Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 2
“Whispers in the Dark”
Posted by Sage
Sleepyheads! I’m fresh off of that New York Comic Con/Sleepy Hollow promo high, and I’m so frackin’ excited to be recapping this show again. “Whispers In The Dark” is the first “back to business” episode after the premiere’s reunions and reconnoitering, and a soothingly familiar monster-of-the-week adventure. We got to know our big bad a little better; reconnected with an old friend; and watched Crane scrub Abbie’s windows like a good house husband. On to the rankings.
Living with a secret is its own kind of torment. And Sleepy played with the unpleasantness we associate with a burden like that with this week’s threat. Pandora (I’ll return to her later) conjures a new evil out of her bottomless box of bad shit (it’s bigger on the inside!), which appears first as a black oil, then as a black curl of smoke, and finally as a ghostly guard straight outta Azkaban. Alfonso Cuaron is furious.
It follows Pandora to the Tarrytown train station where a squirrelly guy named Paul Everett is in the middle of an urgent cell phone conversation with an unknown party. They don’t have enough proof to go public yet, Everett is insisting. But his secret – whatever it is – is too much for him. He hangs up his other conversation and dials the FBI, which doesn’t sound like a thing a normal should be able to do. But before he’s able to speak with the nearest available agent (like this is Comcast customer support or some shit), the room darkens and Pandora’s wraith looms over him. She’s instructed her pet to pull Everett’s secret from him; as the wraith’s ghostly arm(?) reaches into his heart, Everett sees visions of a hushed conversation with two other business-y types. And then he’s dead.
Because Everett’s last call was to the FBI and it’s about four months too early for Fox Mulder to take the case, Abbie and her team are brought in. Everett was 32 and seems to have dropped dead of a heart attack, which is fishy enough in this town. But when Crane stands in the doorway of the station, he sees and feels some kind of malevolent presence that reminds him of a force he’s faced before. His theory clicks into place when he and Abbie listen to the recording of Everett’s call and isolate a sinister voice that’s inaudible to the naked ear. (Naked Ear – my Sleepy Hollow themed post-punk band.) “Seeeeecrets,” the voice whispers. “I will killllll…” Sounded like a Parseltongue translation to me, which is weird, because there are no Slytherins in that archive. (Abbie is a Gryffindor and Crane is obviously a Ravenclaw: discuss.)
The voice also reminds Crane of a passage in Grace Dixon’s journal (congratulations Grace Dixon for surviving the Sleepy Hollow character purge of 2015!); Grace had heard something of a British officer named General Howe conjuring a wraith to “root out spies.” The creature isn’t created out of thin air, however; it needs a host, and a turncoat named Marcus Collins was a willing participant in the mission. Or in Crane parlance, a “rat-faced villain.” FLASHBACK TIME.
When General Washington finds out that Collins has been turned, he sends his most trusted man to extract the other spies embedded in Howe’s circle. Crane makes contact with “the spymaster” Betsy Ross, and I’m sorry, but I’m pulling my Snuggie out of storage because there is like, negative heat between them. The “sexy spy mission” vibes just aren’t there; mostly Crane looks anxious about sparing a few more revolutionary lives. Betsy gamely distracts Howe (at NYCC, Nikki Reed told us that they did shoot a scene where Howe was left naked and tied to a bed, but it was cut), but the men are already dead. “Is that you, you traitorous wretch?” Betsy shouts into the barn where they’re found. “I’ll have your head, Marcus Collins!” Nikki Reed delivers this line like she’s asking for extra whip on her Cinnamon Dolce Latte and oh, honey. Get on the Mills sisters level or perish.
