Previously on Sleepy Hollow: Haunted house! Scary trees! Babies! Everyone is family! *holds you and sobs*
Ichabod splits wood with an axe, because the producers of this show love me and want me to watch Tom Mison doing hot things outdoors. Abbie shows up to hear his grousing about modern Christmas stuff (including an etymology of eggnog, because that’s way more fun than just spiking things with rum…mmmm, rum), and to his confusion, calls him a Scrooge. But “If I were you, I’d be taking an axe to something too,” Abbie says.
And then the producers show how they really and truly love me as Ichabod looks vulnerable and upset and devastated in the sunlight. He is of course hung up on learning Katrina and he had a son he never knew about; if Moloch went after Katrina because of the baby, stands to reason they should find out more from Katrina. Er, how are they going to swing by Purgatory, Abbie wants to know; they’ve had to “move freaky mountains” to connect with Katrina in the past.
Ichabod’s got a plan: to consult friendly Connecticut Sin Eater Henry Parrish. “Our lives are a tapestry: each moment is a thread upon which the next thread is woven,” Henry objects when he arrives, demurring the risks of tempting fate and the realm of the dead as too great. Finally he caves, telling them to leave now if they’re scared. “Thanks for the warning, but we’re not going anywhere,” Abbie says firmly, because our brave girl never ever wavers.
“Summon her with all your heart,” Henry says of Katrina before starting to choke Ichabod. “The closer he is to death, the shorter distance he has to travel,” he tells Abbie when she freaks out.
Soon Ichabod finds that ahistorical stroller (he catches it from falling down stairs, a la The Untouchables) and sees Katrina in a church. She panics; he’ll alert Moloch to his presence. Ichabod insists she talk about their baby, and soon learns his name was Jeremy, and Katrina fled the punishment of her coven to deliver him at Lachlan’s with Grace Dixon’s help. But “I could not condemn our son to a life as a fugitive”; she gave Jeremy up to protect him.
“I made you a little friend,” Katrina coos to the cutest baby in the whole wide world. Look, it’s the creepy Oogie Boogie doll! She gives the baby to Grace Dixon and her husband (a pastor at the church that Purgatory replicates to punish Katrina) and leaves sobbing. “The Four Who Speak As One,” sisters from her coven banish her to Purgatory shortly thereafter. Ichabod vows to free her and defeat Moloch. Outside, something bangs on the barred door; a demon bursts in as Ichabod wakes.
“You strangled me,” Ichabod objects as he regains consciousness in the cabin. “He means thank you,” Abbie tells Henry. Ichabod explains Abbie’s ancestor Grace took custody of Jeremy, partly so Henry can exclaim on how their fates are merged. Historically entwined family tree BFFs!
In the misty foggy woods (our pal the fog machine person is back!) that scary demon that burst into the church lurches out of the soil near the lake. Uh, whoops? I think he rode in on Ichabod’s musty coattails.
Abbie suggests following Ichabod’s possible offspring (“as many as 6,000”) trail through the records collection at the historical society library. Because books are cool — CHECK ‘EM OUT! While Henry just wants to get on a train and do some damn crosswords (“they settle me”) Ichabod asks him to stay. When he objects, Abbie appeals to his sadness over his dwindling family, noting, “We’re pretty thin on it ourselves.”
Frank Irving heads to his former church in NYC to ask about that whole “two witnesses to the apocalypse” thing. “Witness means martyr,” his minister tells him. Hocrap. And “Apostles usually suffer the same fate as the martyr.” Cripes, Frank joined the force to save people, and his daughter was hit by a car (not causally related, but frustrating, indeed). He worked hard at his job, and his wife was neglected and left him. And now “you’re telling me the grand prize” for his service “might be death? If God has a plan, who is it for? Me or him?”
Gah, I LOVE that one of the characters is seriously bringing religion and existential questions into this end-of-days thing! Aside from Abbie’s one little aggro talk with God in the hospital chapel during the Roanoke survivors episode, there’s not been much dealing with the whole issue of who exactly is pulling the strings on the opposite side of Moloch. I hope we see more of Frank’s frustration with religion and god as this series goes on.
