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Sleepy Hollow recap: 'And the Abyss Gazes Back'

Sleepy celebrates Halloween by introducing a bloodthirsty Wendigo—and he’s got a close connection to one of our heroes.

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Sleepy Hollow
Fred Norris/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

I keep starting these recaps by raving about Sleepy‘s opening moments—and this week will be no different. Seriously, though, I have to ask: Has any show currently on TV mastered the cold open quite as well as Sleepy Hollow?

Take tonight’s inaugural scene. We begin with two extreme closeups—one on Ichabod, one on Abbie. Crane is moaning to his “leftenant” that he “cannot withstand this torture”; Mills is breathily urging him to fight onward. The shots are artfully blurred; the lighting is dreamy; there’s lots of heavy panting; Ichabod and Abbie’s faces are clearly perspiring. It is, in short, the shipper bait to end all shipper bait—and as per usual, it’s as misleading as that mention of Jenny and Katrina’s “deaths.”

But even though any Sleepyhead worth her salt knows that Ichabod and Abbie are absolutely, certainly, 100 percent not going to actually hook up in this opening scene, the subterfuge is delightful all the same—mostly because our interest lies not in seeing Crane and Mills do the nasty, but in seeing how, exactly, the show has tricked us this time. (In this case? They’re doing yoga. By candlelight. At night. You know, like opposite-sex platonic soul mates often do.)

Of course, Sleepy can’t be all clever duplicity and fish-out-of-water comedy (as much as I may wish it were); there’s monsters to fight, damn it! And tonight’s is a real doozy. Crane and Mills must face a vicious, bloodthirsty Wendigo, a creature from Native American lore that may be best known today as “that thing that keeps popping up on TV.” Series including Teen WolfSupernaturalHannibal, and Grimm, among others, have tackled these monsters in the not-so-distant past. They’re kind of like werewolves on steroids, normal men turned into beasts with an insatiable need to devour human flesh—or, in this case, their internal organs. Ew. Let it not be said that Sleepy decided to go soft for its last pre-Halloween episode.

The Wendigo web is tangled to begin with—but it gets even gnarlier when Ichabod and Abbie realize that the monster’s human alter ego is none other than Joe Corbin, the murdered sheriff’s estranged son. Joe has just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan after being honorably discharged; as we eventually find out, the discharge came after his entire platoon was attacked and murdered by something that consumed the contents of at least one soldier’s torso. (Joe, his mouth full of small intestine: “Who, me?!“) Now he’s running loose in Sleepy Hollow, killing two more pals before Abbie and Ichabod manage to lock him inside their handy underground Masonic prison cell. Which is always what I do to unwind after a strenuous yoga practice.

NEXT: Rise of the WendigJoe