Crane immediately assumes that this wraith is the same one that’s stalking secret keepers in modern-day Sleepy Hollow, probably because he doesn’t trust any spirits dead that he doesn’t see his warrior wife Abbie put down. (GREAT JOB, BETSY. REAL, QUALITY WORK.) Abbie learns that Everett had been having lots of hush-hush meetings with two of his coworkers at the city comptroller’s office. She and Crane head over to the home of one Richard Williams to offer him their exclusive personal security service. They find him barricaded into his own home; the wraith has already made his presence known. It appears before Abbie and Crane; reaching out its smokey digits like it did to Everett right before his death. Abbie shoots at it (baby), but the witnesses are incapacitated. We see glimpses of the secrets the wraith is hungering for. Crane sits at a desk with a quill and a blank sheet of paper; General Howe standing over him demanding, “Give us the names.” Abbie is on some kind of surveillance detail, snapping photos of a man on a park bench. Before the wraith can destroy them completely, Williams makes a break for it. But you can’t outdrive a dementor, buddy. He speeds straight into a tree.
That leaves an administrative assistant named Susan James as the only member of this little lunch club left alive. Abbie finds a pile of receipts under a loose floorboard in Williams’s house, leading to the revelation that Everett and Williams had uncovered an embezzlement scheme that targeted the pension plans of civil service workers. James was using her access to the office’s systems to help them build their case. Abbie retrieves Susan and brings her to the Witnesses’ version of a “safe house,” a large, open room with a circle constructed out of LED tube lights. As they explain the danger of the darkness outside of that circle, the camera spins around the room, putting each one of them alternately in light and shadow. It’s beautifully shot. Crane astutely points out that he and Abbie are now in on the secret, which effectively places them on the wraith’s hit list.
Marcus Collins has learned a thing or two about electricity since 1776, and blows the fuse in the warehouse. He attacks Crane first, as the Witness rages against the intrusion. “Damn you foul creature. my secrets are my own!” (He also jabs at it with a stick, which is very cute. Conjure your Patronus, Ichabod!) Abbie races out of the circle to help him (“Stay with me, Crane.”) and tosses flares in the demon’s direction, but they can’t hold off the wraith forever. The solution to their problem lives in Crane’s memory. He and Betsy survived their run-in with the wraith: why? Simple, Crane recalls. Betsy called the wraith by its true name. “No longer can you skulk in the shadows, Marcus Collins,” and this is more than Crane saving their present-day asses. This is Crane addressing a traitor who got his countrymen killed. The wraith takes a more human form at that, and Crane’s pointy stick ends up being useful after all. Marcus Collins is finally, truly dead, and Susan James lives to send another weak and self-serving man to prison.
I’m nowhere near as brave as Sirius Black, and those things still scared the bejesus out of him. 7/10 Sandmen.
#ShippyHollow and #SassyHollow
Time to start taking Franklin’s “love thy neighbor” bon mot seriously, because Abbie and Crane are roommates. Considering Crane’s last home was a cell in the Tarrytown penitentiary and the cabin he shared with our long shared nightmare Katrina is out of the picture, the Witness needs a place to rest that weary head. Abbie is happy to have him, though Crane is feeling sheepish enough to set about earning his keep through household chores. (“I think I’m gonna like it heeeere!”) His discomfort doesn’t stem from a sexist need to be the provider, and having him show his thanks through activities that fall to the wife in every commercial I’ve ever seen is a delightful way to prove that. Crane never wants he and Abbie to be anything but complete and utter equals. So while I’d love for them to live together forever, I do appreciate that Crane respects Abbie’s space and will get out of her hair and her lingerie as soon as possible. Then he can get back in to her hair and her lingerie, but under very different circumstances, ayyyyyyeee.
Anyway, he aims too high in his mastery of the domestic, and be-fouls the oven and his colonies-famous “Bedfordshire Clanger.” (It’s a meat-filled pastry, like 80% of British cuisine. Here’s a recipe, for the brave.) “If you can’t take the heat,” Abbie muses. “Use somebody else’s kitchen.” They’re enjoying a cozy night in with their take-out when the call comes about Everett’s death. Hell’s teeth! Way to disrupt the UST.
