Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 10
“Incident at Stone Manor”
Posted by Sage
I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but it is GOING DOWN AT SLEEPY HOLLOW. Instead of throwing everything at us in its mid-season premiere, the show established a new, sorrowful normal and then waited until the next episode to fully unleash. Sure, the monster-of-the-week is a guy in horns and gray body paint (Fox Mulder, somewhere, smugly: “It’s pronounced ‘gar-goo-eeee.'”), but this. This episode right here is all about Grace Abigail Mills, queen of our hearts and minds, and her escape from yet another metaphysical prison. Tangentially, it’s also about her Biblical life partner, because they’re too co-dependent for even solitary confinement in Sumerian God Jail to keep them apart. The UST is literally burning a hole in my hand right now, so let’s get to the rankings.
To assist his soul in finding Abbie’s (as if that thirsty motherfucker needs the help), Jenny has stocked the cabinet with three totems from the Mills family. It’s sort of like giving a police dog a whiff of clothing to get a scent, only much more woo-woo. The items are Grace Dixon’s journal, a necklace that belonged to their mother and then to Jenny, and a lighter that Jenny lifted from their father’s house. I expect that Ezra Mills will appear again before the season is out and in a much more significant way, but Joenny’s light B&E made for an unexpected introduction to the man who left their family. Anyway, the job is just another excuse for Joe and Jenny to do some sexy scheming. With her stealthy fearlessness and his deceivingly boy-next-door handsomeness, they could run this town. They already DO. (P.S. Joey, I’d totally vote for you for the Hot Good Neighbor award or whatever the fuck. In a second.)
Jenny offers to do the ritual instead of Crane, but she’s well aware she’ll be rejected. Crane believes that Miss Jenny could move mountains if she wanted to, but this isn’t about ability. They are the Witnesses. He is responsible. And this is his job. The team lights a candle in the cabinet for his lifeline; once it’s burned completely down, Crane’s soul will be called back. Jenny reads the incantation (“Spirit to its target race…”) and Crane’s head slumps forward. Joe finds a weak but steady pulse, and they leave him to his work.
JOENNY SIDE-BAR: I love this dynamic. I love that Jenny keeps trying to push Joey away, and that Joey’s response is always “lolokay.” I love that she challenges him to be scared of her and looks pleased when he’s not. I love that he’s as much of an adrenaline junkie as she is and not turned off by her moodiness. They’re good for each other. And, friendly reminder, also very hot.
MEANWHILE in god knows where (like literally, the Hidden One knows where), Abbie is having her Jemma Simmons moment. It’s remarkable how much “Incident at Stone Manor” resembles “4,722 Hours,” the SHIELD episode from this season that finally showed fans what Simmons endured while trapped in the monolith. Unlike Simmons, Abbie doesn’t have to hunt for strange food or find water or even rest. She’s not at risk of starvation or dehydration, but she has no pleasures either. It’s a prison of loneliness. Abbie’s enemy in this place is her own madness. She staves it off by collecting data, exploring the area and mapping it on her wall. And she staves it off by talking to Crane, the person whose responses she can most clearly hear in her head. (Hey! It’s finally a good thing that he never shuts up.) In the SHIELD episode, Simmons recorded messages on her phone to her platonic partner-pal who she definitely doesn’t want to kiss ever, Fitz. AND THEN THEY KISSED. Because if sci-fi television has taught me one thing (also, hello Doctor Who‘s “Hell Bent”), it’s that it can sometimes take the universe’s involvement to get your main characters to realize some shit.
Abbie perks up when she begins to hear Crane’s real voice, not just her approximation of it. He’s almost there, but he needs her to remember their bond and hold it in her mind. (She’s like, bitch, what do you think I’ve been doing for ten months?) Finally, he appears, and Abbie looks like a drowning person who just set eyes on dry land. “Please be real, please be real,” she whispers to herself. She charges forward to throw her arms around his neck, and stumbles through the ether. He’s just a projection, quite literally there in spirit. All the tenth Doctor vibes. Did we trip and fall into Bad Wolf Bay? (“I’m still just an image, no touch.”)
So Crane can’t give her the colonial bear hug her heart needs, but he can put some of his translation skills to work. The hieroglyphs on the walls of Abbie’s prison are ancient Sumerian. He begins to read them, but not before Abbie can make him understand how key her faith in him was for her survival. “Thank you, Crane. For never giving up on me,” she says. He won’t take the praise, turning back to the icons and saying, “I only did as I knew you would had our roles been reversed.” She admits that she imagined speaking with him, and that they even played chess. “Don’t worry, I haven’t completely lost it.” He looks down at her intently, both worried about how long she can hold out on her sanity if they can’t immediately free her and a little flabbergasted at her words.
