“There are lines we do not cross” – Sleepy Hollow Recap – Novus Ordo Seclorum


Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 8
“Novus Ordo Seclorum”
Posted by Sage

How the hiatus flies when you’re ignoring your recapping duties, eh? Sleepy Hollow is back and in its new time slot on Friday, February 5. So, I figured, why not dust off a three month old draft and finally organize my thoughts about the mid-season finale, “Novus Ordo Seclorum”? My lateness has now given you a handy catch-up guide to get you in the mood for even more sexy witnessing and demon-catching in upstate NY in 3B. Let’s pretend that was the plan the whole time. To the rankings!


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Last time on The Days Of Our Afterlives, Jenny Mills was possessed and captured by Pandora and her surprise husband, The Hidden One. (I had her pegged as a career singleton, but whatever.) When we see her for the first time in “Novus,” she’s still cooking. The glowing disc that was held by the shard is lighting Jenny up from the inside, and not the same way the love of Little Joey Corbin does it. Pandora and her newly resurrected lover need Jenny as a vessel to achieve their ends. This means that Jenny spends most of this episode writhing around in pain while her captors talk shit on humanity (“The mortals who infest this world care nothing for its beauty.”) and coo about the newly cleansed world they’ll bring about together. Ugh. Couples, amirite?

Naturally, her demon-hunting family springs into action to save Miss Jenny. After she throws some shadeface at her boss (more on that to come), Abbie catches up with Joe and Crane, who are tracking their comrade down. “I’ll take point,” Abbie announces, cocking her gun. Joe and Crane adjust their crotches off-camera probably, and they’re off. Sadly, they miss The Hidden One’s magic act (Scully: “Should we arrest David Copperfield?” Mulder: “Yes we should, but not for this.”) – Jenny levitates in front of him as he sucks out her youthful life force like a Sanderson sister at a bat mitzvah. He takes a break to spare Jenny’s life; suck too fast and she won’t be any good to them any more. (Let that be a lesson to so many of us.) As they search the forest, Abbie throws herself a pity party, blaming herself for Jenny’s predicament. Though, as I mentioned in my last recap, Joey is really at fault for not noticing Nevins’s very conspicuous use of gloves when handling the shard. Crane doesn’t care whose fault it is, he just wants his in-law back. (“The sisters Mills are the closest to family I have left.”) Pandora’s squad disappears as soon as Abbie, Crane, and Joe find them, leaving a ancient cloth decorated in Sumerian writing. Translation: The Hidden One is a god, and lowly mortals are shit outta luck. I’m paraphrasing.

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Knowledge is power, and though Crane and Abbie have a pretty solid idea where Jenny might be being held, they don’t know how to free her from the shard. Joey joins the “what if” party at the archive, where Crane always conveniently has a revolutionary story to go with the MOTW. In Sumerian, The Hidden One is known as Etu Ilu, and the glowing red eye in the center of his staff is the source of his “absolute power.” Once again, the Scoobies are thanking god for books and Crane’s man-crush Ben Franklin (Abbie: “His favorite…”), because those tell them that the red gem was known in Crane’s time as the “Eye Of Providence.” The key to saving Jenny may lie in the Rules Of Masonic Law. The Rules Of Masonic Law lie in the oldest lodge house in the country at the University of Albany. Just past the raging (daytime?) toga party. Which none of you giffed, so you are all dead to me.

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Frat boys dodged and book in hand, Crane tells Abbie and Joe what the Eye Of Providence has to do with General George Washington (riiiiise up). Washington came somehow into possession of the Eye and asked Paul Revere (Joe: “I’m still not used to the way you name drop.”) to examine the staff for him. Revere’s apprentice Jonathan touched the Eye with his bare skin, becoming consumed by it, like Jenny is. With no cure in sight, Jonathan sacrifices himself; he stays in the country, far enough away from the nearest village so that when he blows, his is the only human life lost. If the Eye stays within a human too long, that human essentially becomes a bomb. So, not only is Jennifer Mills in grave danger, but Sleepy Hollow itself is mission critical. A clock is running, but Team Witness doesn’t know when it will stop.

