Season 2, Episode 16
What Lies Beneath
Posted by Sage
AU where all of season two was like this episode.
Let’s go to the rankings.
Last week, Kim wrote about the impact of the cold open style that Sleepy has adopted from The X-Files and its successors. It continues to work here. The structure may be conventional, but that’s just about the only thing about Sleepy Hollow that is, so no complaints here.
This week, we meet three engineers who are surveying the town’s underground tunnel system. “There’s something back there,” one of them observes while looking through a hole in a wall. He would have been less at risk saying “I’ll be right back” in a slasher movie. The men smash through the brick (No, it’s cool. It’s just a few hundred years old. It probably won’t collapse and suffocate you.) and find themselves in a secret chamber. They bend down to examine a heavy-duty trap door – one that’s clearly designed to keep something powerful in or out – and promptly go about opening it. I don’t know if Sleepy Hollow really is this dangerous or if everyone in town just has a death wish.
The creatures that leap up and pull them in are reavers. (Not Ninja Turtles, which would have been the best case scenario.) We only get a glimpse of them, but they’re definitely humanoid and definitely ugly. When Abbie and Crane investigate the tunnel where the men went missing, they recognize evidence of witchcraft in the chamber. (Perhaps some basic curriculum on this should make its way into Sleepy Hollow Elementary’s Safety Day.) Crane also takes note of the door’s design and proclaims that the combination of skill and witchcraft can only mean the work of one man: Thomas Jefferson. Back at the archives, Abbie pages through Grace Dixon’s journal and finds reference to Jefferson’s “fenestella” – the “impenetrable chamber” that Crane is sure they’ve found. Seems that the Founding Fathers conjured creatures to further protect the space and their secrets. (But where’s the editorial on this? Tell me how you FEEL, Grace.) Perhaps they looked like men once upon a time, but the reavers have been underground for so long that they’re basically mole people. The video that was oh so conveniently queued up on Calvin’s brother’s undamaged phone reveals them to be black eyed with paper-white skin. If they had the capability of speech, it’s long since gone. Reader survey, real quick: Who’s creepier? These reavers or the ones from Firefly?
Crane and Abbie decide to find out for themselves. Three grown men are being held captive, but what the hell, they’ll be fine with one gun and crossbow. The reavers attack and the witnesses make an immediate EXIT: STAGE LEFT. They’ll have to go back down with more fire power (derp), and they better do it quick. The men don’t have much time. “They’d be starving,” Crane imagines, and we see the reavers chewing the bloody meat off of a human torso. The two men who are still alive look on.
Kind of like Flukeman situation, minus the water. Like Dana Scully, we could have lived without that just fine. 6/10 Sandmen.
The course of true OTPs never did run smooth. I’m fine with a little healthy threat to my ships. In fact, I prefer it. And Nick Hawley was never a REAL obstacle to Ichabbie, what with how ill-matched they were and the fact that he totally made sex to her sister.
But “What Lies Beneath” introduced a tasty bit of non-Revolutionary man candy for Abbie Mills to appreciate in the form of Calvin Riggs. In addition to shaking up the partnership, Calvin also brings a bit of the real world back into the story. Why HAVEN’T reporters been all over the unexplainable phenomena that’s seemed to settle in this tiny town? I would wager that the rate of suspicious deaths is pretty high for the population; there’s mass destruction about twice a season (sweeps). But I guess you need a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist to deduce that there might be something fishy going on here at the hellmouth. He’s asking the real questions, such as ,”Why is it just you two crawling around down here?” Valid query, sir. Anyway, he cute.
He challenges Abbie, but not in a please-find-my-rakishness-charming kind of way. He’s legitimately involved in the case and has a pretty reasonable argument. I enjoyed watching Calvin and Abbie come to a compromise. People have a right to know if they are in immediate danger; but the dangers of Sleepy Hollow lie out of the realm of believability for most. Abbie and Crane have to serve and protect (Crane indirectly took that oath too, because Biblical Life Partner), and that includes not causing mass hysteria. After seeing what he sees, Calvin can appreciate that. I think he respects Abbie and that Abbie respects him right back. I also think that Crane broke his camera on purpose.
