Sleepy Hollow 1.06 – The Sin Eater


Previously on Sleepy Hollow:  Ichabod and Abbie found the lost colony of Roanoke, visited ye olde fashioned people with a black-vein-y plague, and Ichabod spoke some sexy Middle English.  Then #Soxtober arrived (woohoo!) and our storyline was stalled for weeks (boo!)

So seriously, opening The Sin Eater with a baseball game after the World Series mandated show hiatus? Total genius. 

Abbie explains to a befuddled Ichabod why she loves baseball, which more or less translates to equality and AHMURICA!

106 abbie ichabod baseball

In America, yelling at the umpire = FREEDOM!

Ichabod sees the value of free-speech heckling, and immediately rails against the umpire, who, as Abbie points out, should probably get to make a call before Ichabod sasses him.  Whoopsie.

“For a brief moment, I felt as if I too were home,” Ichabod says of his baseball-bonding with Abbie and aww!  Awww!  *clutches heart*  Abbie vows to take him to a Mets game because OF COURSE ABBIE LIKE THE METS, SHE IS AWESOME, IT WAS FATED (yes, I can be a Mets and a Red Sox fan, that is the magic of the different leagues).   When they part ways, he does a very low, chivalrous, reverential bow, because they loff each other so so so so much!

Ichabod swings by the cemetery to feel mournful at Katrina’s grave (just the one cemetery in Sleepy Hollow?  Sunnydale so has you beat, y’all).  But no sooner does he strike a quietly devastated pose than he’s shot in the neck with a tranquilizer gun.  Great, someone’s putting a black hood over his head; that always bodes well!

Abbie drives alone over darkened roads, because she has the power to change day and night continuity with her exits and entrances.  Let me take a moment to point out she’s got the ever-melancholy “God Bless the Child” playing, and what gorgeous little touches this series has!  *hugs Abbie hard*

Highway hypnosis turns into Abbie having a dream-vision: in a colonial-era abandoned house, she hears a baby crying in a historically inaccurate stroller.  But there’s no baby in that stroller, only a creepy doll that looks just like Oogie Boogie from Nightmare Before Christmas!  Soon  the Headless Horseman chases her into a séance led by witches in black veils.  Gah, fabulous dream-sequence with horror reveals here!  Bad coven time, perhaps?

Nope, it’s Abbie meeting Katrina Crane time!  She tells Abbie Ichabod’s been abducted and hidden from her view; since the two witnesses need to stop the Horseman from appearing by that night, Abbie must find Ichabod with the help of the Sin Eater.  “Ichabod must be sanctified,” Katrina explains before poor Abbie wakes up just in time to steer herself away from an oncoming semi.

Now, what’s this child/baby stroller stuff (Abbie’s song, the historically inaccurate stroller)?  Anyone else wonder if poor purgatorial-ly-trapped Katrina is With Child somehow?  Or is it more of a tie-in to our general Family issues this week?  Discuss!

Abbie reiterates Katrina’s message for Captain Irving, mainly so he can say, “There are two things in life I think a person should hold on to as long as possible: virginity and skepticism.”  Ho ho ho!  Since he’s not a virgin any more (gosh darn it!  Did that promise ring mean nothing to you, Captain?) he’s keeping his Mister Skeptic Grand Supreme sash.  But fine, he’ll try to help with what she needs.  “Let me guess,” he says, wary, “You’re planning a family reunion.”

Yay, it’s springing Jenny Mills time!  Abbie arrives to take her on a twenty-four hour furlough to help find Crane.  “you’re right, we better move fast,” Jenny says, shifting from sarcastic sass-meister to serious Sin Eater seeker when Abbie tells her the object of their search.

Ichabod finds himself facing the descendant of his greatest nemesis, Edward Rutledge!  Nah, it’s just the descendant of the youngest signatory of the Declaration of Independence.  Ichabod totally calls him out on being a Mason and suggests they do all manner of super sekkrit handshakes.  “You will live or die based on the truth of your identity,” Rutledge vows, noting they’ve been tricked before by demons and shape-shifters.  So he’ll just go ahead and use his copy of The True Account of Ichabod Crane to check Ichabod’s answers for truthiness.

