Sleepy Hollow season finale recap: A Horseman of a Different Color
A visual representation of how I felt at the end of Sleepy‘s “oh-my-God-is-this-seriously-happening” first season finale (warning: strong language ahead):
Seriously, guys, I don’t even know where to start.
Orlando Jones warned us to expect a “devastating” finale… but now that season 1 is actually over, even “devastating” seems like a bit of an understatement. I mean, just look at how episode 13 leaves all of our heroes: Irving’s being held after confessing to two murders he didn’t commit. Zombie John Cho is trapped within Zombie George Washington’s secret zombie tomb. Jenny is lying possibly dead in the middle of a deserted road. Abbie is stuck inside an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark, with only two creepy Mini Millses for company. Katrina’s in need of rescue once again, thanks to Headless’s grabby hands. And Ichabod — noble, virtuous, kinda-like-Angel-but-90-times-hotter Ichabod — has, kinda like Angel, been caught in a coffin and buried alive by his onetime ally Henry Parrish. Who’s actually the Second Horseman of the apocalypse. And, oh yeah, also Ichabod and Katrina’s long-lost son.
Like I said:
I can’t even begin to fathom how the Sleepy team is going to resolve this deliciously wicked cliffhanger stew when the show returns for its second season in the fall. Luckily, fathoming such things isn’t my job… at least, not when there are still two glorious Hollow hours waiting to be dissected. So without further ado, here’s that recap you ordered.
NEXT: Wait, did I mention Zombie George Washington?
The night’s first hour, “The Indispensable Man,” features much amusing business about cell phones (even Crane knows flip phones are lame; you listening, Morales?) and another major revelation hidden within Washington’s bible. How do the Witnesses uncode this latest puzzle piece? Simple: Ichabod happens to remember that one time, General George made an offhand remark about the story of Lazarus. And sure enough, when he and Abbie check the Gospel of John, they find that Washington’s version is 67 verses long — even though everyone knows that the real biblical narrative is only 57 verses. Everyone!
A little lemon juice, a little brushing, and the answer is revealed: Washington writes that shortly after his death, a team of warlocks used some cursed prayer beads and Miracle Max‘s bellows to bring him back to half-life. (Hold up, says Abbie: “Zombie George Washington?” Say it out loud, use it as your Facebook status, get it screen printed onto a t-shirt: This phrase will never, ever stop being hilarious.) After chomping on some delicious early American brains with his famous gold-and-ivory teeth, Zombie Washington set to work creating a map that only he could draw: one that leads from the land of the living to Purgatory. Meaning that if Crane and Mills can find it, they’ll finally have a way to free Katrina… and Sleepy‘s potential love triangle will really get interesting.
Alas, there’s no map to this map. The bible does, however, contain a list of folks who assisted in Washington’s resurrection, including Alfred Knapp — the warlock reverend who tried to fight off Headless with his telekinetic powers way back in the pilot. (Doesn’t that seem eons ago?) Using their simple powers of deduction, aided by just a pinch of “crap-it’s-the-penultimate-episode-we’ve-gotta-move-things-along”-itude, the Witnesses surmise that Knapp must have been buried with the cursed beads, that the beads must be drenched in sin, that they must call upon sin eater Henry Parrish (in hindsight: NO NO NO NO NO NO NO) to magically read that history of sin, and that after doing so, he’ll be able to give them a few clues about the map’s true location.
Long story short: Grave robbery. Sin-reading. Demon attack. The Witnesses and Henry subsequently realize that just as Knapp was entombed with his beads, Washington must have been buried with his map. (Apparently, it’s a Masonic thing. Now I’m waiting for Buzzfeed to write a post called “25 Things Only Masons Will Understand.”) When he read the beads, Henry saw Knapp transporting Washington’s body to a burial site on the water. Ichabod, in response: “There are 21 different islands along the Hudson River.” Okay, Sleepy — I’ll give you a few easy answers, but at this point, you’re starting to push it.
NEXT: Nice guys finish last, and get transformed into terrifying demons
So the gang heads to Bannerman Island, the site of one of Washington’s old military prisons. Hope he’s not tortured by ghosts of all the Redcoats his men incarcerated. Just as the gang suspected, it also houses G.W.’s true tomb; suck it, Mount Vernon! After much National Treasury — a pyramid marked “I.M.” for “the indispensable man“; a telling relief of Cincinnatus; a crack on the wall just large enough for a Masonic ring — they’ve got their hands on the map, perfectly preserved after all these years. And with time to spare, too!
Scratch that: We’ve got company. Earlier in the episode, Zombie John Cho tried to get Abbie to switch to his side, promising her “a high seat in [Moloch]’s new order” and swearing that nobody’s ever loved her the way he does. When she told him to get lost, he slunk back to his master, who encased Zombie Cho in a cocoon of evil. Now he’s emerged as a slimy hellbeast with an alien head, pure black eyes, and a thirst for vengeance that could only be a consequence of serious Nice Guy Syndrome. Just call him the worst parts of Reddit personified. (Demonified?)
