Tina Rowden/Fox

The Witnesses have to decide how far they'll go to stop the Hidden One

April 09, 2016 at 01:17 AM EDT

Please allow me to introduce myself: I’m overwhelmed. Losing a key member of Team Witness was emotional enough; losing an actual Witness is something else. Looking back, it’s almost unsurprising — Pandora called out Abbie earlier this season for not “craving” mortality. She saw her life as a duty, and it was inevitable that her trips to the underworld would catch up with her eventually. But despite the warning signs, I didn’t expect this. What is Sleepy Hollow without the dynamic between the “lef-tenant” and the man she calls Crane?

Watching “Ragnarok” as if it’s the series finale, it mostly works. There’s a sense of finality to the episode: It pays respect to some of Abbie and Crane’s best moments and acknowledges the cost of their role as Witnesses by claiming the woman who was ready to move on anyway. Abbie Mills dies saving the world. That feels right. But watching the episode for what it is — an open ending — is a lot less satisfying. Sleepy Hollow is caught in the waiting room between renewal and cancelation like Abbie between worlds, and there’s a chance that while Abbie moves on in one direction, the show might have to move on in another. That makes what should be a fitting eulogy feel like it’s shortchanging her by default.

“Ragnarok” starts out well. Betsy, who looked last week like she was going to spend the whole finale as the Witnesses’ third wheel, is dispatched in minutes. She hangs around just long enough to tell Crane that his heart “belongs to Abigail Mills” (even plot devices can see it), and then it’s back to her own time. The Betsy who returned from the catacombs was the real Betsy after all; she just broke off their friendship because she knew that he had a bigger future in store. Is Betsy Ross the anti-Katrina? I wish that were the episode’s biggest twist.

As for the Witnesses, they’re left alone to deal with the fallout of Pandora’s latest betrayal. None of her detailed instructions for restoring the box bothered to mention one ingredient: a Witness’ soul. Crane narrowly rescues Abbie from the box’s first attempt to snag her, but something is still wrong. She’s wobbly on her feet. There’s just no time to worry about it, what with all of the tearful hugs from Jenny, the news of Joe’s death, and her dad making himself at home in the archives like he’s been here the whole time. And the apocalypse.

The Hidden One has Pandora locked up in the Stonehenge of mirrors while he monologues about his plans to destroy the world. (He’s been a bust as a villain, but I do enjoy his ignorance; he acts like plaguing humanity with “rivers running red” and “crops turning black” is a really original idea that no god has ever had before.) Jenny and Abbie distract the Hidden One with Greek Fire while Crane slides the box to Pandora, but it’s not powerful enough. If the back half of season 3 has a subtitle, that’s it: The Box Isn’t Powerful Enough But Could Be With a Small Human Sacrifice, Oops, Sorry, Pandora Doesn’t Make the Rules.

Abbie knows what she has to do. As Crane insists that there has to be another way — all while repeatedly calling her “Abbie,” which I’m finding hard to cope with right now — she stands in the light of the box, and it takes her along with the Hidden One’s power. “Crane, never give up hope,” she tells her partner. She means it in the broader sense; he takes it to mean that he has to get her back.

NEXT: Heads will roll

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