This week Sleepy Hollow takes a break from being The X-Files to hit a metaphorically-apt beat right out of Buffy: When an evil coin goes missing, Ichabod and Abbie must find it before it can unleash a wave of repressed hate.
THRILL as sister turns against sister! GASP as Ichabod and the new guy smash a church window and run! TREMBLE as Henry makes a carefully painted diorama of the town!
No, seriously, he makes a diorama of the town.
Full marks to the show for realizing how little the plot actually matters on a week to week basis. Last season it was the Headsman out for the chase. This season, Henry will always be scheming, one tiny handpainted treasure at a time, delicately applying scorch marks to the exploded florist.
However, the monster-of-the-week thing is going to get old in a hurry if nothing moves forward. Not that this has to be the Mad Men of trying to defeat your warlock son who's twenty years older than you, but was even a word spared this week about the Kindred they woke up last episode who's still hovering just outside the city limits, trying to rent a place week to week because he's not sure of his plans yet? Has he been offering to cut down demonic forces freelance to make ends meet? It's okay to serialize your plotty stuff!
Then again, there's so much sister business going on that the plot's a secondary concern. So here's what DOES happen: Henry's plan to cause the triumph of evil in Sleepy Hollow is to circulate a Judas Coin—one of the thirty Tyrian shekels paid to the Biblical turncoat, which taps into your darkest hatred. (Yes, just the one coin rather than the chaos of all thirty, even though that would be a lot more efficient; guess you have to keep track of those so the Horseman doesn't pick one up and implode.) To defeat it, they'll have to recruit Hawley the supernatural black-market broker, stop hexed Jenny from assassinating Sheriff Reyes as revenge for putting their mother in Tarrytown, and declare everlasting trust to one another, finally necessitating the Sculder Feelsometer I have threatened in the past. Busy week!
Ichabod and Abbie stumble across all this through a serious stroke of luck, trying to see Irving minutes after Henry's left.
Best part of this: The totally reasonable question about whether Abbie's there to check someone in, and their reactions. Second best part: The Henry's-your-lawyer surprise lasted exactly five canon minutes. This show keeps things moving. The iffy part: The gentleman we meet here who shows up later. (We'll get there.)
They trace Henry to the bank, where Abbie intervenes in a bank robbery by poor Ms. Galway, who demonstrates that the evil coin makes your skin darker, which the show generously calls "shadows":
The week's plot is quite a Macguffin even for this crew, a forty minute Lord of the Rings quest to neutralize a powerfully negative object in which Abbie is Aragorn, Jenny is Boromir, Hawley is Han Solo, and Katrina is Arwen. (John Noble keeps the same role in both things.)
Jenny's arc this episode has actually been nicely set up by her brief return to prison; it stirs up just enough unfinished business to bring her edginess to the fore, and Sheriff Reyes is not helping. As Jenny collects her gear, Reyes congratulates her on getting community service, tells her a story about her dog who kept chasing cars and got hit, and wraps with, "I just don't want to see you end up like your mother."
Sheriff, that's ice cold. I can't decide if I hope she's doing this just to them and is perfectly pleasant everywhere else, or if she just lives to demoralize everyone she comes into contact with.
This week's namedropping begins with a gay marriage fakeout! Turns out Ichabod's not bothered by homosexuals; he trained under Baron Von Steuben, thank you very much, Abbie. What appalls him: wearing hats indoors.
These extras are overselling it (This is a Gay Date, dammit, we're Interested in One Another), but I think we can safely guess his hat is also the subject of discussion on that side of the window.
Ichabod also admits, "I watched the finale of Glee," with the face of a man who is telling you what happened when he was wasted and lost the remote and it was Glee or silence, and he chose wrong, and he's sorry.
There is no Nailed It here. He nailed nothing.
