Sleepy Hollow, Shakespeare, and Sorkin – An Interview with Zach Appelman

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Posted by Kim and Sage

One recent sunny Sunday in New York City, we had the pleasure of a leisurely coffee date with Sleepy Hollow‘s Joe Corbin and frequent stage actor Zach Appelman. Fresh off of his role as Diomedes in the Public’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Troilus and Cressida (which we saw from the front row on a magical, rainy night), Zach sat down with us to talk about the pros and cons of fandom culture, the intersection of sci-fi and Shakespeare, and pranking Lyndie Greenwood. We covered a lot of ground, so let’s get right to it:

Sage: What was the con experience like for you?

Zach: New York Comic Con was my first one, I had never done any of those before! It was fantastic! What was interesting was that I hadn’t done that stuff before but from theatre, any time you do a play you do those Q&A talkbacks, so that part wasn’t foreign. But it was just really exciting, there was so much positive energy. You know I had never been to a con before, even as a fan, so I never knew what they were really about. There was something about walking around on the floor and I was like “Oh, I get it. This is a place where people of all ages can come and everyone is here because they fucking love these stories and they can go and celebrate that where no one is going to judge them.” There was such a sense of positivity and community there, it’s fantastic.

Team #SleepyHollow is in the building! #NYCC

A photo posted by Head Over Feels (@headoverfeelsdotcom) on

Sage: We met Lyndie in San Diego and she was in a FULL cosplay that she had made herself and we were like “Oh, you are a NERD.”

Zach: Both she and Tom really love comics and graphic novels.

Kim: Her costume was a character that was SO obscure. She was late to the brunch she and Orlando hosted BECAUSE she was putting it together.

Zach: I’m really sad I won’t be there this year. I’m thinking of just crashing.

HOF: You SHOULD crash.

Lyndie Greenwood and Zach Appelman Sleepy Hollow NYCC

Sleepy Hollow panel at NYCC 2015. Source: HOF

Zach: We did WonderCon in LA which was great. That one was really tricky because it was the week before the episode where I was getting killed. Lyndie and I were both trying our best to put a positive spin on what was going to happen without spoiling it. It was a really interesting time to try and do the promotion because we both knew what was coming and we couldn’t say anything about it.

Kim: It was so funny because we KNEW you were doomed when you were doing all the press for the week that episode. We were like “Oh, shit! He’s doomed.” (Zach laughs). How far in advance did you know that you were being killed off?

Zach: I found out a couple of episodes ahead of time, so about three weeks before we started shooting, which is not a lot of time. You get that phone call and you know it’s one of three things. It’s either we’ve been picked up for another season, we’ve been canceled, or you’re off the show. We really didn’t see it coming. We knew at that point there was a possibility of Nicole leaving, so because that was already happening, I don’t think any of us thought there’d be another death. It was a rough phone call. I had to call Lyndie and tell her.

HOF: Oh no!

Zach: It was not fun, there was a fair amount of drinking after. It was a bummer though. I had such a good time. The loss of the job ends up not being the thing that’s a bummer. It was having to say goodbye to everybody. But this business and this profession is so inconstant anyway. I could get a call tomorrow saying “Oh, you’re on Game of Thrones” and even then, you get that dream job and it could be gone in a second. I think in order to not go crazy in this profession, you have to really just be comfortable with never knowing where you are going to be in a month. Even if you get a nice long theatre gig that lasts four months, it’s only four months! It’s such a weird profession. You don’t ever get a job and it’s like “Oh I have a job now for the next few years!”, you know?

Kim: You’re a gypsy.

Zach: Yep. You could book a lead role on a new pilot and you don’t know whether it will be picked up. It can be picked up and then canceled after episode 3. I’m learning to be really zen about it.

Kim: This was your first major foray into television, right?

Zach: Yeah, all the stuff I had done before had been one episode guest star things, so this was the first time I was an extended series regular, which was a really great experience. I got lucky. I had great people to work with and they gave me a lot of material. Because you can also get picked up as a series regular and move to Atlanta and end up being in one scene per episode which means you’re working one day a week. And then all of the sudden you’re just out of place twiddling your thumbs. I knew going out there that could be the case. I had no idea what the plan was for me for the season. It ended up just being a wonderful thing where I would get the script and go “Oh, I have a STORY. I have a plot, I have a lot to do.”

Source: Fox

Kim: For a lot of the season it felt like Joe and Jenny had their own spinoff.

Zach: Yeah! We got to hold down the B-Story. Which I think was something in the past that Sleepy Hollow had struggled to figure out. It’s a logistical thing too when you have two lead characters and you don’t have a solid B-Story, you’re going to have two actors who just get worked to the bone. So part of it came from the necessity of being like “We need to figure out a way to make sure we’re taking care of our actors by sharing the work.” I was glad to be a part of that.

Sage: Had you watched everything up until that point?

Zach: When I came in for Season Two, I actually wasn’t familiar with the show when I got the audition.

Sage: And to your knowledge, it was only going to be for that one episode.

Zach: At that point, yeah. It was just going to be a one-off. When I got the audition, I had like 5 days to prepare, so I went on iTunes and downloaded season one of Sleepy and got up to speed really quick. I was like “Oh, this show is fantastic!” I went out there and did that first episode. The writer, Heather Regnier (I love her, by the way, she’s fantastic), she talked while I was out there and floated that if they got a season three, they would love to have me back. It was a whole lot of hypothetical at the time, so it wasn’t anything that I was expecting. So it was a nice surprise.

Sage: It made so much more sense. Having watched through season two when Hawley just kind of shows up and you’re like “Who’s this guy? Where did he come from?” I found it was hard for them to integrate him in a way that made it grounded and with Joe it was like, these people have a history with him.

Zach: I will give a 30 second loving on to Matt Barr (Hawley) though. When I was out there for season two, it’s such a weird thing to come out as a guest star. You fly out to North Carolina, where we were shooting at the time, and you’re put up at a hotel for two weeks. You can feel bizarrely displaced. That first night I got to North Carolina, there was a grocery store across the street. I went to buy coffee and beer for my hotel room, the essentials, you know? I had my six pack of Shiner and my coffee and I’m standing in line and I look at the line opposite me and there’s this absurdly tall, handsome, shaggy, blond man. I look at him and he looks at me and we hadn’t met but we were both just kind of like “Sleepy Hollow?” “Yeah!” And he ALSO had a six pack of beer, so we went and introduced ourselves, because he was at the hotel too. We ended up just going back to the hotel that night and having a bunch of beers by the pool. It was like INSTANT FRIEND with Matt Barr. It was really really nice to be out there and have a buddy. Did you guys ever see Hatfields and McCoys? It’s REALLY good and Matt’s one of the main characters in it and he’s so fucking good. So anyone who’s ONLY familiar with him from Sleepy Hollow needs to go watch it. It’s SO good. Anyway. That’s just my plug for Matt Barr.

Kim: You’ve obviously got a theatre background, and Tom does too…

Zach: And Nicole too! Nicole came out of Julliard. I think her first few gigs…she did a big play at Lincoln Center. The three of us had very similar backgrounds. Yale, where I went, and Julliard have very similar programs that overlap. So Nicole and I realized we had a lot of friends in common.

Kim: I feel like a lot of these genre shows attract classically trained actors. You look at Doctor Who, Outlander, Sleepy Hollow…all of these genre shows booking really strong actors and yet you don’t get the credit for the work you’re doing.

Zach: It’s interesting because I heard Patrick Stewart talk about this in an interview, so I’m going to steal from him. It’s the same thing with him, you know, and Ian McKellan, who are known for theatre and then genre films and TV. Someone was asking him about that and he said there’s a lot of overlap between the skill sets you need to do classical theatre and the skill sets to do genre and sci-fi/fantasy. You’re often taking scripts that are not completely realistic and the language is often heightened. I mean, you look at the language used in Lord of the Rings: it’s not colloquial English, it’s big, it’s epic. It’s the same task that you have if you’re doing a Shakespeare play: how can I take language that isn’t realistic and make it truthful? AND not try and apologize for the fact that the language isn’t realistic. When you try to do Shakespeare and try to make it sound colloquial, which is what a lot of modern actors and a lot of YOUNG actors try to do because they’re like “Oh everything needs to be ‘realistic'” so they take Romeo and Juliet and add a lot of “ums” and stuttering and breaking it up, when you actually just have to embrace the fact that this is big language. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be truthful. And it’s the same thing if you say “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”, you know? It’s epic and it’s big and I think that’s WHY a lot of casting directors find that classically trained actors have a knack for being able to sell that material.

Kim: Some of my favorite moments in Sleepy Hollow would be where Tom would just let loose. What was that one episode where he just speechified…

Zach: All of them?

Kim: Oh! It was when he was trapped in the room with the Hidden One and he was just going off about Shakespeare and poetry and it was just like look at you GO, Tom.

Zach: Ichabod, the way Tom plays him, could be a character completely at home in an Oscar Wilde play, in a Noel Coward play. The way that Tom’s able to make that dialogue pop: one, it’s just his own wonderfully unique sense of humor and personality, but there’s also a lot of technique in making those lines land and getting the wit of it. That’s something that I think you learn on stage and you learn through trial and error because one night the audience doesn’t laugh, the next night you change it and they laugh a little more, and the next night you change the pause and you get the big laugh. It’s finding where the rhythm is. It’s hard to learn on camera because you don’t have that immediate response but if you spend years and years figuring that shit out on stage, you start to get a knack of the little technical things. It’s why I think Tom can do that so brilliantly.


