This week! A socialite and her chauffer-bodyguard pull up to her family’s deserted ancestral home. “Looks haunted,” he observes. Oh, pshaw, it’s totally fine. Never mind all those ominous crow sightings or branches growing in cupboards that, when you grab them, grab back! Whoops, there goes our rich girl into a scary closet of branch-y doom!
Ichabod gets in his weekly Modern Day complaints: McDonald’s (not Scottish enough; presumably he wanted haggis); historically inaccurate celebrations (venison trumped turkey for those pilgrims) and, well, Thanksgiving itself, a family holiday that bites bites when one doesn’t have actual family (or, you know, your wife’s trapped in a demonic purgatory). Abbie assures him he has a right to be angry; plus, he’s just early for Festivus’s Airing of the Grievances.
Captain Irving sets Abbie and Ichabod on the trail to find Lena Gilbert, a disappeared do-gooder billionaire descended from the founding fathers. At first Ichabod’s horrified at the sum of her wealth, but when he sees a copy of Lena’s scribbles that seems to include Katrina C., he wants in on the case. Off to where her GPS last pinged!
Abbie points out this isn’t necessarily Ichabod’s Katrina on the scribble list. But “rarely is a coincidence a coincidence,” when they’re involved, Ichabod points out. “Could your wondrous internet perform a search on Miss Gilbert’s ancestry?” Sure ’nuff, and bring up her hot colonial ancestor, Lachlan Fredericks. “I know where Miss Gilbert went,” Ichabod realizes.
Talk about your reaching-through-time coincidences: Katrina and Ichabod visited Miss Gilbert’s family home during the war. “We had such a beautiful day together,” Ichabod reminisces (no doubt because of Katrina’s crazy fancy high-poofed hair), and enthuses that Lachlan’s estate, a sanctuary for former slaves, offered fair wages for its emancipated workers.
Abbie heads inside the house warily, calling, “show me your hands now!” to a figure in a wing chair. Hocrap, it’s Lena’s bodyguard, dead. Eep, bloodied handprints: “Looks like [Lena] was dragged away from here.” Wait, so she was trapped in the closet upstairs, then headed to the front room downstairs to see her dead bodyguard, and then dragged back upstairs and stuffed back into her branch-y prison? Sure, okay.
Don’t be an alarmist, Ichabod advises when Abbie starts to get nervous about the lack of police signal (so no go on calling in an alert and backup) and about being trapped in the mansion. “We’re in a damn haunted house,” Abbie says crossly (and rightly so).
Wait! Gone is our exposition-heavy pre-credit sequence! I for one don’t miss it even a smidge.
Abbie’s unsettled, telling Ichabod haunted houses “do not work for me” since she was small. You and me both, Abbie. “We’ve faced witches, a headless rider of Death, a demon who invades our dreams…I’m sure we can brave this little crisis,” Ichabod pep-talks her. Hey, who is that African-American woman in colonial garb only Abbie can see?
Poking through the detritus of the haunted house, Ichabod locates ab old edition of Gulliver’s Travels. Wouldn’t you know it has a letter he wrote to Katrina ages ago, a missive he intended delivered only in the case of his death? “She must have returned here while you were buried,” Abbie offers, and sure, why not? Maybe he was meant to find it! Dollars to doughnuts, Ichabod.
While we hear creepy growling sounds from the house (I almost ripped my cuddly throw, I was clutching it so hard; the horror elements in this series totally continue to scare the bejeezus out of me work for me), we spot another crow hanging out inside (lots of crows in this ep, to which I kept saying, “Crrrooooowwwww!” in the fashion of the MST3K theme song; there’s a drinking game there, I know it).
“So it wasn’t like this before, all haunted and with crows?” Abbie asks skeptically, prompting a flashback in which Ichabod and Katrina greet Lachlan Fredericks (who does not live up to his hotass internet picture; I am disappointed) and meet his house matron, Mrs. Grace Dixon, a former slave who is now as a freewoman very capably running the show at the estate.
