Previously on Sleepy Hollow: One hero fought valiantly but died; one villain died harder when another villain turned betrayer at the last minute; still another villain found himself in chains; and our man Ichabod Crane rode his first motorcycle, possibly not his last.
In tonight’s new episode, “Paradise Lost”: new villains succeed the old; a new outcast offers his services for a price; one old villain seeks redemption; and Katrina Crane gives everyone new reasons to gnash their teeth and rend their garments every time she talks.
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…
…as Sleepy Hollow rides the coattails of Supernatural and 25 years’ worth of John Constantine comics to introduce its own Scripturally questionable action angel. The new winged wonder Orion is played by Max Brown, who had been scheduled to star in his own Fox adventure series Hieroglyph until it was famously pre-canceled before airing. Orion comes to Sleepy Hollow with wings that work with obvious wire effects, a fiery metal Frisbee ring, and a mission to kill Death dead. He dresses all in black, he kills demons without blinking, he has a growly voice, he’s freshly escaped from Purgatory, and he mostly appears at night. Everyone assumes he’s on the level and no one checks his references until late in the game, when Ichabod eventually consults the late Sheriff Corbin’s extensive apocryphal library and finds nothing but bad references involving a major disaster at every single job Orion’s ever had.
(In his defense, Crane is slightly wowed for a while when it’s revealed Orion once appeared to General George Washington back in 1781 or so. Crane has yet to learn the modern lesson that just because someone has met good, important people doesn’t mean they are a good or important person.)One minor obstacle to Orion’s death-killing plan: a new gang of demon players called the Daevoli. In the absence of the apparently deceased Moloch, Purgatory is busted, innumerable captives have escaped it, and Evil in our world now require a new leader. The Daevoli think Death’s their prime candidate. They don’t speak English, but they know evil rituals and wield mean scythes, like good little Grim Reaper understudies.
One major obstacle to Orion’s plan: Katrina Crane. First she wanted to save the life of her son Jeremy even after he grew into a hateful old multiple murderer renamed Henry Parish. Now that he’s vanished, Katrina has turned her misguided sights on Death incarnate, the multiple-murdering Headless Horseman, the man formerly known as Abraham van Brunt before he joined Team Apocalypse. A guilt-stricken Katrina believes the blowhard fiancé she once dumped still lies buried somewhere within that hideous assassin and deserves to be freed, separated from Death via witch magic, and forgiven for his smug attitudes and two non-consecutive centuries’ worth of unapologetic murdering. Really, Bram’s just misunderstood! Deep down, Death is a really keen guy if you get to know him and let him kill whoever he wants without consequence! Don’t judge!
All of this helps shake off the malaise that Abbie and Crane have shared after last episode’s climax, in which Henry stabbed his master Moloch and apparently destroyed him, then similarly vanished. After a six-week time jump, Crane is now chafing with existential angst as a time-displaced misfit coping with the foreign concept of 21st-century non-lethal everyday life. Shopping for organic produce does nothing to calm him, instead inviting his wrath at the very ideas of GMOs and artificial additives that have become the status quo while marginalizing genuinely natural foods into a trendy niche.
Their fruit discussion sparks the episode’s theme of reinvention. Should natural foods be retooled into Frankenstein constructs? Can Crane redefine himself for 21st-century living? Can he and Katrina overcome their trial separation and restore their marriage? Can yet another TV show find something different to do with an angry angel character? Is it cool that the role of the “Witnesses” has more or less been upgraded to an aggressive military position? Can Katrina really, really change Death just because her heart wishes it so? The worm-infested apple that Crane spots amidst an otherwise colorful bunch would seem to symbolize that at least one of these questions is doomed to disappointment.
And so it goes. Orion’s game plan is to kill Death, take his power, and rewrite the universe so he becomes our new judge. Katrina frees Death from his chains so he can escape Orion, but they end up fighting anyway. Our Heroes interrupt the Angel-vs.-Death match long enough to destroy Orion’s magic Frisbee with Death’s ax. A gravely wounded Death and an unarmed Orion each flee, though the latter seems to forget he left Abbie a souvenir: a halo-shaped pendant she can use to summon him anytime. He gave it to her before his true nature was found out, but she retains the option anyway, in case she…uh, wants to yell at him some more, I suppose. He refuses to answer any and all deep theological questions, so even summoning him for small talk is useless.
In fairness to Katrina, if she’d kept Death chained up in the sewers and let Orion slay him, Orion would’ve become all-powerful and we’d have a new apocalypse already on our hands. On the other hand, her insistence at pardoning a diabolical killer just to assuage her own conscience, and the tremendous lengths to which she’s willing to go just to make herself feel better at the expense of justice and at the risk of All Humanity, have at this point ruined the Cranes’ marriage and pushed the show one step closer toward realizing the dreams of millions of Ichabbie ‘shippers out there who have their fingers crossed and are counting down the days till Katrina’s out of the picture.
For what it’s worth, Jenny and Hawley are also in the episode. They hang out at the bar, they hang out with each other, Jenny confirms they’re never hooking up again because he’s a spineless drifter, but he has a magic artifact called the Egg of Asag that basically gives its user the power to call Crane and tell him, “The bad guys went thataway.” The Egg’s even more pointless when you realize “thataway” was the old van Brunt place, the first place they should’ve been staking out for Team Apocalypse anyway. Way to contribute from the bench, guys.
Meanwhile, in an innocent Sleepy Hollow convenience store, a formerly dead Captain Frank Irving, having likewise escaped from Purgatory upon the death of Moloch, shuffles in and begins eating and drinking stuff without paying. He woozily asks the cashier if he’s in Heaven or Hell, as if anyone’s ever opened a convenience store awesome enough to beg that question.
To be continued…in two weeks! (Next week is a rerun.)
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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”
12/1/2014: “The Akeda“