Kim: At New York Comic Con last year, a friend tweeted us after the panel saying he had seen you play Henry V. We were like “We had no idea he was a Shakespeare!”

Zach: I mean, basically most of my work when I got out of drama school was all classical theatre. I haven’t done a contemporary play since I’ve been in New York. It’s been all period stuff. I was getting ready to do Hamlet when I was doing my first episode of Sleepy Hollow, so it was a wonderful position of being in my trailer and learning my lines for Hamlet and then coming on set and turning into a wendigo. But I love it. I love doing both. I want to keep doing both.

Kim: What’s it like, at your age, to have DONE Hamlet and Henry V? Those are some MAJOR Shakespeare roles.

Happy 400th anniversary…Thanks for all the plays…. #shakespeare400thanniversary #mybooks

A photo posted by Zach Appelman (@zachappelman) on

Zach: It’s all down hill after that, right? No, and there’s no shortage of great Shakespeare roles for men throughout your life. You can literally go through the canon, working your way from Romeo to Henry to Hamlet to Macbeth to Iago to Lear. I was really happy to get to do Hamlet and Henry V pretty young, younger than they’re often cast. You often see a 40-year-old actor playing Hamlet and Henry V and part of that is simply because you need a certain amount of experience in order to be ready to do those roles. Neither of those roles are starter roles. Any actor who’s a big name wants to play that role, you still want to play it when you’re 45 and you should still get to do it. But they are both really young men, you know? Hamlet’s a college student, Henry V when he invaded France was 26 or 27. So with both of those I got to do them around the age they actually WERE, which is really nice.

With Hamlet, with all the endless scholarly shit that’s been written about it, the simplest thing is it’s a play about a boy who’s just lost his father. Simple storytelling: kid’s away at college, his dad dies, he comes home, and everyone else has gotten over it but he’s still mourning. The loss of a parent at ANY age is monumental but especially when you’re 20. A young man having to actually confront death for the first time in his life can really fuck you up, you know? You find yourself pondering those big questions. When you look at THAT way, it’s a really simple story and all of the philosophizing that goes on is really something any of us would do the first time we lose someone. We didn’t have to go into Freud and psychoanalysis and any of that stuff because it’s much simpler than that. I think when you have a 45 year old Hamlet who’s unmarried and at home with all these mommy issues, you’re dealing with an adult with some developmental problems, you know? (Laughs) When it’s a 20-year-old, you’re dealing with a really recognizable young man who’s on the cusp of adulthood and is not quite there yet and is really struggling with grief. It’s a different perspective than what we often see since it’s played older. Anyway. That was a tangent.

Hamlet at Hartford Stage

Hamlet at Hartford Stage

Sage: I saw Benedict Cumberbatch do it in London. The Tennant one is really great too.

Zach: I mean Richard Burton did it when he was in his late 40’s and he was phenomenal. So it’s not that it’s better or worse one way, but it’s nice to see that it can work in so many different ways.

Kim: How did Shakespeare in the Park come about?

Zach: I actually hadn’t worked at the Public before, it was my first time doing it. I was itching to do a play, cause I hadn’t done one in about a year because I had been fighting monsters in Atlanta. I had come back to New York after Sleepy Hollow and I was trying to get on another TV show. I had a bunch of things that I really wanted, that I got very very close to and didn’t get. Which, that’s what happens, you know? I was feeling pretty down about it and then my manager came to me and was like “Shakespeare in the Park would be an interesting thing for the summer. It’s not a HUGE role, but what do you think?” I thought about it and I thought it would be good for my SOUL to do. I’d been in the rough world of TV land for the past year and just being back outside, with an ensemble of actors was a really wonderful and refreshing thing. I’d really missed the audience interaction, which you don’t get on camera, or you don’t get until you go on Twitter, for better or for worse. There’s nothing like it, especially with Shakespeare in the Park because it feels like such an event, a New York institution. There’s a real sense of community when you’re doing it. I came out of it just being in a better head space than I was three months ago. It cleansed me a bit, in a wonderful way.

Kim: And performing in the rain?

Zach: You know, that’s thing. The night that you guys were there, by the end, I think the audience was an eighth full but the people who stayed were the people who really really wanted to see it. It ends up being the best audience you’ve ever performed for.

Sage: We left being like, we ALL collectively went through something: the ushers, the cast, everyone who was there was like, “We are committed to seeing this performance through.”

Zach: It is a communal experience, for sure. It’s something I don’t get when I’m filming a TV show for a crew and then four months later everyone sees it. It was such a nice thing to be back to.

Troilus and Cressida, The Public Theater

Sage: I only read a couple of the reviews, but they were all positive. You rarely see a good production of Troilus and Cressida because the play is so all over the place tonally. Did you have that opinion going in?

Zach: I had only seen one production of it that was done when I was in drama school. It’s rarely performed and it’s a really tricky play to make work. I think what was interesting was our production made people go “Oh, it can totally work.” I think it’s a real testament to Dan Sullivan, who directed it. I went into it not knowing if it would work. As an actor, I knew it would be a really fun challenge. I think I said to someone that if people are coming to Shakespeare in the Park this summer expecting a nice summer evening in the park, this is not a nice play. It’s men behaving at their WORST. My character especially was really horrible. I was like “People might REALLY hate this.” I think I was surprised that without sacrificing the darkness of that story that we were still able to make an enjoyable dramatic performance. There WAS a lot of humor in it. Somebody said that it was like Shakespeare read The Iliad and then wrote fan-fiction. If you go back and read The Iliad if you’re a giant nerd like me, it’s this heroic epic. And Shakespeare just comes in and undercuts the whole thing! He takes all these giant heroes and just says “Nah! These guys are flawed, petty, disgusting human beings.”

Kim: Like with Odysseus! He’s supposed to be a HERO!

Zach: And he organizes essentially a gang rape!

Sage: THAT SCENE. The scene with the bracelet, the way it was staged with the guys in the background, I was blown away by that. It was so uncomfortable.

Kim: We were in the FRONT ROW and we were all just like “Oh, GOD.”

Zach: It’s so contemporary. You talk about everything that’s in the news right now about rape culture and it’s ALL in that play and it’s not different than it is now, you know? That was something that I was very conscious of when we were doing it. If we’re doing a play that’s showing this, we can’t skirt away from it and we can’t try to lessen it. If we’re gonna show it, then we need to SHOW it. I don’t know what we’re saying ABOUT it other than drawing attention to it.

Sage: That alone is really powerful. Because so many people argue that doesn’t exist and you’re putting a stamp on it.

Zach: Setting it in a modern context especially.

Kim: And that was all Dan’s concept?

Zach: I think he really wanted it to be contemporary, setting it with the Greeks in desert camo. I don’t think it’s much as a comment on the modern military as it is just a comment on modern masculinity. That machismo that is so evident in that 400-year-old play is really no different than that culture today, whether you’re in a locker room, barracks, or on the street. That’s when I locked into it and said “Oh this is what we’re doing.” And what happens to these women as a result? Do they fight it? Do they not fight it? How can they assert themselves under these circumstances?

Also, it’s a war that’s being fought for something that no one but these two guys, Paris and Menelaus, believe in. Nobody keeps quiet about that. I think that’s pretty familiar today. It was a nice surprise. I didn’t know it was going to be such a successful production. It was a wonderful ensemble.

Kim: A lot of dudes being dudes.

Zach: A LOT of dudes being dudes.

Sage: It is very unsettling to sit in the audience with people running around you shooting guns that sound very, very real.

Closing Night. Gonna miss these beautiful clowns. #troilusandcressida #shakespeareinthepark @publictheaterny

A photo posted by Zach Appelman (@zachappelman) on

Kim: You’ve also worked with Julie Taymor.

Zach: Yeah. She’s so incredible. When I was in college taking my first theatre history classes, we watched documentaries about her. And then to get to be in the rehearsal room working with her was such a trip. I mean, she’s one of the greatest artists of our time. Really really doing things that no one else does. I can’t say enough amazing things about her. If you guys get a chance, we did a film of that Midsummer Night’s Dream that I did with her. It goes around to arthouse cinemas and screens every now and then, it did a screening at BAM earlier this summer. If it comes around again, I’ll let you know, I’ll tweet about it or something. It’s really beautiful. I hope it’ll end up on Netflix or something.

Sage: Would you want to do some contemporary plays?

Zach: I would love to, I would love to keep myself on my toes and challenge myself that way. Especially in New York, there’s so much star casting, which is completely understandable. If you’re going to do a Broadway show and charge $150 a ticket, people aren’t going to buy tickets unless they know something about the actor doing it. It’s different with Shakespeare in the Park, one because it’s free and two because it’s Shakespeare in the Park and you don’t have to rely on [star casting] as much. I’ll often find that with contemporary plays in New York, especially the big theatres, some of the great roles are not necessarily available to me in the way they are to others.

Kim: The stunt casting can be very frustrating.

