Previously on Sleepy Hollow: Abbie and Crane find the legendary Sword of Methuselah, which can slay any being around, including Big Bads; an escaped Captain Irving goes into hiding; Henry Parish (f/k/a Jeremy Crane) sounds the first of three horn-blows that signal the Endtimes opening ceremonies; his demon boss Moloch blossoms into his final form; the Headless Horseman and the still-unnamed Blazing Sword Armor Golem both stand by, ready for evil action; and Katrina Crane, Undercover Spy Witch, turns out once again to be a useless liability.
In tonight’s fall finale, “The Akeda”: the promo promised “SOMEONE MUST FALL”, and sure enough, Our Heroes come face to face with the Big Bad himself, and not everyone makes it out alive. And nearly everyone’s here: Crane! Abbie! Katrina! Jenny! Irving! Hawley! Moloch! Henry! Bram! The War armor! Alas, Captain Reyes is nowhere in sight, because only those who believe in magic are allowed inside this climactic, tragic episode.
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…
…it was the playwright Anton Chekhov who said, “If you say in the previous chapter that there is a sword that can kill anything, in the next chapters it absolutely must kill stuff.” Loosely paraphrased, maybe. Now that Abbie and Crane have the Sword of Methuselah in hand, fans of stabbing aren’t disappointed.
First they have to arrive, of course. When an evil lightning storm fries the electrical system in Abbie’s SUV, the Doomsday Duo commandeers a motorcycle and rides the rest of the way in style. Crane panics at first, but once the rider is over, he exclaims, “I WANT ONE OF THESE! AS SOON AS THIS IS OVER!” Looking forward to a season-three episode when Crane finds the lost, fiery motorcycle of Zarathos and really has himself a blast.
Round One: Fredericks Manor — In this corner, time-displaced history professor Ichabod Crane, armed with the Sword. In the other corner: former best friend Abraham van Brunt, now undead and reborn as the Headless Horseman, a.k.a. Death, main man from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Meanwhile on the sidelines, Abbie frees a strung-up Katrina from her “binding ritual” bonds. Bram was about to magic-marry the two of them and isn’t happy that they’re crashing his overdue wedding ceremony.
They fight and fight and fight. Crane wins! He even chops the head off Bram’s ax, so now he and his weapon match. Before Crane can deliver a finishing move, Katrina extends the scope of her illusory pendant so everyone can see and hear Bram instead of staring at Headless’ silent neck wound. Now visible, Bram sneers because he knows the sword better than Crane does, and knows it has a manufacturer’s defect in keeping with the adage that “Magic comes with a cost.” (Not a “price”, but a cost — some other magic in some other show comes at a price, but here it’s a COST, and there’s a world of difference that maybe some wizardly Ben Bernanke can explain to us.)
Bram knows that anyone who slays another with the Sword also forfeits their own soul and, presumably, their life. Katrina reads the runes on the side of the Sword — and Jenny hits the books later to confirms — the inscription invokes the Erelim angels (cf. the Kabbalah, apparently) and Bram is on the level. Crane stays his hand. They somehow drag Bram down to the catacombs and back into his previous chain-filled prison.
Next step in their crazy master plan: recruit Captain Frank Irving back to their ranks. They track him down handily because his voice mail to Jenny was orally encrypted to include a heavily obscured reference to John Andre, a henchman to Benedict Arnold who was arrested and jailed in Tarrytown on September 23, 1780. So obviously this means Irving is presently lurking in the sewers beneath Andre’s original cell, which is now a military post. For someone who was a nonbeliever for the first several episodes, Irving may now have burrowed hundreds of miles deeper into the National Treasure rabbit hole than any other character.
Our Heroes need Irving because they realize that he’s the perfect wielder for the Sword of Methuselah. With his soul already signed away via trickery to Henry Parish, Irving can’t lose his soul to the Sword. Sure enough, between its eerie glow and its +100 attack bonus, the Sword turns Irving into an instant swashbuckler ready for his big duel.
Nick Hawley, drunken privateer, is then called off the bench for two purposes:
1. Loan them a magic arsenal. Jenny makes use of a flintlock reputed to have belonged to Blackbeard. Also of use is a sword Crane recognizes as a Jokoto katana, an ancient Japanese oldie-but-goodie. Hawley purportedly brings more toys than that, especially when a bloody hail convinces him this latest Armageddon is closer to the real thing than countless other Armageddons that were foretold but called off in previous eras, but no other toys receive any screen time.