Putting together what Ichabod realized about Katrina after waking in the present, and her connection to Lachlan Fredericks and his home, Ichabod figures out the estate was also a refuge against supernatural threats. If it’s now deserted and haunted, some supernatural force won out, turning it “from a sanctuary into a prison.”
So much loud creaking! Bloody handprints on the newel posts! *cries* “After you,” Ichabod offers, that coward. “I insist,” Abbie says forcefully, because he was the one who was all, haunted house, so not a big deal! “The closet,” Abbie calls out, locating Lena’s prison. They wrench the door open and hack at the branches trapping her, which bleed as they’re cut.
Okay, so. If you weren’t scared before?
Let me just note at this point a Tree Man outside rises up and STARTS TO WALK, holy crap, the enormous murder of crows starts screeching because what what what, and the TREEMAN WILL GET US ALL! *sobs*
“Please, you don’t understand, this house is alive!” Lena says frantically as they yank her away from the roots that dragged her in the closet. Ichabod comforts her by reminding her she’s a descendant of a man who lived there, an ally to a great and true cause “and as brave a soul as I ever met.” Oh, because it’s comforting you had do-gooder feisty ancestors when a tree tried to strangle you with its bloody branches. Abbie suggests they honor Lachlan’s memory by getting out in one piece. *tips hat to Abbie*
“Your sister’s here,” Captain Irving tells Abbie’s voicemail irritably, “I’m dealing with her B.S.” STOP FLIRTING SO HARD! “Thanks for the loaner,” Jenny says cheerfully of the gun she stole from the crime scene. At his grumbling, she protests, “There was a lot of confusion; I lost track of what gun belonged where.” Maybe she thought it was a gift, okay? “Jewelry is a gift,” Irving replies. “Maybe I’m a different kind of girl,” Jenny offers. It’s getting hot in here!
But Jenny didn’t stop by the station just to turn in filched police property; she also wanted to invite Irving for the Thanksgiving dinner she’s throwing. “I can cook,” she objects when Irving is skeptical on this point. Come on, they’ll act like normal people for a night, and then “I go back to stealing from you,” she offers. Hee, you two funsters!
Wait, stop the flirtation domination, because “Macey is here”. Frank Irving’s ex-wife ha brought his daughter for her holiday visit. OH MY GOD, Rue, you made it out of the arena! *rejoices* Seriously, they got Amandla Stenberg to play Orlando Jones’s television daughter. I could not love this series more right at this moment! And Macey is ADORABLE, in her snazzy glittery beret! “My little bean,” he calls her as he approaches her in her wheelchair. *falls in a heap*
Okay, putting Macey alongside my new beloved pairing of Frank Irving and Jenny Mills, we have now achieved Awesome Family. Seriously, I flailed and immediately began devising scenarios in which Jenny teaches Macey how to jam a sharpened stick into an aggressor, Macey rolls her eyes while she paints Jenny’s nails a sparkly gold, and Captain Irving burns the pancakes he was trying to make and does a frown-y face before taking them to the diner for pie!
Oh, right, the haunted house. *switches gears* Turns out Lena Gilbert did mean Katrina when she wrote Katrina Crane; Ichabod’s wife was the last person to arrive for sanctuary before the manor was abandoned. Ichabod nearly tells Lena Katrina’s his wife before Abbie interrupts (*cough* relative *cough*). “I thought maybe I’d found the key to unlocking the truth,” about her family’s history, Lena explains, when she found Katrina’s name in a ledger.
Lachlan might have been a member of “my relative’s coven,” Ichabod tells Lena. “When I freed you from those roots, they bled.” Obviously some malevolent being managed to break past the witchy protections on the land, and ever since has “infested the property.” Yes, let us leap ahead with assumptions and hurtle to conclusions to jam our loose threads together in a scary knot!