Zach: But I get it! I think we’d like to be like “Oh, this is a new thing” but it’s always been like that. The ironic thing is that the best thing I can do for my theatre career is to keep doing as much film and television as possible. I want to do both, and you’re not making the decision to do one instead of the other. Ideally, every time I do a high-profile play, that leads to more television work. And that leads to more plays. It all just sort of builds. When I did that production of Hamlet out at Hartford Stage with Darko Tresnjak, who is one of the best directors out there, we really talked about wanting to do it together in New York. I said, “YOU could, but you’d have to replace me with Adam Driver.” And I don’t mean that disparagingly, he’s a fantastic actor and people in New York aren’t going to buy tickets to see ME in Hamlet. Well. Some people would. You guys would. (Laughs) If I did a couple more years on a successful TV show, it would be a different situation. I’d say to Darko, “Give me a couple more years, I’m going to try to get a little more famous.”

Sage: It was such an interesting thing that happened with Oscar Isaac and Hamlet and moving it TO The Public.

Zach: I would LOVE to see him play that role, I hope it still happens. I think he’s a tremendous actor.

Sage: It’s interesting when the director and the actor have this partnership that they can have the power to take it where ever they want.

Zach: That’s a luxury you have when you get to a certain point in your career. You can start doing things like that, which is wonderful. You can have that agency you don’t have earlier in your career. Oscar and Nicole were at Julliard at the same time. AND Adam Driver too. I’d pay to see Oscar Isaac do almost anything. Inside Llewyn Davis is one of my favorites. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I grew up on that kind of music.

Sage: What other stuff are you a big fan of, TV-wise?

Zach: Besides The West Wing.

Sage: Besides The West Wing. We’ll get to The West Wing. 

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In Appreciation Of Fanfiction

Posted by Kim and Sage

Sage: I have a problem with people telling me to be embarrassed about things that aren’t a source of personal shame. That problem being…I can’t. And it’s one of the great joys of being in my 30s.

I’ve been reading fic since I was 14, and never have I ever felt bad about myself while I was doing it. I used to be much quieter about it; it was something I shared with a select few friends if and only if I was sure they wouldn’t take the piss during morning announcements or something. I’m now more open about my preference for “original works based on existing media franchises” for two reasons: 1) I don’t care (I don’t caaaaaaare), and 2) I’ve seen how fan works of all kinds are used as ammunition in an ongoing attempt to erase the power and validity of certain fandom demographics.

And that was the impetus for this post, really. Last week, entertainment media collectively decided to canonize Eric Richardson, who is the author of a WIP fic based on Beyonce’s (perfect, groundbreaking, world-saving) visual album Lemonade. Vulture calls him “a fabulous human.” EW wrote a similarly worshipful profile. Meanwhile, talk show hosts are out here forcing James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender to read Cherik fic to each other and showing Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman explicit Johnlock fan art to provoke what they hope will be an amusingly horrified reaction. I’m so confused…did Richardson single-handedly validate the fanfic industry, or is he just excused from the regular mockery because he doesn’t fit the perceived author profile? (Female, dorky, sexless, sad.)

So we asked some of our readers and friends to send us their fanfic testimonials, whether they create or just consume. How did they discover their community? What do they get out of fic that they don’t get out of canon? And how do they feel about the fact that one of their main sources of joy and creativity is considered in many spheres to be taboo, or at least a very low form of expression?

Keep on reading for those brilliant reflections, but first, you’ll have to hear from us. Sorry. Co-editor privileges.

Like I was saying above, fic has been a part of my life since my family’s first dial-up internet connection. I’ve gone through intense phases, and I’m the kind of reader who sticks primarily with one pairing at a time. (No, not all fic is romantic or sexual, but like…I’m not here to fuck around, you know?) I love the democracy of fanfiction. Hop on any major archive and marvel at how many thousands of stories and millions of words are right there for the taking – stories that writers have spilled blood, sweat, and tears over. Those are free. Fans create for other fans, and then the portal is open. Writing itself can be a solitary activity, but less so here. Scenario: A reader sends a writer a prompt. The writer writes it. Hundreds of new readers read, comment, and form a fandom AROUND the fan work. Some of those readers create moodboards, gifsets, playlist, and trailers to go with that story that just made its way onto their favorites list. And that happens over and over again, until I can’t remember what a real book looks like.

There’s something equally comfortable and thrilling about starting a brand new story when you’re already intimately familiar with most of the characters. When I find something I love, I want to stay in it forever. But I also want to look at it from every angle, to have someone show me what would happen if these people were actually astronauts or baristas or reality show contestants or spies or a different gender. Which brings me to the elephant in the room: NC-17 fanfiction, or as the kids call it: “smut.” This post isn’t exclusively about the fic that would make your 1st grade teacher blush (though maybe she’s written a few of them, YOU don’t know), but the stories that come with an adult content warning are worth talking about, specifically. The ridicule that women especially get for reading or writing the sexy bits is born out of confusion and fear. There’s this whole underground UNIVERSE of literary exploration of sexuality happening where girls are largely in charge. And that scares the shit out of some people. People who liked it better when they could pigeonhole an entire gender into what they are and are not “into.” WE ARE COMPLEX. GET ON OUR LEVEL.

Discovering AO3 for the first time.

Kim: I was 19 when I fell in love with The X-Files. The movie had come out that summer and the show had just hit syndication and in typical fashion, I fell hard and fast for Mulder and Scully and all their sexual tension. I spent hours on the internet, devouring everything I could about my newest obsession. I don’t even know how it happened but I stumbled upon The Gossamer Archive and it was like a whole new world opened to me. People wrote FICTION about Mulder and Scully?! Fiction where they kissed?! Fiction where they had all sorts of sex?! WHY HAD NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT THIS BEFORE?!

What I love the most about fan fiction is that it fills in those in-between character moments that just can’t be squeezed into a 42-minute episode of television. Want to know just what Mulder and Scully got each other for Christmas in “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas”? There are literally hundreds of stories that will tell you. (My favorite is one where Mulder got Scully a star because OF COURSE.) Is your OTP taking their sweet-ass time getting together on the actual show? Pick a pairing and I guarantee there are fics a-plenty waiting for you on AO3. Hell, fanfic is how I SURVIVED seasons 4 and 5 of Bones where Booth and Brennan were so painfully and obviously in love with each other yet too afraid to actually DO anything about it. People who read and write fan fiction are my type of fans. They are the fans who love things so deeply and passionately that they can’t help but go deeper and explore characters from every possible angle. Some of my dearest friends (many of whom contributed to this post) are women that I initially connected with BECAUSE of their fan fiction. I fangirled their Jeff and Annie fics from afar and then started talking to them on Twitter. 5 years later, we’re all friends IRL and planning vacations together. All because I desperately needed to read stories where Jeff Winger and Annie Edison fell in love.

Despite the wonderful trove of stories and authors, some prejudices within fanfic-dom exist. People get real prickly when it comes to “Real Person Fiction” or RPF. For some people it is one thing to read original stories about someone else’s characters but it’s an entirely different thing to read stories about actual celebrities or specific co-stars or band mates. That’s CREEPY, detractors say. They are real people, not characters. Me? I’m of the mind of why the hell not? Sure, Harry Styles may be an actual person (well…the bit is debatable. Someone that pure could only possibly be an alien.) but we don’t actually KNOW him. Harry Styles is as mythical a character to me as Fox Mulder. Hell, his own team has spent YEARS crafting narratives for him and his bandmates to sell them to the masses. (A POX on the marketing executive who coined Harry as “adorably slow”. HOW VERY DARE YOU.) At least fan fictions tend to show his character more respect than the people actually managing his image.

So yes, my iPad is full of Larry fics and I’ve lost countless hours of sleep reading stories where those boys fall in love over and over again. Why do I do it? Because it makes me happy. It’s for ME. I’m not going to go up to Harry and Louis and shove a copy of Escapade in their hands (though let’s be real, you know they own a copy) because that’s not why it exists. Fan fiction exists for just that: FANS. It’s a way for fans to explore the things they love and it’s a way for authors to hone their writing skills. I’ve had fanfics reduce me to tears and I’ve had fanfics bring a smile to my face when I’ve had a shitty day. It enriches my fandom and it enriches my life in the best way.

PS Have I mentioned the Larry fic where Harry is a cowboy and Louis is the paralegal trying to get him to sell his land? You’ll never cry so hard over a cow being born, mark my words.

Taylah: English is my second language, so I started writing Doctor Who fanfiction as a means of improving my English writing. I thought if I used characters that I was already acquainted with, it would be easier for me to write situations around them. When I look back at it, it wasn’t really good, but I had a small following and good feedback, so I continued writing for other fandoms (Glee, Community, Pushing Daisies, Gossip Girl, etc.) Eventually I gave up on writing but I have never stopped reading. I consider it a great way to explore your creativity, to improve your language skills, to test how open your mind is (and to know your limits, which is always good) and to be critical of the fiction we consume.

There is a lot more to it than mockery and parody, even though that is also great. Listen, I have read as much crackfic as anyone. I love the absurdity of it. I enjoy bad fic for what it is, and I would never tell someone “this was so terrible it made me laugh until I cried” (unless it was intentionally bad), but it is not a representation of all fanfic writers. Some of everyone’s favorite book authors, male or female, have written fanfic at some point in their lives, even long before the internet provided a platform to post it. There is a lot of good writing in fanfiction, and though I wouldn’t like the media to focus on it (because fanfic, good or bad, should belong in fandom and it is always awkward when someone decides to tell public figures about it), I wouldn’t like media to portray fic as just a joke. It doesn’t seem fair.

http://newmanagement.tumblr.com/post/140240899545

When it’s 2am but you just found a 600k word story with an amazing synopsis and thousands of kudos.