Now, you might think that an episode that introduces a possible love interest for a character might mean a low rating on the shippy scale for our end game heroes. Not so. We catch up with Ichabbie first on their favorite kind of date: one with historic significance and lots of opportunity for reflection on duty and honor. They stroll along on the deck of a battleship talking about the soldiers they’ve known and lost. For them, the war continues but without the benefit of a defined enemy. Abbie worries aloud that the witnesses may have lost their purpose. How long can they survive without that? And if they don’t survive, who will take the family out on a sunny afternoon to remember them? “The Bible foretold seven years of tribulation, but it did not say in what form,” Crane assures her. “So just have faith,” Abbie interprets. He looks right down into her eyes (HEIGHT DIFFERENCE), his gaze unwavering. “Have faith.” She smiles a little and looks away from him and out into the water for a moment. Ever since that interview that Ship Captain Tom Mison gave to TV Guide, every interaction like this makes perfect sense. He’s sure that he loves her; she’s holding back.
At least their partnership woes are over. Crane and Abbie are perfectly in sync again – a team in all respects. Even when they stand in opposition to a sentient hologram of Thomas Jefferson played by Wings’ Steven Weber. Did I forget to mention the sentient hologram of Thomas Jefferson played by Wings’ Steven Weber? When they find their way into the fenestella, the man himself (or some version of him) is also standing sentry. (LIKE THE HALL OF PRESIDENTS AT EPCOT.) And it’s the witnesses he’s been waiting for. The secrets that justified the chamber’s marvels of magic and architecture belong entirely to Crane and Abbie. The founding fathers planned for the future and created this timeless archive to hold all the help that they could offer to the two who would stand against the apocalypse. And it had to be the two.
Jefferson knew that Crane was a witness, long before Crane knew it himself. They shared a mutual friendship (though the IRL Jefferson was a slaveowner and by all accounts a real dick), which Jefferson had to discourage. Until Abbie arrived, no help could be offered.
Here’s the impasse. In order to save the men and take out the reavers, their “nest” (gross!) must be destroyed. With it would go the thousands of years of information that guide the witnesses in their duty. Hologram Jefferson is – understandably – not really for this plan. But life is life. Before Abbie tells Jefferson how it’s gonna be, she looks at Crane for agreement. He nods, almost imperceptibly. They are a united front and that’s a greater asset than all of the former president’s many leather-bound books. (I bet that fenestella smells like rich mahogany.)
“All that knowledge, lost,” Crane observes. “But. I suppose we have the Internet.” This is where the founding father’s plans broke down. They had witchcraft and prophecies, but they couldn’t predict what would happen to the country they gave their lives to build. The game is different. The rules have changed. And Abbie and Crane have the benefit of that knowledge.
Back in the colonies, Jefferson’s rebuff was a huge blow to Crane. Crane admired the man and being in the inner-circle made him feel that he was having an impact on the future of the young nation. Sure, he has to destroy everything that his old friend and protector built for him, but at least Crane knows the truth. “You too are a founder of this country,” Jefferson says to him, back in the present day. Maybe that seems insignificant, being that Crane has saved everything on this side of reality more than a few times, but it was America he dedicated his life to first. It’s really the most emotional scene I can remember involving a resurrected revolutionary soldier and his old pal, a presidential hologram.
This shippy section was all over the place, but that’s my fault. 6.5/10 Fist Bumps.
For someone whose job (and the fate of the universe) depends on historical documentation, Crane should be a little more respectful of the selfie. Still, the sight of duck-faced teenagers sullying the deck of the S.S. Whatever gets his hackles all up. Catching the look of indignation on his face, Abbie prefaces his tech whining: “Annnnd, go.” He goes off on “Instant Gram” for a while. The lead up to this whole conversation felt like a meta comment on Ichabod’s recent lack of modern world complaints. “Is it possible, Lieutenant, that I am fully assimilated in this era?” You wish, buddy.
