Last week, Sleepy Hollow got everyone out of the cliffhanger clutches of evil. But while it was as entertaining as ever, there were lingering issues everywhere. This week addresses them so directly you can tell the Horseman reads the recaps And they also go full Frankenstein, because you need a B-plot of something, right?
It's always nice when a show gets enough breathing room to gently correct things. And I would never say that a show as gleefully nonsense as Sleepy Hollow was lacking seriousness, because that's pretty much missing the point. However, the show's best episodes include earnest character beats in between blowing out candles from inside hanging skull lamps; the show is fun when it's goofy, but its best when its sincere about its characters. (At an event recently where I had the pleasure of meeting some of the actors, Tom Mison mentioned a cut bit in which Ichabod was touched by of Billie Holiday. I'd love to see Ichabod in a moment where the modern era isn't grating. Plus, I imagine Abbie picked that song for him, and I 'd just really like to see that scene someday, is all.)
But in the meantime, there's plenty to do. "The Kindred" is an unabashed Frankenstein episode (featuring a ton of flashbacks for anyone who missed last week), but it also introduces some interwoven plot complications. And there are character beats everywhere; it feels like someone sent this episode straight to my house to address my extant questions, and then squeezed in as much work-married Ichabod and Abbie as they could in between raising Ben Franklin's leftover soldier cadaver just in case I wasn't happy yet. In related news: What a nice episode! Let's hit the highlights.
I see that upside down intro shot, show. Does this mean episode 5 will feature another wildly inaccurate use of a dead language? (Please say yes.)
It guides us into a horrible vision of a Satanic handfasting to bring Katrina under the control of the Horseman, but this show has blown its cover on in medias res opens, and it's just Ichabod having a nightmare about an apocryphal book of the Bible. (I've utterly forgotten what happened to the George Washington Bible. Does Henry have it? Is it sitting in the archives, unused due to a dearth of instructions on how to reanimate corpses unless you're already Jesus?)
Cliffs notes to the Codex. Ichabod's been cheating.
Abbie, trying to lighten the mood, namedrops Martha Stewart and explains the televised wedding industry. "TV," Ichabod says, delivered with the grudging exhaustion of a detective at the final reveal of a four-season whodunit.
Detective So Done.
Then it's off to meet Sheriff Reyes, the new boss of the Sleepy Hollow Every Municipal Function Department.
Reyes all-businessly cleans Abbie's slate (Abbie has rarely been so offended), mentions she knew Abbie's mom, and looks forward to an extremely calm tenure in Sleepy Hollow rooting out the normal, everyday sort of evil that is no doubt behind all these shenanigans.
So, Sheriff Reyes might not be a popular addition to begin with; she's the by-the-book I-beg-your-pardon killjoy Irving could have been last season before blood started dripping from his ceiling. (If blood started dripping from Reyes' ceiling, she'd fire three people and set down a bucket.) We'll see how it works when Reyes' hardboiled tactics come up against people who are constantly showing up with a Founding Father sonnet and a headless monster directly behind them; however, right now she's who she needs to be – an antagonist who's only slightly a villain, which is a nice shade of gray in a series that had very little of that last year.
Abbie and Ichabod head to the Horseman's hideout, along with the return of the trust issues between these two: on the same side, but with their objectives at odds. (It's already an old argument—when Ichabod says, "Something seemed weighing on your mind," he knows.)
At Dobb's Ferry, this episode is so concerned with plot at speed that we actually just stare at the Horseman's new digs for a second to confirm he's in them, and leave.
Ichabod throws a rock to see if the Horseman's demon horse will come out. It does. This was the entire plan. It's amazing.
I honestly couldn't believe it for a second, but the next cut is to an uneventful evening of Exposition Cabin, so this is just an episode ruthlessly skipping past any confrontations it doesn't feel like so we can enjoy more family sniping around Ichabod's questionable plans. I'm fine with it.
While Ichabod's enjoying listening to himself think out loud, Jenny puts the pieces together first about the Kindred.
"Thank you," Ichabod mutters, lifting her fingers away from the sketchbook in a well-practiced dick move that he is lucky did not get him punched by either the Mills sisters or me.
