“Sleepy Hollow” 11/10/2014 (spoilers): Soul Food and Heartburn

Blue Succubus!

Soul-sucking demon or not, nightclub mood lighting isn’t flattering to anyone.

Previously on Sleepy Hollow: Katrina Crane escaped the villains’ grasp, only to be cursed with a magical evil pregnancy intended to birth a bouncing baby Moloch, which her husband Ichabod thwarted by using an artifact to upconvert ordinary sunlight into the Aurora Borealis, a demon baby’s one weakness. An unperturbed Henry Parish moved quickly to his next scheme involving a jar of red liquid with large contaminants floating around inside. Meanwhile, Abbie Mills showed up for Election Day but never found out if her vote made a difference.

In tonight’s new episode, “Heartless”…it’s Our Heroes versus a succubus! I first learned about those from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. Or maybe it was the Fiend Folio. I forget which. That game taught me a lot of mythology and folklore at an early age. Succubi definitely weren’t a Level-1 monster, I remember that much.

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

…so we learn Henry also has an evil urn containing a heart, whose owner is a succubus named Lilith (guest star Caroline Ford from Lake Placid: the Final Chapter). Henry summons Lilith to be his demon gofer, sending her forth to harvest lifeforces from the general public like a sort of soul vampire, then bring them back to Henry and air-spew them into the red jar. Unlike the succubi of old, Lilith isn’t picky about gender, as she picks off a geeky clubber guy and an unrequited young lady at a diner with equal fury and without making a “yuck!” face.

This procedure is necessary because Henry has a new mouth to feed: baby Moloch! Surprise! The Aurora Borealis was apparently useless against the wee unborn tyke, now incarnate and flailing about helplessly with his tiny, ashen arms. Henry doesn’t explain how he teleported the nearly-born Horsebaby of the Apocalypse from Katrina’s womb to Fredericks Manor, but maybe that’s a story still waiting in the wings, one that includes a guided tour of Henry’s elaborate neonatal demon care unit. As part of Moloch’s upbringing, the marinated lifeforces become baby demon food that Henry dumps right in his crib so his tiny pores can soak it all in. Never has child-rearing been so repulsive and unsanitary.

Speaking of repulsive and unsanitary: this week Ichabod and Katrina also discover reality TV. Both fall for a Bachelor kind of show. Ichabod derives guilty pleasure while condemning it as “shameless groundling Kabuki.” Katrina, determined to alienate herself further from us, likes the whole reality-TV concept a lot more than Ichabod does. For the married couple it’s an activity they can share while they try to pick up where their marriage left off two centuries ago. Both are still uneasy from recent developments and wondering if things can ever be the same between them again, especially now that their son Jeremy is elderly and evil and renamed Henry, like the Looney Tunes chicken-hawk.

Despite their squabbles, Team Crane comes together as one when strikes the succubus (also called an “Incordata” in Sheriff Corbin’s monster manuals) except sister Jenny, who has about ten seconds of screen time this week, which is ten more than either ex-Captain Irving or new Captain Reyes get. Things fall short of copacetic when tensions rise between Katrina and Abbie over the never-ending debate of whether or not Henry has a salvageable good side. Ichabod intervenes before Abbie can throw a punch or Katrina can fail another magic attempt. The ladies later settle their differences for now, but Ichabbie ‘shippers are probably already anteing up on a Katrina dead pool.

Katrina tries her best to be useful until she’s written out. She identifies the postmortem succubus markings as “vitae vis points” (read: lifeforce exit wounds), keeps having visions of what Henry’s doing because of her connection to li’l Molochy, uses magic to track down the succubus at one point, and achieves a lighthearted moment when she asks politely for quince tea, which Abbie denies even exists. Abbie is wrong. I’m guessing Sleepy Hollow lacks in specialty food stores.

