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'Sleepy Hollow' recap: 'Tempus Fugit'

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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

Anyone else starting to think that season 2 of Sleepy Hollow was one long con?

Think about it. Tonight’s finale—a full-throttle spectacle stuffed with thrills, chills, gasp-inducing decapitations, the TV season’s best smartphone-related gag, and one very, very gratifying death—was like a sumptuous five-course meal, an exorbitantly entertaining hour by any standards. And it tasted particularly delicious specifically because of what came before it—not 17 meals of bread and water, by any stretch of the imagination, but 17 suppers that weren’t nearly as high-quality as this one. Could it be that Sleepy‘s sophomore year frustrations were all part of a devious master plan, one designed to wring maximum satisfaction out of an already great closing episode? Probably not—but maybe we should consider giving this series the benefit of the doubt.

I’m so tickled by everything we just saw, in fact, that I’m going to write this recap in the form of a list titled 13 Awesome Things That Happened In “Tempus Fugit”:

1. Olde-Tymey Ichabod and Present-Day Abbie meet for the first time

Naturally, 1781 flavor Crane doesn’t recognize his beloved lef-tenant when he’s called to the jail cell where she’s being held. He is, however, intrigued by how much she knows about the enemy he’s facing—a Hessian on horseback, carrying a broad ax, with a wicked tattoo of a bow on his hand. This is the sort of information to which only a valuable revolutionary ally would be privy! Or, you know, a captured British spy—which is what Ichabod assumes Abbie to be at first. P.S. He guesses this partially because her accent sounds strange to his eidetic ear, even though Abbie speaks exactly the same way that every single non-Ichabod Past Sleepy Hollow resident speaks. Maybe Ichabod is not the best spy.

2. Abbie makes a sweet habeas corpus reference

“Only it’s not applicable for me for another hundred years, right?” she continues, pointedly holding up her shackles. It’s about as political as the episode gets, and that’s probably a good thing—Sleepy isn’t the place for a nuanced look at race relations in 18th-century early America, but it would’ve been strange if the show had decided to totally downplay Abbie’s particular challenges with regard to time travel.

3. And then she tells Ichabod that she’s from the future

Because this is Sleepy Hollow, Crane doesn’t immediately laugh in Abbie’s face and walk away. Instead, he lets her convince him that a Founding Father may be able to corroborate her story. Washington and Jefferson are both in Virginia at the moment… but hey, as luck would have it, Benjamin Franklin has just returned from a diplomatic mission to France. Returned to Sleepy Hollow, instead of Philadelphia, where he lives. (Although apparently, Franklin’s illegitimate son William Temple Franklin did spend time in New York in 1782. The more you know!) Nobody mentions how strange and convenient this is, which only makes it better.

4. Katrina has an eeeevil meeting with head-having Headless

The key point: The Horseman we see tonight is the imposing, hulking, masked Hessian of Sleepy‘s pilot, rather than pale, ordinary-looking Abraham. Thank you, Sleepy gods. Oh, and just to drive home that we’re not messing around anymore, Katrina murders a witness to their meeting without a second glance. Best part: This is not the coolest murder she’ll commit tonight.

5. Enter Franklin

This iteration of the First American makes a strong case for why Franklin is generally depicted as the Founding Fathers’ answer to Michelangelo. (The Ninja Turtle, not the artist; Washington is Leonardo, Jefferson is Donatello, John Adams is Raphael.) He’s completely tickled by Abbie’s story, crowing with delight when he hears that people are still using stoves and swim fins, and brimming with glee at the news that his face is on the $100 bill while poor Tommy J has to be content with the $2. (“Does anyone even use the two?” Maybe Franklin’s actually early America’s Regina George.)

Perhaps more importantly, Benji knows enough about the occult to understand that Abbie’s telling the truth—and to help her form a plan of attack. Spells, it turns out, can conveniently be reversed for a brief period of time after they’re cast. All our heroes need to do is find another magically inclined being to undo the knot Katrina’s tied. And Franklin knows just the woman for the job: Grace Dixon, Abbie’s many-times-great grandmother. What luck! What fortune!

And then the Headful Horseman enters Franklin’s hideaway.

6. Benjamin Franklin tries to destroy the Horseman of Death with a homemade grenade

Which is awesome.


WHICH IS AWESOMER. Like, Zombie George Washington levels of awesome. Like, I actually started clutching my face and shrieking in joy when it happened.

8. A cell phone saves the day

Why, you ask, didn’t Abbie immediately show the People of the Past—and Ichabod in particular—her pocket computer, which would’ve gone a long way toward making everyone believe that she’d traveled back in time? Because it’s more fun for the show to wait until all seems lost, then put the phone into play.

Following Franklin’s death, Abbie’s thrown back in jail, and Ichabod’s discharged from the army. Before they’re separated again, though, Abbie pleads with Crane to look at her confiscated device, which contains photos that can back up her story. (She tells him specifically to look for “our selfie,” either not knowing or not caring that this sentence is complete gibberish to him.)

At first, Ichabod ignores her plea—mostly because it comes only after Abbie finally tells him that Katrina is a pregnant wicked witch hell-bent on his destruction. This is the one thing Past Crane absolutely refuses to believe—until he comes home and finds Katrina reading from a magic book and fixing up a batch of Polyjuice Potion. (It’s actually some kind of health brew for women who are with child. Or is it?!) What he doesn’t see is the knife that Katrina is telekinetically aiming at his back. She’s holding off on giving her husband a mortal wound only because she wants him to tell her where Abbie’s being detained… but thankfully for Ichabod, before he can answer, he’s whisked away by a messenger for General Washington. (Who, as we’ve established, is in Virginia. So… huh?)

Whatever. The point is that Ichabod is now free to go through Abbie’s personal effects—including her phone. Think this scene, but with fewer monkey noises:

NEXT: Unlock the magic, Crane