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Sleepy Hollow recap: 'Necromancer'

In a tense bottle episode, we learn just why the Horseman is so dead-set on destroying Ichabod

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Sleepy Hollow Necromancer
Brownie Harris/FOX

Sleepy Hollow

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, John Cho, Katia Winter
Mystery and Thriller, Crime, Sci-fi and Fantasy

Ever since Sleepy Hollow‘s very first episode, those who know and love Washington Irving’s original short story have been waiting for the other shoe to drop. The show’s hero, obviously, was Ichabod Crane, who shared a name (if nothing else) with Irving’s own protagonist; his ladylove was Katrina Van Tassel, a “blooming lass” similar to the woman the original Crane tried to woo; his chief opponent was a mystical headless horseman, much like the one who frightened Irving’s Ichabod out of Sleepy Hollow.

But one vital figure from the story was missing. Where was Abraham Van Brunt, a.k.a. Brom Bones — the “Herculean” “hero of the country round” who tangles with Crane over Katrina’s affections?

Tonight, flashback sequences addressed that question — giving an answer that fans of Irving’s story should have seen coming. See, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow strongly implies that Ichabod Crane the First was run out of town by Brom Bones impersonating the Headless Horseman rather than an actual supernatural figure. And in “Necromancer,” Sleepy Hollow presented its own riff on Brom and Headless’s intertwined fates. In this version, the Horseman of the Apocalypse known as Death wasn’t born a demon — instead, he started out as Sleepy‘s take on Brom, who was magically transformed into a demon shortly after learning that his ex-fiancée Katrina was leaving him for his best friend Crane. If only Ichie had put brovaries before ovaries!

Before we’re treated to the truth about Headless, though, Sleepy presents some of its darkest, moodiest material yet, set almost entirely within the tunnels under the Hollow. (All those special effects don’t come cheap — which is probably why it’s about time we had a bottle episode.) There, the Witnesses and Captain Irving — we’ve got to come up with a better name for the series’ Scooby Gang — are still standing watch over Headless, who’s imprisoned within a set of hex candles (courtesy of the fallen Masons), weakened by a ring of powerful UV lamps (courtesy of modern technology), and shackled by a set of enormous iron chains for good measure (courtesy of… Thomas Jefferson?).

Irving is tempted to ask NORAD simply to drop a nuke on Headless and call it a day. But Abbie tells him it’d be no use — though they can hold Headless captive and use light to sap him of his strength, they can’t destroy him. They can, however, take this opportunity to find out more about the Horseman’s dastardly plan, as well as what makes their nemesis himself tick. In order to do so, though, they’ll have to call in someone to be a literal mouthpiece for their voiceless foe: Zombie John Cho, whom I’ll start calling Andy Brooks only if you insist.

NEXT: Tonight’s MacGuffin: A thing subtitles will later inform us is called a “phiale”