He actually doesn't nail much at all this episode! Abbie remembered not to let Ichabod do cop stuff during the bank robbery, he has to crawl through the tunnels to the Archives "like a guttersnipe," and despite becoming comfortable enough with computers to "unspool" vital evidence, it's taken him two hundred years to crack The Case of Why Benedict Arnold Suddenly Turned Into a British Weenie. (He also name-drops Samuel Adams AND Paul Revere, which might make this the name-droppiest episode of the show so far, which is saying something.)
BENEDICT ARNOLD. He didn't make a moral decision; an evil coin made him do it! This show really loves its black and white morality, dang. (We see this as the coin's next victim blows up the flower shop. He didn't do it; the coin did.)
What Ichabod and Abbie both nail this weekend is the mini-arcs of partnership that both Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie are really good about handling in the midst of exploding stores and hurling hexed coins into a consecrated-glass sandwich. They start this week on the same page, united in the search for the coin and excited at the completion of their little family once Jenny's back:
(Katrina not included.)
But despite the Romantic Lead Face Ichabod's deploying to keep up morale, the edge is back, and the sisterly small talk descends quickly into, "Remember we didn't talk for 13 years," and includes Jenny breaking into Reyes' record to discover Reyes was the one who had their mother committed after their mother tried to kidnap them. Yikes.
It's a serious enough fight that Ichabod checks on Abbie as soon as it's over (start your Sculder feelsometer), and neatly reminds us of where they both are emotionally: Jenny needs Abbie to put her first, and Abbie's still on Pragmatist Autopilot so hard she can't shake the idea of duty being paramount. (Lyndie Greenwood and Nicole Beharie are really settling into their dynamic.)
Jenny's face after Abbie said she can't blame Reyes for "doing her job." Whooops.
But this show's plot engine waits for no one, so after Jenny storms off, Abbie and Ichabod go meet Hawley Solo.
I'm not enchanted with him yet, but he's doing his job, which is to give Ichabod a little friction that doesn't involve him just sniping at the new Sheriff. Snap out all the "NoT I"s you want, Crane.
Hawley's also one of two scene partners this week that Tom Mison can look right in the eye, which must be novel for him. The other, of course, is his son, inexplicably-aged John Noble, who's apparently going to be representing every perp in town until this apocalypse can get sorted out.
The father/son dialogue is deliciously nonsense (we were ten seconds short of "I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU, DAD"), but they work nicely together, from Tom Mison's extremely Mison-y "To beginnnnnnn" to John Noble's extremely John Noble "Did you"s.
Because plot, everybody splits up. Henry visits Jenny at her community service by hurling the evil coin five hundred feet to reach her, and then I guess goes home to repaint his community center so it's graffiti-free to reflect everyone's hard work.
Ichabod and Hawley go to church to break a window right out of a working church for its consecrated glass, which just makes me think that for a man who specializes in supernatural relics, Hawley is a man who has never been antiquing. I will also admit I was surprised that the bit we set up earlier doesn't pay off here in them asking for gay marriage counseling just to get the priest to leave, but Ichabod's unfinished confession about the shambles of his life works just as well.
Abbie has to find her sister, of course, and since I assume Rudy Noble, the adorable dude who got possessed briefly last season and greeted Abbie in the season premiere, is busy, we have to settle for Dana Dobbs.
Abbie was born done with Dana Dobbs.
(Meanwhile, Lyndie's leaning in to her Sarah Connor woodsy run with the gun to hunt Sheriff Reyes. This show loooves its genre homages.)
Everybody converges in the woods for a 3pm action sequence, which I could not be more excited about because of the daylight. When Ichabod gets suspicious of Hawley, Abbie goes to bat for him with the Any Port in a Storm defense, and points out she and Ichabod can only rely on each other. (Noted.) And Ichabod adds to their list of assets with "And Katrina, of course," on purpose, to see what Abbie will say.
Yet the show avoids any jealousy issues by having Abbie cut to the heart of the matter. Katrina is a grown-ass woman who can make her own decisions, but it's not the decision to stay that worries Abbie, it's that Ichabod's asking her to trust that Katrina will turn against her own child. In an episode that more and more strongly introduces the idea of parental struggle against children they couldn't be close to, it hits home thematically.
