Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 1
Posted by Kim
After a creatively uneven second season (that’s putting it lightly) and a hiatus fraught with drama and behind the scenes changes, Sleepy Hollow is back. I am happy to report that it is back with a vengeance. I loved this episode SO MUCH. “I, Witness” felt like a pilot in many ways…except that we already know and love the characters and the story. It felt like all of a sudden the writers remembered what made Sleepy Hollow work in the first place…sass, twistory, and a hell of a lot of Ichabbie banter. It was like coming home. If this is the direction the season is going, we’re in for a hell of a treat. Let’s get right to breaking down our rankings, shall we?
Despite word that he was being nixed, the episode opened with Headless taking one of his standard night rides through the forest being all menacing and shit. He is stopped in his tracks by a woman in a FIERCE velvet cloak (*grabby hands*) and I’m immediately intrigued because this is the Horseman of Death and WHO has the power to stop him cold? Sleepyheads, meet Pandora, our season three big bad. I’m fully on board with her already as in one scene she proved to be more interesting that two full seasons of Katrina Crane. She strokes Headless’ horse cooing “Pretty horse” and with a snap of her fingers, Headless is essentially vaporized and held captive in the infinite depth of her box. This serves two purposes: one, it proves that Pandora is not a lady to be trifled with and two, it gives an easy way for Headless to come BACK. Pandora’s box will open eventually won’t it? Pandora speaks to her box in the language we’ve come to associate with Moloch, saying that she has been given the power of death. “Now bring me fear. We have work to do.” I have two words for you: Ruh and Roh.
Then we see Pandora using the water from a well of men’s fears (I LOVE IT) to feed some sort of plant. She speaks in nursery rhymes and the plant grows and it’s all so weird and I can’t be more on board with her if I tried. Later, she just casually walks on the side of the road in her full enchantress get-up, attracting the attention of a policeman. (Honestly though, you live in Sleepy Hollow, dude, this surely can’t be the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen.) She asks how far it is to the nearest settlement, which confuses him (clearly he’s never been to Colonial Times), but by the time he looks back at her, Pandora has magic-ed herself into modern dress. Nothing shady to see here, sir, just a girl enjoying a long walk on a brisk fall day. He warns her that it’s a 5 mile walk to which Pandora replies serenely, as she passes the Sleepy Hollow sign, “It has taken me a very long time to get here already.” Have I said ruh-roh yet? It bears saying again. RUH-ROH.
What does one do after a very long walk? Treat themselves to a beer, naturally. And if it’s the same tavern that our Witnesses happen to frequent, then all the better, right? Pandora LITERALLY runs into Abbie, causing the Witness to spill a drink on her. I couldn’t help but think of Lost in that moment and the way Jacob used TOUCH to mark his candidates. Is that what Pandora was doing here? It certainly appears that way…the meeting was quite deliberate. I found it incredibly interesting that ABBIE is the one Pandora went after first. Ichabod always seems like the easy target, no? Either Pandora likes a challenge or Abbie has a weakness we’ve yet to learn about. I like both options, so either way is good for me. I also liked how Pandora seemed to have very little interest in Ichabod, even after Abbie pointed him out. She’s laser-focused on Abbie. Once again, I am 100% here for this.
“It’s like the lady with the box,” Abbie jokes when she learns Pandora’s name. “Which is actually more of a dowry,” Pandora muses before playing it off like “Ha Ha Ha look at what a nerd I am, I study the classics”. Hmmmm. So Pandora is collecting all these demons as her dowry? Is that what I’m hearing? Marriage to who or WHAT, pray tell? I’m sure we’ll find out.
“It already feels like home.” Have I mentioned I have a weakness for bad ass Lady villains? 6/10 Golems.