The team once again recruits Nick Hawley, relic grubber, but all he brings to the table are a Nordic knife for Crane to borrow, a Maelstrom Crystal from World of Warcraft that acts like an anti-demon stun-gun (made from genuine ifrit parts, so it’s 100% organic, though in the AD&D Monster Manual it was spelled “efreet”), and his services as unwitting bait when Lilith tries to lure him to his doom. Hawley also brings some awkwardness to the table when Crane thinks he sees a possible love connection between Hawley and Abbie. She claims she’s not interested in complications such as relationships while they’re busying forestalling Armageddon (suuuure she’s not), but Hawley’s dismissal of the idea may be a half-hearted front. Time will tell, unless Ichabbie ‘shippers hunt down Hawley and threaten to kneecap him until he leaves the show.

Lilith’s downfall begins when Our Heroes split into teams. Based on Corbin’s encyclopedia, Abbie and Katrina race to Shady Grounds Cemetery, because Abbie’s computer research tells her Henry recently obtained some kind of cemetery license so he can do evil there without anyone asking him questions. (Maybe he’s planning to buy the cemetery? Or maybe there’s an oddball New York law that requires cemetery visitors to hold a valid mourning permit.) That night they drive to the cemetery, find a crypt with telltale protective hex runes above the doorway (I assume they say “SPEAK LATIN AND ENTER”), and descend downward into an underground space much plainer and dirtier than the crypt where Once Upon a Time‘s Mayor Regina stores her living heart collection. They quickly locate the right urn containing Lilith’s heart, even though Henry was holding it in an earlier scene. Presumably he dropped it off during an errand run that will show up as a deleted scene on the DVD set.

The urn is protected with an illusion spell that makes the insides appear to contain the viewer’s darkest fear. For Katrina it’s maggots; for Abbie, rats. They compare notes, and then the spell has no power over them. Abbie reaches in and grabs Lilith’s still-pulsating heart. Katrina begins the Romani Greek incantation to destroy the heart and stop the succubus from afar, but a small magic explosion disrupts her concentration and knocks her flat. Abbie steps up, finishes the reading, and presto! The heart burns and the day is saved. Later they share a bonding moment, though by the time they surface it’s bright daylight outside. That must’ve been some lengthy chat.

And where were the menfolk during all this? Ichabod and Hawley returned to the same nightclub where Lilith murdered her first victim. Legend has it succubi like returning to previous crime scenes and are by their very nature pretty dumb TV criminals. She corners Crane in a back room and plucks at his weakening resolve, sensing the doubt in his heart about the state of his marriage. Hawley inserts himself into the scene and nearly has his head handed to him, proving that not all guys who think they’re Indiana Jones or Nathan Drake are cut out to be supernatural fighters. Crane, meanwhile, gets in a solid knife-throw and a well-placed shot with Hawley’s own revolver, timed to coincide with Abbie’s reading. Presto! The day is saved.

After the dust settles, Hawley receives payment in the form of one shriveled, blackened succubus heart. Maybe he can sell it to a rich, eccentric Cajun. Katrina then proposes a new plan: return to Fredericks Manor, ingratiate herself with the Horseman Bram once again by pretending her marriage is on the rocks, and then resume collecting intel as…Katrina Crane, Spy Witch! Abbie questions her wisdom, but Ichabod admits she has field skills and he’s resolved to trust her. For the sake of their marriage, they’ll have to learn to adapt to situations like this, in hopes that their relationship adapts with the times and heals up stronger than ever. Theoretically.

Bram takes all of five seconds for her to sucker. Thanks to the magic amulet he gave her, she can see the dopey look in his big, gullible eyes that technically aren’t there. Surprisingly, Henry welcomes his mom back into the fold with a smile and beckons her toward the world’s most malevolent-looking crib.

When we saw Moloch earlier, he was a chubby, whiny, sick Moloch baby doll. Thanks to that same magic amulet, Katrina looks into the crib and sees not the creature from the It’s Alive movies; she sees a perfectly healthy human baby with normal skin tones and lovable cheeks and cute widdle arms and legs and he looks so precious she could just hug him all day, as long as he doesn’t stab her with the horns she can’t see.

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…
10/20/2014: “The Weeping Lady
10/27/2014: “And the Abyss Gazes Back
11/3/2014: “Deliverance

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