Sleepy Hollow is really hitting its stride as it hits the halfway mark of its first season. The two leads, Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie as Ichabod Crane and Lt. Abbie Mills respectively, have a great chemistry and play off each other well. Add to the strong leads are the other characters being introduced as the show builds its mythology dealing with secret societies and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The show does a great job melding fantasy/horror and humor, and this episode was no exception.
“The Sin Eater” opens with Abbie introducing a puzzled Crane to the joys of baseball. She leaves him on his own, as he tells her he’s getting used to the modern world, and he promptly gets captured by some mysterious kidnappers. The head of this mystery group is the ancestor of a man Crane knew well back in the days of the American Revolution, going by the name of Rutledge (played by James Frain who has also appeared in the vampire series True Blood). Rutledge interrogates Crane, making sure that he’s the real deal. Meanwhile, Abbie is visited by the ghost of Crane’s wife, Katrina (Katia Winter), who tells her that Crane has been abducted and that she needs to find a man known as the Sin Eater to help break the blood curse that ties Ichabod to the Headless Horseman.
Abbie explains the situation to Captain Irving (Orlando Jones), who struggles to deal with the supernatural elements invading his small town of Sleepy Hollow. He aids her by getting her sister Jenny sprung from the mental institution for a limited time so the two Mills sisters can track down and rescue Crane. The pair go off to find the Sin Eater (played terrifically by John Noble from Fringe) and try to convince him to help. As the sisters are recruiting aid, Crane relays the story to Rutledge of how he came to switch sides from the British to the American colonists, as well as letting us see how he originally met Katrina. Ichabod believes the sin he carries that caused him to be cursed and tied to the Headless Horseman stems from the capture of Arthur Bernard, a man the British have labeled a traitor, and his subsequent death at the hands of Crane’s superior officer, who is a demon in disguise. In the end Crane believes he needs to commit suicide to break the curse and kill the Horseman, and Abbie and Crane share a nice emotional scene as they’re ready to sacrifice him for the greater good. The Sin Eater arrives, and Crane is absolved of his sin, breaking the blood tie. The group needs to get ready, as the Horseman is on the hunt, and in a nice scene at the end of the episode the Horseman was shown doing a bit of detective work as he examines the spot where Ichabod woke from his two century sleep.
The episode continues to add another layer to the show’s mythos, again showing the importance of the Freemasons in the battle against the demonic forces. If any part seems a bit strained it’s the way that Katrina is being kept around. One has to wonder just how long they can keep her ghost there to dispense advice and aid from the other side. Also, while the scene between Abbie and Crane was well done as they were ready to allow him to go through with dying, we know Tom Mison isn’t going anywhere. The two leads aren’t about to be split up by the writers, especially since the show has been renewed for a second season. Even though we were pretty sure of the outcome, it still worked as a device to break the curse. And it was nice to get more of Crane’s backstory. It will be interesting to see where things go from here.
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