If Katrina was the last refugee, then something bad obviously happened in connection to her arrival/stay. “I’m right behind you,” Abbie reassures Ichabod and Lena as they sneak through creepy passages (featuring some stellar scary lighting with glimpses of brightness flickering from their flashlights and eerie focus through plastic curtains — though when anyone had time to try a little renovation in here before getting tree-strangled is anyone’s guess). They find a point of egress. My captions say it “must have built this for runaway slaves to hide,” but none of the characters actually spoke that. Still, it’s a cool layer to add to what we know of the estate.
The scary noises ramp up. “Crane!” Abbie yells when she’s separated from Ichabod. “Lieutenant!” Ichabod cries from where he’s escaped with Lena. Chief! McCloud! Ichabod kicks a hole through the passage to another room. “Lieutenant, gave me your hand,” Ichabod calls through the wall. No, no, it’s the effing DEMONIC TREE MAN, slipping his demonic paw branch right into Ichabod’s hand! Run, Ichabod and Lena, run like hellllllll!
While Ichabod and Lena are all too quickly separated, Abbie finds herself in a wall space, pushing into another room with tattered curtains. “It’s time,” says the colonial-garb ghost from before, that of Mrs. Dixon, the awesome house matron. “Hey, excuse me,” Abbie replies, following her to the next room where a whole lot of nothing awaits her. “That was good, Mills; talk to the ghost,” she mutters to herself.
“Excuse me, coming through,” firecracker sass-mouth Macey says as she cheerfully clears a path through deputies and detectives with her wheelchair at the station. “Not going to say hello?” she asks Jenny archly. “I mean, you’re dating my dad; there’s no point in being a coward about it.” Oh HO! “I’m not dating your dad; I don’t even really like your dad,” Jenny protests.
“You’re so not a cop,” Macey observes, because she is a pint-sized detective in training already. Nope, her sister is. Must be nice, having a sister. “She’s a bit of a hard ass,” Jenny says (like Jenny isn’t a total hard ass for supernatural justice, amirite?). Pfftt, “Try growing up with my dad.” At least he’s so busy, she doesn’t have to deal with his crap. Hmm. Jenny doesn’t know from family stuff, but maybe Macey should give her dad a chance?
Irving’s ex-wife quickly says it’s “none of her business” if he’s dating Jenny, but “how you behave as a parent is.” Fair enough. Apparently he moved to Sleepy Hollow from the city to take a job that allowed him more time for Macey; instead, he’s busier than ever and hasn’t taken Macey for any weekends. He’s doing important work, he protests.
Gah, you feel for the Captain here: he’s embroiled in all the crazy sauce demonic happenings in Sleepy Hollow, but he can’t exactly explain to his ex-wife that he’s neglecting his daughter to watch over Death trapped in UV lights, right? His former wife can only see that he’s not there for Macey. She’ll sue for full custody if he cancels another weekend.
“It’s coming, hurry!” Mrs. Dixon’s ghost tells Abbie. Abbie comes upon Katrina in the throes of childbirth. DIDN’T I SAY THAT AHISTORICAL STROLLER MEANT SOMETHING??? Mrs. Dixon soothes as Katrina frets they might not be safe. As the baby comes, crows caw outside (Croowwwww!). “I have a son,” Katrina says in wonder as she holds her infant.
Abbie and Crane finally reconnect; unfortunately, the creature took Lena. When Ichabod starts elucidating his many theories about the attack and haunting, Abbie’s forced to interrupt to tell him she had a vision of Katrina giving birth. “No,” he says, shaken. “You must be mistaken. She would have told me.”
Tom Mison is great here, showing us an Ichabod seriously unnerved by yet another huge secret his wife kept from him (no chance to mention it in all those liminal netherworld confabs, hmmm?) But wow, game changer, right? Ichabod isn’t just a Witness preventing the Apocalypse; he also potentially has descendants in this modern world that he might help save.
“They’ve broken through the protections,” Lachlan says in the flashback that, I’m fairly sure, no one is technically having? Something’s come after the baby — sheesh, this is one cursed family.
Evil forces broke through by “growing inside the property”, i.e., our Tree Man (forget the credits listing “Scarecrow”; this is nothing if not a Demonic Baby-Menacing Ent).
