Sleepy Hollow Season 2, Episode 15
Now this is more like it.
For several weeks now, the powers that be at Sleepy Hollow (HI AARON BAIERS) have teased that changes are coming. While I would argue that those changes have been happening since “Pittura Infamate” (better use of the entire ensemble, no more Hawley/Abbie bullshit, Ichabbie getting back on the same page), “Spellcaster” definitely spelled (HA!) a shift in the dynamic. Lines are being drawn. Sides are being chosen. And I think we’re in for one hell of a ride in these final three episodes. Let’s get to the rankings, shall we?
What I have loved about these past few episodes of Sleepy is that the cold opens have felt very much in the vein of The X-Files in regards to quickly setting up the “case of the week”. Not only do these openings immediately establish the atmosphere and tone of the episode, they also serve as a reminder that EVERYONE in Sleepy Hollow faces peril, not just our witnesses. “Spellcaster” is no different.
We open in an auction house where two staffers are sorting through new arrivals. The curator (which given the events of “Pittura Infamate” is one of the most dangerous jobs in town) holds a book that he said belonged to John Dee, one of Queen Elizabeth’s most trusted advisors, who also happened to be a powerful warlock. The book is called the Grand Grimoire, which naturally made me think of Elphaba and Wicked (Eleka nahmen nahmen Ah tum ah tum eleka nahmen…AND I AM A NERD). The lights flash and then suddenly Jonathan “I quit, Mr. White” Schaech appears, rocking a sweet cape and pilgrim hat. He ignores the curator’s protests and smashes the glass case holding the Grimoire with his bare hands. He grasps the book and then proceeds to cut his wrists, chanting spells as the blood pours forth. He kills the curator and the security guard who had arrived to help. Ruh-roh…time to call Mulder and Scully…erm…Abbie and Ichabod to investigate.
Abbie interrupts her house-hunting mission with Ichabod (more on that in sass because all I can say is WELCOME BACK SASSABOD) to tell him about the murders at the auction house and to show him a picture of the stolen Grimoire. While he recognizes the book (of course he does), he admits he’s not the expert in this matter. The witnesses are off to consult with Katrina, who is doing some magical landscaping.
It turns out Katrina’s powers are tied to nature, which means she must have been aces in herbology. She magically explodes a rock, mainly to show off in front of Abbie methinks, because being a witch trumps being a Biblical Life Partner in her mind. She confirms that the book is indeed the Grand Grimoire and whoever took it must be very powerful indeed. Helpful.
Never one to be outdone, Abbie goes about using 21st Century magic to have both the blood at the scene analyzed and the reflection in the glass case broken down pixel by pixel (a moment for the way Crane says pix-el, please). The witnesses learn that the blood contains high levels of Jimson weed (or moonflower) which is basically magical steroids. (We see Jonathan Schaech snort this weed and his eyes suddenly go white, which is clearly how he was able to write “That Thing You Do”.) Abbie’s magic pixelating works and they get a clear image of the killer, who Katrina is shocked to identify as Solomon Kent, a warlock who all witches fear. It turns out Katrina’s grandmother Helena (who EEIRLY looks like Katrina herself) knew Kent while she lived in Salem. Kent was the leader of a powerful coven there (of which Helena was a member) but he lived under the guise of being a benign priest. Kent grew obsessed with a woman named Sarah Osbourne (“I SAW GOODY OSBOURNE WITH THE DEVIL”) and when she rejected his advances, he “accidentally” killed her. To save face in front of the town, Kent conjured her face to look like a demon and began decrying witchcraft, thus beginning the Salem Witch Trials. Helena tried pleading with Kent but he turned on her and had her hanged in front of the town for being a witch. Katrina’s family fled Salem and Kent’s reign of terror was finally ended when the rest of the coven captured him and sent him to purgatory where he remained until Moloch’s death opened up the gates.
