Crane faces his oldest nightmare when Jack the Ripper comes to town.
Welcome back to Landscaping with Pandora, where growing an indoor/outdoor tree continues to be the only consistent item on our villain’s agenda. Pandora must have some sort of master plan — chaos doesn’t seem like her scene — and we’re going to need to dig into it eventually. She has to do more than throw monsters at the wall to see what sticks. But that tree looks good, right? And given how often Abbie and Crane bring it up, it’s a safe bet that Pandora’s apparent lack of plan is all part of the plan.
That said, we need a few rules. This week’s monster is ye olde colonial legend Jack the Ripper, who isn’t even technically colonial. The Whitechapel murders were a full century after Crane’s time. But in Sleepy Hollow mythology, Whitechapel is just one piece of a wider puzzle: There are Ripper-related incidents stretching back to the days of William the Conqueror, and one of the killing sprees happened while Crane was in school. Sure, but why? Why squeeze another historical figure into the Revolutionary era when the people who really lived through it are interesting enough? George Washington was a zombie. That’s a whole show right there.
At least this reimagination of the Ripper is straight-up culturally relevant: He’s a Nice Guy. He’s every Nice Guy. This Ripper isn’t one man but a whole line of them, each of whom is “wholly overcome with an unquenchable bloodlust” when he picks up a specific dagger. The dagger is the catalyst, but make no mistake: The wand chooses its wizard for a reason — in this case, the “deepest pain” of not being immediately adored by the exact woman of your choosing.
All cubicle drone Nelson Meyers wants is for coworker Emily to see what a kind soul he is, so he follows her to a club uninvited. Right when he’s had his fill of stalking, he meets Pandora, whose hairstyle this evening is That One Wig Sydney Bristow Wore Every Time She Pretended to Be a Hot Tech Genius. Pandora tells Nelson to show everybody who he really is, then dances him into a haze. He wakes up the next morning with a dagger at his bedside.
From there, it’s just a matter of time until Nelson has slaughtered Emily’s would-be lover in an elevator. Abbie and Crane find the first victim drained of blood, looking just like Crane’s childhood best friend did after the Ripper got him. Early childhood encounters with pure evil: just another bond our Witnesses share. And when Nelson doesn’t show up for work, he brands himself their most likely suspect.
Abbie and Crane find Nelson at his apartment, the dagger — which he tried to throw away — now fused to his arm. Abbie shoots when he charges her, and he falls through his window to land on a car (“damn”), but none of that kills him (“ohhhh damn”). How do Rippers die? After some research, Crane picks up on a pattern: Every killing spree ends with the outbreak of a disease. The knife can’t survive infected blood.
NEXT: Classic Ripperism
Nelson saved some standard stalker photos of Emily on his hard drive, so Abbie has a detective take the woman into protective custody. They don’t even make it out of the parking garage. Never send a non-Witness to do a Witness’ job. When the detective doesn’t check in, Abbie and Crane double back, only to find Nelson holding Emily at daggerpoint, still in the parking garage. Is it the largest in the country? Abbie kicks Nelson away from Emily and fights him, and Crane shoots Nelson in the neck with an infected blood capsule — but there’s no effect, so he picks up the fight while Abbie gets Emily to safety. Nelson stabs Crane, and Crane injects himself with a disease. Both men stagger to the ground.
Fortunately, you don’t make it to adulthood in the 18th century without developing resistance to a few diseases. Crane’s illness of choice was malaria, and he’s already survived it. He recovers on Abbie’s couch, drugged up enough to get real with his emotions but not too drugged up for a fist bump. He tells Abbie that he’s “most grateful” to have her back, and he’s sure they’ll foil Pandora’s plan once they’ve found out what it is. They already know one thing: It involves raising fear. Pandora watches them through her koi pond as the tree of fear keeps blooming.
Meanwhile, Jenny and Joe are on a rogue mission to recover the stolen Shard. They track Randall to a motel, only to get fleeced by another woman, who drives off after taking the Shard for herself. Jenny follows her to a diner and finds the Shard in a hidden compartment in her car battery — an August Corbin original trick. Did Corbin have other protégés? And what is so important about this Shard? If it winds up being part of Pandora’s agenda, exactly how many minutes will Jenny need to take Pandora out? My money’s on one, tops.