#ShippyHollow and #CreepyHollow
Normally, these two sections are separate but I feel like I can’t discuss the case of the week without talking about the impact it has on Team Witness. Nine months have passed since Abbie traveled through time. Nine months since Ichabod killed his own wife to save Abbie. NINE MONTHS. Abbie is now a bad ass FBI agent, having quickly risen through the ranks like the queen that she is. She’s working with C. Thomas Howell (hey Ponyboy hey) to take down a drug ring. There’s no mention of Ichabod, no mention of her being a witness. She seems to have left that life behind entirely and it’s very distressing. Before I can start crying in a corner, however, Abbie gets a call and she makes her way to a jail where none other than Ichabod Crane is waiting for her to come bail him out.
Can we talk about the moment that Abbie and Ichabod see each other across the room? Let’s. You literally see every emotion flit across both their faces. Anger. Sadness. Guilt. Relief. It’s as if they’ve both been adrift, even though neither of them would admit it, and in this moment, everything clicks back into place. Abbie’s not so easily forgiving, though, and she’s had time to put all the walls back up that Ichabod had broken down. “This is the call that I get?” she accuses and you can actually SEE how much Ichabod’s unexplained absence hurt her. She bristles when he calls her “leftenant” (because it’s a pet name NOT a formal address). She reverts to her natural state of sarcasm when Ichabod says there is much they need to catch up on (Her incredulous “You think?” is EVERYTHING) and you can tell she’s doing her best to keep him at arm’s length. There’s a massive difference between taking some time to grieve the loss of your family and just fucking off with no explanation. To his credit, Ichabod realizes this and apologizes. I DO get it though, especially when he talks about how his radio silence became a habit he didn’t know how to break. Perhaps he thought Abbie was better off without him, perhaps he didn’t know HOW to reach out to her when he realized he WASN’T okay without her. (The whole bit reminded me a little of the “I lied” scene in “Last Christmas” where the Doctor and Clara realize what massive fools they’ve been. I’m fine.) Sometimes all it takes is a little artifact smuggling that lands you in prison to bring everything into perspective. You KNOW that Ichy used his one phone call to reach out to her, even if it took him several days to do it.
Aside from needing someone to bail him out of jail, Ichabod reached out to Abbie because he has a renewed sense of purpose. It’s only natural that in the interim after the events with Katrina that both of them took a step back from their roles as witnesses. But there are two events that serve to wake up Ichabod. One, Katrina’s necklace (that he kept for “sentimental reasons”) has cracked down the middle, signifying that the bit of Abraham’s soul tied to it had been compromised. Two, in his travels to his ancestral roots to Scotland (IDK how he got there, let’s not waste time on logic), Ichabod found a Sumerian tablet that reminded him of what he and Abbie were called to do. Abbie is not so easily convinced. She’s so certain that chapter of her life has closed. They beat Moloch, what else is there for them to do? “I have a new mission now,” she says, referring to her FBI work (trying to convince herself as much as she is trying to convince Ichabod). She thinks Ichabod is reaching with this tablet, desperate to find some sort of meaning in it so he can find his place in the world. There is still an air of hesitancy between them, despite the way they fall back into their easy banter (she RUFFLED HIS HAIR, you guys). It’s hard to miss how stung Abbie looks when Ichabod questions if they are still a team (of course you are, idiots). “Team implies a mission,” Ichabod says simply. Thus, the wooing back of Grace Abigail Mills begins.
Also, let’s not talk about how quickly Abbie changed her mind about the whole “Leftenant” thing. It “doesn’t feel right” indeed. My heart hurts. And I may never forgive the Sleepy writers for NOT showing us #CraneOnAPlane. I felt Abbie’s “I miss everything” down to my very soul.
Abbie and Ichabod’s frienaissance is interrupted by a call for Abbie to investigate some mysterious murders at a cabin in the woods. They discover the bodies of two rednecks (whom we saw be killed by a scary ass red devil man). Mysterious substances abound in the cabin and there are strange footprints outside. Ichabod tests for demonic presence with the Dragon’s breath he always carries with him (“Something you picked up at duty free?” “Very funny.”) and the footprint explodes. “Evil has returned to Sleepy Hollow,” he says, damn near gleefully. GAME ON, BITCHES.