So what she’s saying is that the Salem Witch Trials happened all because a dude was pissed that a woman rejected him? #YESALLWITCHES
Team Witness discovers that there are pages missing from the Grimoire, which is why Kent has not been able to unleash his full power, so they mobilize to stop him. They guess that Kent may be wanting to do a resurrection spell. The spell will resurrect all the dead so that they will outnumber the living. (Did Kent see the series 8 finale of Doctor Who? Are there going to be Cybermen in Sleepy Hollow?) Team Witness heads to the auction warehouse to get to the missing pages before Kent does. They get there too late, Kent has already found the pages and is in the process of uniting them. He knocks out the witnesses, but Katrina storms in and blows him back with a spell of her own. (FINALLY FINALLY WE SEE SOME OF HER POWER) Kent looks at her and sees Helena because they are obviously played by the same actress. HERE IS WHERE SHIT GETS INTERESTING. Kent takes one look at Katrina and says that he senses seeds of darkness within her. He asks her if she’s ever wondered why her powers fail her when she needs them the most (clearly, he’s watched Sleepy Hollow). “You are walking the wrong path,” he says. “You are not one with yourself.” Katrina looks stricken at his words, while I cheer from my couch because this is all I’ve ever wanted from her. Unfortunately, he says all of this before Abbie and Ichabod come to, so they have no idea what’s going on.
Kent uses his blood magic to conjure two demons, which mainly serves as a way to distract the Witnesses. Abbie takes the first one out like a boss and they go in search of the other while Katrina says she’ll stop Kent (read: find out what he meant before). Like Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars, Kent tells Katrina she resists her full potential. “Give into the darkness, there you will find your true self.” Katrina focuses and then her eyes go white as she harnesses the dark side. Kent walks away, chuckling as Katrina gazes after him in shock. As long as Ichabod doesn’t die of a damn broken heart, OKAY? Because that was the weakest movie death EVER.
Having taken out the other demon, the trio regroups at Corbin’s Cabin. Katrina’s powers are drained thanks to her duel with Kent, but I really think she’s using it as an excuse to ruminate on what he said and what she experienced. Ichabod worries about facing Kent without Katrina’s magic but Abbie reminds him that before Katrina got there they took down all sorts of creatures without magic (fuck yeah they did). Abbie pulls out Grace Dixon’s journal where they deduce that Kent is not planning a resurrection spell but a Traveler’s Spell, which enables one to travel back in time. Not wanting to be trapped in a real life version of The Butterfly Effect, they unite with Irving (BELIEVE ME more of him in WHATTHEDAMNHELL cause he owns that category now) to make their own magic.
They track Kent down in the woods as he begins to conjure his spell (because this time Sarah Osbourne won’t reject him?). Crane bellows “You do not belong here” and I get ALL SORTS of season one feels. They use Kent’s magical steroids against him, as Frank shoots him with a dart of atropine to slow the effects. Simple modern chemistry. They have him cornered and they land the final blow by electrocuting him in a puddle of water (“In the 21st Century we make our own lightning.”). Ichabod then kicks the shit out of him for harming Katrina and her family…but he’s really just getting his aggression out thanks to an earlier comment from Abbie (stay tuned for Shippy). Abbie pulls Ichabod away and when the witnesses are out of sight, Frank strikes the final blow, snapping Kent’s neck with his foot (WHAT THE). He casually picks up the Grimoire and hides it from the witnesses (DAMN HELL). “This was a good win,” he says. UGH.
Meanwhile at the cabin, after Ichy sneaks off for Biblical Life Partner Victory Beers, this happens…
The nose bleed is troublesome.
I have been waiting one and two-thirds seasons for Evil!Katrina. Bring it. 6/10 Sandmen.
We need to talk about Frank Irving.
If the fact that he didn’t have a reflection last week wasn’t evidence enough that something was up with him, the full court press he gave Abbie this week in regards to getting back in her good graces certainly was. Don’t get me wrong. I want nothing more than for Frank “Virginity and Skepticism” Irving to be fully on the side of the good guys, but something felt OFF about the whole thing didn’t it? It was his eyes. Nothing he said ever quite reached his eyes. There was no warmth to him at all. Not that Frank was ever super cuddly but everything about him here set off alarm bells. Major props to Orlando Jones for toeing that line between coldness and fanaticism so perfectly.
Abbie’s gut tells her that something is not quite right with him, as she showed when Frank tracked her down outside the archives (silently, by the way. He’s so some sort of magical zombie). “It’s hard to tell what side of the line you are on now,” she says. But the thing with Abbie is that she wants to believe in Frank. (She’s changed so much since the pilot, you guys. Pilot Abbie would have shut this shit down, but season two Abbie is so much more open to the people around her. GROWTH.) She knows that she and Ichabod need people on their side. So she ignores her gut instinct…and it bites her in the ass.