The home scene is sweet and friendly; it isn’t played like Abbie and Crane are all hot and bothered for being in each other’s space. The context comes out to play when the replacement of Abbie’s last ill-fated boss (RIP Ponyboy) shows up, and he and Abbie have history. Daniel (Danny, to “Abbs”) Reynolds was a friend and then more-than-a-friend to Abbie at the academy (You all watch Quantico, don’t act like you don’t know what goes down during training.), and now he’s her boss. I like him immediately. He’s friendly, but professional. (And fine.) And he’s a huge fan of Abbie Mills, so we’ve got that in common. Crane, on the other hand, ranks Reynolds somewhere between “faceless” apothecaries and Marcus Collins. He is deliciously jealous.
Nicole Beharie does not get enough praise for playing off of Mison in these moments. He gets the showiness, but hers is the more nuanced task. Her face when Crane steps into the conversation and sidles up to her! She’s embarrassed and amused and fond, but mostly, she cannot believe he is talking. “We were just at home…having dinner,” he says, purposely implying a more intimate relationship than they really share. She corrects him for Reynolds’s benefit, and sends Crane on his way. (“He was just heading home.” “I was?”) He goes, cause she’s the boss, but the sass-brow can’t resist one last territory-marking flash at Agent Reynolds. THIS IS GOING TO BE FUN.
In “Not Sure If Ship?” news, Joe Corbin is back in the picture, and he’s hanging around Jenny Mills just begging for her to throw him a bone. Not like that, you pervs. He’s come to terms with the relationship that his father shared with the Mills sisters and no longer holds the Sheriff’s relative distance against them. Now, he wants to know want his dad was up to, and even take up that mantle. Joe Corbin is a military man without a mission. (And now an EMT, making him handsome, smart, and compassionate. What a dork.) The whole turning-into-a-wendigo thing was sort of a toss into the deep end of the supernatural business, and you can’t blame him for not wanting to forget it and retreat back into a normal life. At New York Comic Con, producer and writer Raven Metzner told the press that everyone on the Sleepy team this year has “a reason to be there,” which sounded like low-key self-shade about Hawley and his bearded uselessness. Joe is a part of this fight. And – he’s clear in this – he is family.
Joe knows that Jenny is involved in something dangerous when he finds her trailer ransacked; obviously, the intruder was looking for something. (“That’s very astute, Encyclopedia Brown.”) Jenny wants to protect Joe by keeping him far from the circles she runs in (or used to run in), but it’s too late for her to be the one to decide that. He’s Joe-napped by a former acquaintance of hers, who’s been sent by his boss (WHO IS?) to retrieve the Shard of Anubis, a shiny rock-thing that Jenny was Googling earlier at the Peach Pit or the Maxx or whatever that bar is called. (Can we get a name on that, @SleepyWriters)? Joe tells scary Randall that she’ll never give up what he wants. (“You don’t know Jenny Mills like I know Jenny Mills.” OKAY.) Jenny hands over the artifact to the man when he threatens Joe again, proving Joe’s concept of Jenny’s ruthlessness to be a little off. But not before she kicks Randall’s ass. (“See, I can walk already. You’re the one with the limp.”) So, just to review, while one Mills sister is having her unmentionables folded delicately by her man, the other is rescuing a dude in distress. Got it? Got it.
P.S. Jenny knew what Randall was after; she was carrying the Shard on her when she tracked him down. “It doesn’t matter,” she tells Joe, and it didn’t at the time when it was a matter of life and death. But it does, of course, and something tells me that Jenny and Joe are going to work together to find the Shard again before Randall’s bosses can use it for nefarious purposes or sell it to someone who will. RIP Mr. and Mrs. BAMF forever, but Joe and Jenny make an interesting pair. They’re both very much on the same page; they trust each other implicitly; and both of them are hellbent on avenging August Corbin. Also, it’s not that incestuous if they hook up. As Zach Appelman told us at NYCC, Joe didn’t spend much time with Jenny growing up, seeing as she spent a lot of those years chasing demons and locked in Tarrytown Psych. Godspeed, kids. Don’t forget to use protection. (90% of me deciding to ship this is due to Joe calling her “Mills,” because I am a sucker for that shit.)
