Sleepy Hollow Season 2, Episode 9
Greetings, Sleepy Heads! I’m super late in posting this recap, so let’s get right to it, shall we? “Mama” was a densely packed episode filled with details about Abbie and Jenny’s troubled past and their relationship with their mother Lori. It fully utilized the ENTIRE cast (okay, maybe a little short on Ichabod, but he’s done the heavy lifting as of late, so it’s fine) and was packed with GENUINE thrills. Basically, it was the best episode since the season premiere. To the ratings!
Considering that Tarrytown Psych is practically a character on the show, it’s amazing that it took 22 episodes for Sleepy Hollow to explore the whole “Haunted Asylum” trope. Building on the new trust established in “Deliverance”, Reyes calls Abbie in to investigate a rash of suicides at Tarrytown (“If I had handed this to someone else you wouldn’t have given me a moment’s peace.”). (Also SEE important things happened in “Deliverance”.) Much to Abbie’s horror, when she and Jenny (HI I MISSED YOU AND YOUR EYEBROWS) review security footage, they see the ghost of their mother Lori Mills in the room with all the patients right before they kill themselves. Question: was anyone ELSE able to see Lori on these tapes? If so, I think Reyes could have phrased it better when she put Abbie on the case (“Hey, Mills, the ghost of your crazy mother is killing people at Tarrytown, can you look into that?”). This case forced Abbie and Jenny to face their demons, literally and figuratively as they grappled with their feelings regarding their mother and Abbie had her eyes opened to just exactly what Jenny went through while she was an inmate (“I can’t imagine what it was like for you.” “You learn to deal with the abuse.” UGH my heart.). What’s the most interesting about the sisters in this episode is how they automatically revert to their childhood roles, with Abbie being the protector of her little sister. I’ll get into that more in the Shippy Section.
As Abbie and Jenny delve further into the case, they come to realize that their mother is NOT the one responsible for killing all the patients at Tarrytown (thank God, cause they have enough issues with Mama without her being a mass murderer). Instead, they discover that it is the super sweet (and therefore super creepy) Nurse Lambert (wonderfully played by Hope and Gloria‘s Cynthia Stevenson) who is dosing patients with a sodium pentothal cocktail and then playing on their despair in order to drive them into taking their own lives. (She would have been friends with The X-Files‘ Robert Patrick Modell, yes?) Lambert was executed in the 50’s for being an “Angel of Mercy”, so her ghost has been wandering around the halls of Tarrytown, preying on the weak for decades (but seriously, how are they JUST NOW taking notice of this?”). She tormented Lori, who despite fighting valiantly, eventually gave into her taunts of calling her a bad mother and killed herself (I am grateful that Abbie and Jenny learned this at least, so they could start to get some closure). In “Mama”, Nurse Lambert set her sights on Frank Irving, so if shit wasn’t personal with Lambert and Abbie before (HA! It was SO personal), it sure is NOW. Let’s talk about Frank for a second. It’s amazing that despite his soul belonging to Henremy and being stranded in Tarrytown by a terrible storyline that Frank has managed to maintain both his integrity and a shred of hope that everything will work out for him. After all, he did this to save his family, and he would do it again. So I think it’s interesting that despite her reputation for preying on the weak, Nurse Lambert goes after the two STRONGEST characters on the show (Frank and Abbie) and tells them to end it all, that they are “soul(s) that are crying out for it”. (Abbie’s response to that? “Go to Hell, Bitch.” #Queen) Lambert attacks both Frank and Abbie at their very foundations, and it was TRULY terrifying to see Frank despondently get into the industrial bathtub and tie himself to the bottom. (Again…sorry for the screaming, neighbors.) I think Frank serves as an interesting parallel to Lori here, as they are both fundamentally strong characters battered down by their circumstances and the hopelessness that surrounds Tarrytown Psych.
“Some of us are not strong enough to bear the burden,” Lambert sneers at Abbie as she compares her to Lori. But you know who IS strong enough to bear the burden? Grace Abigail Mills, that’s who. Like her mother, Abbie never stopped fighting against Lambert, even as she was forcibly having her mouth opened to swallow the pills (Seriously, this episode was the stuff of nightmares because it had SO MUCH grounding it in reality). Unlike her mother, Abbie was not alone in her fight, and that made all the difference. As we have long suspected, magical ability DOES lie in the Mills Family, as Lori directs Jenny to a journal that has a hex that can banish Lambert from whence she came (the journal dated back to Grace Dixon. Remember her?). While Jenny performs the hex, Lori protects Abbie with everything that she has, just as she did while she was alive.
Three are better than one, bitch. Science.
Thanks to Sleepy Hollow’s own Nurse Ratched, I bestow “Mama” with 9 out of 10 Sandmen.
The sass in this episode principally comes from Sickabod Crane, who is sidelined from the action by a dreadful cold. Sickabod is everything you would want him to be. He’s in denial that he’s actually sick, claiming he fought battles while suffering from dysentery. He’s petulant, refusing to rest and drink the fluids Abbie gives him (Abbie:”It’s quiet time now.”). He struggles to open child-proof bottles (It’s okay, Sicky, we all do). Basically, he’s struck down in the “pribe of libe”.