The stuffy librarian is super unhelpful and flashes a tight smile at Ichabod when he lectures her on how important books are to their past and future. Clearly she’s evil; good librarians love to help us find ancestral and/or theologically-related records! After she waves them off to some texts in the corner, Ichabod stammers over some hanging mistletoe (what it’s doing in a library, who knows; perhaps the historical society likes playing matchmaker). Abbie tells him “let’s get to work,” because there’s no time this week for any more wink-nudging for shippers.
Henry finds records explaining that the Dixons died in a fire, with Jeremy the only survivor. Presumably they had kids of their own, or Abbie would poof out of existence at this revelation. “Local townspeople thought they saw [Jeremy] start fires by crying,” Henry explains (I think this is his Sin Eater skill picking up on this from the text; otherwise, those are some seriously gossipy town records).
Jeremy had Katrina’s powers, Ichabod guesses, and was too small to know how to control them. “My son was responsible for the death of your ancestors,” Ichabod says heavily, but Abbie knows there’s nothing he could have done. They’ll keep looking to find out what happened to Jeremy, Abbie promises, though “don’t count on Miss Helpful guiding us in the right direction.” Henry knows the librarian is keeping something from them. “Lying is a sin, and I can sense a sin a mile away.” Jeesh, why didn’t you say so before if she was so stinky with sin?
Unfortunately the librarian has already hustled her sour-faced self out to her car, where the demon escaped from Purgatory gets her but good.
They run outside to find her car wrecked, its metal bent and glass smashed, her bloodied hand the only visible part of her showing in the smooshening. That’ll show her not to be helpful to truth seekers!
Frank arrives to pick up Macey, and apologizes to his wife for not being there for her. “You deserve better.” Um, if he’d said that a year ago, “you’d still be living in this house.” Reconciliation vibes? No, because we need Frank to get together with Jenny, obviously. “Popski,” Macey exclaims, which is perhaps the worst dad nickname ever. But “Little bean!” Frank exclaims right back, and they are so super cute together that I’m flailing here.
“You doing crosswords?” Abbie asks Henry as she and Ichabod poke through the librarian’s personal effects recovered from impound. “A good puzzle misleads you,” he replies to explain their charm. “It sends you in one direction, fools you into thinking you know what’s going on, but once you’ve discovered the trick, you find there’s a hidden meaning.”
Ichabod supplies an unusual word for “fidgety and restless”: gumplefik (let’s all vow to use that in a sentence this week, okay?), and complains about modern word changes. When Abbie sets down a box from the librarian’s stuff, Henry grunts, saying “the box is filled with pain.” It bears the crest of Katrina’s coven. And she is therefore…A WITCH! Apparently she was a member of Katrina’s coven. Cripes, in modern times you can barely organize a book club that stays together more than four months, but these Revolutionary-era club memberships last FOREVER.
The opened box makes Henry choke: “It reeks of anger and pain and death,” belonging to Ichabod’s son. Urk, a small notebook has a drawing of Jeremy’s creepy little baby doll, which Abbie recognizes from her first vision of Katrina (really, just stellar continuity bits, and I’m totally being serious here; I’m thrilled to watch a show where clues are actually introduced episodes ahead instead of a scene ahead).
“I can feel darkness” in the heart of the priest who governed poor baby Jeremy’s orphanage, Henry explains. Wow, his supernatural skills are seriously helpful to our exposition! When the evil priest flogged little Jeremy, Ichabod’s son “summoned the promise of his mother’s wish” and with one drop of blood conjured from his doll a Golem, who killed the priest. We see little Jeremy look fearfully at the same demon from Purgatory, who kneels in front of him and gently strokes his face. Aww. Now I’m rooting for the demon and the Firestarter baby.
Ichabod realizes that Jeremy’s creation of a champion to keep him safe may have caused the violence they’ve seen; he recognizes the demon from Purgatory. Henry takes a moment to I-told-you-so until Ichabod guesses that the Golem will next go after the others in Katrina’s coven.
