Previously on Sleepy Hollow: Our Heroes thought it a brilliant sacrifice to destroy an eighteenth-century holodeck containing the thoughts and memories of Thomas Jefferson held and animated inside a sentient hologram and an extensive Rupert Giles hero library just so a bunch of mad, starving Morlocks who hadn’t eaten in 250 years could get killed in a single explosion instead of having to put forth a little effort to slay them one at a time. Meanwhile, Henry Parrish tempted his mom Katrina with Dark Willow magic. At the same time, the resurrected Frank Irving took a break from Henry’s secret domination over him to go steal the Hellfire Club’s accounting records so that he could embezzle some getaway money for his family.
In tonight’s new episode, “Awakening”: Henry reveals his new plan, which has nothing to do with apocalypses or Witnesses or demons or Horsemen! Jenny Mills has a gunfight! Frank Irving goes a little mad! Katrina’s magic works! And it works a lot for a change!
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…
…250 years ago, someone in charge of evil had the idea of creating duplicates of the Liberty Bell that, when subject to the simply-named Awakening Ritual, would trigger latent witch-borne powers and blind fury in those worthy within range, much like the Inhuman powers we’ve seen on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Ichabod Crane, agent of Washington, once went on a mission once to destroy such a bell with a batch of explosive black powder. 2½ centuries later, Henry Parrish selects one of those as our Evil Artifact of the Week. At long last his first sinister post-Moloch master plan is revealed: he wants to use a Big Bad Bell to start a new coven with himself as head witch, and he wants to have a thousand witches so he can have a thousand friends and no one can say no to being his friend.
Henry conducts a test run by swapping out a benign Liberty Bell replica on an ordinary Sleepy Hollow street with a Hell’s Bell, recites some Latin vocab, and watches the results. He’s disappointed only three people see their evil witch powers activate and turn them into ruthless killing machines. A wife Force-chokes her gambling-addict of a husband; a bicyclist uses a Final Destination live wire to electrocute the trucker who’s just run into him; and the spirit of a funeral’s deceased subject begins speaking through his mourning goth daughter. But Henry can’t start a new coven and declare he’s bringing Witchy back with only three acolytes.
Back to Plan A, then: he finishes recruiting his mom Katrina to the Dark Side so their joint powers can activate a new witch network. Presto. Her conversion happens. Two episodes of novice blood-magic experiments on defenseless flowers, plus some sweet-talking from her evil son, plus some disturbing cutting practice that maybe merits a trigger warning for anyone who’s ever struggled with cutting without seeing magical results, is enough to convince Katrina to reject everything she’s fought for all series long, to convince her that witches rule and humans drool, to throw away her marriage, to view her former teammates as vermin beneath her, to be perfectly okay with murdering, and to join Emperor Henry as his Sith apprentice, Ms. Darth van Tassel. Yep, switching sides is just that easy when your season finale is coming up and your show still hasn’t been renewed. Because plot twists are cool even if you don’t have time to work them organically or to make them, y’know, an actual surprise.
Meanwhile across America, Ichabbie ‘shippers are collectively not really caring about quality control one way or the other, as long as the end result is a finalized divorce, Katrina out of Ichabod’s heart, and two or more seasons of Abbie filling dozens of notebooks with “Mrs. Abigail Crane” signature practice. For the sake of argument, let’s say the end justifies the means for now, though I think it would be fantastic for a man and a woman to maintain seven straight seasons of the greatest platonic friendship ever seen on broadcast TV, but that’s just radical li’l me.
Anyway. Before all that goes down, Crane and Abbie visit local small business Hartley’s Old Books to see if their latest obscure orders have shipped yet, including an Enochian Bible and other Apocrypha resource manuals. They bicker over time travel tropes in literature as it relates tangentially to Crane’s displacement and agree in the future that their roles as the Two Witnesses in all future Armageddons should be treated as the most important things to each other ever. Next, after a brief stop to investigate the carnage wrought by Henry’s three proto-witches, they choose the obvious solution of blowing up the Bell of the Ba’al and stop by their nearest hardware store to pick up ingredients to make a batch of Crane’s handy explosive black powder. Fortunately the powers of Homeland Security are useless in Sleepy Hollow and they probably don’t even have to sign any waivers before they pay.
