Betsy Ross' original flag stands between the Witnesses and the end of the world.
Break out your powdered wigs and call the fife and drum corps — the Revolution is back on Sleepy Hollow. Sure, ancient gods and Sumerian etchings have their place, but nothing makes this show feel more like itself than a good old supernatural twist on American history, and we’ve got as many of those tonight as there are stars and stripes. Think of Sleepy Hollow as the wall of Paul Revere’s house. Think of the twistory as an undead creature in Revolutionary garb, smashing through that wall and throwing balls of fire at your face. It’s exhilarating.
The action, as expected, kicks off with Pandora, who’s finally ready to leave the Hidden One behind. Here’s the problem: As with everything else in Pandora’s life, she needs her box to make it happen. Her husband’s powers are almost back in full, and only the box can contain them — but only the catacombs can restore the box. Crane isn’t about to make Abbie revisit the site of her year-long imprisonment unless she’s ready, but he also feels strongly that teaming up with Pandora is the right move here. Is she playing them? Even if she is, they might not have a choice. Pandora is easier to fight than a god.
If Abbie and Crane are going to find their way back to the catacombs, they’ll have to look to the one person who did it before: Betsy Ross. This week is the ultimate in Obligatory Betsy Ross Tie-Ins, but it’s so steeped in Revolutionary history that I don’t even want to call it obligatory. Is this what we’ve been building toward all season? Brace yourselves for the Totally Warranted Betsy Ross Tie-In. Betsy, as it turns out, was present for the crossing of the Delaware. Everything you know about history is a lie; Washington was actually crossing the river into another dimension, which is why he didn’t let Crane come along. Betsy got the golden ticket, but she wasn’t depicted in Leutze’s famous painting because the artist, going on an observer’s notes, assumed that everyone present was a man. Typical.
Crane identifies Betsy by her hat anyway. (Joe: “Are you sure? I mean, you’re placing a lot of weight on a hat.”) Before she joined Washington on their mission, Betsy was with Crane on the banks of the river, putting the finishing touches on the flag that would become her legacy. That legacy is more complicated than our 5th grade teachers ever knew; Betsy sewed the stars into place with the golden threads of the lyre that Orpheus used to enter the underworld. The flag was her key into the catacombs.
Crane and Abbie head to Boston to recover the flag from the Paul Revere House, but the artifact they find on display is not the original. No one tell this week’s monster that he’s got the wrong flag. According to Franklin’s journals, Washington captured a soldier who tried to desert his regiment; then, for his treason, Katrina’s coven tarred and bandaged him, transforming him into a walking skeleton with outdated fashion sense. The Eternal Soldier has been guarding Betsy’s flag ever since. When Crane gives the duplicate flag an indignant shake, the Soldier awakens, tearing through the wall of the house as Abbie and Crane hit the road.
NEXT: What so proudly we smashed with a hammer
A monster is on our Witnesses’ tails, and they’re down a flag, but there is some good news: The Masons love puzzles. Studying pictures of the flag that was left in the original’s place, Jenny and Joe pick up on a pattern. The holes in the flag line up with the stripes like musical notes. The tune in question? “The Star-Spangled Banner,” obviously. Francis Scott Key hid clues about the original flag’s location in the lyrics of our national anthem, because puzzles are the true cornerstone of American history (because the Masons love them).
Key composed the anthem at Fort McHenry in Baltimore; who wants to bet that “our flag” is “still there”? The grounds are expansive, but that inconspicuous 24-foot statue of Orpheus might be a good place to start. (Real life and Sleepy Hollow are dovetailing so seamlessly right now!) Abbie plays “The Star-Spangled Banner” on a stone lyre, and the base of the statue opens to reveal a secret room, where Abbie and Crane find the original flag. They also find the Eternal Soldier. While the Witnesses try such practical solutions as “wrap the Soldier’s hands in blankets so he can’t make fireballs,” Jenny and Joe actually get things done. Jenny cools down the Soldier with liquid nitrogen, and Joe smashes the frozen creature to bits with one swing of a mallet. “SCIENCE,” he declares, cementing his place as the Jesse Pinkman of Sleepy Hollow.
All of that “SCIENCE” looks even more impressive in light of the distractions that could have derailed the Mills sisters this week. Jenny and Abbie’s dad wants back into their lives, and Jenny isn’t taking it well, so Ezra butters her up with taffy. Danny goes straight for the alcohol. He’s in the monster-hunting club now! An encounter with the Eternal Soldier clues him in on the truth about Abbie’s side job, and his first question is whether Crane is a ghost. (“That would have explained a lot.”) His second question: “Can I kiss you?” He can. Very well.
I’m still adjusting to all of this — before a few weeks ago, Abbie was dodging Danny’s lovestruck confessions like a pro. She didn’t seem to reciprocate his feelings at all. But Abbie and Danny have chemistry, and it’s way past time for her to get a little romance. Anyway, this is all about to be moot; it’s hard to make a relationship work when you’re in a different dimension. Crane asks Abbie to meet him at sunrise, revealing that he’s figured out how to work the flag: It needs “dawn’s early light.” The sun strikes the thread and illuminates the Witnesses’ path back to the catacombs. Ready?