Abbie takes Ichabod to her new office while they wait for the lab results. He’s SO IMPRESSED by her new surroundings and he’s so proud of HER. (Sage and I both tweeted a variation of #ProudHusband when we watched this, proving how much we share a brain.) What I love about Ichabod in this moment is that even though he doesn’t want Abbie to lose sight of her destiny, he doesn’t begrudge the success she’s had in his absence. He relishes it, in fact. He’s damn near bursting with pride as she explains her work in the Anaconda case. “You’re taking down monsters of a different variety,” he beams. HEART EYES ALL AROUND.
Abbie and Ichabod learn that the redneck were literally frozen from fear and there is only so much science (hard, hard science) can do for them after that. There’s only one place that holds the answers they need: the archives. Ichabod is devastated to learn that the Archives building has been sold in his absence. The place that was once his haven is now full of boxes and dropcloths and dust and he’s so CRUSHED. (Hey…maybe next time don’t fuck off for nine months because you can’t complain that the world moved on without you, boo.) (It also makes me REALLY sad that Abbie apparently didn’t fight the building being sold, showing JUST how much she had given up everything in Ichabod’s absence. Ugh.)
Ichabod’s impending rant about mini-malls is interrupted by the arrival of Jenny and let’s all do a dance of joy that Lyndie Greenwood survived the Great Reaping of the Sleepy Hollow cast 2K15. I’m so glad the writers know Jenny’s value. She’s the perfect mixture of both Abbie and Ichabod’s personalities and she brings out the best in both of them. I love how she hugged Ichabod instantly and didn’t call him out on his shit, because if anyone knows exactly what he was going through, it’s Jenny. She knows what it’s like to feel like she has no purpose and she knows what it’s like to feel adrift (the “Now you and I can NOT fit in together” line later in the episode cemented them as my current favorite brOTP). Jenny just ACCEPTS that’s what Ichabod needed to do and she accepts him back into her life instantly. How far she’s come since we first met her. I love it. Also the little look Abbie and Ichabod share over Jenny’s hug? Nope. You two and all your adoring looks can just go straight to hell.
Jenny’s also excited that Ichabod’s back because it can only mean one thing: time to get back into the demon hunting business. Her look of glee when she asks if they are looking for a demon was precious. She’s been WAITING for this. And now that Hawley is gone (THANK GOD), Jenny can fully embrace her role as resident demon smarty. Bless this episode. The substance at the crime scene, we learn, is cinnabar, which is sadly not a cinnamon roll in bar form, but a mercury substance. They deduce it was left behind by a Yaoguai, which is a battlefield demon that is attracted by conflict. “They are known to be servants, not masters,” Ichabod muses. Indeed, this is the demon Pandora conjured from her well of Male Fears. Now they know there’s a new big bad in town and we’re getting closer and closer to righting the SS Witness.
Ichabod says there was a Yaoguai at the Battle of Bunker Hill, because of course there was. Sure, they were fighting the red devils known as the British, but they were fighting LITERAL red devils too. God, I love this show. He recalls that a message was brought to the battle by Washington’s most trusted and skilled envoy…Betsy Ross. Yep, the whole seamstress bit was just a cover for the fact that she was a highly trained spy. There was a MASSIVE hullaballoo at the announcement that Betsy would be joining the regular cast this season. The fandom was quite worried that she would just be another stumbling block to Ichabbie, especially when the casting breakdown described her as the “Mrs. Smith to Ichabod’s Mr. Smith.” What do I think of Betsy now that we’ve seen her? I gotta say…I liked her. It’s been established that Ichabod and Betsy had a thing (Ichabod: “We were not a thing. She was my partner…often in crime.”), so seeing them flirt didn’t bother me in the slightest. As long as they leave her in the past (and thus far, as far as I know, nothing has been said about bringing her to the present), I’m cool with Betsy. We can’t complain about another bad ass lady in a male dominated field, you guys. We just can’t. Even if she’s being played by an actress from the Twilight franchise. Peggy Carter would never approve. Also, I don’t REALLY think Betsy loved Ichabod, I think she fancied him and she enjoyed ruffling his feathers. And occasionally snogging him before she went on a dangerous mission. I mean…wouldn’t you? Plus, the whole thing was worth it just to see the sisters Mills giving Ichabod shit about his fling. I want all the teasing, all the time.