When’s the last time Ichabod heard someone say “Ordo ab chao”?  A dying man, a freed slave suspected of treason, Arthur Bernard, spoke those words to him.  YAY, THE SERIES ISN’T ENTIRELY IGNORING SLAVERY ISSUES!  Turns out Ichabod, still in his King and Country Redcoat-ing days, “interrogated” (yeah, tortured) Bernard under the orders of Colonel Tarleton in order to discover the identity of “Cicero”, an author of a pamphlet advocating revolution.

I cannot find one episode-specific photo of Tongayi Chirisa anywhere.  So have him in a suit.  YOU'RE WELCOME!

I cannot find one episode-specific photo of Tongayi Chirisa anywhere. So have him in a suit. YOU’RE WELCOME!

When Ichabod orders Arthur Bernard shackled, who should show up but Katrina as a peacenik Quaker demanding to treat Bernard’s wounds?  Even as she and Ichabod argue over Bernard’s treatment, you can totally see the little hearts fluttering around them.  “I’m in good hands,” Bernard calls out, because he’d rather deal with Ichabod’s hesitant scruples than risk the musket-butt-injury-dealing likes of Tarleton and his crew.  “That inner voice that wants to show him mercy; it’s called a conscience,” Katrina tells Ichabod.  You can practically see the “I’m in love, love, LOOOVVEEE!” skipping-through-the-streets 80s-song montage in Ichabod’s eyes.

At the Super Awesome Hideout, Abbie and Jenny sift through files for evidence of someone who “swallows your sins, ridding you of evil.”  When researching for Corbin, Jenny tracked a man who visited death row inmates, all of whom died saying, “I am sanctified.”  She lost sight of him; “maybe because you were working alone,” Abbie ventures.  Oh my god, I love every single tiny gesture of reconciliation between these two tough sisters.

“The love of power is the demon of all men,” Bernard tells Ichabod, who keeps pleading with him to reveal a name and stop his imprisonment.  “I’ll let you in on a secret; there are demons all around,” he continues, trying to persuade Ichabod to join him in the fight against them.

When Ichabod is called away from the interrogation to stand guard at a local execution, he witnesses the demise of three traitors.

Redcoat!Ichabod has many things to ponder.

Redcoat!Ichabod has many things to ponder.

“I fear these public displays may not have the desired effect,” Ichabod says uneasily to Tarleton (though all the time keeping an eye out for Katrina’s heaving bosom of comforting sympathy as she hugs the son of one of the treasonous men).  Tarleton questions his loyalty, and Ichabod swears he remains faithful.  But when he glances back at the Colonel, he sees a piggy-faced demonic visage: Tarleton’s totally playing for Team Death.

Ichabod and Katrina meet by the river to whisper sweet nothings about how they’re strangers, and yet.  “I have the oddest sensation,” Ichabod starts, and “that we’ve known each other all along,” Katrina finishes.  This came so close to being a Les Miserables-style book number, folks.

Katrina tells him he’s a cute liar (when Ichabod pooh-poohs spirits).  Ichabod hesitantly confesses he’s heard about this whole clandestine war thing and asks if he can be part of their secret club.  Redcoats ride up, ruining EVERYTHING, but not before Katrina can whisper sexily in Ichabod’s ear that he has the power to bear witness with his demon-seeing thing.

Abbie and Jenny hunt down their elusive Sin Eater through logbooks of death row visitors.  A clumsy analogy about carpet remnants turns into something actually quite touching: “I always kind of felt like that was you and me, the remainders,” Abbie explains.  When she lost Jenny, she was devastated and alone; when she lost Corbin, she found Ichabod right after.  “For the first time, I had a purpose that I understood, and someone who I was supposed to find it with.”  Gorgeous, how family-oriented this whole wistful discussion of emotional bonds is!

Next time Katrina shows in a vision, Jenny grumbles, tell her to be more specific.  “I mean, her husband’s about to be a dead man.”  Wait.  Dead man.  Bzuh?  Abbie quickly realizes the Sin Eater has been taking on the identities of deceased death row inmates.   They quickly hightail it to Connecticut (where Sin Eaters go to retire).

