Guess who was all up in the Boston Tea Party? Our pal Ichabod! Turns out that whole tea-dumping tax protest brouhaha was really a cover for Colonel Washington’s orders to retrieve a mystical crate (and make sure Ichabod came back alive — anyone else having Ichabod/George Washington feelings? Just me? *slinks away*). Suddenly, a wild Redcoat chanting in German appears! He blows up everyone but Ichabod.
While present-day Ichabod murmurs the glorious tale of his love Katrina to a tearful NorthStar assistance operator (“farewell, Yolanda,” he whispers after thanking her for unlocking the car and showing him how to use the entertainment system), Abbie comes out of Tarrytown Psychiatric exasperated because her sister Jenny’s escaped LIKE A BOSS.
Man, Captain Frank Irving is a hell of a lot crankier this week than last. “What the hell did you say to her [to make Jenny escape]?” he demands of Abbie and Ichabod. Then when Ichabod rhapsodizes how Jenny’s terrible past makes her both misunderstood and useful, Irving snaps, “You’re the last guy I’d want vouching for my sanity.” Where’s the love for Abbie and Ichabod’s on the quiet solving of supernatural hijinks, Cap’n Irving? Still, he gives them the traditional twenty-four hours to make headway on Jenny’s case before he amps up the search for her.
Jenny heads straight to an AWESOME looking bar (problem for set-dressers everywhere: now that everyone’s a hipster, allegedly seedy places just look super fun). Her bartender pal pours her a shot and fetches the top-secret stuff Jenny left in his safe. Maybe she can give him a little info about her badass paramilitary preparations of justice? “Remember when I told you one day this town was going straight to hell?” Jenny asks grimly. “I hate being right.”
Brace yourself for this week’s villain: THE GERMAN PIANO TEACHER! While blowing off the kid he’s instructing (hey, his parents paid for the full half hour, okay?), he takes a distorted-voice call letting him know Jenny has escaped. She knows where Object 38 is; he’s ordered to go find her and Object 37. So basically you’re telling me there are at least 38 objects of pure evil hidden around Sleepy Hollow? *rubs hands together in anticipation*
The Piano Teacher and his Minions of Evil Tuning show at the bar, revealing their briefcase of torture instruments. When they question the bartender about Jenny, he refuses to talk. “Go to hell,” the bartender tells them. “No need for that,” The Piano Teacher says. “In due time, hell will come to us.”
While Abbie’s tied up in red tape on the phone, Ichabod skims Jenny’s “inglorious list of prior convictions” and discovers that when Abbie’s sister wasn’t incarcerated, she was traveling the world. “This is the perfect time to ask me about my childhood,” Abbie snaps when Ichabod delicately tries to bring up the issue of her family history. Soon after, though, she reveals her father left, and her mother was hospitalized for a mental breakdown. Ichabod’s also ferreted out that while Abbie had only one foster home after age twelve, Jenny had seven. SEVEN. Cripes, poor Jenny. The final one lasted a year, so he and Abbie head off to question that family.
Jenny goes through her bag of cash, documents, weapons, and interestingly enough, various clippings of Abbie’s accomplishments. Meanwhile, Irving, along with Abbie’s ex Morales, finds Jenny’s unfortunate bartender buddy beheaded at the bar (impaled on the wall, he’s been made into a piñata and a paperweight, Morales says oh so sensitively). “No, the wound’s aren’t cauterized,” Irving notices straight off when Morales assumes a direct connection to Corbin and the Reverend’s murders. “Aside from the beheading, the M.O. is completely different,” he decides. Irving, don’t try to pretend you’re not on board with hunting the forces of evil!
Abbie and Ichabod meet with Jenny’s negligent foster mother. When Abbie threatens the woman with exposure (she’s got a new car in the driveway while one of her charges is malnourished and sleeping on the floor) and threatens to “rain legal brimstone” “so hard it will make God jealous” the woman asks, “Who you really mad at here, girly, me or you?” Finally the woman reveals Jenny had a friend with a cabin on Trout Lake; Abbie and Ichabod head that-a-way.
Though it’s awesome to see Ichabod run interference, slipping between righteously angry Abbie and our stereotypically negligent foster parent (I love Abbie’s fiery temper, and Ichabod keeping things civil), it’s a little weird again to have yet another character fling charges of neglect of Jenny back at Abbie. Let’s remember Abbie was a kid herself when all of this went down, okay?