Abbie, Crane, and just-joining-them sister Jenny drag the bell into an underground tunnel for a controlled, safer explosion, but are interrupted by a new player: Sith pawn Frank Irving with a sniper rifle. He and Jenny run off and have a gunfight, while Ichabbie are forced to confront a gleeful Henry and his newly menacing mom. Many harsh words are exchanged that can never be back, and it’s quite possible we’ve just witnessed the Cranes’ final argument as husband and wife as their evil elderly son has now rent asunder what God had joined together. Henry magic-imprisons them in the tunnel they’d just set aside, then gets back to work on his easy-bake coven.
Abbie and Crane easily escape, regroup, and try another showdown. Normal firearms are useless against Henry’s Matrix bullet-stopping spell. Ramming an SUV into Katrina fails when she detonates it before impact. (Evil has apparently magnified her formerly intermittent powers thousandfold.) Henry starts to whine once more about how Daddy abandoned him all those centuries ago and that’s why he’s a spoiled, aging troll now. Crane snaps and bellows back, “I DID NOT ABANDON YOU, HENRY! I DID NOT EVEN KNOW YOU EXISTED!” I was hoping this long-overdue clarification would be enough to make Henry cry, but like many malcontents who blame all their sins on parental letdowns, his denial is strong and unwavering.
Despite this breakthrough, Abbie and Crane are captured anyway and tied to a stake. Henry revels in his own idea of dramatic irony. Witches may be great at zapping things and mad pronouncements and ugly self-harm, but they’re terrible at the basic bad-guy concept of frisking your captives for weapons. Abbie has a pocket knife she uses to cut their ropes. Crane has a pair of flintlock pistols loaded with “Greek fire charges” under his jacket, and somehow two grown adults didn’t notice these not-small weapons while tying them to a stake.
Crane takes a stance and fires at Henry, who magic-blocks and turns his full, undivided attention to Dad. While he’s distracted for three or four long, unobservant seconds, Abbie fires a “Greek fire charge” right through Henry’s chest.
Not a dream. Not a hoax. Not an imaginary story. Jeremy Crane, a.k.a. Henry Parrish, dies in his mother’s arms and disintegrates like a Buffy vampire but in slow motion. The would-be witch-king is morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably and reliably dead.
We can tell this is so because, far away in the tunnels, Irving and Jenny are entering the final round of their epic gun battle, and Jenny is seconds away from using the Gorgon’s severed head to turn Irving to stone so he’ll be out of the game without technically dying (they all hope), when, at the moment of Henry’s death, Irving topples over, writhes as his lungs expel an evil black cloud, all thoughts of murdering leave him, and his next several mutterings point toward a short-term amnesia that wiped out his memories of his attempted kill-spree and all the mean things he said to Jenny. And, implied P.S., his soul is no longer enthralled and he’s a free man, and hopefully now he can go take back his job from Captain Reyes.
Katrina is not happy. Her son is dead. Just as Dark Willow had her Tara moment, this is pretty much our gateway to Dark Katrina. She magically bandies them around the room, Force-chokes crane, screams unkind things at him such as “I SHOULD HAVE LET YOU DIE!” while forgetting why she didn’t at the time (i.e., because love), creates a magical cyclone in the room, jumps in, and vanishes.
Before the cyclone dissipates, Abbie jumps in after her.
Meanwhile back in the present, Crane and the bell are left standing alone in the wreckage of the old Sleepy Hollow City Hall. The bell has the unused black-powder charge on its side in case anyone’s still interested in destroying it. Ichabod has nothing. Unless he goes and fetches Hawley, maybe. Or a TARDIS, or a Flash treadmill, or a Time-Turner, or a DeLorean, or a member of the Q Continuum, or…well, I’m sure he’ll think of something.
Katrina’s consciousness lands in 1781 inside her old body, in the middle of nursing duty. She’s surprised but not sorry to be there.
Abbie lands in the same year in the Sleepy Hollow spooky forest, which apparently was never a verdant landscape lush with leaves and sunshine and happy animals. She’s soon arrested by two Redcoats for the crime of Being Black Without Papers, divested of her now-useless phone and other modern belongings, and tossed in the clink.
She forms a quick, shrewd plan. She tells the guards she has useful info that could turn the tide of the war in favor of the British. Suddenly they’re interested in what this black woman has to say, but Benedict Abbie will only talk to one man.
She demands to speak to Ichabod Crane.
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!
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”
1/5/2015: “Paradise Lost”
1/19/2015: “Pittura Infamante”
1/26/2015: “Kali Yuga”
2/9/2015: “What Lies Beneath“