2. Babysit a captive Death so everyone else can go join the final battle. Katrina does the job for a while, and seems a bit too eager to do so, especially because she’s sad that he feels all betrayed by her and now his feelings are hurt, though not quite as hurt as all the victims he’s murdered from episode one onward. Regardless, Katrina is called away to battle on the assumption that her magic will come in handy at some point. Hawley is comparatively powerless and likely to choke, so he’s on Death-watch.
So, no big hero moments for Hawley. He stands by while Irving remains Man of the Hour. Irving aids in the interrogation of Bram, watching the Horseman’s jacket sizzle when the Sword is brushed against it. Bram happily confesses Moloch and Henry have set up shop at Henry’s own former gravesite, where he was buried Jeremy Crane but arose a malevolent minion of Moloch. The site is nicknamed “Four Trees” because it has four trees that also happen to be countdown markers for the End of Days. When each tree falls, a different Sign will occur. People with short to-do lists could use a grove of trees like these. (The shofar that Henry used once last week is never mentioned. Maybe they’re saving those other two Endtimes horn-blows for a rainy day. Or maybe Henry did blow it three times and then pawned it. No idea.)
During the war preparations, Crane picks the worst possible time to have a marital spat with Katrina. Crane wonders, are those Spy Witch charms she’s been using on Bram, or is she really happy to see him? Katrina swears her friendly encouragement, tender moments, doe-eyed glances toward Death, and infernal insistence on letting him live after every interrogation are all part of the Game. Crane’s not buying it and wonders aloud about the state of their marriage, and millions of Ichabbie ‘shippers hold their breath, waiting for more signs that soon all their wishes will be granted.Meanwhile at Four Trees: Moloch’s ticked that the Sword is in the game and blames Henry. To make up for it, Henry brings back his War suit (the Blazing Fire Armor Golem that he mentally controls, though we never see him actively controlling it much) and summons up early members of Moloch’s planned army of the dead. More will be coming when the trees fall and Purgatory merges with our world, but Henry takes what he can get for now.
Round Two: Cemetery showdown! Heroes versus the Walking Dead. Crane goes nuts with a bayonet. Jenny shows off her mad flintlock skills. Katrina has witch-fire laser-bursts that, incredibly, actually work and score points. Abbie is, regrettably, sidelined by an early gunshot. But the MVP in this battle is Irving the destroyer, who slices through walkers left and right with the zeal of a Middle-Earth warrior, and then comes face-to-face with the incendiary War armor itself.
They fight and fight and fight. It’s arguably the most dramatic, dynamic fight scene in series history. Irving takes a nasty sword-slash to his side, but triumphs anyway, hacking the War armor to pieces until its molten innards spill out and the whole thing turns into a big, gooey mess.
The good news: the Sword of Methuselah doesn’t take Irving’s life. The bad news: War’s fatal wound does. Even Katrina’s useless healing spells are useless to save him. And with that, we bid farewell to Irving and to Orlando Jones, who brought him to life and went out on the highest of high notes.
Later, an enraged Moloch orders Henry to go fetch that blasted Sword. Moloch’s so upset that he candidly admits that Henry, Bram, and all Horsemen of the Apocalypse in general are disposable and easily replaced. Henry can’t help feeling offended, but he has his orders.
Round Three: The church where Our Heroes have been holed up. They ambush Henry and have the upper hand for a moment. Abbie wields the Jokoto katana, hidden beneath an illusion granting it the Sword of Methuselah’s appearance — a spell cast surprisingly successfully by Katrina. While Abbie and Jenny hold Henry’s attention, Crane sneaks out of hiding and holds the real Sword to Henry’s head. It’s the perfect opportunity to kill him and end this madness.
Instead Crane beckons his son one last time to come back from the Dark Side. Katrina approves. That’s how you know it’s a bad plan.
Soooooo after Henry is done playing them for suckers and quickly turns the tables and gets the Sword, Crane, Abbie, Jenny, and Katrina end up tied to each of the Four Trees. Moloch insists Katrina must die first because long list of fair reasons. Crane begs to be killed first. Henry invokes Abraham and Isaac’s story (known in the Jewish faith as the Akedah), and his theory that it’s not a story about unconditional faith, but rather a story about how the wide gulfs that fathers and sons create between themselves. Henry revels in the ever-widening gap between them.
Moloch doesn’t care. Moloch is mean. Moloch wants to hurry up and rule.
Henry takes the sword, advances slightly toward Ichabod…then turns and stabs Moloch through the chest. Moloch turns to brightly burning light while Our Heroes watch in shock. The moral of the story: fathers can be alienating and aggravating, but fathers don’t hold a candle to horrible bosses.
To be continued in 2015. See you then!
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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!
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”
11/24/2014: “Magnum Opus“