“Old habits die hard,” Abbie mutters as she jimmies the lock at the cabin.
“How fortuitous,” Ichabod says, delighted. “An officer of the law with a criminal past…imagine the delinquency we could perpetrate if we really put our minds to it!” I adore mischievous Ichabod having a little fun even when they’re after evil’s minions. Also, could you flirt a little harder, Ichabod? (HINT: HE CANNOT!)
“This home belonged to Sheriff Corbin,” Ichabod realizes upon finding pictures of Jenny with Corbin. “I know, she lied to me,” (when Jenny claimed she never met Corbin) Ichabod continues. While you’re miffed about your one conversation with Jenny, Ichabod, check over your shoulder, where Abbie’s probably breaking apart over her father figure hiding a secret relationship with her estranged sister.
Jenny bursts in, and she and Abbie hold each other at gunpoint. “Well, this is awkward,” says Ichabod, who has quickly picked up sitcom conventions despite lying dead in a cave-grave for ages.
Abbie and Jenny scoff at the idea of trusting the other until Ichabod yells for them to drop their weapons. “He sent you traveling,” Ichabod realizes; Jenny sought out rare objects and arcane knowledge for Corbin. In fact, he confided his worries to Jenny the night before his death, telling her to keep something at the cabin safe. When she touches a secret panel and retrieves a wooden box, Abbie immediately recognizes the sextant inside (sexy sex sextants for #SexyHollow). Ichabod recognizes the covering cloth’s markings and connects the sextant to a “device…to win the war in favor of the British” about which he and his allies had heard tell.
“Five second recap,” Abbie says when Jenny double-takes at the whole Revolutionary-war-era stuff. “Revolutionary soldier, his wife put a spell on him, he wakes up two centuries later, now he’s here.” Gosh, that is way more succinct than our current exposition-y show opener (I’ll say this for the show’s repeated our-story-so-far beginning: you cannot dance to it).
Ichabod explains how the chest made of stone both his allies and the Hessian baddies sought was sent to Washington. He presto-chango-s the sextant into a projector, showing a map Washington “an avid cartographer” had “crafted to hide weapons on the battlefield.” Wouldn’t you know it, that’s when The Piano Teacher and his Scales of Evil Underlings show? Two of them grab the sextant while Jenny holds The Piano Teacher at gunpoint.
Ichabod reveals the Teacher’s “shadow warrior” mark (the same as was on the Horseman’s head). They finally learn that in the chest is a doorway “to the seventh circle of hell” with 72 condemned souls waiting to wreck up the joint. It’s the Lesser Key of Solomon (and we have title!), a book of black magic. Also, the Knights Templar found it, because let’s get some Middle Ages crusading mixed up in here!
“These hours are the final movement of a symphony written centuries ago,” The Piano Teacher tells them, before explaining the Hessians have been hiding in plain sight all this time in Sleepy Hollw (all with German accents?) yet “unhindered by conscience, compassion, remorse.” Those traits make for the best sorts of Piano Teachers, really; you know they get their students all the best recital spots without compunction! I like the back-and-forth between this and Morales and Captain Irving finding TPT’s funtime torture basement stuff during their search.
“Sleeper cells always have someone at the top,” Abbie argues when TPT says even he doesn’t know how many of his faction there are. “You’ve already met him!” TPT tells her, calling her by her full name. His leader’s been “inside of you” since he appeared to them in the forest. Hocrap, does this mean Abbie and Jenny can be read by or have a connection to the Majordomo Demon?
“There’s something in his mouth,” Jenny realizes, and they’re too late to stop TPT from chomping down the cyanide pill, but not too late to have him basically give away every bit of information he has to supply. Hey, what was that German stuff? “It means, Moloch shall rise,” Ichabod translates, looking shaken.
“Trust no one,” Jenny objects when Abbie tried to phone Irving and ask for backup. But she does want Abbie to trust her. “Excuse me, I’m trying to concentrate,” Ichabod huffs as he re-draws the secret map using his Powers of Photographic Memory. Abbie and Jenny both supply a few locations, and bam, now they know where to search for the Lesser Key of Solomon!
The Piano Teacher’s Minions carry out his evil wishes by smashing through a bricked-up fireplace in an abandoned church. Soon they’re prying open the special hidden trunk and propping up their fancy schmancy evil book. With the help of a slashed hand, blood makes text appear on the blank pages, and they chant their Moloch incantation until fire and tar pour out of a baptismal font.
