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Sleepy Hollow recap: The Art of War

A mystical possession shakes (not stirs) the team.

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Tina Rowden/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

Much like Abbie Mills, Sleepy Hollow is not good at biding its time — but very good when the clock is ticking. As the show works toward its own endgame (the upcoming fall finale), the members of Team Witness rush to save one of their own, giving “The Art of War” a sense of direction that even this season’s best episodes have lacked. Also, everyone descends from the trees in harnesses to sneak up on some monsters, and that is exactly the kind of urgent nonsense that I signed up for.

I was worried about this story; haven’t too many of our own already changed sides? Haven’t the Mills sisters been through enough? But their experience makes them wise — if nothing else, they know better than to try to solve problems this big on their own. When Jenny goes all demonic in the midst of an adorable sparring match with Joe, they go right to the Witnesses to tell them everything, even if it means admitting that they went against Abbie’s wishes to make contact with Nevins.

Abbie isn’t thrilled about that, but there’s no time to argue; “someone who makes Pandora look like a homeroom teacher” is after the Shard, and Nevins intends to deliver. He summons from Pandora’s Box three Norse Berserkers, which are not only legendary for their single-mindedness — they’re also virtually indestructible. When the Berserkers come for Jenny, she double-fists some knives to fend them off, but they come back even stronger than they were before the fight. Even worse, Jenny is weakening; the human body isn’t meant to hold the Shard’s power, and it’s killing her from the inside out. In the Archives, it takes hold of her again — eyes white and skin glowing, she bellows in a voice that isn’t hers that they’d better behold her glory.

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While Abbie watches over her sister in the demon-proof dungeon, Joe and Crane head out to test a theory. Berserkers, like the rest of us holiday softies, have a weakness for mistletoe. Unlike the rest of us, they also like metal caves, which in Sleepy Hollow translates to a junkyard garage. Crane and Joe find the Berserkers there, so that’s one hypothesis proven, but that’s about where their luck runs out. Arrows dipped in mistletoe do nothing but anger the creatures. Our guys make a run for it.

Since the mistletoe was a bust, it’s safe to assume that Nevins made an alteration to the spell, but finding out what he changed requires going behind the FBI’s back. The good news is that Reynolds had to go away for a few days, and he left Abbie in charge. The bad news is that Reynolds left Abbie in charge. This is her chance to prove herself, and if anything goes wrong on her watch, they’ll have no one else to blame. She doesn’t want to waste her shot, but Crane makes his most sympathetic eyebrows at her and reminds her that even though he knows what it is to be “pulled between two worlds,” they have no other option if she wants to save her sister.

Abbie relents and pulls surveillance on Nevins’ place, giving Crane enough time to sneak in and take a rubbing of the spell Nevins used to call the Berserkers. (For those keeping track at home, maybe don’t write down your darkest secrets with quite so much force.) Nevins replaced Odin with Pandora, which doesn’t actually tell them anything new about what the spell is; they just know what it’s not. It’s not a spell that can be undone with mistletoe. Great. They found the 9,999th way not to make a light bulb. Thomas Edison would be thrilled.

NEXT: Serious spy business