When Frank suggests Macey learn about that wheelchair sports camp while they head through a park (she’s watching some Frisbee players wistfully), she tells him she wants to keep fighting, not feel helpless (he’s a little too coddling of her, apparently). “I think it’d be easier to fight if I had some hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows,” she declares before wheeling off to look at an adorable puppy. Glittery berets, hot chocolate, and love of puppies? Macey is totally my favorite. Also, if Jenny were here, she’d complain if the vendor didn’t have soy milk; just sayin’.
“Seems like a strong kid,” the hot chocolate vendor tells Frank. While I grump about how there’s no way you can get really good hot chocolate from carts in the park — it’s all crappy reconstituted stuff! — the vendor flashes demon eyes and asks Frank if Macey is “strong enough to fight for her soul?” Eep! “God may have a plan, Captain, but we have one too.”
Frank goes a little ballistic on the vendor, knocking the demon RIGHT OUTTA HIM, and into a bystander lady. “I’m New York State police; I’m reaching for my badge,” Frank hedges when two cops rush to investigate. Well, if you’re NYS police, no problem; go right back to harassing that vendor. “What’s wrong with you?” Macey asks, wheeling up all concerned while demon lady flashes her demon eyes and is generally creepy.
“You’re troubled,” Henry tells Ichabod gently. It’s a lovely touch that while Ichabod is searching for any clues to his son’s fate, he’s found a kind of father figure in Henry Parrish. Ichabod explains his father told him a child “will follow your example more than your advice”; poor Jeremy, however, got neither.
Henry reminisces his own father taught him not to fear his power (wouldn’t it be cool if Henry was actually somehow Ichabod’s descendant?). He’s sure Jeremy became a good man: “he was, after all, molded from your clay.” That reminds Ichabod of “Washington’s Bible”, and he flips to Psalm 139 to read about an enchanted being made animate from inanimate matter, “born of mud.” A Golem, Abbie remembers from Sunday school, “like a magical attack dog.”
The Librarian’s safe was full of ticket stubs from traveling carnivals. Abbie notices the carnival poster of four veiled women and says, “I’ve seen them before.” They’re the women who banished Katrina to purgatory. Dude, they’re still alive after all this time? They’ll be the next targets of the Golem, though if Ichabod can save them, maybe they could bring Katrina back from Purgatory, since they were the ones to put her there. It’s off to the Dobbs Ferry carnival, for kettle corn and fried dough and crazy condemning witches!
At the carnival, when Ichabod wants Henry and Abbie to give him a private word with the coven, Henry laments they’ve been “relegated to the part of gongoozler.” Sleepy Hollow: improving your vocabulary one episode at a time. They’ll “sit here and gongoozle our asses off,” Abbie grumps, prompting Ichabod to ask, “Now who’s the Scrooge?”
Ichabod heads into a tent to confront the Four. They ask to see his palm, and are excited at his “lifeline…interrupted long ago.” There’s only one mortal with this fate; they pull back their veils and greet Ichabod Crane, whose arrival apparently means their death is at hand. They seem remarkably sanguine about it, but then they are witches who’ve been around since Revolutionary times, have sharpened rotting teeth, and talk in unison, so.
Ichabod warns them about the Golem, but they feel destiny has decreed their death no matter what. When he blames them for turning against Katrina and delivering her into the hands of an enemy, they explain they hunted Jeremy and his companion when rumors of the destruction caused by the Golem spread.
Ugh, poor Jeremy, totally alone in the world except for this otherworldly creature wrecking havoc in the name of protecting him. The witches banished the Golem to Purgatory and, when Jeremy refused to join them, invoked a hex to stop his heart (we see Jeremy essentially buried alive, the open slats in his coffin letting dirt rain in on him as the witches chant above him). “Death begets death,” one of the Four observes; they’re ready to pay the price.
How can the Golem be stopped? Jeremy’s blood game it life; “only his blood can end it.” Well, Ichabod, you’re full of basically the same blood (pfftt, Katrina’s blood, whatevs). So that’s probably the solution to this melee. “Run,” the Four intone, sending Ichabod skedaddling.
Fairgoers run amok in terror while the Golem sends our heroic trio into a funhouse with distorted mirrors. “When did irony become a national pastime?” Ichabod complains. The glass around them shatters like crazy as the Golem bursts in. Outside, “you’re hurt,” Henry notices as Ichabod pulls out a shard of mirror embedded in his arm. Now’s the chance to try your blood to vanquish the Golem, Ichabod!
