Only on Sleepy Hollow could a deal with the devil feel a little bit like closure.
The fourth season of Fox’s supernatural drama wrapped up Friday with an hour that put a lot right: Crane (Tom Mison), Diana (Janina Gavankar), and Lara (Seychelle Gabriel) found a way to kill the unkillable Dreyfuss (Jeremy Davies) and stop the Horsemen. Crane even talked Henry (John Noble) into standing down from the fight. And by saving the president, he earned himself an express ticket to U.S. citizenship. He’s already registered to vote.
But while the future looks bright for the Vault — which can now officially count Crane, Diana, and Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood) among its ranks — there is one thing Crane hasn’t mentioned. It’s just a little thing: He promised his soul to the devil.
In a trip to hell, in an effort to bargain for the Philosopher’s Stone that would allow them to circumvent Dreyfuss’ immortality, Crane offered himself to balance the scales. As the devil (played deliciously in this episode by Terrence Mann) is so fond of repeating, a contract is a contract, but Crane still seems surprisingly calm about the whole arrangement. EW caught up with executive producer Raven Metzner, who wrote the episode, to talk about Crane’s sacrifice, what happens next, and what fans can take from this finale if Sleepy Hollow — which has yet to be renewed for a fifth season — ends here.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Crane literally sold his soul to the devil! How’s he going to get out of this one?
RAVEN METZNER: You know, we all were looking for a way to have this character who we know and love come to solid ground. He’s long been searching for a place in the modern world. He’s a man out of time. The question of the Washington letter and what that meant, the fact that he’s had his life rocked in losing the person he cared about more than anyone in the world, the fact that he sort of had lost his family along the way — these were all things that were challenges, and we wanted to find a way to solve some of those things for him, or at least start to solve them. To place him into a family that he felt comfortable with and into a role that he felt comfortable with. And give him his citizenship as an American citizen, which we thought would be really powerful for him and something he never had and always wanted.
But we also wanted to give him a challenge that, if we were to get subsequent seasons, would present an interesting problem. Because we had the Dreyfuss character all the way through, we thought it would be interesting to mirror them and give Crane a similar conundrum. He’s seen the worst version of what it can do to someone; now he’s got to figure his way out. That last bit of dialogue was something we talked about a lot, and actually [executive producer] Albert Kim pitched that little run there, which I really love, which is the idea that, you know, “Sold my soul? It’s Tuesday.” Like, “I can deal with it.” If this is the final episode, I think Crane’s attitude about it is enough that I think fans would trust that he would find his way out of it. If it’s not, and we get more seasons to tell this story, then I think it’s a great problem to be played out.
With Henry, Crane makes this grand speech about how freedom is the most important thing, but now Crane is, in a way, not free. Can you talk about that contrast between sacrificing your freedom out of hatred and sacrificing it out of love?
Oh, that’s actually a really nice way to put it. Yeah, the theme of freedom running through [the episode] came from a lot of different sides. First and foremost, there’s Malcolm Dreyfuss’ desire to rule through tyranny and his belief that as a corporate head, he knows what’s best and he can decide people’s fates. Crane has always been a voice for democracy and for the idea of personal freedom and a country that is built on the ideals of freedom, so their battle of wills through the season has been about that. And Crane’s triumph, and the team’s triumph, in defeating Dreyfuss is a triumph for freedom over tyranny.
At the same time, we have this personal drama between Crane and Henry that’s introduced at the top of the episode in their duel… They’ve failed to connect on so many other levels. For Crane to realize that the one thing they do connect about is that ideal — if you think about Henry in season 2, Henry killed Moloch because he didn’t want anyone lording over him, and he didn’t want to be part of having Moloch push him around. Also in season 2, he tried to create a free nation of witches because he believed they needed to be free. So I think Crane recognizes that that’s their commonality.
The larger piece that’s interesting that you just brought up, about how Crane has just taken on this deal in which his soul is owed to someone — he sort of has a lien placed on him, so the devil, or the devil we’ve met, hasn’t taken his soul yet. It’s a soul that is due on the day that he dies, so he still has his soul, he still has his freedom. It’s more that he knows he’ll have to find a way to defeat this bargain he’s made before the day he dies.
If the show goes forward, could we see Henry again?
Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, that was another big hope of ours in having him walk off as he does: He remains. And we love working with John Noble. He’s just lovely.
This episode has a really distinct concept of hell. I saw a couple of the influences — you quote Dante; Crane mentions Sartre — but how did you come up with what hell would look like in the world of Sleepy Hollow?
I worked really closely with our producing director Russell Fine, who directed this episode. Even from the inception of the episode, he and I had many conversations, and I was able to go out there with him for the entirety of shooting. I had this idea in my head, sort of the Sartre thing — not just that hell is people, but that everyone would see hell differently. So I pitched him this idea of: How about we do a scene where we’re in two places at once? Where we’re seeing both Lara’s hell and Crane’s hell? And we shot the same scene in two different locations, and he did this brilliant job of literally placing the cameras in exactly the same positions on two totally different takes in different places so we could match it, which I thought was amazing.
Then I had this idea, because this devil is the one that Malcolm Dreyfuss made the deal with, I said to Russell, “Maybe we should be in a more corporate world. Like you come into some office and it’s the devil’s office.” Jobe was always dressing so nicely, it just made sense to me. And he called me one day like, “I have a different idea. Let me send you a picture.” He sent me a picture — literally you see the angle in the show of that elevator coming down with the lights, and he’s like, “I think this is hell”… The idea of that sort of half-burned face, that was an idea I had where I just loved the idea of the devil being put together and handsome and classy, and then he turns around and he’s got this demonic hidden side. Originally, Corey Castellano, he’s our makeup master — we were going to do maggots and spiders crawling out of his face, and then he built that beautiful cracked face piece to put on our amazing actor.
In happier news, the Vault saved the president. Will she play a big role if the show continues?
The idea is that as the show goes forward, there’s a new paradigm, which is: Crane has now officially realized the hope that both Washington and Benjamin Banneker had for him that he would one day be a part of the Vault. And you know Jenny and Diana would absolutely now be officially a part of it, and Jake [Jerry MacKinnon] and Alex [Rachel Melvin] would continue on. So it sets up a paradigm of a more official use of our team in going after [the supernatural] with the help of the U.S. government. We would definitely find ways to twist that and turn that. I thought the actress who played the president did a great job, so we would love to have her come back, but I think it’s more about giving them a new, more official role.
If this does turn out to be the end, what do you want fans to take from this finale?
I hope they look at it as Crane has, which is that he’s come a very long way in the course of the series. He came out of the ground with no one and no idea about how this modern world works and what his place in it would be. He found friends and people who were incredibly important to him. He partnered with Abbie Mills and met her sister and her extended family and friends and over the course of the seasons, he blossomed and learned his place was in the world, in this modern world. By the end of this episode, it was really important to us that regardless of whatever other plot issues might await him, he really has found a place in the world. He’s become an American citizen. He has found a family and created a family around himself that includes pieces of the world he’s known and people who have really mattered to him, and he’s made these new connections in Diana and Molly [Oona Yaffe] and Jake and Alex.
I really hope that fans see that and that they are happy with it and that they feel like his journey has come to a positive place of fruition. I love the character and the world around him, and I really hope it does continue. I think there are many, many, many stories yet to be told. But if not, I hope that everyone knows that Crane is in a really good place. The moment he has with Diana where they’re walking toward us with this determined step — I hope that fans take that with them as a positive moment that either will be built on or is a great place to leave the series.