Sleepy Hollow: Review of the episodes “Indispensable Man/ Bad Blood”- The season finale brings war to town

shWARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE EPISODE WILL FOLLOW.

Sleepy Hollow has had a terrific opening season, and so it was fitting to close it out with a super-sized season finale. The opener, called “Indispensable Man”, gave us the answer as to how George Washington was able to leave a message in his bible. Seems old George was resurrected via cursed prayer beads for the specific reason of making a map that would detail a path between Purgatory and Earth. This prompts a rather amusing remark from Abbie, who observes that her and Crane has seen their share of strange things, but “Zombie George Washington takes the cake.” Crane believes the map could hold the key to possibly freeing Katrina from Purgatory. But Abbie voices some doubts, feeling that maybe they should step back and think about things.

And so we begin to see hints of a fracturing of the partnership. Abbie and Crane have bonded over the course of the season to provide a united front against Moloch’s forces of evil. And yet, there is that troubling prophecy that Moloch gave Crane about Ichabod giving Moloch Abbie’s soul. This plays out nicely over the first episode of the finale, and even when Parrish tells Abbie that the prophecy may just be a story, Abbie tells him that Evil believes that story. To which Parrish delivers a rather ominous piece of advice: “Prophecies have a nasty way of fulfilling themselves. If you let them.” By the episode’s end, it seems that Ichabod decides that the prophecy will not hold sway over their lives, saying that they will decide their own fate.sh3

Before that, however, the pair had recruited Parrish to aid them in finding the prayer beads used to resurrect Washington. They find the warlock’s grave, and Parrish reads the beads, getting glimpses of Washington’s resurrection and the map, as well as a body being transported along a shoreline. The group is attacked by skittering demonic creatures sent by Moloch, and they fight them off. Abbie voices her concerns about finding the map, and while Crane agrees it is dangerous, he believes it must be found or that the war between good and evil would be lost. They come to realize that Washington, like the good Mason he was, would have taken the secret to his grave- meaning the map had to be entombed with the general.

In the meantime, we catch up with Andy, who has been cocooned by a swarm of insects unleashed by Moloch. Earlier in the episode he had appeared to Abbie, telling her that Washington’s bible led to a map that Moloch wanted. He asks for the bible to protect Abbie, professing his love for her and reminding her that Moloch said Crane would deliver her soul. Abbie of course doesn’t buy it, and so later in the episode Andy is reborn as a demon who pledges to Moloch, “I am your servant!” Obviously, the next encounter between Andy and Abbie would not be so pleasant.

The group works out the locsh4ation of Washington’s secret burial site, leading them to an ornate, underground chamber. We learn from Crane that Washington was known as the “Indispensable Man” (hence the name of the episode) and that his idol was the Roman emperor Cincinnatus, who returned to farm life once his service to Rome was completed. Naturally they find the body behind a plaque bearing Cincinnatus’ name. Crane retrieves the map, after a humorous aside on Washington’s teeth (“Gold, ivory, and lead…the envy of every man in Virginia”). At this time demon Andy arrives, grabbing Abbie by the throat and demanding the map. Parrish grabs his arm and momentarily breaks the spell. Andy tells them to destroy the map, because Moloch would use it to win the war. In the episode’s big action moment, the tomb begins to collapse, with Andy being crushed in the process and our heroic trio making it out alive. At this point Crane set fire to the map, saying that he will not betray Abbie in order to save Katrina. Abbie promises that they will save Ichabod’s wife.

In other developments, we see the aftermath of the last episode “The Vessel”, in which Irving’s possessed daughter Macey committed a few murders. He tries to warn the investigating officers off the case and tells them not to come after his family, even though he knows that won’t stop them. In a nicely done moment of sacrifice, Irving confesses to the murders to keep his daughter safe. It was nice they addressed the issue, leftover as a question from the last episode as to what would happen, but besides a few brief scenes, not much else was done with this plot thread. We do learn that Frank gets sent upstate, but that’s all we know for now. Apparently that will be held over for next season.

By the episode’s end, we see Crane isn’t giving up on the map to Purgatory after all. He redraws the map from memory, fully intent on going to rescue his wife from Purgatory. The end of “Indispensable Man” blends into the beginning of the second half of the season finale, “Bad Blood”. Parrish has a vision of Moloch pulling the Second Horseman from the ground by four white trees. We know that Abraham, the Headless Horseman, is Death. This other Horseman we learn is War, and by the episode’s end, we learn the shocking truth as to War’s identity.

