While Abbie karaoke-s the hell out of “Crazy” (damn but Nicole Beharie’s got a lovely voice) and Ichabod “Huzzah!”s his support from a bar stool, Jenny delicately points out that it “just seems you two have been spending a lot less time together lately.” Hey, someone besides the viewers noticed. Huzzah indeed!
Also at the bar is Hawley, because apparently he hangs with this bunch for funsies and not only when they need a magically-kill-the-demon weapon.
He gets a call for his rapscallion-y supernatural weapons business and has to take off, letting Abbie give Jenny a sly look about how he and Jenny have Something Going On.
You know, I get why the writers changed gears on having Hawley pine after Abbie (absolutely no one wanted a Mills sisters throw down over Hawley, cripes). I still think the shift of Hawley’s pining over to Jenny was a little abrupt. But here’s one advantage of pushing a storyline about Hawley and Jenny’s relationship, actually; it’ll give Jenny more time onscreen (though shouldn’t Lyndie Greenwood, as an official headliner, have more time onscreen already than a recurring guest star? Call me “Crazy”!).
Hawley heads to a junk lot, where the old switcheroo’s been pulled on him: he’s not meeting a dealer, but Carmilla Vine, his hot adoptive mom who can’t be more than ten years older than him (vamped up by Jaime Murray with incest-y gusto).
Her name’s a bit fun — Carmilla, for that gothic literary vampire who predated Dracula in publication, and Vine to give us the old “the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree” truism. Clearly Hawley’s less-than-ethical arcane objects dealing stems from growing up with a woman who cheated and stole to get her own paranormal items.
Back at the bar, Ichabod launches into a bar-clearing mood-killing dirge, a shanty almost as dismal as the song Will Ferrell sings in The Other Guys.
And all their Harry Potter books were buuuurned.
“We’re fine,” Abbie insists when Jenny grills her on what’s up with her and Ichabod. “Perhaps I should have done the one about the base, about the bass,” Ichabod mutters as he rejoins them. Aww, Ichabod, honey, no; you have absolutely no junk in that colonial-era trunk.
Zut alors, there goes the alarm Abbie set up to indicate their archives have been breached (without telling Ichabod she set it up, possibly because he’s related to most of the people who want to breach their damn archive?). Ah, it’s Hawley, who blurts out “she’s desperate and she’s dangerous” when he tells Jenny to back off in the tunnels. He means Carmilla who appears to shows off her monster guise, which consists of nasty big pointy teeth and claws that drip goop.
Let us now switch to the Frank Irving show, which apparently has become a spin-off within Sleepy Hollow. Really, though, his storyline at the moment feels completely unconnected to the main action. An egregious hearing scene reveals Irving’s been exonerated of all charges. “I’m finally coming home to you and Macey,” Frank exults, while his wife Cynthia seems unsettled. Hey, weren’t those two separated/nearly divorced last season? I guess that’s not a thing anymore.
Ichabod declares they should examine the “supernatural venom” of Hawley’s Hot Adopted Mom. Abbie’s already gotten lab results, helping ID Carmilla as a Vetala. That’s an “undead human being” (ANOTHER ONE?) of Hindu lore who serves Kali, goddess of death and regeneration (could have been an A+ opportunity to have an Indian actress in as Hawley’s hot young godmother, but don’t mind me).
The gang agrees on a “divide and conquer” strategy, just in case we haven’t already picked up that this week’s theme finally acknowledges the emotional division between our Witnesses’.
Whee, I love seeing Lyndie Greenwood taking Unhinged Jenny out for a spin! When McKenna doesn’t want to ante up info, Jenny slams him on his glass case, breaking it, and exclaiming indignantly how he totally assaulted her. With the Mills sisters playing “Good Cop and Oh, I’m Not A Cop,” to fine effect, McKenna gives up the name of Hawley’s hot adopted mom.
While Ichabod pokes through the ransacked archives and tells a skeptical Katrina how awesome Mary Poppins is, he comes across that halo blade charm Orion gave Abbie. It’s another indicator of Abbie keeping things from him lately, Ichabod realizes. Hello, dude, you keep pretty much every decision related to Katrina and Henry from Abbie all the time.