First of all, though this shot's working too hard, how else can you expect a headless character to have conversations, I guess. Second of all, I got my laugh out loud moment of the week when Henry confronts Katrina about manipulating the horseman: "Do not attempt to complicate his motivations." Oh buddy, you do not have to worry about "complicated" and "Katrina" being related.
(Not pictured, but equally hilarious: The Horseman is getting fed up with Katrina. If she brats him into returning her I will forgive literally everything this show has ever done to make her boring, because that's a genius hostage strategy. Otherwise I'm assuming we're setting her up to sacrifice herself saving Henry during sweeps.)
Back in the woods, Jenny's got a gun! Abbie opens up to her about her feelings! "I hated her for leaving us," Abbie tearfully admits about their mother, while still getting in some strategic suggestions that Reyes is better kept alive for information. (Ichabod's job is to keep Hawley from interfering, which is a very good job.)
Jenny fights her coin a little for control, but as soon as she hesitates Ichabod takes her down and the coin rolls away anyway, so once again, no one on this show has to ever actually overcome evil by themselves.
Ichabod drops the "Miss" in "Miss Jenny" for this entire scene, by the way, and now that his condor arms have knocked her away from danger, who knows what other liberties he'll take!
Well, that one, obviously. So long as he's inappropriately close to a Mills sister, I guess.
He also rescues Abbie from being tempted by the coin, which straight-up whispers evilly.
But the point of this scene?
"It's gonna be okay now. I'm always on your side." Oh, man. I will bet you a quarter right now that near the end of this season or the beginning of next season we'll have the revelation that Jenny's been the second Witness all along and Ichabod's job has literally been to cross time and space to help them reach stuff on the high shelves.
Ichabod finally finds a way to contact Frank by using the gentleman he met earlier as an excuse for visitation; I am honestly not even sure what to say about this except that perhaps mental patients should not be used as plot points in the same way maybe you shouldn't have people turning to the dark side actually get browner.
Then Ichabod suggests that the safest thing for Irving to do is to stay in Tarrytown, far away from his family and from salient plot points, just cooling his heels for a while, to be safe.
I hope Orlando Jones was working on something else for three weeks and this whole thing changes soon. I get that it'll be tricky to fold him in, but come on.
On the other hand, don't ditch the current Sheriff, because she's my favorite; she even gives Abbie her mother's file sub rosa (moral gray area, I love you so much). Abbie realizes her mother was actually tormented by demons. I'm a little surprised it took this long for Abbie to put the pieces together, since I assume that's the sort of knowledge that would have occurred to over the course of a season of dealing with actual demons, but whatever, we're all here now and Ichabod is comforting her about it and they handclasp, so it's fine.
Then Hawley Solo comes back, and amid Ichabod's unvoiced commentary ("Can we trust him? He's awfully blond. Can we trust blonds?"), Hawley delivers some ID to poor Ichabod, and as soon as he's gone, Ichabod instantly turns to Abbie and says in Full Mulder, "What's most important is that you and I stay true. Trust is the only currency with any value."
Sadly, this isn't our final memory of this episode, which is a mistake, because it's less exciting watching Henry move through the "family home" everyone mentioned that is actually someone else's family home in which Katrina just happened to be staying when she gave birth ("I remember this room from when my other dad attacked it in evil bird form!"). Then he lights a bed on fire, because this is Sleepy Hollow.
However, given the mixture of chatty procedural and emotional rollercoaster (start out trusting and supportive, crisis based on an emotional reveal, recalibrate by end of episode and start clasping hands and swearing trust), here's this week's Feelsometer. Far left is a Colonial Williamsburg episode in which Abbie has to be in character; far right is after Ichabod has to murder Henry to save Abbie.
We'll see how this needle moves next week!