Meanwhile, Calvin and Abbie trade some sassy banter during their meet-cute. When she feeds him the party line, he comments on her seasoned cop “propaganda face.” “One: stop looking at my face,” she fires back. It continues when he follows the witnesses underground. (Calvin: “You said ‘access.'” Abbie: “I said ‘limited.'”) She’s so into it.
Speaking of crawling through creepy catacombs, Abbie Mills is over it. “Gotta say: kind of sick of going into small, dark spaces,” she says. Crane reminds her to check her privilege. “I was the one buried alive.” Crane also refuses to take responsibility of the “freedom of the press” that led to Calvin tagging along like an annoying kid brother. (“We did not predict the 24-hour news cycle!”)
We would have had a lot more to discuss here if Abbie hadn’t been too polite to ask Jefferson what the fuck his deal was. 5/10 Donut Holes.
I’m trying to appreciate this time we’re having now with Mr. and Mrs. BAMF without mourning all the moments we could have had if Frank and Jenny hadn’t been so underused for a good portion of this season. In this episode, Frank enlists Jenny’s criminal past to help him break into SHPD’s evidence room. He makes the marriage appeal. Things with Cynthia might finally be salvageable; he wants his wedding ring back. The ruse is pretty weak, but Frank is new to being evil. Jenny goes along with his shady story, but takes note of the strange markings near his wrists.
Once they’re in, Frank pulls his box down from a shelf and begins rifling through it. Jenny sees him pocket something that looks much more like a flash drive than a wedding ring, draws her gun. “I can explain,” he says, and then shoves her into a set of metal shelves. What the damn hell?
My theory? Frank always knew that the mission was going to go down like that. The real trick was drawing Jenny into phase 2. In phase 2, he tells her that there is a darkness inside him, but that he is fighting against it. The flash drive has information on the Hellfire Club’s offshore accounts – he can send his family away to safety. He shows her the rune that he found in Henremy’s study and burned into his hand. It gave him clarity, let him see what he was becoming. But the protection is fading and soon his Mr. Hyde is going to fully take over. I think he has already. My hope is that Jenny stays skeptical and works with Irving so that she can figure out what he’s up to.
Back at the cabin that Ichabod forgot, Katrina naps in the sunny spot like a kitten in an Ariel wig. (Did he mention her name once this week? They’re so over.) She wakes with a start and Henremy is sitting by the couch. And Henremy has gone FULL ON NORMAN BATES. (“Your rest was most fitful, mother.”) He’s been seeking a purpose as well, holed up in a ratty motel trying to decide which evil master he’ll serve next. He’s resurfaced, newly dedicated. He killed Moloch for his mother, he says, even though he actually killed him because he can’t take constructive criticism. He calls her “our kind” (errybody but Katrina knows she’s dying to turn) and calls on her to “begin [our] work.” He hands her a few creepy black roses, whose thorns cut into her palms. Katrina wakes up again with a start and shakes off the dream. She makes her way to a basin and washes her hands. The water immediately goes pink with blood. When she turns around, the roses lie on the table near where she slept.
It’s Frank/Henremy/Katrina versus Jenny and the witnesses in the two-part finale battle. Let’s get it on. 7/10 Golems.
- When Calvin shows up in the tunnels, Crane doesn’t address him. He turns and yells what he always yells when he doesn’t know what’s going on: “LIEUTENAAAAAANT.” (Implied: “EXPLAIN THIS TO ME.”)
- So, what you’re saying is that Jefferson was burning up a sun just to say goodbye?
- “As you have so aptly put it before, I got this.”
- Where did Crane get GRENADES, though?
It’s crunch time, people. Keep on tweeting with #RenewSleepyHollow, and have faith.