The key to defusing the Jenny-bomb lies in the past. Revere has scribbled Dumas code in the margins of the Masonic text. It says that after the blast (and Jonathan’s death), he was able to “draw out” the eye from the young man’s corpse with the staff. (Abbie: “I really hope you’re about to say, ‘I think I’ve seen that staff before.”) Crane has seen it; on the day that he brought a message and his condolences to Revere at his silver smithy. Revere is broken, which is probably why he allows Crane to see him melting down a strange metallic artifact. Washington had instructed Revere to “hide” the Eye, which he did by changing the staff’s shape: hence, the shard. Here’s where the “what if” comes in: Abbie theorizes that the shard can contain the power of the Eye but it can also mask it. Pandora required Nevins’s services to find it for her. For someone who finds humans so useless, Pandora certainly needed them to do a lot of her evil legwork. Anyway, Abbie heads back to the SHPD to find the shard in evidence lock-up.

Meanwhile, Sophie (remember Sophie?) is interrogating Nevins one last time. Rather, she’s appealing to him. She liked him, she says. Even though she was undercover and he was kind of a dick, she doesn’t think he deserves the shitstorm coming to him if he doesn’t talk to the police. Nevins scoffs, because he’s already dead inside. The police have no jurisdiction in the war that Pandora and The Hidden One are about to start. There’s no real protection they can offer him.

Shard in hand, Abbie runs into Sophie outside the precinct. Abbie asks to be put in a room with Nevins; maybe he can tell her more about how the shard works. But it’s too late; Nevins is already being transferred. Pandora (looking super cute in her FBI kit, I must say) pays him a visit in the perp van. The treasure hunter was right: he’s served his purpose and he knows too much. Pandora chokes him out; when the women get near the van, they find that every officer who was outside when Pandora arrived is dead too. Sophie goes for back-up, Abbie advances, gun drawn.


You’ve got to respect Pandora’s persistence. Abbie just stepped over the bodies of her fallen comrades, but Pandora is still trying to pull her to the side of the immortals. “There is a place for you two witnesses in the new world,” she says. “You have a right, by lineage.” The prospect of eternal life holds no appeal to Abbie, not when her sister is at stake. “That’s beautiful,” Pandora answers. (I LOVE THIS PERFORMANCE.) “That’s family. But I’m sensing something festering. An old wound…you’ve failed her before, haven’t you?” OH, PANDORA. Nice try. Sure, her accusation triggers a flashback to baby Abbie’s denial of Jenny, but the sisters have long since patched up that wound. Jenny forgives Abbie, and that’s all that matters. If anything, the memory of that moment fires Abbie up even more. But before she can say as much to Pandora, Sophie appears. Pandora is gone.

After another exchange with Danny that belongs entirely in the #SassyHollow section, Abbie stocks up on the firepower Team Witness will need to challenge an actual god. (Joe: “I haven’t seen hardware like this since my last tour.”) She grabbed something else when she was looking through Nevins’s things: a book that looks “magical, old…you know, Crane-ish.” It’s a book of summoning spells in Norse and Latin – the words needed to beckon the monsters out of Pandora’s box. Could come in mighty handy, then.

Meanwhile, The Hidden One and Pandora are still doing their thing, making out on top of Jenny and slowly using her up. Frankly, the big bads don’t do much in this episode. Every “check-in” scene is basically the same; and I wish they’d been used a little more thoughtfully. Like, make me fear you, please.

