The essence of Sleepy Hollow can be found in a petty man-devil with a deep voice yelling, “Who’s the true master of lightning now, BENJAMIN?!” at the sky. There’s a side of this show that lives perpetually in that moment when Scooby and the gang unmask the ghost: The supernatural creatures may be real, but they’re driven by the same trivial concerns that drive us all. Every devil is really just a whiny dude who wants to be remembered in the history books. For that, he might just get his wish: Is it too early to call, “Who’s the true master of lightning now, Benjamin?” the best TV line of 2016?
Two centuries before he landed on my personal Best Of list, a colonial inventor by the name of Leeds took up alchemy and ancient magic and found himself shunned by the scientific community. Franklin joined in all of the shunning, which is pretty rich, given that he and a bunch of witches brought a corpse back to life, but okay. Leeds took his rivalry with Franklin to the extreme and tried to poach Crane. When that failed, he experimented on himself, transforming into the creature some know as the Jersey Devil.
Now, Leeds spends his days eating trail runners and probably sitting around brooding about the fact that he doesn’t get any credit for inventing movies. (He invented movies. This must kill him!) He finds a greater purpose when the Hidden One recruits him to reassemble an hourglass that literally bestows omnipotence, which Leeds knows all about, because he made a movie about it. Pandora, according to the film, took pity on the Hidden One, who was banished below the earth to guard a box that contained all evil. She joined with her fellow humans to unleash the box’s powers on the Hidden One’s brother, who spent his days above ground, sun-tanning and ordering people to fetch him wine with his hourglass by his side.
The brother — and the hourglass — were destroyed, but the other humans turned on the Hidden One and locked him away. In order to return to full power, the Hidden One needs his hourglass. In order to restore the hourglass, Leeds needs gold from the original. He gets the gold in the form of artifacts in the possession of a local pair of professors, but the evidence he leaves on their bodies lead Abbie and Crane straight to his lair, where the film explains it all. Leeds catches them as they start to put the pieces together, stings Crane with his scorpion tail, and bolts, locking the door behind him.
A tip: If you’re going to poison someone, don’t do it in Snape’s storeroom. Leeds’ laboratory is a “supernatural pharmacy” stocked with everything Abbie needs to whip up an antidote; as the poison spreads, Crane talks her through it. But Abbie trips (Witnesses: They’re just like us), losing most of the antidote to the floor. Before she can start again, she’s distracted by a pendant in the shape of the symbol she’s been worshiping. As Crane pleads with his “lef-tenant” to help him, Abbie stands transfixed.
NEXT: Lightning strikes twice
She snaps out of it just in time, throws together a new antidote, and gives it to Crane, who looks more than a little bit surprised to wake up. He’s less surprised to find Abbie holding a possibly demonic pendant to her heart. Crane is a smart guy; you can’t hide your creepy obsessions from him! “It has a hold on you,” he observes, pointing out that if it’s in Leeds’ lab, it’s probably evil. Abbie comes clean (maybe) and admits that, evil or not, this symbol has given her peace since she first saw it on the temple wall. Is she telling the whole truth? That’s for later. First, Crane has a competition to win.
“Now who’s a sub-par alchemist?” Crane brags after blowing a hole in the wall of the lab. He and Abbie find Leeds on high ground, planting a lightning rod in a vat with the gold artifacts. Lightning strikes. Leeds says The Line. The gold reduces to sand and swirls around them all, and as the devil boasts to Crane, Abbie sneaks up from behind and stabs Leeds through the chest with his lightning rod. “Benjamin Franklin sends his regards,” Crane quips as lightning strikes again, incinerating his rival. That’s two Franklin-related kiss-offs in a single night! Are we going to pay for this happiness later?
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We might be paying for it already. Abbie isn’t dealing so well with the fact that she almost let Crane die. Back at the house, she sits him down and takes the all-important first step by admitting that she has a problem. She thought she could hide how much the symbol meant to her, but she couldn’t, and now she needs Crane’s help. It’s a big moment for them both — and an even bigger relief — but I’m still not sure that her relationship with this symbol is as simple as Abbie makes it out to be. She filled a whole journal with it, and not in a meditative kind of way. At least Crane is on the case now.
In other news, Pandora and the Hidden One have the hourglass. Ruh-roh.