The shippy cherry on the sundae of this episode was the quiet conversation that Crane and Abbie shared on Abbie’s porch. The wraith’s powers brought well-kept secrets to the forefront of both of their minds; and while those secrets didn’t kill them in that moment, they are weighing on the both of them. Crane lets go of his earlier in the episode. He was captured by General Howe once, and offered clemency if he would give up the names of his co-conspirators. He’s forced to consider it. Crane didn’t do it and was eventually able to escape, but “The shame of that moment stuck, for centuries.” His past failures are a reason why he’s intent on fully “settling in this time,” he explains. “And of course, having you by my side is the greatest boon.” He raises his glass to her with a shit-eating grin, because how lucky did he get with this one? Crane knows that Abbie’s secret is weighing on her too, and conveys his willingness to be her sounding board. But he doesn’t press…too much. She gives in anyway, because who else can she trust with this? Abbie found her father. (Of whom we know virtually nothing about. HM.) That’s who she’s watching in her memories, because she can’t find the strength to talk to him just yet. Abbie had reminded Crane that “when the chips came down,” he stood by his comrades and held onto his honor. Now Crane reminds her that tackling her personal demons isn’t a race. “You’ve made the first step just sharing with me,” he says, and she lightly scoffs. “No, Lieutenant,” he says gently but forcefully. “Take that victory. It is hard won.” This is why Abbie humors Crane when he shows undue curiosity about Danny and almost sets her kitchen on fire. Because this is partnership, and it’s free of ego and judgement, every time it counts.
So much earnestness in this episode. A rare 4/10 Donut Holes for Sassiness.
Sharing your deepest secrets before going to sleep in beds mere feet from each other? Shippiness is at a 6.5/10 Fist Bumps.
So far, Pandora is just here to fuck with people. Before she unleashes the wraith on Paul Everett, she invites it to take its sweet time. “I’m going to enjoy watching these mortals squirm.” Moloch was a srs bsns demon, so much so that he gave his minions regular performance reviews. Pandora is out to enjoy herself, and frankly, that’s a more frightening prospect. How do you stop a villain when you don’t know what they’re after?
Also, what exactly is she growing in her little hideaway? As if a box full of all the world’s evil isn’t enough, Pandora is also tending to an ominous-looking tree and its budding black roses. “Reach for the sun and smile,” she intones to it, early in the episode. By the end, her tree friend is bursting through the roof of the ruins. What is it for? I’m assuming that the Shard will eventually lead back to Pandora; perhaps she needs it for something. It didn’t escape my attention that Jenny warned Joe that once she opened the door to the underground demon-hunting business his father was a part of, she wouldn’t be able to close it. That terminology can’t be a coincidence. As Fox Mulder once asked, “If coincidences are just coincidences, then why do they feel so contrived?”
Mystery lady is still a mystery. 4/10 Golems.
Thoughts For The Archive
- Okay, but the way Abbie smirks at Crane and raises her eyebrow when she answers her work phone “Agent Mills.” She brags to him, and he loves it.
- OTP: Tol & Smol:
- Bringing an old pal of Abbie’s in to lead her department was a smart move, not just because it’s making Crane’s head spin, but also because it provides a believable reason why Abbie would be able to follow her leads and do her Witnessing without being reined in by a by-the-book boss. Danny “trusts her instincts.” As he should.
- “Yeah? Mind your business.” “A ‘good fences’ moment, perhaps.”
- “I’ve been keeping it super low-key lately.”
- I’m no Quantico graduate, but why was Abbie using a flashlight in Williams’s house when she just could have opened the shades and let actual sunlight in?
- “What is it about guys with accents?” Everything, Danny. Just…everything.
- More Crane bows. All the time, always. That’s a part of his “colonial soul” that me and every female resident of Sleepy Hollow hope he’ll never lose.
- SAVE THE ARCHIVE 2K15
What did you think of the episode, Sleepyheads? Let us know in the comments!