I think at his core, Frank is fighting against whatever he has become, even if he doesn’t fully realize it. When Abbie meets him at the bar after her first encounter with Kent, he tells her exactly what she needs to hear. “You keep fighting,” he implores her passionately. “You don’t back down. You don’t make excuses. You don’t stop.” The speech is exactly what Abbie needs to hear, not only to inspire her to come up with a way to stop Kent, but to invite Frank along to help them. Perhaps the whole speech was a master manipulation. Frank knows Abbie and Ichabod intimately and he knows that every once in a while, they need a little kick in the ass to get the job done. But the part of me that’s in denial also wants to believe that somewhere deep inside, Frank remembers his heroics on the battlefield in “The Akeda”. He WANTS good…he just may no longer be capable of it.
As I said before, everything SEEMS good with Frank as he fights Kent until he’s separated from Abbie and Ichabod. He coolly pockets the Grimoire and casually snaps Kent’s neck, which causes his body to disintegrate. Clearly, the whole thing was a ploy JUST so he could get his hands on the book. The witnesses, high from both their victory and getting one of their most trusted allies back, are none the wiser and completely believe Frank when he says the book vanished with him.
Who is Frank getting the book for? Henry, of course. “The witnesses trust me again,” he tells his master, handing the book over. “They are so desperate to believe in people.” Ugh ugh ugh ugh.
Just where has the erstwhile Horseman of War been this whole time? Hiding in a shabby hotel in an undisclosed location. What has he been doing? Is he hiding? Recuperating from losing his armor? Crying over killing his daddy Moloch? Probably all three, to be honest. The hotel is run by a kind (and partially crippled) woman named Mary and her son Ronnie. I feared for their lives the entire time since they had no idea that the devil was in their midst. They only saw Henry for the kind looking and reclusive old man that he appeared to be…and Henry appears to have been lulled into a simpler life because of their presence. Ronnie and Henry bond over their modeling skills and absent fathers (“Fathers are never what they are cracked up to be.”). But Henry is a sleeping lion…and he’s waking up. From his second floor walkway, he observes some thugs ganging up on Ronnie and Mary. Quite frankly, I’m surprised that flames didn’t come shooting out of his eyes right then. I think Henry saw a lot of himself in Ronnie and seeing him bullied just brought up his own memories of Moloch bullying HIM. And he’s just not going to take it anymore. It’s not who he is. He’s the motherfucker who killed Moloch after all. These guys? They are nothing. “There will always be sheep and wolves,” he says approaching them menacingly. “I? I am a WOLF.” Welcome back, bad ass Henry. I MISSED YOU.
In the forest, Frank asks Henry if the Grimoire factors into carrying out the rest of Moloch’s original plans. “Moloch is dead, and so are his plans,” he says coldly. “No longer am I the Horseman of War. No longer will I be defined by anyone else’s plans. From here on destiny bends to my will.”
In other words, he’s running things now.
I weep for Frank Irving. 8 out of 10 Golems.
I feel like it’s been a good while since we’ve had a heavy Ichabod sass episode and I never knew how much I missed it until the Sassbrow returned. Ichabod’s irascibility in regards to the ridiculousness of the modern world is a HUGE part of his charm and it’s why we coined the term “sassy hollow” in the first place. So many good things returned in this episode, you guys. I’m so happy.
This week, Ichabod takes on the bane of everyone’s existence: house hunting. Who cares about logical things like ACTUALLY having money and a credit line when there are the more infuriating things like fake fruit and realtor code to deal with? Everyone knows there is no worse word than “cozy” when it comes to real estate listings.
(And for the record, at least Abbie and Ichabod later acknowledge the realities of Ichabod being able to buy a house. And everyone on the internets bitching about Ichabod not having money or a job? Get over it. NO ONE CURR. It’s a television show and those kind of details don’t fucking matter in the context of stopping the apocalypse. Do you really want an episode devoted to Ichabod trying to figure out health insurance and a 401K? Oh wait…)
I think it’s important to note that it’s ABBIE that Ichabod wants with him on his scouting expedition. Sure, she is his gateway into all things confusing about the modern world, but if he was looking for a house to live in with Katrina, don’t you think he would have had Katrina WITH him to see the place? Yeah me too. Ichabod is looking for a place on his own and apparently it just has to have granite countertops. That’s the dream, sir.
At least one thing has never changed, and it’s Ichabod’s love of baked goods…Ichabod would have TOTALLY rented his apartment to Ross Gellar, given this reaction.
All hail the SassBrow. 7 out of 10 Donut Holes.
I’m totally ruined after that Tom Mison TV Guide interview, you guys. I ALREADY viewed everything as Ichabod having feelings for Abbie, but to hear from the man himself that he’s in love with her? Forget about it. Ichabod may not know exactly how to define his feelings for Abigail Mills but there is no questioning the depth of them.