Our heroes just manage to escape with their lives, destroying Washington’s tomb (and leaving Zombie Cho stuck in its ruins) in the process. After all that, Abbie opines that if Moloch wants the map this badly, they should probably just destroy it. Ichabod is clearly conflicted; after all, this scrap of paper holds the key to rescuing his lost love. But in the end, he agrees with Abbie, burning the map to cinders…
…except, wait. Remember how Ichabod has a photographic memory? Because Ichabod does.
As the night’s second episode begins, Abbie is none too pleased that Ichabod neglected to mention he memorized the map. But she’s not complaining about his deception when Henry shows up at the cabin, informing the Witnesses (and Jenny, who’s stopped by for some morning snark) that Moloch plans to raise the Second Horseman of the Apocalypse that very night. The only thing capable of stopping him is a binding spell, which must be cast by a witch… meaning that it’s finally time for Ichabod and Abbie to make the descent all of season 1 has been leading toward.
Crane, Mills, and Parrish (again, in retrospect: NO NO NO NO NO NO) head off to the Hellmouth — sorry, the gateway to Purgatory — while Jenny stays behind to try and solve that riddle Moloch told at the end of “The Golem”: “The Saint’s name is a sign. When you know my meaning, War will take form. Then the end of days begins!” All this while, the Witnesses have also been trying to ignore another one of Moloch’s proclamations — that Ichabod will deliver Abbie’s soul to the demon. It’s true that there’s a prophecy saying one Witness will renounce the other, but Henry has reassured Abbie, noting that “prophecies have a way of fulfilling themselves if you let them.” Sage advice for any character in a story, even if it was delivered by a secretly evil apocalyptic horseman.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. After a final warning from Henry — Purgatory is a maze of temptation; no matter what you do, don’t pull a Persephone — they tumble headlong through a computer-generated gateway apparently imported from Once Upon a Time… and into scenarios pulled directly from their deepest desires. Abbie finds herself in an alternate reality where Corbin’s alive, John Cho hasn’t been zombified, and she’s at the top of her class at Quantico. Ichabod is dropped into 18th-century Oxford, where his stately father (Victor Garber!!) informs him that the British have defeated the American colonists, Ichabod never switched sides, and now he’s been granted a full professorship at his alma mater. Interesting that Katrina doesn’t factor into this scenario at all; maybe Purgatory can’t conjure her up because she’s physically trapped there already?
There are a few heart-stopping moments when it seems that Abbie and Ichabod will fall victim to their tempters. In the end, of course, they rally and make it to the next stage of the maze — that spooky twilit wood in which we’ve seen Katrina before, now populated also by terrifying creatures from Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long for them to make their way to the echo of the church where Katrina gave up Baby Crane — and luckily, the witch is inside. Great; fabulous; wonderful; now let’s get the hell out of here! Of course, there turns out to be a catch: Katrina tells the Witnesses that she can only leave this prison if another soul stays behind in her place. Geez, lady — you couldn’t have told us that before the dramatic rescue? Ichabod’s been having visions of you like, once an episode! Get it together!
And thus Moloch’s prophecy is fulfilled: Abbie declares that she’s going to stay behind and face her demons (figurative and literal). Katrina gives her a protective amulet, then skedaddles with her hubby — but not before Ichabod solemnly swears to return for his dear lieutenant: “Remember our bond. I’ll come back for you.” Katrina, internally: “Huh. Should… should I remind him I’m standing right here?”
NEXT: WHAT? HOW? OH MY GOD! HOLY F—!
Hold onto your butts, kiddos, because now is when things really start coming to a head. Abbie fends off Moloch and finds herself stumbling upon a safe haven — a replica of the dollhouse she once shared with Jenny, occupied by the two actresses who play Abbie and Jenny the Younger. Lil’ Abbie explains that she and Lil’ Jenny are memories — specifically, the memories of what really happened the night the Mills sisters first encountered Moloch.
So what really happened? We’ll get to that right after we check in with Jenny, who has followed her nose to an abandoned church. The sanctuary’s name has been written on a wooden sign that somebody has ripped off and attempted to bury… but once Jenny reads it, she realizes how much danger Abbie and Ichabod are actually in. She races to her car and leaves Abbie a harried voicemail: “I figured out Moloch’s warning. ‘The saint’s name is a sign’ — he meant it literally! So whatever you do, you can’t trust–“
CRASH. Headless busts the window out Jenny’s car, then shoots one of her tires, which somehow causes the entire vehicle to flip over and over. It lands upside down — with a definitely unconscious and possibly dead Jenny still inside.
