Previously on Sleepy Hollow: Our Heroes fought a creepy, bendy Tooth Fairy; Pandora was mean to little girls; and Ichabod Crane traded hundreds of texts goofy emoji with his new friend Zoe Corinth.
On tonight’s new episode, “Dead Men Tell No Tales”: it’s a very special crossover with Bones! The venerable Fox procedural drama, now in its thirty-seventh season, has been gracious enough to share Thursdays with Sleepy Hollow this season, and since both series feature FBI agents and fish-out-of-water geniuses partnering to fight crime, someone up high decided both series should go on a two-hour double-date based on their matching profile results from TVMingle.com. One focuses on forensic analysis and cutting-edge science and the world’s weirdest desiccated corpses; the other has sinister artifacts and killer demons and a 250-year-old spy. Obviously these two kooky shows are ready for their Vegas wedding.
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…
…you could try watching one episode without the other, but they were meant to be taken together in the fullest sense of 21st-century crossover marketing synergy. Sleepy Hollow recaps are a commitment of mine, but Bones recaps aren’t. I would’ve preferred not to do a full recap of the Bones episode “The Resurrection in the Remains”, but parts of it were pertinent to what followed next back in spooky old Tarrytown.
A few flashbacks in previous episodes saw General William Howe (Nicholas Guest), British army commander, at odds with our man Crane when he switched sides and signed up with our American patriots under the all-knowing, all-powerful General George Washington. Fast-forward 250 years, and a med student named Sarah Lippman who’s unhealthily fascinated with death learns from a runic grimoire called the Librum Sub Umbras that Howe’s magic skull possessed the power to raise the dead, which she thinks would come in handy for her ongoing reenactments of key scenes from Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners. She’s already experimented with clinical death-and-rebirth with the help of a fellow doctor-wannabe, but the last attempt gave her such profound life-changing visions that she wants to keep dying/living on the edge, and a magical resurrection would be much easier each time and require fewer illicit medicines than practical resuscitation.
Sarah convinces her Catholic boyfriend Joel to help her dig up his 250-year-old corpse, which the tome told her is buried in a mortsafe (an iron coffin meant to foil graverobbers) beneath the floorboards of a Washington DC church. But Joel is mad at her because his life-after-death experience was less transcendental and more nihilistic than hers. In a moment of weakness in his faith, he murders her by hitting her in the head several times with Howe’s skull, thus proving it can have the opposite effect that the book described.
Their show’s heroes, Dr. Bones and TV’s Angel, use their modern resources at the Jeffersonian Institute to unravel the clues and eventually convince Joel to confess, with the assistance of four supporting cast members and Our Heroes Abbie and Crane, who show up in DC to claim Howe’s body and bring it back to their show. The FBI agents from each show compare notes, and he’s old enough that he knew Abbie’s de facto father-figure Sheriff Corbin, who used to say nice things to him about Abbie. Awwwww.
Meanwhile, Crane once again uses his “Hudson Valley Historical Society” fake curator credentials to explain his involvement in weird federal crime matters, though it doesn’t get him far with Dr. Bones, who argues with him over matters of faith and then gets territorial about Howe’s remains because basic police procedures regarding evidence required for criminal prosecution. Crane, after an exhaustive dive into the spellbinding Jeffersonian Institute archives, digs up some 18th-century parchment and vintage ink, then writes a pretend-vintage letter that more or less reads, “To whom it may concern, please make sure General Howe’s body is buried in Sleepy Hollow and nowhere else. Signed, Juan Epstein’s mother’s favorite American President.”
Even though the handwriting is a perfect match for another archival letter written by some distant relative also named Ichabod Crane (cue innocent whistling from “this” Crane), a skeptical Bones is successfully stumped and allows Howe’s body to be couriered back to Sleepy Hollow, after her Scooby Gang locates his missing skull in a massive pile of contaminated medical waste and reunites it with its temporarily headless corpse. Because something in this episode had to be headless in this episode, of course.
We also learned that some upper-class British citizens could have false teeth made from porcelain, that Crane is now familiar with Star Trek, that Benjamin Franklin once invented a mixed drink called “Fondle in the Forest” that was later renamed Sex on the Beach, and that Bonesy believes “Ichabbie” should be a thing for real just because her show didn’t crash and burn like Moonlighting did when its two leads hooked up.
So…about Howe’s skull and its unholy power. That’s where Sleepy Hollow‘s Part Two comes in.
That pesky Sumerian sorceress Pandora takes a break this week from yanking henchmen out of her box and tending her underground greenhouse of secret blue plants. Instead she intercepts Howe’s delivery, gifts him with a Nordic magic medallion, and resurrects him as a bitter warrior zombie. Surprise! Everything You Know About The Real-Life General William Howe Is WRONG. Howe and his men were no ordinary Redcoats; they were Draugr (or “Draugur” according to the captioning) — supernatural super-soldiers who serve their masters even after death. With her master plan still in random-happy-chaos mode, Pandora recommends he go on a Halloween night kill-spree through Sleepy Hollow with the assistance of his old undead minions, and he’s happy to retrieve them from a nearby oversize mausoleum and oblige.
