Previously on Sleepy Hollow: Our Heroes fought a stabby shadow that preyed on evil accountants with dark secrets; sister Jenny showed off her martial arts training against a rival relic hunter, but he got what he came for; Joe Corbin, son of Sheriff, showed up; and the showrunners tried to break the primetime record for most love triangles in a single show with less than six main cast members.
In tonight’s new episode, “Blood and Fear”: Ichabod Crane versus his old foe, Jack the Ripper! Well, technically. Their lives were lived a century apart, but nothing solves a seeming anachronism like a magical MacGuffin. And for those following along with the show in their Sleepy Hollow Vocabulary Workbooks, tonight’s secret word was “exsanguination”. Remember: for the rest of the week, whenever anyone says the secret word, scream real loud!
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…
…while Pandora tends to her mysterious blue trees and their pretty blue roses, she beseeches her box to bring forth another bedeviling Cursed Item of the Week: a “Byzantine parang”, which here means a really old dagger, that imbues its users with a wicked bloodlust and high level of invulnerability. We’re told one of its earliest wielders may have been William the Conqueror circa 1066, the only year he ever did anything. The Byzantine Empire ran from roughly 330 A.D. to exactly 1453, so that lines up. The research of our man Crane says it dates back to the First Crusade, which was 1096-1099, when it belonged to Iftikhar al-Dawla, then the governor of Jerusalem. And a parang is a kind of small Malay machete. This dagger which we see before us is one of the most well-traveled evil artifacts we’ve seen to date.
Pandora’s box didn’t summon it forth at random; she specifically asked for something that would spook at least one of our two Witnesses, and the box delivered. Crane first encountered this very parang in 1763 when he was at sixth form (read: college prep courses) at Eton College (read: upper-crust boys’ boarding school). The parang’s unknown wielder slew five boys around that time, including Bertie Willoughby (Ryan Brink), best friend of Kid Crane (Andy Pessoa). Poor Bertie’s body was filled with stab wounds and less than half its original blood, but nary a drop spilled. That’s due to the vampiric Sham-Wow nature of the parang. Before he can play Encyclopedia Brown and track down the assailant, Crane is sent away from Eton on orders from the highest levels, for his own protection despite his protests. And he’s carried the powerless anguish with him ever since, though he never got around to mentioning it till just now.
The parang has reportedly been handed down from one killer to the next over the last nine or ten centuries, including a notorious pit stop at Whitechapel in 1888, always seeking out a potential slayer it which it “senses only the deepest pain”, each time facilitating a short-term kill-spree before disappearing and moving on. And now, Pandora has retrieved from storage and gifted it to its next mighty warrior, with whom Our Heroes must reckon.
Meet Nelson Meyers (Chris Bert, who previously played a young Finch on two episodes of Person of Interest), a gawky office drone who doesn’t talk much, but judging by the motions he goes through, his “deepest pain” is that he’s a geeky “nice guy” who doesn’t understand why successful young businesswomen would be more attracted to successful, confident, well-dressed, well-groomed young businessmen (read: “JERKS”, probably) who are the exact opposite of him. If I were Nelson’s pal and if he promised not to murder me for offering my two cents, I might suggest he try dating outside the workplace. For starters.
In a normal TV crime drama, Nelson might go murder the blond of his dreams, one Emily Kates (Autumn Dial), which would totally teach her a lesson about not making herself more available to guys she doesn’t notice at the office. But no, Nelson instead murders the studly coworker she went out with exactly once. That’ll teach her the same lesson and leave her alive so she can maybe repent and go out with Nelson and forgive him for murdering and get interested in all his hobbies and then marry him the next day. Because it’s good to keep your options open.
Agent Abbie Mills, FBI, is called to the crime scene because Sleepy Hollow apparently hasn’t hired any sheriffs or homicide detectives to replace her. Crane the non-officer is allowed into the crime scene with her to see the stud’s skewered, shriveled body because TV show. Their initial encounters with the parang and its boy don’t go well — Abbie’s usual hail of bullets don’t faze him, nor does a high fall onto a car roof or lots of broken glass embedded in his chest. And the parang can cut through flimsy chairs, heavy doors, and rifle barrels with ease. It also bestows its possessor with a partial coating of liquid metal, turning them into a sort of Colossus minus the muscles or the Russian accent.