The immortals are at home when Team Witness comes in hot. Armed with actual arms and Pandora’s own magic, they ambush the enemy. Or was the enemy waiting for them? Their resident soldier boy handles the “shock and awe;” Crane goes for the box; and Abbie is on Jenny duty. Pandora calmly greets her “unannounced guests,” coming face-to-face with Abbie in a repeat of their earlier stand-off. “I thought about your offer,” Abbie announces, “and I’m here to tell you that you can go to hell.” Pandora answers that the fate of the Mills sisters is sealed; no use in fighting it. “We’re stubborn that way,” Abbie counters. And then Crane takes Pandora out with a stun gun, because this episode was wild. Then everything happens at once. A grenade knocks the Hidden One away from Jenny. Abbie rushes to her with the shard. Jenny tells her to leave, of course – it’s too dangerous. Abbie will have none of that, thank you (“I’m never leaving you again.”), and uses the shard to pull the Eye’s power out of Jenny’s body. Crane finds the box on a pedestal and begins chanting incantations at it. This confused the hell out of me. What’s Crane trying to call forth? How does he know he’ll be able to control it when he does? Pandora comes to and throws out some counter spells. The box is suspended between them, like that thing in a cartoon where two people are calling a dog at the same time to find out who it likes better. It’s pretty clear that this detour is just a way to get Crane and Pandora away from Jenny and Abbie for a while so happens eventually can happen. It makes no sense and goes nowhere (the box drops back to the pedestal, nothing comes out of it) – a bit of sloppy script-writing in an otherwise cohesive half-season.

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The Hidden One comes to, because what’s a grenade to a god? (“What’s a god to a non-believverrrrr?”) He throws Abbie across the room; Joey shoots at him, but The Hidden One grasps the shard first. He crushes it in one hand, to Abbie’s horror. She scrabbles around for the pieces; they glow in her hand, the walls start to crumble around them. (Jenny: “Abbie, what have you done?”) Abbie suddenly looks calm – completely confident in what she knows she needs to do. “It’s the only way that I can save you,” she says to her sister. Crane sprints into the room just in time to watch Abbie ascend the stairs to Pandora’s tree, trunk open and waiting. He yells her name, she looks over to him. He shakes his head, almost imperceptibly (MY HEART). “Take care of each other,” Abbie instructs, and she disappears into the tree.

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A blast echoes through the chamber. Pandora’s box is destroyed. She and The Hidden One are gone. Crane comes to, to silence. He confirms that his family – Joe and Miss Jenny – are alive, before looking for any sign of Abbie. There is none. The tree has closed. He whispers her name.

My theory: Abbie has already been to purgatory. Now, she’s in Hell. And they better be scared of her. 4/10 Sandmen for creepiness. 8.5/10 Golems for total screaming insanity. #NoMoreAbbieMillsSacrifices2K16


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Danny Reynolds is testing me, my friends. And he’s testing Abbie too. I don’t think I’m being disloyal to my girl in saying that Agent Mills has DEFINITELY been pushing her luck when it comes to her boss. She owes him nothing as an ex, certainly, but all season she’s been enjoying the relative freedom that their history affords her. Sleepy Hollow makes almost no effort to ground the Witnesses’ story in reality – let me again remind you how remarkably unconcerned the entire town is with its skyrocketing mysterious death rate – and maybe that’s a necessary bit of avoidance. The buck stops at whatever character is playing Abbie’s boss. There must be a narrative reason for that person to help or look the other way when Witness business trumps police business. Frank was a believer; Danny is in love with her. (Pour one out for Sheriff Reyes, who just couldn’t find her place in the story for this exact reason.) In the mid-season finale, we find out that Danny was grooming Abbie for something on behalf of an unknown entity, but she finally strayed too far from the ranch for him to overlook.