Crane looks up the Draugr in one of his many Monster Manuals and finds a cryptic margin note scribbled by the all-wise defacer General George Washington that hints at the key to Howe’s defeat rests in Washington’s own double-secret tomb. We’re aware Washington is buried in Mount Vernon, but he wasn’t helpful enough to write down an address or draw a map, so Our Heroes have no idea where Tomb 2 is. Thus they make the four-hour drive from Tarrytown, NY, to Washington, DC, and enlist the assistance of Sleepy Hollow‘s very special guests — another round of applause for Dr. Bones and TV’s Angel!
The Forensic Four put their heads together and pinpoint where they need to go: General Washington’s original tomb is beneath the U.S. Capitol, where he was supposed to be buried until he made other plans in Mount Vernon. (This is a real thing.) Our team sneaks inside with no visible effort until it stands revealed as an Indiana Jones deathtrap with trash-compactor walls, ceiling-mounted blue-flamethrowers, and an alchemical button puzzle on one wall that ostensibly turns off all the traps if you know which buttons to push in which sequence. Angel responds with Indiana Jones logic by shooting at the puzzle until it falls to pieces and the 250-year-old Danger Room shuts down. So of course, if you were already familiar with Washington’s Tomb, now you know Everything You Know About Washington’s Tomb Is WRONG.
(True story: when the walls began to close in, my wife muttered, “I have a bad feeling about this.” Literally less than five seconds later, Crane said exactly the same thing. It was a moment both spooky and eye-rolling.)
Despite its deadliness, the tomb tells Crane what he needs to know: the Draugr’s one weakness is blue fire! Crane calls it “Greek fire”; Bones recognizes it as a kind of napalm. PoTAYto, poTAHto, avoCAYdo, avoCAHdo. In case we didn’t get the picture, Crane tosses in our Mandatory Betsy Ross Gratuitous Flashback of the Week, in which Betsy Ross, Action Spy, is escorting good guys to safety in the tunnels beneath Manhattan during the 9/15/1776 invasion by British forces. And by “British forces” we mean the Draugr, but Betsy was prepared and armed with a crossbow that shot magical Greek-fire quarrels. Naturally.
Abbie and Crane then make the four-hour drive back from DC to Sleepy Hollow (minus their new friends, especially that infernal science woman who proves resistant to Crane’s attempts at evangelism), somehow fitting a total of eight hours’ worth of driving into a single day without exhausting themselves or arriving far, far too late to save the day. They summon Abbie’s sister Jenny and her new sidekick “Little Joe” Corbin and assign them the task of designing a pair of cheirosiphones, a word which here means “Greek-fire bazookas”. When night falls, Our Heroes arrive in time to stop the Draughr from massacring a crowd of innocent trick-or-treaters and turn them all to instant dust with their unfair weapons, all while a spiky James Horner tribute score plays in the background for value-added drama.
Crane challenges his former superior Howe to a man-to-man duel, but Howe would rather burn than give such satisfaction to a traitor to the Crown. While Howe accepts his fate and is vaporized Buffy-vampire-style, Crane can’t help feeling a little stung. Once again the day is saved! And with one last Skype convo between the two couples, the very special Bones/Sleepy Hollow crossover draws to a close. If tonight turns out to be a ratings success, expect Abbie and Crane to hold future crossover events with other Fox Universe series like Empire, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Dollhouse, and The Chevy Chase Show.
Meanwhile in other subplots that meant nothing to any visiting Bones fans who’ve never seen the show:
* Jenny is dying to know why rising crime lord Atticus Nevins wanted the Shard of Anubis stolen from her so badly. She once again tracks down his minion Sophie Foster (a returning Jessica Camacho) and demands answers, except better this time. It comes out that Nevins once ran in the same circles as good ol’ Sheriff Corbin. At this point “fan favorite” Joe Corbin, whose only other contributions this week were zombie-napalming duty and shopping for whiskey and pickle juice to make “pickleback” shots, intervenes and offers to give Sophie and Nevins the Shard in exchange for letting him ask lots of questions about his dead daddy. Jenny is flabbergasted but Joe totally swears, “I promise I won’t let anything bad happen.” Joe really doesn’t get negotiation, bad guys, fate, relic-hunting, or how to shut up and let the grown-ups talk.
* It’s Halloween! Before the fighting starts, Abbie is Beyonce, Jenny is a Canadian Mountie, Joe Corbin is a nurse, and Crane is dressed as John Adams, which no one recognizes except his pal Zoe, who’s dressed as Sexy Betsy Ross. Crane plays along and pretends it’s recognizable. Later he works up the nerve to ask her out on a first date, despite the protests of millions of Ichabbie ‘shippers nationwide.
* Pandora later retreats to her lair and makes cagey threats to no one in particular about another planned strike involving “love” in some vague capacity. I’m guessing this means Zoe’s about to get murdered, bolstered by the endorsement of millions of Ichabbie ‘shippers nationwide.
* Special Agent Daniel Reynolds (Lance Gross, who’s now an official series regular) assigns Abbie as Task Force Coordinator on an operation involving a shady out-of-town company called Court Imports that’s buying up local properties and stolen exotic artifacts in disturbing quantities, possibly at the behest of one Augustus Nevins. It’s kind of like a promotion for Abbie, until Reynolds gets upset with her when sources turn up photos of her own sister Jenny and some useless white guy apparently negotiating with a known associate of Nevins’. Awkward.
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!