When Sin Eaters retire, they cultivate a balcony of plants.

When Sin Eaters retire, they cultivate a balcony of plants.

Abbie’s totally getting more mischievous law-abiding-wise: she claims she and Jenny have a warrant when they don’t, and threatens Henry Parish, the Sin eater, with jail time for identity theft if he doesn’t talk.  Once he lets them inside, she gets down to brass tacks, explaining Ichabod’s situation.  He refuses, explaining he stopped his Sin Eating because with the way he can see so deeply inside people, he would have eventually “disappeared completely.”

“Let he who is without sin,” Parish murmurs when they insist he help.  “You want to get Biblical?” Abbie asks, eyebrow raised, and oh man, you do NOT mess with the Mills sisters on matters of chapter and verse, okay?  She cites Revelation, explaining how Ichabod’s and Deaths’ spirits are linked through a curse and merging of blood (seriously, this quickie explanation could easily replace that long-ass opening exposition, I’m just saying).

Okay, maybe he can tell them where Ichabod is, if “your connection with your friend is strong enough.”  “It’s strong,” Abbie says briskly.  “Use it.”  I LOVE her confidence in her relationship with Ichabod.  When her hand brushes Parish’s, “Your friend is underground, behind a door marked with a symbol, a square and a compass,” he says as images flash through his mind.

Jenny and Abbie search the tunnels under the town, while Abbie explains how the hell there came to be tunnels under the town.

Behold the sheer badass awesomeosity of the Mills Sisters!

Behold the sheer badass awesomeosity of the Mills Sisters!

Ichabod finishes confessing to Rutledge his sins revealed in his interrogation of Bernard.  We see the flashback to Ichabod returning after the execution and his meeting with Katrina.  Colonel Tarleton demands he choose the last “path to redemption” available to him and take Bernard to the forest “where he will die like the animal he is.”  He hands Crane a pistol to complete the execution.

“If you pull that trigger, you will carry sin inside you forever,” Bernard pleads with Ichabod, trying to convince him Katrina is right, that he’s “invaluable to the cause.”  Seemingly unconvinced, Ichabod cocks his gun and orders Bernard to march.  When he fires, however, it’s clear he hasn’t shot Bernard, who tells him to find Katrina and let her guide him to Commander Washington.  “Speak these words to her; she will know which side your heart has chosen,” he explains, telling Icahbod the “Ordo ab chao,” phrase.

“I will find you again, my friend,” Bernard says before walking away, but he only takes a few steps before someone else shoots and kills him.  “No!” Ichabod cries out while Colonel Tarleton, now in full piggy-faced bat-boy-eared creeper guise, yells, “Traitor!”  When more Redcoats gallop in to investigate, demon!Tarleton runs, and Ichabod passes out.

Somehow Ichabod knows how to find Katrina even in his hazy wounded state of mind; the two of them collapse to the floor together, both in white now that Ichabod’s stripped his red coat off, holding hands.  “I couldn’t save him,” Ichabod says soberly, back in the present with Rutledge’s descendant.  Had he acted sooner, “he would have lived.”  That is the sin he must bear all his days.  But but but you were wearing WHITE, Ichabod; you sure you’re tainted as all that?

“We are humbled to be in your presence,” Rutledge says, standing with the other Freemasons who bow their heads to Ichabod.  But who wrote that “True Account”?  Katrina, obviously!  Her coven was in league with their Masonic forefathers “until she betrayed their trust” by secreting Ichabod away.  But hey, Ichabod points out; why would his Freemason Brothers want to kill him?  Rutledge claims Katrina protected him “at the expense of the greater good”: the Masons want to sacrifice him because they understood his blood tie to the Horseman (just go with it).

When Rutledge’s men find Abbie and Jenny in front of the door with the Freemason symbol, they yell, “Drop your weapon!”  “That’s not how this is going to work,” Abbie says, because hi, Abbie tells you to drop your weapon, okay?  “Let us in, or we call the damn cavalry.”  She rushes in to liberate Ichabod, and instead finds him ready and willing to take the path of suicide for the greater good by poison his Masonic brothers have provided him.