Sickabod also discovers the wonders of Matzo Ball Soup in the episode, thanks to Hawley (though I prefer Egg Drop Soup when *I* am sick). In typical Ichabod fashion, however, he refuses to give Hawley the satisfaction of knowing that he was helpful, declaring the soup “somewhat comforting”, despite the look of sheer ecstasy on his face. None for you, privateer. NONE FOR YOU. Hawley fires back at Sickabod, calling him “Mr. Woodhouse”, proving my theory that he sits at home researching potential nicknames for Ichabod, because you can’t tell me he is THAT well versed in Jane Austen. Also, now I need to see Tom Mison playing Mr. Knightley, please and thank you.
Speaking of Hawley, I think he was used the most effectively we’ve ever seen him in this episode. While I would have vastly preferred Ichabod investigating the case with the sisters (and he WOULD have been, had this episode aired in Season One), Hawley was an acceptable substitute here, mainly because he made himself useful. He didn’t get in the way, he didn’t spend the whole episode making puppy dog eyes at Abbie, and he didn’t create any sort of awkwardness between the sisters (hopefully because HE KNOWS BETTER and will stop this madness right now). I found the drugging of Ichabod’s soup to be hilarious, despite some outcries I saw on Tumblr regarding it (Mostly along the lines of “You don’t drug people without their permission, show!”). Look…there was no other way TO get Ichabod to rest. He would have stubbornly chased after them the whole time snotting and coughing everywhere. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, even if it IS letting someone slip your biblical life-partner some sleeping pills. Also the way Tom played Sickabod giving into the drugs was priceless, down to the way he relaxed his hands at the very last moment. His hands WOULD be the last thing to give in.
Sickabod Crane earns 5 out of 10 Donut Holes (or should I say Matzo Balls?) for sass.
“Most of my earliest memories are all of me being scared…”
What “Mama” did SO brilliantly was fill in the picture of just how rough Abbie and Jenny had it as kids, even when their mother was alive. Lori was fighting against Moloch and his minions for their whole lives…how do you properly explain to CHILDREN that one of them is destined to grow up and be one of the witnesses against the apocalypse? You can’t. So instead Lori did her best to educate her girls in self-preservation (“Eyes open, head up, trust no one”) but so often came across as neglect or even abuse (“Even when she was protecting us, we weren’t safe.” How HARD was it to watch the scene where Lori nearly killed Jenny??). Even as a child, Abbie was strong and incredibly protective of her sister (which truly made the pain of her eventual betrayal run all the more deep). As an older sister, I relate to that so much. It’s what we do…it’s often the oldest child’s natural instinct to look out for their younger siblings, even at great emotional cost. I think that plays a LOT into why Abbie is so closed off emotionally, while Jenny is MUCH more emotionally free. Abbie is closed off because that’s all she knows…it’s how she survived and it’s how she became the woman we all know and love. What I love the MOST about the Mills sisters is the fact that this case could have very easily brought up some of the long-standing resentment between them and it NEVER did. The Mills sisters are a united front now, let no Hawley tear them asunder.
The amazing thing about “Mama” is that it not only gave the viewers some long needed insight into the Mills sisters, it gave Abbie and Jenny some closure that they DESPERATELY needed. Abbie and Jenny both grew up believing their mother abandoned them and that shaped the women that they became in completely different ways. It made Jenny reckless, while it made Abbie overly cautious (especially when it came to trusting people). They grew up resentful of Lori, not seeing how much Lori sacrificed for them and how she just did the best she could with the tools that she was given (a theme that was also excellently explored on Arrow this season in “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak”). As creepy and scary as it was, the girls discovering the mural that Lori drew in solitary was a GIFT, so let’s all thank Nurse Lambert for that. Her girls were never far from her heart (I burst into tears when Jenny realized that Lori had kept the drawing from the car scene) and she watched over them, even in death (ditto with the tears when Lori confessed that she watched over and protected Jenny while she was a Tarrytown inmate). “I did everything I could to protect you both.” = basically every GOOD mother’s mantra. Let it never be said that Lori wasn’t a good mother and that she didn’t pass down the very best of her to her girls. “Even through all the pain, she kept fighting,” Abbie realizes, tearfully. If there is one thing both Abigail and Jennifer Mills are it is FIGHTERS. “She left you a fitting legacy,” Ichabod wisely observes. Indeed.
I would be remiss not to point out how incredibly stellar Nicole Beharie and Lyndie Greenwood were in this episode. The cast is WHY Sleepy Hollow works and both of these ladies were so grounded and so real throughout the episode. If you were not moved by them, especially in the final scene, I suggest you stop watching television, because you are dead inside.
I give the Mills Sister Feels in this Episode 10/10 Secret Murals. WOO We now have a ratings system for them.