Oh, right: sassiness. Abbie does not enjoy not being in the know. Sophie’s undercover op was news to her. Abbie takes Danny to task for keeping “her” mission a secret (“First of all, I have a name.”), and is frankly offended that neither of them are seeking her forgiveness. Worse still, they want to walk through Jenny’s interactions with Nevins again, blaming the implosion of the op on a person who might, as far as Abbie knows, very well be dead already. Later, Abbie is back in Danny’s office alone, and he again tries to have the come-to-Jesus. “Are you gonna tell me that this isn’t personal?” Abbie asks. On the real: this is not very chill of her. Nor was it chill for Danny to suggest in the bug lady episode that Abbie was stringing him along on purpose. The gloves are off with these two now, and they’re using their shared past to try to put each other back in line. It’s worth it for the murderous look that Abbie throws to Danny when she up and quits her job; he may be higher up on the payroll, but Abbie Mills will not stand for such a desperate pull of rank. That desperation must be linked to the top-secret, “don’t ever call this number” project for which Abbie is a potential “asset.” Would that network lines would blur and Sleepy‘s next crossover be with Agents Of SHIELD. Melinda May and Abigail Mills side-by-side in a firefight? Give it to me now.

(That mystery voice on the phone obviously told Danny to get Abbie back at all costs, right? Hence his later voicemail groveling.)

AS DISCUSSED ABOVE, there is a SAD, SAD lack of gifs for the University of Albany toga party scene. Shame on you, fandom. Enjoy it here in its entirety. Animal House parodies may have had their day, but would you have wanted to miss out on Ichabod Crane confusing a dollar store John Belushi with the term “master mason”? I doubt it.

The search for Jenny’s cure left little time for comedy, but I want to give a special shout-out to Crane’s snit at having his artistic merit questioned.

Crane: “Could I sketch it? I was painting oils while Gilbert Stuart was still shredding snuff in Narragansett!”
Joe: “So, that’s a ‘yes’?”

A Mills sister down? Hardly a laughing matter. 4/10 Donut Holes for Sass.


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I find it very interesting that now that Team Witness is essentially a neverending double date, the evil they face is a pair of lovers. Joenny is canon, lest you forget all the smooching in the last episode. And Ichabbie is a done deal, no matter how long they wait to jump in the sack. Joe and Jenny are new, but the Crane and Abbie partnership we know well. We know that it never involves ego or keeping score. We know that a win for one of them is a win for both of them. They make each other better. They anchor each other in times of uncertainty, but they always tell each other the truth. And Joe and Jenny have already established incredible trust too. Team Witness is the stronger for it, and PLEASE GOD don’t let Sophie Foster cannonball in and disturb my calm waters. I want to like her.

So much good has come from these two partnerships, and now they’re facing a love that consumes everything in its path. Pandora and The Hidden One claim to be building something, but one gets the feeling that they’re so wrapped up in each other that they’ve decided anything extraneous must be destroyed. “For you, I would break eternity,” is a deep, poetic thing to say to someone. But it’s also fucking crazy, and these are the kinds of couples who quickly lose all their friends because the PDA is just too much.

Contrast that mindset with Crane’s when he talks Joe down from a ledge. Joe’s not an aggressive person unless he needs to be, but he is combat trained. He’s also a survivor of a kind of possession, and the scars from that experience are still fresh. He’s also crazy about Jenny, and all of these things add up to a man who wants to tear the world apart until he gets her back. Joe is so despairing that he begins flirting with the idea of becoming the wendigo again, and that’s when Crane puts up the roadblock. Kindly, though.

Crane: “There are lines we do not cross. Forces we do not unleash. Or else we risk the very humanity for which we fight.”
Joe: “Yeah, I get the logic. Just doesn’t make me feel any better.”
Crane: “I know. Often, when love grips the heart, logic can abandon the mind. We will save Miss Jenny, and when we do, she will need you in the form of a man, not a beast.”

And Crane knows from doing fool-ass things for love, doesn’t he?

When he tells Joe that Jenny won’t want to reunite with a beast, he’s not just talking about physical form. The actual act of cursing himself would change Joe fundamentally. If he were to give up his humanity willingly, he would no longer be the person that Jenny loves. (Or likes a whole lot; idk, it hasn’t been long.) He’s not failing her by drawing the line Crane refers to; he’ll work just as hard to find another way. Pandora and Mr. Pandora might think him weak for it; I say it shows strength.