Pausing on the shippiness for a moment, can I give some love to Nicole Beharie? This is her episode, and she owns it. If genre shows were still viable award contenders, I’d tell her to submit this piece and wait for the trophies to be thrown in her direction. This is such a challenging performance to pull off. Abbie is on the brink of something terrible, but so very trained and determined. If Nicole had held back too much or played it too manic, it would have been a disaster. If anyone who belongs to the voting body of anything, I beg you: DO NOT SLEEP on genre shows, even network ones. There’s work like this being done on them, and attention outside the fandom must be paid. Also, memo to Nicole and the Hair/Make-Up department: keep the natural hair for Abbie, it’s BANGING.
The walls say that the Eye of Providence is the way out of that place, and great, Abbie has kept it safe. It’s deactivated though, now a dull clear instead of glowing red. Before the Witnesses can begin to work out how to wake it up again, Pandora arrives, having used the pathway that Crane’s soul cleared for her. If they give her the Eye, Pandora offers in trade, she’ll let them come back. She should be aware by now just who the fuck she’s dealing with; no sale, say the witnesses. Pandora is a projection as well and can’t physically threaten Abbie. However. “I can’t touch you,” she says, “but i can touch him.” She takes the cutlass Abbie found out in the wilderness and severs Crane’s tether. His soul is lost, floating free. “There are fates worse than death, Abbie,” Pandora coos. “How long will you be able to stand the solitude?” Abbie can’t help it; she’s crying, all hope seemingly lost, the one person who could find her in this place gone. She makes like she’s going to hand over the Eye, and then smashes it with a rock. Like a boss. “In chess, we call that move a sacrifice. On the face it presents a loss, but in the end, it gives tactical superiority.” Pandora is PISSED, and visibly afraid of going back to face her lov-ah empy-handed. She assures Abbie that she’ll rot, and then she’s gone.
Alone again (naturally), Abbie goes back to what she knows. Her memory of Crane kept her alive for ten months; what else can it do? She enters Witness mode, this time playing both parts. Crane had recognized the cutlass as having once belonged to Betsy Ross. (Everyone: *heavy sigh*) If Betsy was able to escape but left her cutlass behind, it must have served a strategic purpose. (When was Betsy Ross in a Sumerian prison and why? We’ll probably find out, but I’m afraid I actively don’t care.) Abbie charges back outside to where she found it, recreating Betsy’s steps. The cutlass was a stay for a rope. Abbie reasons that Betsy lowered herself into door between worlds that’s masquerading as a well. No options, no eye, no astral projections to help, Abbie takes her last, best chance and does the damn thing. First, she makes sure that her partner’s soul is tagging along. One “lieutenant” and she’s reassured. “Stay with me, Crane,” she murmurs, and begins to repel down. She emerges from the same lake where the Hidden One and Pandora were preparing Jenny for consumption a few months back, and knows she’s home when she sees the trail of a plane in the sky. You know what I love? Reunions.
Crane’s candle has long since burned out, though his pulse is still there. Abbie tells Joenny what happened. “That means he’s still out there, alone,” Jenny says. “Not alone,” Abbie counters. “Not ever.” Never. World to world, time to time, the tether between Abbie Mills and Ichabod Crane can never be cut. Abbie takes Crane’s hand and speaks to him softly. “I told you to stay with me, Crane. That we would make it out together.” He wakes with a start, looking directly into her eyes, his hand in hers. His first word? What else? “Lieutenant,” Crane says. “Oh, thank heavens.” He BARELY brushes her chin with the tip of his thumb, murdering me in 700 different ways. He followed her voice. She’s the only totem his soul needed to make it back. ANYWHERE IN TIME AND SPACE and a few words from Abbie Mills brought him home. At this point, their hands are STILL intertwined, fear and wonder keeping either of them from wanting to let go, even for a moment. “In the catacombs,” Crane begins weightily, looking into Abbie’s eyes, “I didn’t get a chance to tell you…” And Master Corbin is ME, because Joey looks like his favorite ship is about to become canon. Whatever Crane was about to say is lost, because he seems to suddenly realize that they have an audience. “Your move to counter my queen’s knight four, that was a false gambit. I’d have outfoxed you handily.”
Maddening, no? But it HURTS SO GOOD. If you read these recaps regularly, you know I’m an advocate for the slow burn. I LOVE THE PAIN. But I see so much progress in this scene that has nothing to do with Crane chickening out and making a chess joke. My impression has always been that it’s Abbie who is holding back, because she implicitly knows that there’d be no take-backsies if she ever encouraged Crane in his rather obvious feelings. But god, tonight? She was ready. She was ready to hear whatever he was going to say, even if she was relieved when he veered out of it. I’m so, so sorry for bringing this up, but remember Crane’s awkward courtship of Zoe. He’s still a man of his time in many ways, and that includes matters of the heart. I think he’d find it rather ungentlemanly to put Abbie on the spot in public, even if public only includes her sister and (let’s face it) brother-in-law. He’s not that kind of man. And the time will come. From the rumblings I’m hearing about this week’s episode, the time might come very, very soon.
In the words of Drizzy, JUST HOLD ON, WE’RE GOIN’ HOME. 9/10 Fist Bumps for Shippiness. NOW PUT YOUR FACES TOGETHER.