When Ichabod confront the Golem, telling him he’s Jeremy’s father, the Golem stops. “You exist because I did not,” Ichabod explains while the Golem growls sadly. The Golem, as his protector and guardian, was in some ways Jeremy’s father. But now Jeremy’s gone, and “there’s nothing left for you to protect…we both have to let him go,” Ichabod urges. Gah, father figures and substitutes, and BRING SHERRIF CORBIN BACK; I WANT ABBIE TO HAVE HER FATHER FIGURE/MENTOR IN HER LIFE!
Though the Golem seems persuaded by Ichabod’s words, he attacks one last time, casuing Ichabod to ram the glass shard with his blood into him. Golem goes black-vein-y all over, much like the Roanoke settlers, and whimpers as he begins to die. And here’s a fascinating moment that sets this show apart from other monster-of-the-week narratives: Ichabod kneels and takes the Golem’s hand. It’s actually a heartbreaking interaction, with Ichabod murmuring, “you’ve endured enough pain; bear it no more.” “Be at peace,” Ichabod concludes, saying, “My son.” It’s his way of saying goodbye to Jeremy and putting him to rest. The Golem, which apparently exists to tug at my heartstrings, makes an unhappy wounded animal sound and fades.
“It’s over,” Abbie says while Henry tells Ichabod gently that “he’s gone.” You know, I keep thinking about Jeremy in that grave, with his heart stopped — it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s dead, does it? He could have existed in some supernatural stasis, much like Ichabod himself. If he can return, is he going to feel angry, abandoned, and, you know, possibly on the side of evil? Because that would be cool (in a way that it would totally wrench Ichabod’s heart and be super angsty and make me sob into my seltzer).
You know, what great parallels in this ep — Irving and his daughter, Ichabod and his son; Ichabod and his father figure, Henry, Irving and his sort-of father figure, the minister; the Golem perpetrating violence to protect Jeremy, and Frank Irving very nearly taking out that vendor and getting arrested when his urge to protect Macey makes him frantic.
Back in Sleepy Hollow, Abbie and Ichabod say goodbye to Henry Parrish, who is finally going to get to take his damn train home. “We never bury the dead, son, not really,” Henry tells Ichabod gently. “It’s the price of living.” Gah, John Noble is AH-MAY-ZING! I adore having him in this role; I really hope he keeps reappearing and becomes part of Ichabod and Abbie’s little found family.
Abbie has a present for Crane (she was going to give it to him on Christmas Eve, but “you look like you need a little boost”). “Oh,” he says in that tight-voiced reaction of “the hell is this?” present-openers everywhere. “You embroidered my name on some oversized hosiery. How odd.” Pshaw, he’ll be so psyched when Abbie fills it with little gifties on Christmas morning! I suggest those awesome doughnut holes, Abbie! “I’m going to get some comfort food,” Abbie says, leaving the office (hey, anyone else wonder what happened to her traumatized paranoid ex? Just me then?).
A mirror in the office shatters and reforms to show a misty woods; Ichabod finds himself walking in the dark forest and confronting Moloch. “A saint’s name is a sign,” Moloch growls. “When you know my meaning, war will form, and the end of days begins.” Though Ichabod objects to Moloch’s arrogance, Moloch insists “your death is assured.” He claims that he’ll have Abbie’s soul too, and Ichabod will be the one to give it to him.
Ichabod wakes when Abbie enters the office with her food (and people are just strolling by outside in the hall while he’s flailing on the carpet and having an otherworldly confrontation, I guess?). He tells her Moloch is coming for her soul and claims Ichabod will deliver it to him, so that Abbie can look very concerned while Ichabod looks hunted and sweaty.
We’ve gotten a very Ichabod-focused arc, which I appreciate, since at the start of the season we were focused much more on Abbie with Ichabod in the background. I’d love to see future eps that manage to really intertwine explorations of both of their characters’ developments, though. Still, it’s fantastic to see more of what makes Frank Irving tick, and his own family conflicts and personal struggles. Let’s just get Abbie back in the mix, am I right?