“War is coming to Sleepy Hollow,” Parrish warns, as the group realizes that the day the second Horseman will appear would be the 13th anniversary of Abbie and Jenny meeting Moloch in the woods. As on that day, an eclipse is coming, heralding the Horseman’s arrival. Crane reveals that he has redrawn the map, and shows them that it is made of ley lines  (lines that supernatural power flows along through an area), remembering that Washington had said that Sleepy Hollow would be the battle ground for the war between good and evil. In a nice tender scene, Jenny relays her concerns to Abbie, fearful of losing her sister again like she did when they were parted by Jenny’s incarceration in the mental hospital. She tells the story of a doll house they played with as children (which figures in nicely by the episode’s end), How Abbie always told her they’d be safe by pretending the doll house was their home. Abbie says she’s tired of running, and wants to confront Moloch, and tells Jenny to have faith that she will return from her and Crane’s trip to Purgatory. “I have more than faith,” Jenny wryly tells her. “I’m a mental patient with a gun.” It was a nice moment between the sisters, and Nicole Beharie and Lyndie Greenwood sell the scene well.

Henry has his concerns as well, telling Crane and Abbie to stay true to each other, and to not trust what they see in Purgatory. The pair summon a doorway using an incantation from Washington, and end up separated, each seeing what they’ve longed to see. Abbie gets to be reunited with Sheriff Corbin and Andy, while Crane  is greeted warmly by his father on his return home to England in an alternate universe where the British won the Revolutionary War. They both realize at the last moment that what they’re seeing isn’t real, and we get some nicely creepy scenes of demonic images and a comedic moment on how the two know it’s really them (using the fist bump that Abbie taught Crane back in the episode “Necromancer”). They find Katrina, and tell her that they’re going to get her out. But Katrina informs them that there’s a catch- a soul must stay to take her place. Abbie volunteers over Ichabod’s protests. Katrina says they will return for her once War is defeated, and gives her a medallion to protect her from Moloch.

The episode ends will some dandy revelations. Jenny finds the church talked about in Corbin’s tapes and Moloch’s prophecy, learning that the sign of the demon is quite literally a sign, namely that of the old abandoned church. She races to warn Abbie, only to be attacked by the Headless Horseman. We see her car roll over and her battered body inside.

In Purgatory, Abbie confronts Moloch and flees from him, finding a house in the woods and coming face to face with the younger versions of herself and Jenny. Here she learns that Moloch wiped the memories of the girls, locking them away in this house in Purgatory. We see what the girls actually saw on that day thirteen years ago, and Abbie realizes she needs to get back to Earth to warn Crane and Katrina. But for now, it appears she is trapped in the house, which we see as the camera pulls away is that doll house that the girls found in the woods and gave them comfort as children.

The biggest reveal is the one Ichabod and Katrina got upon meeting Henry back on Earth. They find the trees in Henry’s and Crane’s vision, and Katrina tries to put a bindsh2ing spell on the Horseman she thinks is still buried in the ground. Much to their surprise, he’s not buried. In one of the best scenes in the series so far, it’s revealed the Henry Parrish, the Sin Eater, is in fact Jeremy, son of Ichabod and Katrina. We find out that not only is the Cranes’ son, but he is also the second Horseman of the Apocalypse. It was Moloch that freed him from the grave he had been imprisoned in by the coven, and he took his name from the first sign he saw, which happened to belong to the church, St. Henry’s Parrish. Parrish turns Katrina over to the Headless Horseman Abraham, and throws Ichabod into the grave that was once his prison. John Noble is terrific in this scene, as he reveals himself and dashes all of Ichabod’s hopes. Tom Mison was great in the scene as well, with the pain of Henry’s betrayal portrayed in his face. Henry delivers a chilling line: “War is not coming to Sleepy Hollow. It’s been here all along.”

The show definitely ended its first season with an incredibly strong episode that leaves us with plenty of cliffhangers to bring us back for season two. The actors all played their parts well, and there were some nice comedic moments interspersed throughout the two episodes that were filled with plenty of suspense and thrills. Ichabod’s troubles with cell phones provided a few laughs, as did his encounter with a Revolutionary War re-enactment. This show is definitely on the upswing, and has been solid more so than many other shows in their opening seasons. It’s going to be  along wait until next fall. Is Jenny dead? What will happen to Captain Irving? Will Abbie escape from Purgatory? How will Ichabod escape the grave…again? I know I for one will be there for the opener of season two, eagerly awaiting the answers.

 

9.5/10

Thomas Juretus

Born in 1963. Enjoy videogames, movies, comics- anything that tells a story. Have written three novels (The Zarchler Chronicles Book One: The Cassandra Crisis, Shalgroth The Zarchler Chronicles: Book Two, Madman's War The Zarchler Chronicles: Book Three) all published and available through PublishAmerica. Currently working on my fourth book, a sci-fi/murder mystery.

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