Thanks to Jenny’s hacking skills (“This is what I do.”), Abbie and Ichabod learn Betsy’s message is in a case at Colonial Times, the restaurant. I’m going to save this glorious sequence for the Sassy section, but long story short, Abbie is completely besotted by Ichabod’s rage and Ichabod is turned on by Abbie’s delinquent ways, and they steal the message, which is a cipher. Abbie then has to ditch Ichabod to go to her FBI raid and Ichabod tries not to show his disappointment at this. (But really, his face just says, “Boo, we were having so much fun and I just got back and why do you have to go to your real job?”)
Back at the archives, Ichabod and Jenny deduce that the Yaoguai is attracted by gunpowder and aggression…all elements that just happen to converge at Abbie’s raid. At the raid, Abbie and Ponyboy manage to corner Chang but their capture of him is interrupted by the Yaoguai. He kills Ponyboy by slashing his throat (STAY GOLD PONYBOY) and much like the pilot, Abbie loses a mentor. She DOES manage to wound the demon, right when his eyes flash white. Chang flees and it’s all for nothing. Bummer. Abbie recounts all of this to the rest of Team Witness but considering how the Yaoguai’s hide is supposed to be impenetrable, they are very confused as to how Abbie managed to wound him. Suddenly it all clicks into place for Ichabod. THIS is what Washington meant by “Don’t fire till you see the whites of their eyes”. This MAY be my favorite Sleepy Hollow bit of twistory yet, I literally guffawed when I realized where they were going with it. They realize that the only way to take down the Yaoguai is if they do it TOGETHER. Abbie gets a call that Chang has been cornered and wants to see her and only her. They know this is their chance to take down the demon. Abbie will take care of the human bad guy while Ichabod and Jenny go after the supernatural one. TEAMWORK FOR THE WIN.
Chang has taken hostages and requests Abbie’s presence because she’s the only one who can corroborate his story about the Yaoguai killing Ponyboy. Naturally, he’s on edge because who wouldn’t be when they are both accused of murder and shaken from seeing an actual giant red devil? Abbie is nothing but calm though and it’s easy to see why she’s risen through the ranks of the FBI so quickly. What’s amazing is here is that as she soothes Chang and convinces him to let his hostages go, she also completely gives in to her destiny as a Witness. No more fighting or denial. Just truth. “I have seen demons, witches, ghosts. Even the Horseman of the Apocalypse. I’ve seen ’em all. The monsters are real but it’s okay because it’s my job to stop them. I’m a Witness and that is my mission.” Not to make another Twelfth Doctor comparison (jk, jk, I will never tire of comparing things to the Doctor), but her speech very much reminded me of this moment from “Flatline”…
The Doctor: I tried to talk. I want you to remember that. I tried to reach out. I tried to understand you, but I think that you understand us perfectly. And I think that you just don’t care! And I don’t know whether you’re here to invade, infiltrate or just replace us. I don’t suppose it really matters now. You are monsters! That is the role you seem determined to play, so it seems that I must play mine: the man that stops the monsters.
Like I did when I watched “Flatline”, I basically flailed off the couch when Abbie straightened her spine and called herself a Witness. I love how much conviction she has in that moment. I love how she seemed to surprise herself in that moment. It’s like the words coming out of her mouth were not the ones she was expecting to say, but once she DID say it, she was totally at peace with it. There is no walking away from destiny, y’all. That’s why it’s DESTINY.
