The rules of Sleepy Hollow’s Purgatory, like the rules of hair care, are simple and finite: Eat or drink anything, and you’re there for good. Since no one here is likely to ever forget that time when Victor Garber ate a wine glass, I can’t be the only one who expected the worst from this week’s charming opener, which found Abbie and Crane offering each other coffee and a doughnut in a quiet kitchen. But this isn’t a mind game; the Witnesses are just taking a beat to savor life as they know it. The Hidden One is just eight hours away from ascending to full power. If they’re going to die, they might as well flirt over breakfast first.
Let’s hope Joe and Jenny are across town doing the same thing. As Abbie and Crane head to the catacombs to restore the box, the other two members of Original Team Witness team up with Pandora, Sophie, and Danny to harness the power of the ley lines around the Hidden One’s lucky mountain. Welcome to the team, Danny. He says all of the right things about how he can’t just sit back and do nothing, but Danny admits to Sophie that he’s motivated by guilt as much as anything else. He’s been reporting to Assistant Director Jack Walters on everything from Abbie’s movements to her mood. No thanks. Can we consider this relationship over before it even really began?
Now that he knows the truth about Abbie’s role as a Witness, Danny finally understands what kind of damage he may have done. The best way he can think to make it up to her is to save the world, which would be a great way to make up for a lot of mistakes if not for the fact that Abbie saves the world three-to-five times a week. But it’s a start. Danny brings a tactical perspective to the demon-hunting experience; as much as I love watching these people charge into danger without thinking, they could use a level-headed dream-crusher sometimes. Not that they’ll listen.
With the aid of Pandora’s ley line-detecting compass, the team drives spikes into the ground around Bear Mountain, where the Hidden One waits with his hourglass. Time is already on his side — we’ve got less than an hour to go — but the angry god sends a storm to buy himself even more of it, knocking out Pandora’s compass in the process. It’s a good thing Crane can’t just give his friends socks for Christmas. He gifted Jenny one of George Washington’s original maps of the Hudson Valley, which obviously comes complete with ley lines. The only problem? The map is back at her trailer.
Joe volunteers to get the map and text everyone the coordinates, leaving Jenny with a casual, “Watch your back, babe,” that will probably haunt her. He delivers on his promise, sending Sophie all of the information she needs to finish channeling the ley lines, but he leaves the trailer to find Ezra pulling up for a visit. Papa Mills, even if you have taffy, this is not a good time. To make bad timing worse, Jenny is back at the mountain getting herself into trouble. Danny tasks her with keeping an eye on the Hidden One, but Jenny can’t help it that the words “surveillance only” sound just like, “Take the shot.” (“Say again? You’re breaking up.”)
Jenny has the god in her sights, but the Hidden One knocks her to the ground and drags her to his feet with his mind. He could kill her, but if he’s learned anything about human nature, it’s that love hurts the most. “The man you love is now and shall be forevermore a beast,” the god bellows — and Joe turns into a Wendigo right in front of his girlfriend’s father. (“Seems like you’re having a really bad day, son.”) Jenny beats it back to her trailer in time to shoot WendiJoe with a tracking device and rescue her dad, but this isn’t Ezra’s first Wendigo. He is a member of the Mills family, after all.
Ezra gives Jenny the short explanation: He knew August Corbin and Nevins, and he had some sort of deal with them that involved leaving town in exchange for his daughters’ protection. He also has a closet loaded with your basic monster-hunting tools. Half a skull? He’s got that. Ezra gathers up everything they should need to reverse the curse, but when Jenny sneaks up on WendiJoe in the woods, cuts him, and recites the spell, nothing happens. He’s still a beast. Quoth the Hidden One, “Forevermore.”
WendiJoe knocks Ezra’s deadliest weapon out of his hands and prepares to attack, so, to save her father’s life, Jenny fires. Joe turns back into himself. Even though there’s a gaping wound in his chest, he assures Jenny that she did the right thing: “You had to. It’s okay. You had to.” They both exchange “I love you”s as he dies, and Jenny cries over his body as she wonders what she’s done. Is she going to blame her independent streak for what the Hidden One did to Joe? Take this scene away from me; it’s too painful. (But do check out Zach Appelman’s thoughts on this sad development.)
The moral of this story is that The Hidden One is The Worst, and I wish Pandora had never rescued him from that tree. She wishes the same. Sophie finishes driving the last of the spikes, but she’s either too late or the ley lines aren’t powerful enough, because the last grain of sand in the hourglass falls, and the Hidden One glows red as he melts the spikes to the ground. I’m so tired of losing. Are Abbie and Crane faring any better in the catacombs?
Not really. Everything starts out cute enough: Crane poses like Washington, and Abbie sings the national anthem until the Delaware turns into the River Styx. They’re basically role-playing their way into the underworld. It works, but they’re greeted by the sight of Washington’s crew lying dead along the riverbank, betrayed by a traitor — who, thanks to a handy dark magic charm, is now a zombie. (“Zombies again.”) Crane rips the charm from the traitor’s neck, killing him, and deciphers a code from Betsy on a note in another man’s pocket.
The note leads the Witnesses through a portal and back to the catacombs, where Crane pokes fun at Abbie’s chess pieces and deciphers some symbols on the wall. When he presses the right one, a panel slides back, revealing the secret chamber where Betsy and Washington recovered the Eye. Also in the room? Betsy. The woman who returned from the catacombs and ended her friendship with Crane in a letter wasn’t Betsy Ross at all. The real Betsy is, despite appearances, still alive and in here, because this season was really missing its own Katrina. Betsy hugs Crane — he doesn’t really hug her back — and asks how the war is going. She thinks it’s 1777. Abbie looks like she wants to melt into the floor. Did we really just trade Joe Corbin for Betsy Ross?
Sleepy Hollow works best when the Witnesses are on the same page, and based on their vulnerable confessions to each other — at breakfast, on the boat, in the catacombs — the show knows it. Why saddle them with another third wheel, especially now? With one episode left in the season and no word on renewal, “Delaware” sends us into the finale on a lot of mixed messages. The episode obviously wants to honor the Witnesses’ bond, but, like Betsy in the catacombs, it’s too distracted by the writing on the wall.