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“What is there for me in a world without you?” – The Sad Implosion Of Sleepy Hollow

abbie mills smile

Posted by Sage

RIP Head Over Feels and Sleepy Hollow: 2013-2016. With the fridging of Abbie Mills, one half of the show’s core Witness duo, we are completely done.

Sleepy Hollow may still return for a season four, even though the finale did the absolute most to set fire to anything the show ever had going for it. I refuse to do a full recap for that rushed, unfocused catastrophe, because it doesn’t deserve our established ranking system. (Let’s put it all under FU-HOLLOW and be done with it.) But as much as I may reject the narrative killing off Agent Grace Abigail Mills, I will not let her go un-mourned. (An epic “In Appreciation” post is coming soon.) Before we get to some of the many reasons why Nicole Beharie’s portrayal of Abbie will forever be one of our favorite leads in genre television (nay, general television) history, I’ve got some things to say about how this went down.

It’s almost unfathomable how Sleepy Hollow took a shockingly great thing and then slowly and methodically spoiled it. Sleepy Hollow season 1 is Jerry; the showrunners and writers are Andy; and tone-deaf treatment of minority characters is the pie. Tag yourself, I’m Jerry wincing as soon as he realizes he’s about to get it.

jerry pie andy

Look, I know I made excuses for this creative team last season. And for the most part, I’ve felt like the show recovered most of its verve in season 3. I didn’t see the pattern until it was all laid out behind me. But many fans did, because they’ve experienced this betrayal before. Those fans were mostly women of color, who supported this show in part because of Abbie and Jenny Mills, two bright spots in a TV landscape that’s still light years away from being realistically representational. Kim and I have both talked about fan entitlement and how frustrating it is on this blog, but there’s a big difference between entitlement (“If these two characters don’t kiss soon, I’m going to send hate to the writers.”) and being a viewer who is sensitive to ways that stories are twisted (over and over again) to serve one character over another based on some type of difference. I was firmly anti-Hawley and frustrated over the sidelining of Jenny and Frank in season 2. But from my vantage point, I couldn’t see what a dangerous path they were leading Abbie down or why it was so significant that Abbie never had a romantic relationship besides her toothless flirting with Crane. (Scully went on two dates in the whole series, I think.) That’s me, watching from my place of relative privilege. I own up to it, and fuck if the whole downward spiral isn’t clear now. Memo to certain showrunners: it’s freeing to accept that your intent doesn’t mean as much as a certain demographic of your audience’s interpretation of it does. In other words, dear white people: it’s not always about us.

abbie smol

did see that Nicole Beharie seemed to step back in many ways from the show. She stopped attending conventions and doing other press. She rarely tweeted about it. And in one Instagram post that ignited a fan revolt, she stated that she hadn’t been invited to participate in DVD commentaries. (The word from on high was that it was a misunderstanding. A pretty big one.) The reason given for Abbie’s death was that Nicole wanted to leave the show, and I have no doubt that that is true. But we need to talk about why she wanted to do that. Why, when she joined the cast of a network sci-fi drama as the lead, obviously aware that it could go on for several seasons? Why, when she and co-star Tom Mison seemed to have a respectful and rewarding working relationship? Why, when she has no immediate commitments lined up? And why, when her performance was universally praised? Take into consideration the relative silence from set this year, the canceling of their SDCC panel, Tom deleting his Twitter, and most tellingly, Orlando Jones’ exit. This from a show that came out of the gate so strong, endearing itself to critics and quickly building a fandom while being praised for employing a diverse cast with terrific chemistry. These should have been GLORY DAYS.

abbie coming back

You know what grinds my gears? When people simper at actors and call them “classy” for not being explicit about backstage issues in the press. Nicole Beharie has the absolute right to give whatever statement she likes and to keep any issues she may have had with her character and the production to those immediately involved. By no means do I begrudge her that privacy. But the “classy” compliment isn’t a compliment at all; it’s a warning. It implies that if Nicole HAD come out and said that she wasn’t happy and had sought the opportunity to move on that that would somehow be out of line. It’s another way of putting a black actress in her place, and I am viscerally disgusted by it.

nicole yikes

Either way, the writing is on the wall. Stars don’t leave shows if they’re content with the material they’re being given and with their treatment. Another spin that was put on this news (and part of Nicole’s statement) is that Abbie Mills had carried out her role and in fact, there was nothing more for her to do. There’s even a scene in the finale where Abbie tells August Corbin (who she meets in the “waiting room”) that, as far as she was concerned, her life was complete when she made up with her family and Danny (??) and saved Crane. So, not only did the writers kill Abbie when that wasn’t absolutely necessary, they literally TOOK AWAY HER WILL TO LIVE. What those same writers seem to not understand about this backlash is that the most heartbreaking aspect of this death is how it occurred and what it seemed to say about Abbie’s purpose all along. Abbie is young, gorgeous, whip-smart, and incredible at her job. She has a sister and a father with whom she still has to make up lost time. She’s got Danny and Crane both at her feet. And she has goals and dreams of her own that have nothing to do with any of those people. I know she does, even if the people who wrote her don’t. Don’t you dare try to tell me that Abbie Mills didn’t want to suck every moment out of her life.

trying hard

Could this have been handled any more poorly? Many, many leads have exited their shows and not had to do it via tombstone. (As Joe Adalian pointed out, “Shelley Long didn’t die on Cheers.” THANK GOD.) ESPECIALLY on a show that deals in the supernatural on the daily, there are places that Abbie could have gone, perhaps to return to a series finale. OR the show could have done the rational thing: make this season finale the series end – have Crane and Abbie triumph over Pandora, kiss, and walk off into the sunset to Witness some more. Instead, Abbie sacrifices herself to save the world and appears to Crane in a dream to tell him that her reason for existing was to help HIM on his journey. How blinded to your own privilege must you be to not see how patronizing and gross this is? In another scene that I can’t even believe was actually written and shot, Jenny consoles Crane about her own sister’s death, given no opportunity to mourn her herself. And I love me some Ichabod Crane, but in no universe do I want his story prioritized over his partner’s. And guess the fuck what? Neither does he. Not in four or four thousand centuries.

stop talking

Even in death, Abigail Mills got the shaft. SO MUCH was made of her family line, including Grace Dixon, whose journal helped them so many times along the way. Her whole life was shaped by the death of her mother and the temporary loss of her sister. And of course, it was lovely to see August and to see him reunited with his son (WAVES TO JOE); of course, we needed a final Abbie/Ichabod scene. But HOW HOW HOW does no one on the set of a major network drama see the problem in doing what this fantastic tweet describes? The ignorance is staggering. Pay their damn day rates and get those women on set. It’s the least Abbie deserves.

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“It’s the losses that wear me down.” – Sleepy Hollow Recap – Delaware

Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 17
“Delaware” 

Posted by Kim

(Note: I wrote a GOOD portion of this before that disaster of a series season finale. I’m letting what I previously wrote stand and I’m going to TRY and not let my rage color the rest of this, but I make no promises.)

I am not okay.

I may have been REALLY good about avoiding spoilers for this season of Sleepy Hollow but I am also not dumb. The minute Zach Appelman became the point person for all the press concerning “Delaware”, I knew my beloved Joey Corbin was doomed. I tried to convince myself otherwise. He brought too much to the show, I argued. He was an essential part of the gang. He was a tie to Abbie and Jenny’s roots. He brought a totally different type of masculine energy to Team Witness and served as a perfect counterpoint to Ichabod. He PROMISED Jenny he would be the one for her to tell all her crazy stories to when they were old and gray. He was CAPTAIN of the SS Ichabbie. JOEY CORBIN WAS ESSENTIAL. Of course, even as I argued with myself for all the reasons NOT to kill Joe, I realized they were actually all the reasons that OF COURSE they were going to kill Joe. Nobody likes Danny, so no one would bat an eyelash if he died. You CAN’T kill Sophie because she’s Ichabbie’s daughter from the future and time travel is REALLY hard to write about. So that left two options: Joe or Jenny. Considering the revelations about the Family Mills in this episode, it makes zero sense to off Jenny from a storytelling perspective. (Jenny may not be a Witness, but it’s clear to me that she has a bigger role in this story than even she realizes right now.) (Plus, I think Sleepy knows better than to fridge a woman of color at this point in time.) (AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA AND THEN THE FINALE HAPPENED, I WEEP FOR MY INNOCENCE AND FAITH IN THE SHOW.) Thus Joey Corbin, perfect cinnamon roll, too good and too pure for this world, had to meet his end and Sleepy Hollow wrenched my still beating heart out of my chest and did a tap dance on it.

I told you I wasn’t okay.