Biblical Life Partner House Hunting aside (he just really wanted to get his leftenant’s approval on his house because she is going to be spending so much time there), the major Ichabbie shippiness of the week comes courtesy of an offhand remark Abbie makes. As they are casing the warehouse in search of Kent, Abbie comments that she sees a lot of similarities between the two men. I sincerely think that Abbie didn’t mean anything deeper than the fact that they were both “men out of their time”, but Ichabod truly takes her remark to heart. It kills him to think that she could think he’s anything like Kent. But the thing is…Ichabod COULD be him, if not for his innate goodness and belief that he is fighting for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (or something like that). Kent simply chose a different path and it makes all the difference. “We are all of us walking on a razor’s edge between darkness and light,” Ichabod says at the end of the episode. It’s the core of Sleepy Hollow, really. All of these characters are defined by their choices. Ichabod has chosen light. That’s why he beats the shit out of Kent in the forest because Kent chose darkness. They may be men in similar circumstances but Ichabod wants to prove to Abbie (and to himself) that they could not be more different. He even admits that to her after the fact…her opinion means everything to him.
The fact that he gets to bask in her calling him Rambo too? That’s just a bonus.
Also in the warehouse of feelings, Abbie and Ichabod discussed Kent’s feelings of regret regarding Sarah Osbourne and how it may apply to them. “Regret can change the direction of your life,” he says. “Or stop you from having the life you’re meant to have.” Everything is SO LOADED I can’t stand it. Yes, they are talking about the immediate situation with Kent, but I also think their words are making Ichabod think about his own life choices. I think he does have regrets for the times he’s chosen Katrina’s side over Abbie’s and he’s trying to process that. THEN he says “Do you have a vision of the life in store for us?” When Abbie says no, he flinches ever so slightly. It’s important to note that they are having two completely different conversations here. Abbie, ever the pragmatist, is thinking about the immediate circumstances and her response is in regards to their lives as witnesses. Ichabod, the emotional one in the partnership, is speaking about the bigger picture of their lives together…and the only thing that he is certain of is that he wants Grace Abigail Mills in it. “We fight FOR something,” he implores, staring at her with a piercing gaze. “For love. Family. A life. I pray we never lose sight of what is important.” Yo, Abbie…he’s talking about YOU, dum dum.
What’s important to Ichabod at this very moment? Sneaking off to have victory beers with Abbie where she can teach him the finer points of trash talk. I love how she offered for Katrina to come with them (she’s doing her VERY best to respect the relationship) and Ichy was like “NOPE DATE NIGHT”.
But what exactly IS Ichabod’s vision for his life with Abbie? 7.5 Fist Bumps.
– Thank GOD Abbie brought up The Crucible because I was quoting it all through the episode. Side note why does everyone want to play Abbie in that show when Elizabeth Proctor is CLEARLY the superior part?
– I like to think that Ichabod discovered Edward R. Murrow watching Good Night and Good Luck.
– This is how Abbie looks when Ichabod says “Pix-els”
– Katrina’s “Spidey Senses”. “You’ve been catching up on your reading!” “Only the classics.”
– I don’t know what it is but Orlando looked FINE in this episode. Being a soulless zombie vampire agrees with him.
– I have a feeling this gif will come in handy for a Scandal gif cap.
A note of housekeeping. The shit hit the fan AGAIN this week when an extensive and VERY spoilery synopsis of the finale hit the interwebs. I was innocently in the Sleepy Hollow tag looking for images for this recap and got spoiled (TAG YOUR SHIT AS SPOILERS PEOPLE I HAVE IT BLACKLISTED). I was more than a little furious (bless Liz of @TomMisonFans for giving me a safe space to yell). I wasn’t mad at the plan for the episode, but that the synopsis essentially ruined what I am guessing was the cliffhanger in episode 17. Way to go whoever released that (it has since been taken down at Fox’s request)…I hope you get fired.
ANYWAY we pride ourselves on being a spoiler-free zone at Head Over Feels (meaning we only talk about what has AIRED) and my better half whose name rhymes with “Rage” has NOT seen the extensive spoilers (to where I have forbidden her from going into the tag). So no mention of them in the comments, m’kay? Don’t be that person.
And don’t yell at the creators of the show until you see everything in context and that’s all I have to say about that.
Leave your thoughts on “Spellcaster” in the comments. Are you as excited for Evil Katrina as I am? Can Frank ever save himself? What’s YOUR vision for Ichabbie’s future? Let us know!