The incident of the title is the murder of a government contractor working on the restoration of Stone Manor, a historic landmark. In Crane’s absence, Sophie calls in her monster-hunting pals Joe and Jenny to help her investigate. (I use the term “pals” loosely, since Jenny, in the manner of a reality show contestant, is not here to make friends.) Looking at the photo of the pre-construction building, Jenny notices that one of the parapet’s four gargoyles in now gone. Man in suit, your time has come.
As Sleepy monsters go, the gargoyle is no tooth fairy or anything. It’s also the secondary plot here, since the search for Abbie Mills overshadows everything. But a murder is a murder, and it must be solved. Joe and Jenny assist Sophie in wrangling the missing gargoyle by channeling their inner Ichabbie (more in Sass), telling Sophie that there must be some kind of Revolutionary connection that will point them in the right direction. The connection here? The French craftsman who oversaw the rebuilding of this part of a European cathedral on American soil. EVERYBODY GIVE IT UP FOR AMERICA’S FAVORITE FIGHTIN’ FRENCHMAN.
In the historic record, Sophie and Joenny find that Lafayette stipulated in his will that his papers be kept under the sign of the cross, protecting them from the demons conjured by the British. Yes, the gargoyles are the work of King George’s men, who unleashed them against Betsy Ross in a riiiiiiiiiiiiii-god-damn-diculous fight scene. (Ho, why is you here?) So it’s consecrated or otherwise godly objects that provide the best defense against this enemy. Jenny’s idea is to throw holy water at the gargoyle, but Sophie (reasonably) is worried that a splash of Jesus might not be enough. The building is a construction site after all; why not drown him in the cement he came from? Joey mediates a budding argument, pointing out that the plans can work in tandem. They draw the gargoyle out, and Jenny tricks it into jumping into the cement pit. Joey wields the hose, and another demon has been neutralized. But basically no1curr, because there’s Ichabbie business to attend to. Oh well, gotta fill that airtime.
Srsly, I wish Fox Mulder were here to see this. But when is that ever not true? 3/10 Sandmen.
Well, we learned at New York Comic Con that Zach Appelman does a mean Tom Mison, and finally he got to try it out on the show. But most of this episode’s sass comes from Jennifer Mills and her inherent distrust of Sophie, the new kid on the block. Like her sister’s, Jenny’s face can be unreadable when she wants it to be, but when she doesn’t care if you know how she feels about you, watch out. It’s enough that she’s let Joe into the circle; must she be asked to do the teamwork thing with another outsider so soon? (“You don’t speak French.”) Sophie and Jenny seem cut from the same cloth, even though Jenny picked a life of crime (but like, cool crime) and Sophie dedicated herself to the law. I can see them being great friends in the future, but for now I’m enjoying their combative dance around each other, and what it’s doing to Joe.
Serious business is afoot, and there’s little time for sarcasm. 3.5/10 Donut Holes for sass.
What the damn hell, Pandora? Where’s your self respect? Pandora has gone from badass, shape-shifting lizard lady to sad, clingy girlfriend since The Hidden One showed up and I AM LIVID. While he lounges on his throne (WHERE DID HE GET IT), she’s the one who has to go chasing after the Witnesses in order to keep her man happy. There’s a power imbalance: he’s a god, she’s at least part mortal. But, as all women must eventually learn, no one can take your power from you unless you let them. And Pandora lets him. In fact, she looks ASHAMED. BE YOUR OWN WINDKEEPER, PANDORA. The way that she allows him to deplete her to replenish his own powers is so infuriating that I’m actually rooting for her. In fact, I can see an end to this storyline where Pandora gets real tired of The Hidden One’s shit and actually changes sides. GIRL DO IT. You may be a crazy bitch, but don’t forget that it was you who did all the work. Don’t let him waltz in and take the glory.
Anyone else get the feeling that The Hidden One will drop Pandora as soon as she stops serving a purpose? She dead. 5/10 Golems.
Thoughts for the Archives:
- Not for nothing, but I wrote “HER ASS” in my notes at one point and I think we all know who I was talking about.
- Why did those other workman DRIVE OFF when one forgot his phone? Did he even have another ride? Also what kind of government contractors are so dedicated that they work that long into the night? I’ve worked for the government, and let me tell you, IT’S A STRETCH.
- “And what, Jefferson was a hologram?” “He told you about that?”
- GOD BETSY ROSS IS SO BORING.
- Hi Danny, bye Danny.
- Joe said, “I hope you know you can trust me with what’s going on in here,” and TOUCHED HIS HEART. What a goober, I love him.
- Crane and Joe have boys nights where they play Scrabble. Someone fic this immediately.
- “Is he around?” “Well, yes and no.”
- “You know, I had an ex-boyfriend like that. Lots of attitude, head full of rocks.” We all agree this is Hawley shade, y/y?
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, Sleepy Heads. Our ship is coming in, I can feel it. Kim will be your recapper for this week’s episode. FINALLY, the Kindred is comin’ home to roost. LET’S GO.