Look, I get that Sleepy Hollow is a show about the battle against the apocalypse and Gods and monsters and that sacrifices HAVE to be made along the way or the show would make less sense than it already does. (That’s a compliment. I LOVE your batshit nonsense, show.) And at least Joe’s death was treated with respect unlike other shows currently airing (*cough* THE 100 *cough* JUSTICE FOR LINCOLN *cough*) have done recently. But like Sage raged in her post on Beth Greene’s death on The Walking Dead , the problem that I have with the offing of Joey Corbin is not that it was done but that it was principally done to cause Jenny Mills pain. We’ve seen Jenny BLOSSOM over the course of this season as she’s opened herself up to trusting and loving Joe. It’s been fantastic watching her find solidarity in their relationship and seeing her loosen up on the tightly held grip of her personal life. I’ve seen comments from showrunner Clifton Collins that Joe’s death opens up an “interesting” storyline for Jenny. HA. JENNIFER MILLS IS PLENTY INTERESTING ON HER OWN WITHOUT KILLING OFF HER BOYFRIEND.

Also, I can tell you EXACTLY how this story is going to go. Jenny Mills is not going to be a person who looks at Joe’s death with a perspective of someone who is all “Well I found great love but he died but I FOUND it and I’m totally open to finding it again.” Jenny is going to be “I opened up to this man who promised he was never going to leave me and I allowed myself to love him and guess what? He fucking DIED. So thanks but no thanks but I don’t care for that yucky love stuff and I’m going to be even more closed off than I was before.” If I can predict EXACTLY how a character is going to react, that’s not interesting. It’s cheap. Killing Joe off was CHEAP, even if the WAY it happened was not. The very act of it was cheap. So I weep for the wasted potential of Joe Corbin. There was so much more to explore with him, both as an individual and in his relationship with Jenny and Team Witness. I weep for the interesting stories he still had to tell. (Sage: They had a REAL MONSTER ON THEIR TEAM. Their Angel, their Oz.) I get that the wasted potential is tragic, but it’s a tragedy we didn’t need to push this story forward. Selfishly, I weep that I don’t get to see Zach Appelman’s face every week. It didn’t have to be this way.

So let’s talk about the episode, shall we?

#CreepyHollow and #WHATTHEDAMNHELLHollow

After an Ichabbie scene that damn near killed me on the spot, we find Team Witness + Pandora in the archives hashing out their plan to take down The Hidden One. Joe and Jenny are both SUPER Anti-Pandora, pointing out that there is absolutely no way that Pandy isn’t going to screw them in the end. “She’s going to work really hard to gain our confidence and then screw us over again for her megalomaniac boyfriend.” (Agreed that she’s going to screw them over, but I think it’s going to be for her OWN gain because she’s sick of THO stealing her wind. She is her own windkeeper, after all.) I love that Pandora is SO BORED with this shit. “It matters very little if you trust me or not,” she deadpans. (True. Also, I just love Shannyn Sossamon’s performance SO MUCH. ) Just when the party couldn’t GET more lit, it does, because heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Danny, ready to join the mission because he thinks it will get him into Abbie’s pants. I LIVE for how Joe, Jenny, and Sophie all rolled their eyes at his arrival. Ain’t nobody got time for this. Danny and Abbie have a quick heart to heart about him joining the team where they spew cliches like “This is where I want to be” and “If anything happened to you, I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself.” I’d believe it if Abbie hadn’t shown more delight at Crane’s cappuccino than she did at Danny’s promise to take them back to the Nicholas Sparks Cabin of Feelings. If you’re going to shove this pairing down my throat, the least you could do is have Abbie show a little enthusiasm. JUST SAYING.

Do not want.

Back to the mission. Apparently, Team Witness has a grand total of eight hours before the sands run out of the hourglass and THO possesses the total power of the pantheon of the Gods. The strategy is as follows: Abbie and Ichabod will go to the catacombs to restore Pandora’s box, whilst the others do everything they can to slow THO down. Danny’s been on the team for all of 5 minutes before he starts questioning everything. He questions the fact that they have so little intel on THO and he questions why BOTH Abbie and Ichabod need to go to the catacombs because his deposit on the Nicholas Sparks cabin is non-refundable, and let’s face it, he’s hoping Ichabod will end up trapped there anyway. Pandora insists that the job can only be done by the two witnesses (and because she ships them and knows they need some time together because she’s watched the past few episodes).  While I side with Jenny in her annoyance that Pandora is keeping herself out of harm’s way by not going WITH Ichabbie, I ALSO see her reasoning in staying behind. She does know THO the best, after all, and she’s the only one who has some sort of semblance of power that can stop him.  So it’s settled.  The Witnesses will cross the river to the catacombs while the rest of the team zeroes in on containing The Hidden One. According to Pandora, THO is on Bear Mountain, which sits on a focal point of ancient energy. According to good old Washington’s journal, the mountain is covered in a bunch of intersecting ley lines whose power can be channeled to fight the powers of the hourglass. “Into the woods, it’s time and so I must begin my journey…”

In the car on the way to the river, Ichabod reflects on his relationship with Betsy Ross. Betsy returned from the catacombs irrevocably changed. Abbie points out that she herself was changed when she returned but Ichabod insists this was different. She returned and completely cut off all communication with him despite their previous closeness. This, kids, is what we call foreshadowing. The Witnesses get their boat on the river and strive to recreate the mural of Washington crossing the Delaware, down to Crane wrapping himself in a blanket. He hands Abbie the flag with a grin. “Would you do the honors?” he smirks and I CAN’T EVEN EXPRESS how important it is to me that he cedes all power to Abbie in this moment. Every little thing that he’s done since it became clear they would have to go back to the catacombs has been done with respect to her agency. He KNOWS what the catacombs did to her and he knows how utterly brave and selfless it is of her to be willing to go back. He leaves it to ABBIE to hold the flag because it allows her the power to say no. What’s even more important is the fact that Abbie DOESN’T say no. She simply cracks a joke about how foolish they will look if this doesn’t work. (“If this doesn’t work, you DO realize that we’re just two people on a boat singing the anthem?”) Abbie unfurls the flag and starts to sing, tentatively at first, but she gains strength as she continues. The flag illuminates on the phrase “Bright Stars” and we’re not in Sleepy Hollow anymore, Toto. Welcome to the River Styx. I had no idea it was located in upstate New York.

After a heart to heart on the boat that I’ll definitely be discussing in the shippy section because MY GOD, Abbie and Ichabod reach the shore only to find that Washington’s original mission clearly went to shit. There are fragments of the boat and bodies ERRYWHERE. Ichabod finds a missive from Betsy on one of the bodies (HOW CONVENIENT) that details just exactly what went down. There was a traitor on the boat (courtesy of our buddy General Howe, REMEMBER HIM?) and he blew the boat up. Washington and Betsy were the sole survivors (because of course). Once again the witnesses discuss that Betsy came back from this mission a completely different person…going as far as to say that she was LITERALLY a different person, just in case we didn’t think we were being hit over the head with the fact that they are most definitely going to find her in the catacombs by the end of the episode.

Meanwhile, the remainder of Team Witness is following Pandora’s magical compass so they can drive stakes into all the ley lines of Bear Mountain. They’ve split up into the combos of Joenny and Danny, Sophie, and Pandora so they can cover ground faster and Danny’s barking out orders as if he’s in charge even though he LITERALLY joined this team ten minutes ago. (PANDORA joined this team before you, Danny, GTFO thinking you are in charge.) Suddenly we get a shot of a flock of birds converging over the mountain and Pandora says “He knows we’re here” and I had to make sure I was watching Sleepy Hollow and not Fellowship of the Ring.  THO conjures a storm and now Team Witness knows they have to go through the Mines of Moria instead of over the Mountain realizes they have GOT to get a move on. One problem though. The storm manages to damage Pandora’s compass and now they have no way of marking the ley lines. Their only hope is a map Jenny has back at her trailer but it will take too much time to retrieve it and bring it back to the mountain. Joey volunteers to go back and then text Jenny the correct coordinates. “Watch your back, babe.” This is me:

Back in the underworld, Abbie and Crane realize they are equally fucked. They have no map or ANYTHING to direct them on how to get to the catacombs. To make it worse, one of the soldiers springs back to life and attacks Crane because the one thing this episode was missing was zombies. Crane and Abbie take out the zombie together (kudos on the blood and guts, show) and Crane discovers a dark magic charm that Howe used to give its wearer eternal life. Really this has no significance to the overall plot except that it makes Crane look closer at Betsy’s missive. It’s encoded with directions to the gateway to the catacombs because Betsy Ross is the smartest person who ever existed, didn’t you know? Abbie and Ichabod stand outside the gateway and Ichabod STILL gives her the ultimate choice. He’s not going anywhere until she says it is okay. “I’m really going back there,” she breathes, steadying herself. “Only this time you’re not alone,” he gently reminds her. “And we have a way out.” In a BEAUTIFUL parallel to the Season One finale, Abbie and Ichabod link their hands (HER HAND IS SO SMALL IN HIS I CAN’T). “Shall we?” MY HEART.

I AM IN PAIN.

Danny is all “I don’t like being blindsided” to Pandora, who just responds with a withering glare because she has no idea how this guy ended up in charge. He sends Jenny out on Hidden One recon with strict orders that she’s not to engage with him (Ha, that’s going to go over well) while he, Sophie, and Pandora distribute the rest of the ley line spikes. Jenny gets in position and finds that she has a clear shot at THO and she wants to take it. Danny ORDERS her not to engage and Jenny’s all “Sorry I can’t hear you. You’re breaking up. AND WHO PUT YOU IN CHARGE?” because NO ONE tells Jenny Mills what to do. She moves into position to take her shot (she’s not throwing it away, y’all) when Joey comes through with the coordinates. GOOD JOB BOO.

