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Sleepy Hollow recap: 'Sanctuary'

Ichabod and Abbie are trapped in a mysterious mansion, which holds ghosts, monsters — and one giant secret

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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

Welcome to Thanksgiving, Sleepy Hollow-style: An evening of ghost fraternizing and demented Ent battling, followed by a calming nightcap of room-temperature rum drunk straight from a mug. Just like Grandma used to make!

This week’s episode follows the claustrophobic blueprint of “Necromancer,” stranding the Witnesses inside a spooky crumbling mansion filled with restless spirits, homicidal bark monsters, and surprisingly flimsy walls — or, as Abbie (awesomely) puts it, “a damn haunted house.” It’s an hour that’s fairly straightforward and relatively understuffed, especially for Sleepy Hollow; on the whole, it hews closer to the monster-of-the-week format that Sleepy seemed to be leaving in its dust a few weeks ago.

That said, “Sanctuary” did drop one giant bombshell that’s sure to have repercussions far down the line — and I’m not talking about Ichabod’s deconstruction of 21st century America’s erroneous First Thanksgiving myths. (For the record: “The pilgrims didn’t have any sugar to make a [cranberry] sauce, let alone a pie! And venison, not turkey, was served! It would have been a miracle for a single, half-starved pheasant to trot past in these harsh winters…”)

But we’ll get to that later. First, let’s check in on the damn haunted house — the onetime residence of fictional revolutionary and dapper white warlock Lachlan Fredericks, who made his Sleepy Hollow estate into a safe haven for freed slaves and fugitives from supernatural phenomena alike. Abbie and Ichabod have come there, on the eve of Turkey Day, to investigate the strange disappearance of Fredericks’s descendent Lena Gilbert — a comely teenage vampire from Mystic Falls, Virginia. Wait, no; she’s actually just a run-of-the-mill heiress with an expensive blowout and zero actual magic powers. Come on, Sleepy — if you’re going to lift a name from one of TV’s most popular supernatural shows, at least give that character precognition or fire breath or telepathy with marine life, or something.

Crane, of course, has been to the property before. He and Katrina visited this same house during the Revolutionary War, back when it was a sanctuary for all of the Colonies’ silliest hairdos. After he and Abbie go inside to search for Lena — blatantly disregarding the advice of any viewer who’s watched, like, even a single horror movie — Ichabod discovers that his connection to Lachlan’s manor runs deeper than he ever knew. See, there’s a book inside that Crane recognizes: A copy of Katrina’s beloved Gulliver’s Travels, which itself contains a letter that our hero wrote to his wife the morning that he first faced the Horseman. Meaning that sometime after the Cranes’ first visit, Katrina returned to Casa Fredericks on her own. Maybe she needed to hide from the hordes demanding to know whether she’s a humble Quaker or American landed gentry?

NEXT: Barking up the wrong tree