Yes, it's a golem-ish! Nobody was more obsessed with death than Franklin, according to the man who last season visited the booby-trapped mausoleum of zombie George Washington. Franklin even preserved a sewn-together body, waiting for the day somebody had Horseman DNA to complete the spell. (Jenny: "Oh joy!")
The ethical dilemma presented to them instantly becomes an extremely married-couple-arguing-around-the-problem debate. Lyndie Greenwood manages some great tennis eyeball as the sister just trying to make sure nobody moves to Maine just because her brother-in-law applied for a job without even telling her sister, and this fight's just happening now, nothing to be done.
Welcome to the credits, Lyndie Greenwood. I look forward to your efficient yet worried tennis eyeball in future. Finally, though, she's had enough: "Last time we went on a mission to save Katrina, it didn't end well." Okay, pull out your bingo cards, place your bets! It's starting!
And you know who grabbed a front-row seat for this? Abs Van Brunt.
Last season, Katrina was a victim of pacing and plot. This season has decided to turn her into a character by damseling her with someone else, and even though it gave me the funniest TV moment ever, they're still trying to build her character from less than nothing. Those much-discussed with powers? All we've ever seen is her trying to use a stick as a compass and that didn't even work the first time. It's not great.
Her position's so bad that the Headless Horseman gets the most on-point monologue this whole episode! "Ichabod is alive and free. And what did he choose to do with his freedom? Did he search the ends of the earth to find his beloved wife? No. He rescued another woman. Abigail Mills. Couldn't stand to see her trapped in Purgatory mere hours. And yet, how long did he leave you to rot there? Ichabod once claimed to care about me, too. But he moved on. And now he's moved on again. You've seen it, Katrina."
When I met Orlando Jones, he mentioned the most appealing aspect of Irving to him was the narrative of a man who becomes a disciple. It's beautiful, thoughtful stuff, and I cannot wait to enjoy this slightly bleaker change in his circumstances through the lens of a crisis of faith. (The moustaches will continue.)
Abbie suggests he get himself checked into Tarrytown Psychiatric, which is classic Abbie: deliciously stone cold practical advice from a woman who spent her life repressing things to avoid being put in Tarrytown herself. Then it's off to grab the horseman's head at the bank!
Because Ichabod must always have a moment of feeling grumpy about Kids Today, he gets to complain about banks. (Interesting subtext: Ichabod can barely stand being left alone. I hope this gets examined; things were too rushed last season for this to really be an issue, but it's interesting, either because of how much he needs a partner/audience, or lingering trauma from being buried alive.) Abbie, not having it: "You founded a country. Figure it out."
Don't make her come up there. She will.
So of course, he finds something else to be incensed about. "These people trust you with their fortunes and yet you cannot trust them with this inkwell?"
The adorably pleasant hard-sell banker counters by suggesting he could drop the pen in favor of a credit card that would allow him to buy a wedding ring for his girlfriend. Ichabod gets very upset about credit cards instead, because he is definitely not talking about wedding rings right now, okay? Things are pretty up in the air when someone you thought cared about you won't even move to Maine when you get a dream job there. What's wrong with Maine? What's wrong with him? CREDIT CARDS ARE TERRIBLE.
And as realism continues to intrude on the scot-free first season, Jenny gets busted by Reyes for trespassing in the Archives and carrying a huge bag of weapons. Her "I have other achievements" is both just rude enough and kind of heartbreaking. Chin up, Jenny. Your sister, her weirdo work husband, Irving, and that commando with Sailor Moon eyes all know you do.
Jenny had her hands out before the Sheriff even moved. Sad to know that drill.
Still, I'm into this. We don't have a whole season's worth of patience for this kind of stuff, but with five more episodes, we have time for red tape to intrude a little bit.
Like in jail, where Jenny takes one for the team and Ichabod gets fired!
Everybody in this shot is separated from everyone else. Nice.
In a move that impressed me because I'm not used to it on TV, Reyes apologizes for using "sanity" to describe her plans for the town earlier, because she didn't want to offend Abbie. Ichabod, of course, is instantly superoffended on Abbie's behalf. (Abbie explains, "She knew my mother, who was a little bit totally crazy." I cannot wait for this buildup to end in Flashback Mom.)