Once Ichabbie do the research and examine the clues, they discover the parang’s one weakness: infectious diseases! Each time its rampages stopped, it was because it stabbed a contaminated victim that somehow broke the spell and ruined its bloodthirsty fun. More digging reveals the real reason Crane was dismissed from Eton way back when: a yellow fever epidemic that The Powers That Be saw coming. Crane made it out uninfected, but several classmates weren’t so lucky. Young Ichabod Crane was the Boy Who Lived.
Crane’s master plan to defeat Killer Michael Bolton from Office Space:
1. Borrow a tranquilizer rifle, two darts, and some malarious blood from the FBI, who had some to spare and were cool enough not to ask him to fill out twenty pages of release forms in triplicate, or to ask to see his ID.
2. Try shooting Petey Parang with one dart. Fail.
3. Secretly inject himself with the other dart. The malaria should take five or ten seconds to pervade his entire bloodstream.
4. Let himself get stabbed in the stomach with the parang.
5. Celebrate victory; try not to die of malaria and bleeding at the same time.
Crane’s a wreck, but the day is saved! While he’s in bed recuperating and having his blood transfused with several quarts of painkillers, he manages two more thoughts for us to ponder:
A. If Pandora’s role in the original Greek Mythos was in one sense to teach Man to fear the gods, then who’s she working for this time?
B. We shouldn’t malign malaria because at the Battle of Johnstown (Revolutionary War, 10/25/1781) malaria killed more Redcoats than Minutemen. So by his logic sometimes malaria is a good thing. Yep. Or maybe that’s the malaria taking control of his body and speaking to Abbie through the painkiller haze.
Other stuff that happened this week:
* Crane is still outraged that non-Americans can’t submit requests to save historical landmarks from demolition. His new friend Miss Corinth (Maya Kazan), whose father took ten years to become an American citizen, feels so inspired by Crane’s inspired litanies that she offers to help him become a citizen, too. Her brother is on the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, so maybe they can cut some corners and Crane can teach a very important lesson to all real-life would-be immigrants: the process goes a lot more easily if you have connections.
* Abbie’s new boss/ex-boyfriend Agent Reynolds (Lance Gross) keeps telling her “Good job!” and hopes their career goals are compatible enough for them to help each other succeed without too much lingering post-breakup awkwardness. Her eyes say “Sure, whatever”, but his say “love triangle”.
* Last week I wrote about the weird, unnamed black rock that Jenny’s been coveting, “Her shard investigation so far consists of image searches for the Egyptian god Anubis.” This week at last we learn its name: it’s called the Shard of Anubis. Remember, I CALLED IT FIRST LAST WEEK, kindasorta.
* Jenny tracks down Randall Miller, Relic Hunter (Anthony K. Hyatt), who stole the shard from her, only to find another player has stolen the shard from him: a nameless female relic hunter (Jessica Comacho from ABC’s short-lived submarine drama Last Resort) who tricks her way out of a corner, only to get cornered by Jenny again at a diner. Jenny finds the Shard stored in a secret compartment in the lady’s car battery, which seriously bugs her because that’s something her loyal father figure Sheriff Corbin would’ve done. The lady refuses to divulge why some of her other moves are Corbin-esque, or who her powerful employer is. Her character’s name isn’t hard to find online at all, but for some reason this episode is really cagey about it. Or they forgot to write a single scene in which anyone mentions it.
* No scenes this week for Betsy Ross, Agent of W.A.S.H.I.N.G.T.O.N. Oh, darn.
* “Fan favorite” Joe Corbin, former Wendigo, ex-Marine turned EMT, spends his parts of the episode following Jenny, watching her work, and at one point when she frets a little, telling her everything’s gonna be okay. The look in his eyes seems to say that he really really hopes she’s into “nice guys” and not “jerks”.
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 recap checklists for season one and season two, or this season’s recaps linked below for handy reference. Enjoy!