Back at the trailer, Joey is locking up so he can rejoin the gang when out of NOWHERE Ezra Mills shows up and immediately things get shady as FUCK. Joey is immediately on edge and Ezra is all “Is this a bad time?” and unease permeates the ENTIRE scene because Ezra is just oozing faux-innocence. I am pretty sure Sage and I broke bones in each other’s hands in this moment because we were SO afraid that Ezra was a baddie in this moment. On the mountain, an unfortunate snapped twig gives away Jenny’s presence and THO knocks her over and drags her to him using his magic. “It almost impresses me,” THO sneers. “The insatiable mortal desire to fight what you cannot possibly conquer.” Jenny, precious and brave sunflower, refuses to be cowed. “I don’t know what I hate about you most: the way you talk or the way you treat women.” TEN POINTS TO GRYFFINDOR. It’s a glorious retort but it’s also a reckless one because it turns THO’s eyes on how best to torture Jenny. “I know well the value mortals place on love. Let me take yours and turn it into pain.” (This line also strengthens my point that what happens to Joe was done EXCLUSIVELY to cause Jenny pain over anything else.)

WHO ARE YOU EZRA MILLS?

At the trailer, Joey grimaces as a mystical light surrounds him. “You need to run,” he croaks at Ezra, his face contorted with pain. He turns into the Wendigo right in front of Ezra’s eyes. “It seems like you’re having a really bad day, son.” Ezra is AFRAID but he’s strangely NOT freaking out. HMMMMM. Ezra runs, because he’s no fool, but it is almost like he was expecting this to happen to Joe. Curiouser and curiouser.

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“Welcome to the club.” – Sleepy Hollow Recap – Dawn’s Early Light

height difference

Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 16
“Dawn’s Early Light”
Posted by Sage

That thing I really didn’t want to happen happened. But Crane met another in-law and fell all over himself to make a good impression, so I think it’s all going to be cool. Let’s look at the rankings to be sure.

#CreepyHollow/WHATTHEDAMNHELLHollow

eternal soldier eternal soldier 2
Couldn’t have said it better myself, Danny. Though, I’ve been in Monster Club long enough to know that your bullets are of no consequence for a colonial demon like the Eternal Soldier. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Sleepy Hollow went balls to the historical wall in “Dawn’s Early Light,” tying Betsy Ross’s flag, Francis Scott Key, and the crossing of the Delaware to the Sumerian catacombs and The Hidden One’s ancient agenda. I fear that this storyline is bringing us closer to welcoming Betsy Ross to the present, because I’m not feeling very welcoming at the moment. I’ll give her this though: the first time I really felt anything akin to…well, a feeling for Betsy was when she ruefully predicted to Crane that the clandestine nature of her heroic activities would mean that she’d likely be best remembered by history for sewing a piece of fabric while the men who relied on her would be remembered as heroes. Who lives, who dies, who tells your story, amirite?

Anyway, Pandora has taken on a pesky neighbor role in the Sleepy Scooby gang. Crane finds her rummaging through the Witnesses’ stuff in the masonic cell and they have a testy – though nonviolent – conversation. If Pandora wasn’t completely finished with being The Hidden One’s unpaid intern before, she certainly is after he compares her to “a house pet who comes to expect feasts instead of table scraps.” (Excuse you.) She tells Crane that all those times she unleashed demons on his neighbors, facilitated murders, and threatened the lives of everyone that he and Abbie love are all water under the bridge and could she have her box back, please? (I also love that Pandora was like, “Ask Abbie. Abbie knows,” like a kid who’s accustomed to playing both her parents. “But Daaaaaad, Mom already said I could go to the mall!”) Unfortunately for the mortal, the only place where Pandora can reconstruct her box isn’t exactly on the Sleepy Hollow historical walking tour. The Witnesses and Pandora need to find their way back to the catacombs, and they need to do it within 48 hours. Who knew gods operated within a modern concept of time? The Hidden One knows all, apparently, including the date of his season finale.

Crane breaks the news to Abbie that her former prison plays a big role in the saving of the world. He lets her be the one to decide if they go back (more on that in Shippy because oh my god); it’s sweet, but I think he already knows the answer. Now, to figure out how a couple of human beings can cruise over to the land of the gods without a deified expert. As with many of the Witnesses’ discoveries this season, Betsy Ross did it first. She retrieved the Eye of Providence for Paul Revere; her cutlass showed Abbie the way out of the catacombs. They know she was there. Crane remembers the last time he ever laid eyes on Betsy – while General Washington (rise up) was about to embark on his Christmas Day voyage across the Delaware River. Perturbed to not be invited, Crane sits with Betsy while the general prepares, and admires the flag she’s finishing. Betsy knows more than she’s willing to say to Crane, but she does beg him to consider the general’s real reasons for leaving him behind. Crane is too important to the future of the country and indeed, this plane of existence. Did Washington know Crane was a Witness and had responsibilities far beyond the Revolution? Whether he did or not, it’s still pretty sobering to think that Betsy was considered, in some ways, expendable.

Abbie, Jenny, and Joe don’t require much convincing to get on board with the best piece of Sleepy Hollow twistory in this half of the season. The trip across the Delaware was actually a trip to the Sumerian catacombs. (Abbie barely raises an eyebrow when she suggests the Delaware was blanketed with a “mystical fog ” that day.) Fortunately, a mural of that shining moment in this great American experiment is painted directly on the walls of the archives for easy research access. Crane notes that one of the men in the mural is wearing Betsy’s rabbit fur hat; Betsy was on that boat. (Pause for the bro moment where Joe tells Crane that Betsy probably didn’t tell him she was involved in the mission because she didn’t want him to worry. Boys looking out for other boys’ feelings, bless.) It’s a bit of a leap getting from the boat to the Orpheus myth, but Abbie reminds the room that the legend says the fabled figured used a lyre strung with golden thread to enter the underworld in pursuit of Eurydice. The same thread, she guesses, that Betsy used to make the stars in the stars and stripes “shimmer.” (The way Tom Mison says “shimmer” though. I felt that everywhere.)

crane joe

The flag is the key then, and Master Corbin knows exactly where they should look first. Crane remembers seeing the flag last with Paul Revere; Joey remembers going on a field trip to Paul Revere’s house in grammer school. (I’m surprised August didn’t pack a list of artifacts to steal – I mean “rescue” – in Joe’s bagged lunch.) Ichabbie use Abbie’s FBI privileges to get a private walk around the grounds, but no shimmering stars do they find. The flag has been replaced by one that’s both more drab and less supernaturally significant than Betsy’s. Their conversation about where the original could possibly be is interrupted by a cloud of smoke. The docent panics that someone turned on the smithy. Instead of leaving like he tells them to (please), Ichabbie go to the basement to check it out. The walls are of the room are hot to Abbie’s touch and for good reason. There’s a flaming zombie in the building and he is not happy that the Witnesses are poking around in his stuff. To be fair to Danny, Abbie also tries to shoot at the fiery demon, but to no avail. Crane and Abbie get thrown around like rag dolls for a bit, but they’re able to hold their attacker back long enough to make a break for it. They make it safely to their car; the demon melts into the pavement. That’s Ichabbie in a nutshell, isn’t it? They visit a historical landmark and leave it in flames. Can’t take them anywhere.

ichabbie running

Crane observes that the demon was wearing the uniform of the 8th Virginia regiment. Those troops were captured at the Battle of Monmouth (where Charles Lee shit the bed, as we all know); some soldiers “defied orders and escaped.” The Sisters of the Radiant Heart did the only reasonable thing they could think of: they tarred and bandaged the soldier they recovered with “infernal materials.” (Abbie’s expression at this says, “It took you HOW long to realize your wife was crazy?”) Crane identifies this demon as a guard of this place – and not a great one, since he once let someone get away with the original Betsy Ross flag. BUT WHO.

Back at the archives, Joenny study the photos Abbie sent over of the Revere House flag. That impostor is riddled with holes, but not the kind you’d expect from moths or burns. They’re almost symmetrical, and therefore probably there on purpose. “Why stripes?” Joey asks about our country’s first flag, and if the Doctor were there, he’d bestow a brilliant smile or at least an eyebrow raise for asking the right question. The stripes are the staff; the holes are the music notes. (“Wanna play ‘Name That Tune’?”) Joe and Jenny plot the song out, and discover that it’s an old favorite. “Oh say can you see,” Jenny intones, incredulous. AMERICA.

Ah, BUT: Francis Scott Key didn’t write the National Anthem until the War of 1812, long after Washington and Betsy crossed into the catacombs. That alone is a clue to the real flags whereabouts. Key was a mason, therefore aware of the supernatural threat to the young nation. He removed Betsy’s flag from Revere’s house for safekeeping when the British were ransacking important sites and left a hint to its whereabouts in the form of a song that would one day be warbled by Arianna Grande before the NBA All-Star Game. (I have no idea if this happened, but it just sounds right.) Ichabbie head out to Fort McHenry in Baltimore, where Key composed “The Star Spangled Banner”; Joenny stay behind to work on a weapon to use against the Eternal Soldier.