But for a lady who apologized for the accidental use of "sanity," Reyes is super fine the idea of punitive and involuntary interrogation tactics! Contradictory antagonist, I am interested to see what becomes of you.
(Network-TV Blade Runner noir strikes again!)
Meanwhile, Abbie, as per usual, visibly shoves back all her feelings about her sister's self-sacrifice and moves on to what can be fixed.
*X-Files theme song plays*
We get a Purgatory callback! On point, sure, but it leads to Abbie finally admitting a little of what she went through, as she matter-of-factly mentions the demon version of him: "He offered me water and I was going to drink it even though I knew I shouldn't," just because it was Ichabod and she had been so desperate for his company.
Tom Mison's Romantic Lead Face is devastated.
Finally, the quick: "My faith in you is my greatest weakness." Ichabod, intensely: "That's what they want you to believe!" This show is going to make me break out a Scully/Mulder feelsmeter. Don't think I won't.
Anyway, then they remember the plot, find "Franklinstein's Monster," and proceed to drag the corpse way, way too close to the carriage house to start waking him up.
The newly-demoted Henry is still pretty mad about how this business has fallen out for him, a bitterness not helped by Ichabod and Abbie raising the dead at a distance of barely fifty meters.
"The boy you knew as your son died in a pine box 200 years ago!" Then he aged until approximately 65, then stopped aging for the remainder of the time he was buried! (This chronology makes no sense. Je refuse.)
Then it's time for more emotionally-irresponsible tunnel vision from two people who are happy to raise an uncontrollable and powerful monster from the dead for the sake of one person even Ichabod barely likes! Abbie: "Should we light candles or something?" Ichabod, pretty dismissive considering the accessories they required last season: "Only if you want to set a mood." Bonus: it doesn't work the first time.
NOBODY'S MOVING TO MAINE.
The real miracle, happening fifty meters away: Katrina plays her mark!
"Ichabod was an escape route that your haste turned into a husband. If this is to be our future, do not let your impatience ruin us a second time." It's just what I asked for, and I'm behind it one million billion percent. (She could become a three-headed agent of Moloch and I would get behind that. I will take anything. I will take literally anything.)
Outside, a battle rages between the poorly-lit Kindred and the poorly-lit Headless and War, played by John Noble sitting at a table and a dude in armor doing stunt stuff. It's all a very thrilling blue blur.
(Not pictured for blue-blur: Abbie's surprise that the Kindred intervened to help her.)
Less thrilling, even if it's less blurry: Ichabod running in to help Katrina, who refuses, because of course she does. In fairness, this feels like the first real scene these two have had; she's finally trying to be more than an exposition delivery system in a disastrous outfit, and even though she's a walking reset button, everybody's trying.
What that means: This week's mission is totally useless, except for the excuse to create a literal plot monster who can appear to fight the tough guys while Ichabod and Abbie do whatever. Honestly, it's genius. But you have to take care of this guy! You excluded Henry from your holiday plans, and I do not think we need to discuss how that went.
Nope, he's running around somewhere and you guys are having coffee, that's also fine I guess.
Plus Jenny's still incarcerated, with Abbie determined to be pragmatic and let her sit there. Jenny, not taking this: "Just don't take 13 years to come get me this time, okay?" THAT'S THEMATIC-CONCERN BINGO.
And speaking of concerning things!
HENRY PARRISH: Attorney at Law. I cannot believe no one bothered to mention anything to Irving, but nobody did. And hey, he brought a contract! Aw, jeez, is that blood? Well, blood is archival, you can sign with that, too. And despite just going through a season of demon possession and magical Bibles, Frank Irving – only cop in the history of TV to call backup before a raid – signs that contract unread, with his blood mingled right in.
Still, I get it. Reyes is nicely antagonizing, and Irving's key to the ensemble, so him as an unwilling minion or conflicted traitor is a great setup if Orlando Jones gets to work through its full potential. Plus, I dig the idea of Irving and Henry locked together in disgusted occult-ops in a total bitter-off. WHO WILL WIN. (Irving.)
What a great episode of people smacking other people right across the feels with hard truths, in the way only people who know you really can; kindred indeed. This should be interesting.
Next week: historical Macguffin collecting and latent emotional problems between sisters! Perfect.