Turns out Carmilla wants Hawley to break into the Theodore Knox estate to steal an artifact that will make her human again. And Hawley should help, because she totally got turned into a Vetala when she was trying to find him after he ran away — i.e., it’s all his fault she’s a monster. Hawley briefly objects that he ran away because he saw her kill someone, but then “One and done,” he says reluctantly; he’ll help her one last time.
Hey, here’s a shocker: Ichabod knew yet another colonial mover and shaker, Henry Knox. The Knox Estate will have his beloved “locks and puzzles” built in to protect any stuff his descendant has accumulated, all designed by the famous Boston spy ring, the Sons of Liberty. Aww, do you think the Freemasons feel kind of sad this season that they no longer get the credit for every good-side supernatural trap and puzzle?
Let us skip over the highly embarrassing product placement for Ford vehicles and speak of it no more.
Jenny keeps us up to speed on this episode’s info-dump of Hawley’s past (wouldn’t it have been swell to get hints of all this throughout the season instead of having the bulk of it dropped in our laps here?). Carmilla was his godmother who took custody of him when he was twelve and his parents died. Anyone else want to place bets on Carmilla offing Hawley’s folks?
“At all costs, we must stay together,” says Ichabod when the three of them are about to gate-crash the party at the Knox estate.
Abbie couldn’t look more “meh” about that prospect if she tried; can’t just shove yourself back into Witnessing friendship after episodes of ignoring it, Ichabod! Man, I wish we could have gotten more of Abbie, Jenny, and Ichabod partying down at the Knox creepy demon object trading shindig! But they blow off the belly dancers and the champagne to split up, Jenny to trail Hawley and Abbie and Ichabod to confront Carmilla.
Irving’s wife is slightly skeeved to get in bed with him, what with him returning from the dead and all. Hey, Cynthia, Carmilla returned from the dead, and she’s totally hot, if that helps! Gee, maybe Katrina can help them out (thereby tying Irving’s weirdly stand-alone scenes back to our other players), and suss out whether Irving’s still got a soul?
“Thank you, Sons of Liberty,” Hawley says as he works the chains and gears which will let Carmilla into the Knox vault several floors below him. “I thought you were better than that,” Jenny accuses him as she shows up with a gun. Why not fight Carmilla with them instead of helping her? Hawley seems to agree but ultimately locks her into a closet. That’s not buddies.
Carmilla has a demonic kid in a supernatural candy shop moment, eyeing all the pretty, pretty mystical vault objects! Abbie advances on her alone, because Ichabod got detained (out of sheer freaking politeness when Theodore Knox asked about his awesome crossbow). Good job not being separated, Ichabod! He does scamper over in time to shout, “Unhand her, now!” when Carmilla vamps out and grabs Abbie.
Hawley sprints onto the scene to offer Carmilla a deal — she lets his friends live, and “I’ll stay with you.” Yeah, her slick, satisfied grin at that is super-duper maternal and definitely nothing more. Ichabod interrupts to say he doesn’t think Hawley’s a privateer any longer but “a man of compassion…who fights for his friends.” “Maybe you had it right the first time,” Hawley says, locking them in the vault and escaping with Carmilla.
So obviously what Carmilla stole isn’t to make her human, but instead to turn Hawley into a Vetala like herself. Ichabod and Abbie bicker over whose fault it is they’re in this jam so we can all arrive at the conclusion that those two need to be stuck stick together to make this crazy thing work! By the way, Abbie, Ichabod’s keeping a list of all the times you deceived him, including the whole Orion’s sigil thing, but we’re not going to talk about that now because of this mess. Just a little passive aggressive, huh? Teensy bit?
“I shouldn’t have left [you]…I owe you better than that,” Hawley confesses when he and Carmilla toast to their stolen object. After all, she’s family: she took him in and gave him a home when he had no one. But to Carmilla, family means drugging your hot adopted son and stroking him as he chokes out, “this whole thing’s a con,” and goes unconscious.
