Of all of the types of fear Pandora has unleashed on Sleepy Hollow — secrets, chaos, loneliness, the loss of innocence, and death — she leaves us with paranoia. That seems right. Paranoia, even more than your average, run-of-the-mill fear, is dependent on what we don’t know; it is, to quote our resident Big Bad, “the fear of fear itself.” As ominous signs start circling one of our own and Pandora disappears into a tree to do…something, somewhere, it’s clear that what we’ve already seen isn’t nearly as bad as what waits around the corner. If I’m already dreading it, has she already won?
Also scary: first dates! Crane and Zoe set out on a Benihana Christmas in November, but it’s not going as planned, unless they planned for Crane to yell 20 questions over the sound of the chefs’ subpar knife tricks. He calls the event an “unmitigated disaster,” but he’s in for a bigger problem: The judge who was set to rule on Crane’s national security case isn’t in his right mind. He’s been stung by Pandora’s latest weapon — a Soucouyant known as the Red Lady from Caribee, a swarm of wasps capable of taking human-like form. Their sting induces a growing state of paranoia that leads to madness and, eventually, death.
The Red Lady’s first two victims are the judge and the head of the PTA (“Acronyms, lef-tenant!”), but she’s coming for a third: Reynolds. He’s been stung by the time he gets to the second crime scene, and it’s already taking effect. Driving recklessly, Reynolds accuses Abbie of sending Jenny to interfere with his investigation into Nevins and suggests that his former classmate wants the glory for herself. He’s also pretty insecure about that roommate of hers. Abbie notices the sting and tries to talk Reynolds down, then pins him to the ground when reason doesn’t work.
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Today in Things That Are Easier with an EMT on the Team: Joe gives Reynolds a sedative to buy them some time. And today in Obligatory Betsy Ross Tie-Ins: This has happened before. In her journals, Grace Dixon wrote that she’d been summoned by Betsy to care for Washington after he was stung. She mixed a tonic to buy them some time, but it was Betsy who got to save the day, disappearing to somehow kill the demon and reverse its effects. (Couldn’t Grace do that? Not to ignore the limitations that would have been placed on her because of her race, but they were working in secret — and we’ve already established that George Washington was at one point a zombie, so pinpoint historical accuracy went out the window a long time ago. I want this for her.)
But the tonic helped save Washington’s life, too, and they’ll need it to keep Reynolds alive. For ingredients, Jenny takes Joe to a Trinidadian medicine shop to meet up with a friend. Azzaca has what they need — he’s got anything if you’ll pay cash — but his charm disappears when he takes Jenny’s hand. Possessed by a demon with a very tight grip, he warns that she’s going to be claimed. “Watch yourself, sis,” Azzaca says when the possession is broken. “Your fate has changed.” He asks Joe to protect Jenny, and I check my apartment for wasps, because I’m getting paranoid.
So is Reynolds. Even with the tonic, he’s on edge, and it all seems to come down to some unresolved feelings for Abbie. “You just can’t see what you do to people,” he tells her, remembering some good times they shared in a shack on the Outer Banks. She’s “hell bent” on putting that life behind her, but Reynolds hasn’t let it go. What he can’t know is that Abbie is “hell bent” on a lot of things, really, including preventing an actual hell on earth; she keeps moving forward because she has no other choice. Then again, she doesn’t have to save the world in a day. Crane is dating — even if Abbie seems to view that date only as a way to help him get over Katrina — so Abbie should get a night off, too. Let the beautiful people hook up.
NEXT: Will you accept this rose?
The Witnesses set aside their dating woes to track down the Red Lady’s hive, which is conveniently located inside Pandora’s cavernous lair, where our Big Bad waits for the final rose to bloom. Crane fires at Pandora, but she catches the arrow — and when he fires at the Red Lady, she turns into a swarm of wasps. If Sleepy Hollow were a mockumentary, this is the part where Crane would look directly into the camera.
As Crane fights off the Red Lady, Abbie dumps acid into the hive, killing the Soucouyant just in time to save her partner — but maybe not in time to save the world. The Red Lady already succeeded in turning paranoia into a weapon. Pandora’s tree glows, and its trunk opens to reveal a passageway; she steps inside, and the tree closes around her. Crane points out that trees are sometimes associated with the gates of hell, so: Thanks for not being comforting at all, mythology.
Elsewhere in foreboding plot developments, Jenny and Joe aren’t great at following orders. Abbie asks Jenny to back off of Nevins, which Joe seems willing to do, until he gets a little bit drunk and rethinks his options. He calls Nevins to arrange a meeting, handing over the Shard in exchange for information. Nevins says that Corbin was drawn to darkness and power, and he sees that same instinct in Joe. But you can’t turn Joe Corbin that easily; he brought Jenny as backup.
Pulling a gun on Nevins and his men, Jenny and Joe take back what was inside the Shard: a red gem that turns to dust in Jenny’s hand. That night, her skin glows red, and she wakes from fitful nightmares about skulls and other dark magic. Here we go — right back down the “possessed friend changes sides” path that we’ve walked every season already. Will the Mills sisters ever catch a break?