Abbie and Crane are waylaid in the carpark, first by Danny and then by the return of the demon. It’s Danny’s turn to wonder what the DAMN hell is going on, and this time right in front of his face. Also, it just so happens that this demon can THROW FIRE BALLS like he’s some kind of Sonic the Hedgehog level boss. Danny is all, “FBI, FREEZE” and the Eternal Soldier is like, “lol, right.” Again, the Witnesses (this time with Danny in tow) make it into their vehicle just in time to evade a hot and smokey death. That’s when Danny gets a rushed and overdue talk about the birds and the bees and the Revolutionary undead. “He’s a demon, a monster, a cursed spawn of hell,” Abbie summarizes. “Monsters are real and they’re here in Sleepy Hollow.” Danny, bless his heart, looks almost relieved. His best agent is a demon hunter. Her roommate is her partner. This answers almost all his questions. Still, he goes straight to Sophie once Ichabbie drop him off. (Mom and Dad have to go save humanity now, honey.) “I was wondering how you and Mills got so close so quickly,” Danny says. (Sophabbie shipper trash!) Sophie basically tells Danny to put his big girl panties on and deal with it. There’s no time to be scandalized by demons occupying Sleepy Hollow when there are DEMONS OCCUPYING SLEEPY HOLLOW. There are “responsibilities,” she says. “Consequences.” Get on board or get out of the way, basically. She says it nicer than I would have.

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Elsewhere in the colonies, Ichabbie approach Fort McHenry, tenderly bleeding the life out of me with their height difference. Abbie wonders aloud why the grounds of an American fortress would be home to a “42 foot statue of Orpheus.” Insert Keenan Thompson “You KNOW why” gif. (Because of Those Crazy Masons, coming to CBS this fall.) There’s a lyre carved into the base of the statue, with real moving pieces. Abbie presses on of the stone buttons and finds that it gives. She throws Crane an amused and triumphant look. “Any requests?” “You know the tune,” he answers. Is it Bruno Mars’ “Marry You”? Because it’s a beautiful night, and if you two are looking for something dumb to do, I can think of a few ideas. Instead, Abbie plays the first few bars of Key’s melody and an entrance opens. Betsy’s flag isn’t the only artifact inside the composer’s secret clubhouse, but it’s the one that the Witnesses AND the Eternal Soldier have come for. The creature corners Abbie and Crane just as Crane gets his hand on the fabric, and matters are looking grim. Miraculously, Jenny appears out of nowhere like and hoses the demon down with some liquid nitrogen. The Eternal Soldier freezes where it stands, leaving Joey free to enact the second phase of Team Joenny’s plan. He whacks the supernatural guard with a shovel and its tarred body shatters into pieces. “Science,” Joe announces to the group, just BARELY concealing a grin. I am going to miss him when he dies, and he is MOST CERTAINLY going to die. “You guys okay?” he follows up. Crane shakes out his coat, wholly unsurprised that the other half of this never-ending double date bailed him and his Biblical Life Partner out yet again. “A little singed.”

The Eternal Soldier is a cross between a ’90s video game villain and the Nicholas Cage movie Ghostrider, so not the scariest Sleepy Hollow monster we’ve ever seen. But I’m fully behind the theory that General Washington was leading a cavalry to the underworld like an utter boss. 5/10 Sandmen for Creepy, 7/10 Golems for WHATHEDAMNHELL.

#SassyHollow

The day has arrived. Birds are chirping, there’s not a cloud in the sky, and my skin is the clearest it’s ever been. Sleepy Hollow referenced Hamilton. We’ve been waiting in the wings for you.

The integration happened as organically as it could have. The historical society guide at the Revere House tells Ichabbie that attendance numbers have increased along with the public’s hunger for anything having to do with the A-L-E-X-A-N-D-E-R (we are, meant to be). Yes, Crane finally learns of the existence of an Alexander Hamilton stage phenomenon and he thinks the people who made it must be outta their GOD DAMN MINDS.

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Abbie’s face. She saw this coming as clearly and surely as the rest of us. Of course, the rest of us also know that Crane would be the most embarrassing piece of Hamiltrash on the planet if he ever got the chance to see the show. His passion for art and the written word were on full display in that gorgeous monologue he delivered last week, and Hamilton is a shining example of what vision, creativity, and sheer patriotism can produce. TELL me that Chris Jackson wouldn’t bring that sappy bastard to tears with “One Last Time.”

Ichabbie field trip to the Richard Rodgers in Season 4. I need to see Crane’s coif under that A.Ham hat. That’s reason enough to renew the show.

My head canon is that Crane went to soirees at the home of the Schuylers and would always make an effort to engage Peggy in conversation when she looked lonely and ignored. 7.5 Donut Holes for Sassiness. #YayHamlet

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“You are the most devious of creatures.” – Sleepy Hollow Recap – Incommunicado

Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 15
“Incommunicado”

Posted by Kim

#RenewSleepyHollow. That is all. Let’s do this.

#CreepyHollow

A group of middle-aged guys desperately trying to cling to their dreams gather in a garage for band practice. The lead guitarist Kyle abandons their post-punk indie aesthetic in favor of shredding on his guitar. This angers his bandmates and Kyle threatens to pull a Zayn (excuse me, ZAYN), which apparently is a weekly thing. Kyle decides to stay (FOR NOW) and they get back into rehearsing. They barely get their groove on when all the sound suddenly vanishes from the room and a cloud of smoke appears. The cloud dissipates, revealing a woman with long black hair, ghostly white skin, and a terrifying mouth (her look is really keeping with the Japanese Horror movie look of the season). She lets out one HELL of a scream. The men keel over in agony. Blood spatters on the garage windows. I mean, that’s one way of saying she’s not a fan of the post-punk aesthetic, isn’t it?

 

Of course, we know this creature is a Wailing Banshee (even when the witnesses don’t) and quite frankly I’m surprised that it took Sleepy Hollow this long to get to this particular monster. Sophie is one of the first agents on the crime scene. All the victims have had their eardrums ruptured. Being that she’s become such an integral part of the Scooby gang, she calls Abbie into the office immediately when she sees something fishy on the recording of the rehearsal session. She proudly informs Abbie that she made off with the video before anyone else saw it. “You are getting good at this,” Abbie smirks. (STOP FLIRTING WITH HER, SHE IS YOUR DAUGHTER FROM THE FUTURE.) (Yes, I enjoy that theory SO MUCH.) The girls divvy up duties like PROS (seriously, has Sophie always been here? She fits in so seamlessly), with Abbie planning on consulting with Crane while Sophie takes the video to Joenny so they can clean it up and get a better handle on what they are dealing with.

Of course, everything goes to shit when Abbie realizes that The Hidden One has paid Crane a visit, but we’ll get into the in the #WHATTHEDAMNHELL section.

At the Trailer de la Joenny, they a get right to trying to isolate what EXACTLY blew the eardrums of the band members, other than their own music. After trying to isolate the sound to no avail, it FINALLY clicks with Jenny that the creature is a banshee. (Abbie on the phone: Is that the screeching bird woman thing? Jenny: That’s a harpy.) With Abbie occupied by Pandora and The Hidden One, Jenny agrees to take on the banshee. TEAMWORK. Her investigation takes them to an Irish Pub, where Jenny gets advice from her cute pageboy hat wearing bartender buddy Connor. (JOEY’S FACE THOUGH. He’s so jealoussssssss.) While Connor advises that Jenny should just run away from the banshee (smart lad), he does tell her that the Banshee can be killed with ancient iron and that she is clearly lured by a ruckus (which makes sense as to why she was attracted to ZAYN’s Kyle’s shredding). Joe, Jenny, and Sophie make a pit stop at a graveyard to filch some ancient iron and then they drive around in ambulance (nice nod to the fact that Joey is an EMT and not just a tight henley wearing cutie) with the sirens blaring. The Banshee’s cloud of smoke appears and the Scoobies protect themselves with flimsy foam earplugs because that product placement deal with Bose Noise Canceling Earphones fell through at the last-minute. The ear plugs prove don’t do much to stifle the wail, but they work well enough Jenny to be aware enough to check her texts before they pull the trigger on the crossbow. Welp. Abbie needs the banshee alive for reasons I PROMISE I am getting to. The Banshee gets away and Jenny calls Abbie to let her know that this plan to capture it alive is batshit crazy but Abbie gives no fucks because Crane is in danger.

Always check your texts before you kill any monsters, kids.

We’ve been saying it ALL SEASON but MAN the lighting department is killing it. The scene where they lured the Banshee with Beethoven’s 5th Symphony was absolutely GORGEOUS. They manage to capture her (“Who would’ve thought you could hogtie a banshee with an industrial sound blanket and iron cable? It’s always the darnedest things.”) but things go to shit once they bring the Banshee to another beautifully lit warehouse. Joe and Jenny think that it’s an appropriate time to talk about the whole WendiJoe aspect of their relationship and the banshee wrestles free of her sound blanket because they are distracted. Jenny is in SERIOUS trouble and Joey acts on complete instinct and kills the banshee on the spot. “I didn’t have a choice,” He gasps and my heart soars because even when their relationship is fraught, Joey puts Jenny’s life first. Sophie is none too pleased though. “Who’s gonna tell Mills that we knocked off her monster? Hmmm? NOT IT.”

Of course we know that Team Witness has ANOTHER monster at their disposal, so let’s get to WHATTHEDAMNHELL, shall we?