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So Abbie Mills just quit her job – her CAREER, since she was looking to rise up the ranks; and she’s on her way to intercept her sister from a vengeful god and his immortal wife. And yet she still wants to hear Crane play their greatest hits on the way into battle. He centers her, and vice versa. Ichabbie are always reminding each other who they are. And that’s more than the collection of enemies they’ve bested. What a precious scene this is: Abbie asks what Crane thinks their chances are of winning this one, and Crane is like, “Listen, we’ve gotten a lot better. Really solid effort. Great hustle out there. Maybe gonna die, but we’re going to try really hard.” They both know very well that this might be it for any one of them, but they couldn’t be more confident in each other. Abbie’s never not profiling, and she wonders aloud if her love for Jenny is impairing her judgement. “Your spirit and mine is made of far heartier stock,” Crane reminds her. “It is because we care. Come what may.” Me: Finish the lyric, Crane. FINISH THE LYRIC.

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Look, this episode wasn’t going to end well. I knew it from the moment I heard the morose foreshadowing from that barrel of laughs, Paul Revere. (“Don’t let anyone in too close. When you love them, it will break you.”) And with Jenny in peril, it seemed that either she or Abbie would be the victim of the mid-season finale curse. My queen, you do deserve better than this. The plotting was a little slipshod down in Pandora’s lair; I’m still not clear on how Abbie knew she’d have to sacrifice herself to the tree. (That is…a sentence I just wrote.) But she does it without coercion. It’s not guilt that drives her to do it, it’s the promise she made to herself to protect her sister at all costs. It kills me that Jenny and Joe were both out cold at this moment, so her last instruction is directed to Crane and Crane only. Keep everyone together. I trust you. And I know you’ll understand this.

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Of all the times Crane has called Abbie by her first name, this is BY FAR MY LEAST FAVORITE. 7/10 Fist Bumps for Shippiness.

Thoughts For The Archives

  • RIP Atticus Nevins, he was interesting. Will the August Corbin trail pick back up now that Sophie’s in the fold?
  • Joey punching people. That’s all. Just…Joey punching people. Also his arms glistening in the moonlight, which is word-for-word what I wrote in my notes.
  • “This plan of ours is crazy.” “Is that a question?”
  • “So all we have is a working knowledge of Sumerian and a very depressing Masonic book?” Hey, now you’re catching on!

I’m so ready for this show to come back, ya’ll. Come what may. (New Sleepyhead motto?) Leave your thoughts about the winter finale in the comments!

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5 thoughts on ““There are lines we do not cross” – Sleepy Hollow Recap – Novus Ordo Seclorum

  1. Anna says:

    Yay! I’ve been waiting for this. I’m missing this show so much and I love your recaps. My thoughts: I’m not sure Nevins is gone for good, despite the blood. No body. I’m wondering if perhaps he’s not quite human.
    What is the witnesses lineage that gives them a place in the new world??
    That was a fantastic summary of what makes ichabbie so great. Don’t mess epic love up with stupid side diversions. They have enough on their plates. And I want to like Sophie too.
    Anyway I could go on. (I’ve got no one to talk about this with.) Looking forward to a solid 3b.

  2. Saved reading this until the day of my beloved show’s return. Because I knew it would be balls-to-the-wall awesome (it is) and also because I am trying to parse out all the bits of happy this show gives me. Plus I am caring for my Mom after major open-heart surgery, and am therefore in the land of no Internet, DVR or premium cable. Just me, blowing up my phone’s data plan and thanking God for On Demand. This was wonderful, Sage: you hit all the high points and had me spitting out my drink several times (“Maybe gonna die, but we’re going to try really hard”) (“let me again remind you how remarkably unconcerned the entire town is with its skyrocketing mysterious death rate”) Keep those feels coming, gals! So grateful! IS IT 8:00 YET?????

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