Finally the whole stuck-together trope plays out in our Witnesses’ favor: Abbie agrees she should have told Ichabod about Orion, and Ichabod confesses he ought to have consulted her about the Abraham thing. “What if we’re not as good partners today as we were in the past?” Abbie wonders. Gee, what could have changed in all this time? *cough*Katrina*cough*
You know, it’s great that this episode takes a moment to acknowledge what many fans have found unsettling this season — the division between Ichabod and Abbie to the detriment of the show overall. To me, though, the episode feels a little like another installment in our holding pattern. We remember all the things that drove Ichabod and Abbie apart, particularly because the show itself has reiterated those things weekly. So we don’t actually need the characters ticking them off in list form. I’d rather see more action bringing the Witnesses back together than have them submit in detailed outlines why their friendship is on the rocks.
I did like that Ichabod completely guessed wrong about the way to escape the vault (and Abbie’s complaint about ending up in a Star Wars trash compactor situation was cute). “I was excited; I may have acted rashly,” he allows (a good tombstone saying for him as far as Abbie’s concerned). They escape at last and find Jenny. Hawley’s stolen her phone, so they can track him down and save him.
I’m kind of impressed that all three Jenny, Ichabod, and Abbie want only to rescue Hawley. Come on, none of them had a “well, this actually proves he’s an evil jerk!” moment? No one ever doubted him for a second (like they totally doubted Irving straight off)? Anyway, there was a ton of Don’t Stop Believin’ playing in my head as they trotted off to save Hawley from Carmilla’s evil clutches.
We open the next scene with bare-chested Hawley straining against the ropes tying him down. I may have hit pause. For a while. After testing the incantation and statue on her followers, Carmilla is ready to transform Hawley, saying, “You’re gonna love death, Nicky!” She chants with the statue floating above Hawley’s six-pack abs, because why not get a really good view of the proceedings?
Ichabod and Abbie turn up with iron tipped arrows set on fire (the rapid-fire bit where they came up with that nonsensical solution, dear lord, *hands*), while Jenny helps Hawley escape. Just when Hawley has the chance to end Carmilla on his own, obviously torn though he is at killing the woman who took him in, she screeches away, escaping.
I have to hand it to Matt Barr; he does his best to convey a world of man-pain and a tragic childhood in the compressed space of one episode. But it’s too much development cramming, mostly in exposition form, to feel at all organic despite the good efforts of both Barr and Greenwood to convince us Hawley has always been haunted by his past.
After nearly knifing Hawley in the throat (good old Jenny!), Jenny reminds him that though Carmilla was his only family, he has family here in Sleepy Hollow. But he’s so bent out of shape at how he betrayed their trust that he has to go and hunt Carmilla down. First, though, they make out, as family members are wont to do. We are just keeping right on with this incest-vibe-train, aren’t we?
To prove they’ve learned they have to tend to their bond, Ichabod and Abbie take the stage together back at the pub, karaoke-ing out to “Proud Mary.”
It’s charming, and it’s a nice little call-out to how they have tried to mend fences since the start of the episode. But playing up the silliness of Ichabod not understanding the song’s lyrics and having to pitch his voice down while Abbie sings back-up? I don’t know, guys. It’s kind of my whole problem with this season right there — I don’t want to see Abbie play second fiddle when she’s got the chops to act the starring role.
Irving and Cynthia head to do a little séance business with Katrina.
“Tell me my son is alive,” Katrina hisses as soon as she’s got Irving close enough. Okay, so what the hell is Katrina’s game here? I’ll tell you, much as I like seeing Abbie and Ichabod together, this messed-up behavior from Katrina was actually one of the most interesting parts of the episode for me.
While Cynthia waits, Katrina slips Irving a potion and watches his worrisome visions of himself as War’s minion. And then she pronounces him free and clear! “Whatever magic bound you to the Horseman is gone,” she lies right through her perfectly straight and obviously not colonial era white teeth.
Poor Irving hugs his wife, promising her they can really start a new chapter of their lives now. Meanwhile, he pauses when he notices, hey, he doesn’t have a reflection in the window. He’s been back for how long and he hasn’t looked in a mirror yet???
Next week, YET MORE UNDEAD FOLK! Plus, the Salem Witch Trials (the topic of which unfortunately doesn’t bode well for anyone who prefers a Katrina-lite episode). But hey, look, another bad guy totally covered in blood! Tune in with me then to watch “Spellcaster”.
Meanwhile, fill me in on your thoughts about this episode in the comments! Like, what should each of the characters’ karoke personal anthems and duets really be, because this is the kind of stuff that keeps me up nights!