Henry Parish, the Horseman of War, evil son of the Cranes, remains holed up in his parents’ old home and itching to cause them more trouble. He digs through their ancient possessions that have remained on the shelves over the past two centuries, finds Katrina’s old copy of Gulliver’s Travels (in which she wrote her name like any dutiful book owner), and uses his sin-eater powers to go divining for his mom’s sins and see if he can find something really juicy to use against her. Henry immediately homes in on that one time she lied to Dad about his evil dead ex-girlfriend. She’s the perfect template for another ghastly Monster of the Week. Henry grins and the black magic gleams in his eyes.

Thus does Mary Wells, the Weeping Lady, return to our world with watery powers and a vendetta. Her mission: kill anyone who means anything to Ichabod Crane.

Miss Caroline!

Note the mug in Miss Caroline’s hand: “I [Heart] Founding Fathers”. In her eyes, Crane is the greatest cosplayer of all time.

The Weeping Lady’s first victim: young Miss Caroline (Laura Spencer, a.k.a. Jane Bennet from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries), who first appeared in the season-one finale selling eighteenth-century replica clothing to Crane at a Revolutionary War reenactment fair.

This week she returns to sell her good friend Crane more period-specific wares in preparation for next weekend’s reenactment of the Battle of Saratoga. (Sounds like quite the rowdy shindig. Here’s hoping no one riots.) Crane thanks her as his primary supplier of churned butter and lingonberry preserves, then has to rebuff her advances because he apparently never told this particular buddy that he’s faithfully married. Awkward. Crane’s stalwart best friend Lieuenant Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) is amused by this young lady’s case of “Crane on the brain”.

Unparalleled gentleman that he remains, Crane later believes an apology is in order on his part. Abbie suggests texting her, but Crane derides that rather impersonal idea. (“Oh, yes, a grimacing lemon caricature should do the trick.”) Instead Crane ventures out to her house to apologize in person and to confirm that they can indeed remain friends. Once again Caroline is stunned to find Crane saying things that today’s guys rarely say with any believable conviction. Thus do they part on amicable, cheery terms. It’s the last time he ever sees her alive. Next morning her body is washed up on the shore of Blind Brook River, drowned and with her souvenir mug in the sand beside her. Alas, Miss Caroline, we barely knew ye beyond your endearing American history geekdom.

Fresh tire tracks near this Lovers’ Lane area — albeit with a lack of corresponding footprints — lead their investigation to nearby Westchester High School (home of the fightin’ Westchester Minutemen!), where some light questioning leads them to the two teens who’d been making out in that spot the night before, until something about the altercation between Miss Caroline and the Weeping Lady resulted in crying noises and then something heavy smashing the windshield of the boy’s jeep. They’d then sped away without seeing anything in focus.

Our Heroes make haste to the public library to investigate the local legend of the Weeping Lady. They find Mr. Saunders’ short story, which Google probably hasn’t added to their public-domain book database. Crane also has a visitor knocking at the window for him: a raven carrying a message to him from his beloved Katrina. She’s still trapped with the nefarious Bram at his ancestral home (which Henry fortified with magic wards that nullify her witching powers), but she managed to scrounge up enough ingredients and free time away from her captor to persuade a raven to play passenger pigeon for her. The note basically adds up to, “Dear Ichabod, Still thinking of you, I love you, XOXOXOXOXOXOXO.” But it’s nice that she’s thinking of him, and that she’s capable of penning a sincere letter in her own handwriting.

Abbie and Crane then runs into their fair-weather ally Hawley, who’s allegedly hanging out at the library to do “research”, though we receive no hints as to whether or not his excuse is bogus. Perhaps his home internet service is down. Hawley apologizes for bailing out on them last week. The sight of the Pied Piper, his “first real live monster”, freaked out this ladies’ man beyond his mere mortal capacity. He promises to be more helpful in the future, honest-to-gosh, next time for sure.

As he turns one way to exit, Abbie turns the other and sees one entire section (children’s? reference? periodicals? no idea) walled off with water from ceiling to floor, and the Weeping Lady sitting at a table beyond. Abbie pulls a gun. Weepy Mary turns nightmarish, lunges at Abbie, and yanks her into a Darkforce pool in the floor that’s actually a magic portal into the river. Weepy Mary intends to drown Abbie.

On the library side, Crane reaches into the pool, grabs a flailing Abbie, and yanks her upward into dryness. To his horrified eyes, Abbie’s swallowed too much water and lies unmoving, not breathing. Crane freaks out. His dearest, best friend has just died, for no mere mortal can survive drowning. Terror of all terrors! If only she had been a witch! Crane despairs and is on the verge of manly tears.