Apparently Lachlan realized the creature had to be sent by Moloch. Either there’s an outtake on the cutting room floor, or Abbie knows this because ~magic~. Soon Lachlan’s been stabbed by the Tree Man (goodbye, hot in certain depictions colonial ancestor!) telling Mrs. Dixon she has to help Katrina and the baby escape. “What happened to my son?” Ichabod asks. “That’s all I saw,” Abbie explains. The baby, Ichabod’s child, may have survived.
At the sound of a woman’s scream, Abbie and Ichabod hustle downstairs to find Lena standing completely still. “Are you hurt?” “No,” she whispers, shuddering. She’s just in the arms of the Tree Man who bursts through the shadows! “I can’t get a clean shot!” Abbie yells as they advance. Lena tells them to run (she’s a brave little billionairess). “Lieutenant, the roots,” Ichabod realizes; Abbie shoots at the roots, making blood spurt (family tree issues, yo).
“How do we escape?” Abbie sees Mrs. Dixon again, calling, “This way!” and watches a vision of Katrina and the Crane baby escaping with her.
They’ve just revealed the way out to Abbie, who can now lead Lena outside. “Stay with Miss Gilbert; keep her safe,” Ichabod instructs, demanding Abbie not follow him as he storms off with an axe for some branch-y revenge.
Ichabod sets sparks using flares from Abbie’s car before he and the Tree Man have their standoff. “Did you think you could attack those I love without consequence?” Ichabod roars. He hacks at the tree, spurting blood that stains his body and face. “Give Moloch my regards,” he spits as he slams into the creature with his axe one last time. Vendetta!Ichabod is scary and fascinating.
“I should like to go home now,” Ichabod says calmly as Abbie reels at the blood spattering him. As they drive away from the estate, the crows haunting the outside fly away; this house is clean now! And really, lovely Croooowwwww! shots throughout.
“Jenny’s burnt turkey and gluten-free pumpkin pie might be just what you need to lift your spirits,” Abbie tells Ichabod as she finds him in their secret headquarters. “There will be rum,” she adds when he observes that’s not the most enticing invite. “In my present state, I fear I would not be pleasant company,” Ichabod says. Oh, Ichabod, you just described every person going to every family holiday gathering ever.
Abbie tells him, “Thanksgiving isn’t easy for everyone,” recounting how as a kid she would see other families’ idyllic looking celebrations that she wanted to be part of more than anything. Little Abbie and Jenny, my heart! Ichabod’s own holiday traditions were fairly idyllic; he remembers wanting to be like his admirable professor father, and wanting a son who would follow in his footsteps. Abbie thinks they should take advantage of this time of reflections to ‘see what you have now…embrace what’s in front of you.”
Before they head out, Ichabod remembers Abbie’s “treasures from the Amazon!” (ho ho ho) box has come. Inside are the Fredericks Manor records, including documentation on Mrs. Grace Dixon, the house matron Abbie saw in her vision. Included in her list of progeny is “Lori Roberts…my mother,” Abbie says quietly. Holy guacamole.
“My ancestor brought your son into this world,” Abbie realizes. “Quite heroically,” Ichabod says. “I see the family resemblance.” AWWWW! “You and I, our paths were entwined from the very start.” They really already are like family. I wonder if we’ll learn of even more historical convergences of Abbie’s and Ichabod’s ancestors. “To family,” Abbie toasts, having fetched mugs. “To finding family,” Ichabod says feelingly. And yes, Abbie’s his new family, but what other family awaits him as he searches for the truth about what became of his son?
Apologies for the lateness of this recap! Some medical issues and family troubles conspired against me finishing it on time. Still, I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode even if we’re a bit behind the timeline; just think of us as time travelling Ichabod cave grave style! Okay, no, don’t think that, but think of pumpkin pie, gluten-free or old skool style (I’ll take the second kind, thanks), and tell me what you thought of this family-driven episode!