With Sickabod sidelined and the focus primarily on Abbie’s journey this week, there were very little Ichabbie feels. I did love them being super domestic in the opening scene with Abbie fussing over Sicky (Abbie’s delighted faces whenever Ichabod struggles with something modern never cease to amuse me). I don’t know if it was the sickness that made Ichabod more irritable than usual, but they did get alarmingly snippy with each other the MOMENT Katrina and her mission were mentioned (Abbie: “I only meant that we hadn’t heard from her.”). I still feel like a rift between the witnesses is coming and I am scared that Katrina is going to be the cause. Nay, I’m pretty CERTAIN she’s going to be the cause. Ugh.
But the thing that matters MOST about Abbie and Ichabod is that they show up when it matters. Fully recovered from his cold (thanks, Hawley), Ichabod rushed to Tarrytown with all the materials to summon Lori so Abbie and Jenny could say goodbye in a proper fashion. If you watch Ichabod whenever he is on camera, he looks at Abbie with such concern and yes…love. He just wants to know that she’s okay through all of this and it makes me happy.
3 out of 10 Fist Bumps and that’s okay because I don’t need to swoon over Ichabbie EVERY episode.
Meanwhile, at Casa de Henremy, Katrina is still seeing Baby Moloch not as the monster he really is, but as a chubby adorable baby in a cloth diaper (because if there is one thing Henremy cares about, after getting proper permits, it’s not filling the Sleepy Hollow Landfill with disposable diapers. #modelcitizen). Somewhat to Katrina’s credit, when we first see her, she is sitting in her rocking chair staring at the cradle with trepidation (deep down she KNOWS right?), however, she allows Henremy to goad her into joining him at the baby’s side. “All children need nurturing, particularly those who have been abandoned,” Henremy says pointedly, knowing exactly how to play into Katrina’s bad mother guilt. “Will you forsake him as you did me?” And with that, Katrina allows herself to be played by her son, and she picks up the baby and snuggles him close, even sniffing the top of his head, as most people tend to do. What does he smell like, Katrina? Fire and Brimstone? The impending apocalypse (what does THAT smell like? Discuss in the comments.)? Henremy looks on with pride at his mother, and we have a lovely family bonding moment. Mother, son, and DEMON BABY because we finally see what Henremy sees…not the cute little baby, but a baby demon with charcoal skin (so I am guessing he DOES smell like brimstone then) and HORNS. Baby Moloch reaches out and grasps Katrina’s shoulder, and I SWEAR she nearly coos with delight. I, on the other hand, started screaming (apologies once again to my neighbors, but really you should be used to it by now). The moment demon baby touches Katrina’s bare skin with its gnarled black hand her skin turns a mottled gray. “It seems you possess the maternal instinct after all,” Henremy purrs, looking greedily at his mother and…brother? Just so we know maternal instinct = allowing a demon baby to feed off your very life force.
The next morning (at least I think it is the next morning, who knows what time is in the Sleepy-verse?), Katrina discovers that the mottled gray rash has spread to cover most of her neck and chest, leaving her looking quite corpsey. “Oh no no no no…” she mutters, finally finally FINALLY catching wise to the fact that her cute little baby is up to no good. Katrina whips up a potion, presumably to poison Demon Baby (I guess outright strangling it would have been too obvious) proving that once in a while, she does make ACTIVE choices…even if they are too little too late. She goes to the crib to feed Baby Moloch the poison…only to find the crib empty. UH OH. Katrina ventures downstairs and finds a kindergarten age little boy who stares at her hungrily. “Mother, I’m hungry,” he says, giving a WHOLE new name to the phrase “demon child”.
Should we be looking for an appropriate school for Child Moloch? I’m thinking the private sector is probably the better choice for his schooling. 8 out of 10 Golems.
– I couldn’t fit it properly into one of the 4 categories but FRANK IRVING IS FREE, MO FOS. Sure, he’s a fugitive now and Reyes will probably lose her shit when she finds him hiding out in the archives with Ichabod, but for now let’s just celebrate that he can hopefully be an integral part of the story from here on out.
– That version of “You Are My Sunshine” was TERRIFYING.
– The Sass Section was SUPER heavy on gifs (also gif makers, I love you…please start giffing everything from the episode, cause it’s really hard to get gifs of the scary moments or of Katrina.) (Or maybe someone just teach me how to make gifs). ANYWAY…let’s appreciate Sickabod falling asleep, shall we?
– There was also a lot of Abbie questioning why SHE was chosen as the witness in this episode, and I loved seeing her question her purpose. I also love Lori’s steadfast belief in her daughter. “You were meant to go further than any of us. You were meant to win this war.”
Well, here we are SleepyHeads…part one of the fall finale airs tonight. What do you expect to happen? Will Child Moloch go through puberty or will Katrina kill him first? How exactly ARE they going to explain Frank to Reyes? Will they drop the whole Abbie/Hawley thing FINALLY? Leave your thoughts and theories in the comments.