If the first three episodes of this season were an invisible monster — creepy but obscure, spider-walking down a path that none of us could see — ”The Sisters Mills” is the flash of silver nitrate that makes everything clear. Pandora’s got more going on than her tree! We finally have some backstory on our new big bad, to say nothing of a spine-tingling monster-of-the-week, vintage Revolutionary twistory, and plenty of family time for Abbie and Jenny. This calls for a celebration. I’ll bring the ice cream if you bring the “Dis-nay” revisionist fairy tales.
And they are revisions. As Crane reminds Abbie and Jenny, most beloved children’s tales have dark origins, but they’ve been scrubbed clean over time. It happens, and it’s totally natural — unless it happens to the history Crane lived through, in which case it’s an affront to the very foundations of this country. Crane is studying for his citizenship test, which is to say, “Crane is yelling about misremembered historical details while Abbie sits patiently beside him and waits to qualify for sainthood.” But that’s life with a roommate, right?
This evening’s rant is interrupted by a call from Joe, whose job as an EMT brought him face to face with one of those dark origin stories. As it turns out, the Tooth Fairy isn’t all glitter and wings. That (literal) fairy tale hides a much creepier reality: the Ibizu, an Assyrian demon that eats children’s souls. The demon is drawn by open wounds, like missing teeth, and repelled by silver — hence the practice of giving kids silver coins beneath their pillows. Also, it looks like an extra from The Exorcist. This is so vindicating for those of us (me) who were always inexplicably creeped out by the tooth fairy (just me?).
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The Tooth Fairy’s first victim is a little girl by the name of Jessica, who falls into what looks like an inexplicable coma. Her older sister Saffron knows the truth, but since the demon is only visible to children — and, as Abbie and Jenny know firsthand, adults aren’t inclined to believe kids who say they’ve seen monsters — Saffron is ignored. This is a case for the Mills sisters if ever there were one. Abbie and Jenny tell Saffron how proud they are that she told the truth, but she’s too traumatized to say anything more, so Crane tries a different approach. Oxford never taught this man how to interact with kids, did it? He does his best, yelling limericks and producing coins from behind her ear, but Saffron only opens up after Crane hits his head on the ceiling. They do say you have to suffer for your art.
Saffron draws a picture of the monster and calls it the Tooth Fairy, which reminds Crane of a rash of similar cases in the 18th century. Kids fell ill after losing their teeth and never woke up. Betsy Ross’ niece was one of them, of course (so kind of all of the monsters who knew Betsy to wait for her to be a series regular before causing any present-day trouble). He watched as Betsy called in Paul Revere, amateur dentist, but that was the last thing Crane saw. Betsy closed the door on him. A light flashed on the other side of that door, and the next thing Crane knew, Betsy’s niece had made a miraculous recovery.
Forget the midnight ride: Paul Revere was, like literally everyone else we’ve heard of, a “soldier in the supernatural war on evil.” Crane gathers that something in his not-dentist bag must hold the key to defeating the Tooth Fairy, but the bag is in Raleigh — which means it’s time for Crane to be self-aware. This is a new thing for him. He’s learned to harness his power as a man out of time.
First it was the deep bow to Zoe, with whom he’s currently flirt-texting the monkey emoji; now, it’s a phone call to the museum, laden with “how nows” and “superlatives.” Introducing himself as the curator of the soon-to-be Hudson Valley Historical Society and Armory, Crane convinces the museum that Revere’s bag will be a centerpiece exhibit. “Yes, first thing on the ‘morrow would be divine,” he gushes. “I can give you the address if you have a quill.” We’re running out of ways to baffle Ichabod Crane with modern life, but if this is the next step, I accept it.
NEXT: George Washington 101