If you thought that was nuts, just wait ’til you see what happens next: Katrina, Ichabod, and Henry travel to the spot where Moloch is supposed to raise the second Horseman. But for some reason, Katrina’s binding spell isn’t working. What’s the big idea? Why hasn’t the Horseman arrived yet? Cue Henry Parrish, with an unmistakably evil note in his voice: “It’s here, I assure you.” Bum-bum-buuuum!
So much for being [John] noble: Henry is actually the Horseman of War, and he’s been pulling our heroes’ strings all along. The discovery of the map, the trip to Purgatory, the separation of the Witnesses, Katrina’s reentry to the real world — all were pieces of Henry’s master plan. Now he’s unstoppable, and finally able to reveal the real reason he’s got such a crazy vendetta against Katrina and Crane: His true identity is Jeremy, a.k.a. the son Katrina gave away and Ichabod never knew. Go ahead and spend the next few minutes gasping in shock; I’ll be right here when you’re finished.
NEXT: Everything’s a mess, and some final Doughnut Holes
And now it’s time for Evil Storytime with Jeremy Crane. Over 200 years ago, Katrina’s coven buried the witch’s son in this very spot. But though he was underground, his magical blood kept Jeremy alive — and so he remained in his pine coffin, “lying weakened in this dark prison, feeding on the vines that crept in alongside of me, crying out to the pitiless god that put me there and to the two who abandoned me to eternal suffering.” Man, those Crane men really do have a way with words.
Eventually, salvation came for Jeremy in the form of Moloch — his “true father,” who took the warlock out of the ground over a decade ago. It turns out this event is what Abbie and Jenny spied in the woods 13 years ago, the day they encountered Moloch. In fact, Abbie was sent to the forest to prevent Jeremy’s resurrection — but she was too young and weak to stop it. So Jeremy left the woods, stumbling upon the abandoned church Jenny just sped away from, which is also the place where Katrina abandoned her son all those years ago: St. Henry’s Parrish. The saint’s name is a sign. Brilliant.
Jeremy, Henry, the Second Horseman, whatever you want to call him — he didn’t just engineer Katrina’s rescue from Purgatory so that he could gloat in front of Mum. He rescued her so that he could deliver her to Headless, in exchange for the second apocalyptic seal — which, when broken, will bring that demonic war we’ve heard so much about. Jeremy and Headless trade prizes; Ichabod is trapped in the coffin where his son was once entombed; Jeremy smiles. “Now, it begins.” And… end scene. My heart rate may return to normal any day now.
– I want to make note of Ichabod’s charming encounter with a group of Revolutionary War reenactors, but I’m too emotionally drained to even think about it right now.
– Oh yeah — so Irving decided to confess to the murders Macey committed when she was possessed, and he’s currently being held upstate. Maybe he’ll be able to bust out of jail and rescue everybody?
– Related: It’s still unclear what happened to Detective Morales post-possession. Is he alive? Dead? Still boring?
– Ichabod’s delightful voicemail message: “Good day. This is Captain Ichabod Crane, Esq. If you’d be so kind to please leave your name, rank, and an address where I may reach you, and I will return this correspondence in a timely manner. …Now what do I press? Pound? What’s pound?”
– Ichabod discovers emoticons: “‘On my way colon closed parenthesis.’ Oh, it’s a man’s face! I suppose that’s charming.”
– Crane’s chat with Fake Siri, however, can hardly touch his heart-to-heart with Yolanda.
– George Washington was the leader of the first successful colonial revolution, the first president of the United States, and, if these flashbacks are any indication, the inventor of heavage.
– While admiring the stitches on Reverend Knapp’s neck, Ichabod notes that one of his old flames was a seamstress. Abbie: “Who’d you date, Betsy Ross?” Ichabod, astounded: “How did you know that?”
– And later, when they’ve arrived at Washington’s tomb, Abbie: “That rock in the clearing — would that be your Masonic marker?” Ichabod: “Does an alderman have an unwarranted self-regard?” (That means yes in Crane.)
– Maybe in season 2, we’ll learn that Katrina’s witch powers explain how she managed to find Garnier Nutrisse Medium Intense Auburn Ultra Color in the 1700s.
– Abbie tells Jenny to have faith. Jenny’s reply: “I have more than faith. I’m a mental patient with a gun.” Please, TV gods, don’t let her be dead.
– Now, who’s gonna resurrect Daddy Crane so we can get more Victor Garber?
– How the hell is next year’s first opening clip montage going to begin? “Previously, on Sleepy Hollow: EVERYTHING.”
However will we survive until Sleepy Hollow‘s triumphant return? Please feel free to share strategies in the comments. Until this fall, I remain, respectfully yours — Lieutenant Hills.