They’re tied together by blood, Ichabod explains gently; if he dies, the Horseman cannot rise.  Totally like Harry Potter and Voldemort, am I right?  “No,” Abbie says flatly, protesting there’s always another way.  What about what Katrina told her in the vision, that Ichabod could be sanctified by the Sin Eater?  “Even if we [he and the Horseman] decoupled, I’d only free him to continue his rampage.”  Listen, just because you say stuff doesn’t mean it makes sense.

When Abbie keeps protesting, Ichabod calls her Abbie (awww!) and explains for he’s lived on borrowed time, and seen wonders beyond his wildest imaginings.  Perhaps the greatest of all is how the two of them found each other even through the sheer impossibility of centuries separating them.  “How can you be so calm about this?” she demands.  “I’m terrified,” he confesses.  She reaches out her hand, and he quickly takes it, and her hand is so, so tiny in his, I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!

“Perhaps it would be easier if you left,” he suggests as he opens the poison.  But no way, Abbie argues: there are “too many people I never got a chance to say goodbye to; you’re not going to be one of them.”  He raises the poison and drinks.  When he looks up at Abbie and at the tears streaming down her face, he says quietly, “I’m so sorry.”

I am not crying at this.  It is RAINING ON MY FACE.


“Stay with me,” Katrina and Abbie blend to tell Ichabod as different images flash through his mind.  The Sin Eater decided to come after all, huzzah!  Yeah, I don’t know why he completely changed his mind either.  Justgowithit.  After ordering everyone else out of the room, Parish explains he’s hoped for this day, to find the reason why he was given this gift-slash-curse.

“As long as you carry your sin in your heart, it allows the horseman to be tied to you,” Parish explains, demanding Ichabod utter the name of the man whose life he couldn’t save.  “Now summon him!” he yells, and ooohh, there’s Arthur Bernard, inhabiting the Sin Eater.  He’s there to tell Ichabod his death wasn’t Ichabod’s sin, but his salvation.  “Forgive yourself,” he pleads.  “The horseman feeds on your regret.”  If he lets go of his regret, he can stop the Horseman with Abbie: “Your combined power will weather the coming storm.”

Bernard orders Ichabod to repeat an incantation after him, purging the wicked from his blood.  As Ichabod reiterates the words, we see flashes of the original moment when his blood combined with the Horseman’s; when Ichabod, at Bernard/Parish’s request, commands Death to leave him, we see the blood in that initial moment separate rather than merge.  Ichabod’s blood on the table from the cut Parish made also separates; Bernard eats the blood, and turns back into Parish.

“I feel him no more,” Ichabod says wonderingly, while Parish tells Abbie, “He is sanctified.”  Ichabod and Abbie hug super duper hard because they love each other so, so much, while Jenny kind of hovers in the background, because this show likes to give me beautiful inspiring friendships and terribly lonely characters to break my heart all in one go.

What you can't see here:  Jenny Mills being SO ALONE!

What you can’t see here: Jenny Mills being SO ALONE!

Next time, Ichabod better listen to Abbie that there’s always another way.  “My hearing shall remain eternally open to your admonition,” Ichabod pledges.  “I don’t know what the hell that means,” Abbie says bluntly.  “Just say yes.”  But amid the celebrations, everyone realizes the sun has set, and the Horseman has awakened.  “He’ll come for you,” Rutledge tells them.  Abbie and Ichabod look at each other.  “We’ll be ready.”

Over at Ichabod’s Cave Grave, the Headless Horseman paws through the dirt so he can confirm that Ichabod rose from the dead.  Um, didn’t he realize this had happened already when he ran into Ichabod at the cemetery that other time with John Cho Officer Andy?  No?  *just goes with it*

Cripes, I am so glad this show is back!  Celebrate with me in comments, and tell me what you think about Ichabod’s relationship with Katrina getting such serious screen time, Jenny being called in for active duty, Abbie and Katrina meeting to collaborate on saving Ichabod, and just, I don’t know, EVERYTHING IN THIS EP, yayayay!