Meanwhile, Ichabod and Jenny are attempting to catch the Yaoguai. Using Ichabod as bait, Jenny sets herself up for the kill shot. All is going well until Jenny’s perch gives in, distracting the Yaoguai just as his eyes are going white. It tosses Jenny aside like a rag doll and sets his sights on Ichabod, who dives out a window, landing on a pile of boxes. Just as the Yaoguai is about to pounce, a shot rings out. Abigail Mills to the rescue, triumphing over all the bad guys, supernatural and human. Ichabod’s FACE when he realizes Abbie saved him though. It’s a mixture of gratitude and pride and OMG you’re really back now, and it’s all just too much. Then she fucking PATS HIS FACE and embraces him because they hug things out now. The minute they are in each other’s arms, it’s like they’ve both come home. I’m fine. Really, I am. I’m totally fine with how Ichabod says “Welcome back, leftenant” into her hair. I’m totally fine with Abbie’s little smile. I’M FINE. *weeps in a corner screaming “MY BABIES”*
Later, Abbie uses her FBI clearance to retrieve the Sumerian tablet from federal custody, despite Ichabod’s reservations about her abusing power. (“Do you want your stuff or not?” “Yes, please.”) It turns out the tablet has two pieces, one with ancient writing and the other with a carving of a man and a woman. “Those guys kind of look like you two,” the guard jokes. So basically Abbie and Ichabod’s relationship is literally set in stone. All ancient civilizations ship them. My OTP is better than your OTP. Abbie jokes that the tablet can’t possibly be them, but the argument is a weak one, and the delight at being called “destroyers” is written on both of their faces as they banter over blueberry beers. “Someone’s gotta keep you out of trouble,” Abbie teases him. It would have been easier for her to just leave it at that, but then Abbie has to go all emotional on us. “You don’t need some stone tablet to justify your place in the world,” she tells Ichabod. “You may not have family, but you are NOT alone.” MY HEART.
The Yaoguai was one of the scariest LOOKING monsters Sleepy Hollow has had in a good while. 6/10 Sandmen.
Need I remind you that Abbie and Ichabod’s relationship is SET IN STONE? 7/10 Fist Bumps.
What I loved so much about “I, Witness” was that it was HILARIOUS. It’s like the writers suddenly remembered how FUNNY Sleepy Hollow could be, so they crammed at least 6 episodes worth of quips and Icharants into this premiere. Practically every word out of Abbie’s mouth was sass, due to her fondness being masked as exasperation. Obviously, the sass centerpiece of the episode was Ichabod’s trip to Colonial Times, but the sass and hilarity was strong from the very start of the episode. Prison!Ichabod, though. If you think I won’t call him C-Dawg at least once in every recap from here on out, you don’t know me at all.
But like I said, the sass centerpiece of the episode was Ichabod’s trip to Colonial Times. Not since his trip to the History Museum in season one (“We were ALL British at the time.”) have we gotten such glorious outrage. May Ichabod NEVER not be pissed off about how we bastardize our history for financial gain. How much fun do you think the writers had coming up with that menu though? Also $17.76 for an all-you-can-eat buffet? SIGN ME UP.
Thoughts for the Archives
- This is the moment I knew that we were going to be okay…
- Miss Dani’s reaction to Ichabod = me. Well, really, Miss Dani is all of us.
- I haven’t talked about it until now because I am still SO SAD that Orlando Jones is no longer on the show, but I totally bought the way they wrote Frank off. I knew that is the direction they were likely to go. Witness Protection, indeed. Also, I can cling to a SMALL sliver of hope that the window is always open for his return, can’t I?
- “Someday, some woman will make you forget all those manners.” Yeah, I think her name is Abigail Mills.
- “Let’s see a paralegal do that.” “Exactly. I have no idea what a paralegal is.” “Me either.” I’m going to need at least one Jenny and Ichabod scene every episode, please and thank you.
- Can we take a moment to appreciate that the principle cast is Tom and FOUR WOMEN? I have no idea if they plan on adding Zach Appelman and Lance Gross to the opening credits, so for the moment, let’s just appreciate that Sleepy is one of the most Lady friendly shows on TV.
And that’s our premiere! What say you, Sleepyheads? Did you love “I, Witness” as much as I did? Let us know in the comments! Sage will be your guide through episode 2, but please note that due to New York Comic Con, the recap will likely be delayed. Don’t be too mad at us though…our NYCC reporting will be full of Sleepy goodness. HOPEFULLY, it will include some facetime with Tom himself. My body is not ready.