Ichabod calls Jenny a “freedom fighter” and “quite gifted” when he hears about her combat training. “If you don’t fight for the things you stand for, you don’t really stand for them,” Jenny says. It’s an interesting little moment — I like that Ichabod has his own reactions to and possible relationship with Jenny even as Jenny and Abbie work together despite years of animosity. But it’s also a little tough to see Abbie feeling unsettled at Jenny and Ichabod’s rapport.
Okay, you know what? The reason I feel antsy about Ichabod’s reactions to Abbie and Jenny is it’s like Corbin cultivating different roles for Abbie and Jenny. I absolutely think Corbin tried to give each sister what she needed (as he not only mentored them but, let’s face it, trained them for a future conflict that fit his admittedly noble but still personal interests).
But Corbin also contributed to divisiveness between the sisters. Abbie’s law-abiding attitude and Jenny’s lawlessness definitely stem from their personalities. But you know what, his encouragement made their personas more pronounced, maybe at the cost of driving them further apart. On the one hand, I love it, because it makes Corbin way more complex as a character and gives fascinating texture to Abbie and Jenny’s long-standing quarrel. But on the other hand, Abbie, Jenny, YOU’RE SISTERS, LOVE EACH OTHER! *sobs*
As Jenny and Abbie sneak into the church, we can see the Inferi — whoops, creepy demons — swimming around in the pentagram-shaped fire-tar pit. The effects are a little awkward here (it looks like the demons are jabbing at a translucent trash bag as they try to get out) but there’s some serious badassery as Jenny and Abbie give the bad guys the what for.
As one of the minions captures Jenny, Abbie grabs the Key. “Drop the book or your sister dies,” our baddie shouts. “Don’t do it!” Jenny says immediately, because HARD CORE.
“You got it,” Abbie says, obeying the letter of the law but soooo not the spirit as she drops the book riiiight into the hellish tar pit. The demons, book, and Hessians all get sucked in. “They left without a farewell. How impolite!” Ichabod exclaims, because he has to have the sassy last word.
Back at the station, Abbie arrives to unlock Jenny’s handcuffs. “I never got a chance to ask, what’s with you and Prince William?” Abbie explains the whole Two Witnesses thing (aided by the fact that their mother made them memorize book and verse of various bible passages). “I know it’s impossible to believe,” Abbie hedges. “I believe everything,” Jenny answers, feeling understandably bitter that while she’s been soldiering on all these years, Abbie is the one called to duty in this fight against evil.
“We lost everything in the forest that day,” Abbie tells her sister. “Our childhood. For a while, our sanity. We lost each other.” But now they have a second chance, and Abbie says stalwartly, “I’m proud of you.” She has papers granting her limited conservatorship of Jenny; because Tarrytown Psychiatric wants to cover up their security lapses, they can get Jenny released soon. Eh, I can handwave this easy-release, because I’m glad Jenny’s going to stay in the picture.
Jenny confesses Corbin prepared her for the day she’d have to forgive Abbie, though she wasn’t sure she’d ever to be able to. “I’m sorry it took me so long to find you,” Abbie says. Our two lost girls! I love that Lyndie Greenwood got the chance to show us more depth to Jenny in this ep.
And hey, though we have an ex for Abbie in the background (though Morales really needs something to do other than be a handsome glib guy) I adore that this development reaffirms Abbie’s most important relationships are with her sister, with Corbin, and now Ichabod.
Speaking of Ichabod, is he going to get a chance to do some character development himself? Don’t get me wrong — I love the NorthStar operator charmer and the sassmeister, the modern-technologies bumbler and the sexy exposition-er. But I’m still waiting to find out more about Ichabod besides his mission.
When Ichabod brings the info to Abbie that Moloch, the leader The Piano Teacher mentioned, is a “god-demon of child sacrifice” mentioned most notably in Paradise Lost, the two of them recognize that this is their uber-baddie: “the creature you saw in the forest…the one who controls the horseman, who guards Katrina, and now we know his name.”
If you haven’t heard, FOX renewed Sleepy Hollow for a second season already. So for any pals you have who have been holding out on watching the show because they were wary of possible cancellation, tell them we want them aboard this wacky American Revolutionary History mixed with Biblical Doom and topped with Demonic Allusion fun train! See you all next week!