Fun history trivia: CPR wasn’t invented till the late nineteenth century, and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation wasn’t a thing until 1956. Fortunately for all, 21st-century Hawley hadn’t exited the library yet and rushes in to perform both modern miracles upon her. Wonder of wonders, Abbie lives! The day is saved. Meanwhile, the bewitching pool disappears or whatever.

In all the underwater struggle, Abbie managed to snatch a piece of Weepy Mary’s long, black veil. Crane recognizes the pattern as his evil ex-girlfriend Mary’s, and storytime ensues. At this point Crane still thinks Mary Wells returned to England and lived a happy life without him, so the idea of her returning as an American killer ghost confounds him. More confounding: in all that underwater struggle, he dropped Katrina’s mash note into the river. The Weeping Lady finds the note, which doesn’t disintegrate on contact with fluids. She reads the words signed by that familiar name and becomes even more enraged. New target acquired.

Crane and Abbie stop by Hawley’s to pick up a suitable magic weapon. He lends Crane a genuine Van Helsing crossbow and bolts etched with druidic ruins, whose heads contain “Greek fire and basilisk venom”. Hawley’s curious to see them field-tested, but doesn’t offer to come along to the showdown at Stately van Brunt Manor. Our Heroes arrive in time to see the Horseman riding off in furious anger, and no one inside, though the mash note lays on a table. Apparently the wards that prevented a witch from witching weren’t broad enough to prevent a specter from spectering. Quickly, then, to the river!

Live from the scene: magic fight! Killer ghost has the upper hand until Katrina remembers she’s a witch and, for the first time this season, acts like it. She animates long strands of seaweed that ensnare Weepy Mary long enough to let her swim to the surface, triumphant in her brief moment as the Aquawoman of sea plants. Crane and Abbie arrive at the same time, compare notes, and conclude that only another round of black magic can undo Henry’s own black magic. While Abbie and Katrina join together to cast the spell so that the burden doesn’t fall on Katrina alone and tempt her to the Dark Side, Crane tries to defend them. He tries to reach Mary with kind words. No good. And Van Helsing’s bolt, like his film, is a dud. But their spell works in the nick of time, and apparently doesn’t come with a price.

Just before she departs this world, Mary points silently to Katrina as an offender before disintegrating in Crane’s arms. Crane can tell Katrina’s got a secret. She’s all like “Later,” but Crane’s all like “NOW.” Katrina confesses everything. Crane is not happy. This isn’t the first time she’s withheld info from him, such as the part where he never knew she was a witch until two centuries later, or the part where she was allegedly remaining Bram’s captive so she could spy on him. Before they can have a deep marital spat, the Horseman returns in a rage and prepares to get ax-happy.

Katrina stays his hand with another burst of magic, then calms him down by assuring her she’s all right, and that he ought to be grateful to Abbie and Crane for saving her life. Bram still loves her and holds out hope that she’ll be his blushing bride after the apocalypse murders us all, so he takes Katrina back home without threatening anyone else. For now.

Epilogues:

1. Jenny Mills appears for a single scene to return the crossbow to her former lover Hawley. They part without hooking up, though there’s a moment of temptation.

2. Crane organizes a wake for Miss Caroline and, as in previous episodes, expresses his sincerest gratitude to Abbie for remaining honest and true to him. As the prophesied Two Witnesses, their working relationship is kind of important. Abbie doesn’t disagree. They lament the loved ones who keep dying in this wretched war, but they agree that their fight to save all humanity is far from over.

3. Bram wasn’t the only bad guy who wasn’t in on Henry’s vindictive little stunt. Henry’s boss, the demon Moloch (Derek Mears), is the absolute opposite of happy. He needs Katrina alive for future plans involving items called “the Hellfire Shards” and smacks Henry around to teach him a lesson.

Moloch exits. And now it’s Henry who’s weeping.

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 ongoing recaps. Visit our season-one recap checklist, or this season’s recaps linked below for handy reference. Enjoy!

9/22/2014: “This is War
9/29/2014: “The Kindred
10/6/2014: “Root of All Evil
10/13/2014 “Go Where I Send Thee…

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About Randall A. Golden
Hoosier since birth, geek since age 6, father at 22, Christian at 30; launched Midlife Crisis Crossover at 39. Full-time service rep; part-time internet contributor; former message board admin; inhabits Twitter as @RandallGolden. Views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of any other corporation, being, or party line.

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