But WHAT would the Banshee think of Zayn’s new record? 4 out of 10 Sandmen. 

#WHATTHEDAMNHELLHollow

Crane is alone in the archives, still trying to crack the logistics of the rune and the connection it forges with Abbie, when he hears the door open. He grins, thinking Abbie has come back for another round of pastry induced foreplay (SERIOUSLY JUST DO IT). “If you do not come bearing cruller…” he starts, but then he looks up and finds not his wife, but the Hidden One, resplendent in another outfit from Demon Anthropologie. RUH-ROH. It seems THO has FINALLY decided to take action rather than sitting around and pouting about how inadequate Pandora is.  “You and the ones you lead have dared to lay a hand on my consort,” he growls, as he supernaturally chokes Crane. (Consort? STFU, I hate you.) “You have all forgotten your place and for that you will pay the ultimate price.” THO demands to know where Abbie is and the way Crane steels himself to protect her at all costs adds years to my life. “You should know I’ve died before,” Crane states, a determined glint in his eye. “I do not fear dying again.” THO continues to threaten Abbie’s life, promising to make her death slow and excruciating, and you actually SEE Crane’s resolve weaken when he thinks about Abbie being in pain, but he holds strong. Suddenly, the rune comes to life, protecting Crane and spreading a blue light all across the room. “Thura,” THO gasps. WHO?

Abbie returns to the Archives only to have the doors blow her back as if electrocuted. She panics and runs through the tunnels trying to find an alternate route that will allow her into the archives; it is there where she encounters Pandora, who just looks bored by the whole thing. “Please lower that ineffectual weapon, Witness,” Pandora drawls, metaphorically filing her nails. “I am not in the mood.” She goes on to tell Abbie that the Emblem of Thura (WHO?) has been activated for the first time in 4000 years. The emblem feeds on the power of the imprisoned so it is getting stronger and stronger thanks to THO’s exceeding amount of Male Privilege. The only way to calm him down? “That would be me,” Pandora states. (OOOOOOKAAAAAAY WHATEVER YOU SAY.) Nothing can penetrate the barrier but Pandora has done it before, surely you can do it again, right? “When I last released him, my box was in tact and my powers were at their peak,” Pandora says innocently (I mean she may as well be batting her eyes).  Oh, so THAT’S where this is headed, isn’t it? Abbie refuses to give Pandora what she wants right away, insisting that they can find another way. Hence the need for bringing in the Banshee alive so Pandora can harness its evil and direct it towards the barrier.

Inside the archives, Crane awakes to THO ineffectually trying to break the barrier, even though he KNOWS he can’t and he’s only making it stronger. (You jag.) Crane is all “Would you STOP you’re going to kill us, you asshole,”  but THO’s need to be the most superior being in the room runs way too deep. (God-Privilege, amirite?) “The emblem’s more powerful than you, isn’t it?” Crane smirks, barely holding back his glee. “And I thought today would bear no fruit.” Crane turns to what he knows best in these situations: his beloved books. THO calls him a nerd because he has a high-school jock mentality. Crane isn’t bovered though. He’s the furthest thing from it actually, as he launches into what is quite possibly my favorite Crane speech of the entire series.

Crane: Listen…Duke Ellington. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Miles Davis, the artist formerly known as Prince, the political passion of Bob Dylan and Nina Simone, the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Shakespeare’s sonnets, odes by Yeats. The works of Austen, Dostoyevsky, Morrison, Ta-Nehisi Coates. Leonardo Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo. Picasso! The fearless lens of Diane Arbus, and the sublime squiggle of Charles M. Schulz. What you call pablum is, in fact, inspiration, and it is forged in the enduring soul of humanity. You may know everything.. but you understand nothing.

First of all, Tom Mison, your Shakespearean training is showing. WOULD YOU LET ME LIVE? Second, this is EVERYTHING I love about Ichabod Crane as a hero wrapped up in one beautiful monologue. Much like The Doctor, Ichabod is a character who values the power of wisdom and wit over brute strength. He is a Ravenclaw, through and through. (Abbie and Jenny are Gryffindors, though The Sorting Hat had a hard time with Jenny. Joey is a Hufflepuff. Come at me in the comments if you disagree.) Ichabod will always turn to his brain in times of crisis before he takes any sort of action. It’s the best and most maddening thing about him. REBELLIOUS BOOKWORM INDEED.

THO is not moved by Crane’s rhapsodizing on art. All art is made to worship HIM after all. (You JAG.) He decides to hit Crane where it hurts by going after the REASON he thrives on knowledge. And BOY does he drop a truth bomb. “You’ve always lived to please; to serve…your father, Washington, Jefferson. No room to question your own wants or identity. Even your role as Witness was inherited through your bloodline. That wasn’t a choice. You didn’t know? Your life was mapped out long before you were even born. So, how could you ever be anything more than that boy in the stables, reading books in the dark?”

Um. WUT. I think Crane and I made the same face in that moment. There’s a big difference in being chosen to be a Witness and the fact that it was your destiny, a destiny that has been passed down from generation to generation. The very core of destiny is the fact that it’s unavoidable but for some reason the whole generational thing really seems to punch Crane in the stomach. How many of Ichabod and Abbie’s ancestors has The Hidden One defeated before? It’s a sobering thought. Then, THO lands a final blow. He uses his powers to read all the books in the archives. There is nothing there that will help them defeat the emblem’s prison. In a word, they are pretty fucked. Time for Crane to eat his feelings. ALSO HOW IS THERE NOT A GIF OF THAT? Get it together, gif-making fandom. Crane shows THO the Sumerian Tablet and he confirms that it depicts Crane’s ancestors. “If I am trapped, the Lieutenant is searching for a way to release me.” HIS FAITH IN HER SAVING HIM IS SO UNSHAKABLE, I CAN’T BREATHE. THO scoffs at this, refusing to believe that Pandora would stoop to working with Abbie. “Humor me, bro. How can we help them if they did team up? I don’t want to die today,” Crane says. (Well, he basically says that anyway.) THO admits that if he were to work a spell the same time as Pandora, they might be able to diffuse the barrier. The trick is for them to do it at the same time. Ichabod admits that the psychic connection the Emblem provides has been intermittent at best, so there is no way that they can guarantee a sync. “The cuneiform alphabet you used to translate it is 600 years too young,” THO admits. Crane smirks and extends his pen. TIME TO GET TO WORK, BRO.

Back in the tunnels, Abbie and Company are pondering what they are going to do now that they have a dead banshee on their hands. “We need another monster,” Pandora says, looking straight at Joey. You actually SEE the moment it clicks for him…it’s like he’s been waiting for someone to bring it up ever since the banshee died. Abbie and Jenny blanch at this option, but bless Joey’s pure Hufflepuff soul…he KNOWS this is the only way they will be able to get to Crane before THO’s Privilege blows them all to pieces. “What will happen to me?” he asks in a small voice. (BABY.) He may die he may not, who the hell knows? “Will it be gone forever?” (LET ME LOVE YOU JOEY.) Maybe, maybe not. Joey decides that the slim chance that Pandora’s spell will draw the Wendigo out of him forever is worth the risk, both for him and for his future with Jenny. Screw the whole potentially dying thing. Joe Corbin is IN. BLESS.

 

Abbie goes all mama bear on Pandora, basically saying that she’s going to END HER if Joe dies. Joe and Jenny share an Empire Strikes Back moment that I’ll discuss in much more detail later. It’s go time. Joey loses his shirt because the showrunners know we’ve been begging to see Zach’s pecs since NYCC and he steps inside the mystic circle Pandora has set up. He HAS to stay in the circle for Pandora to be able to harness the magic. Joey transforms and immediately fights against the circle. Pandora doesn’t try very hard to contain him and is basically like “Welp. That didn’t work. Guess we should kill him,” which raises red flags ERRYWHERE. Jenny manages to get WendiJoe to get back into the circle because LOVE WINS ALWAYS and Pandora gets to work. She is able to harness WendiJoe’s POWER and you can see how the spell is torturing him, physically separating the Wendigo for his Human Self. It’s awful. Finally Pandora gets to her endgame. “I can harness the power of the beast, but I can not direct it with precision. The Box, Abbie. Any fragments that you have in your possession…I need them now.” Abbie is all BITCH I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’VE BEEN PLAYING ME THE WHOLE TIME AND NOW IT’S SUPER AWKWARD BECAUSE JOE’S LIFE IS AT STAKE AND I HAVE TO GIVE YOU WHAT YOU WANT. But really…who didn’t see this coming? Abbie definitely did…but she did it anyway because deep down she knows that she and Crane can beat Pandora, even with her box. She still reserves her right to be pissed off though.

Pandora claims she has no secret motive and she’s so earnest in that moment, I almost believe her. Shannyn Sossamon has been turning in one HELL of a performance this season and she takes it to the next level when she admits Pandora’s deepest darkest secret. “It’s my fault,” she confesses.  “All of it. My love’s entrapment. Then, and now. It was I who told the human servants long ago of the Emblem’s power. To make them feel safe in our alliance. I never thought they would use it against him. But they did. I walked the earth 4,000 years, trying to release him from their imprisonment…only to err again. Because I knew you had it. I knew you had the Emblem, and I did not tell him.”

My question is…WHY didn’t Pandora tell him about the Emblem? BECAUSE SHE’S BEEN LOOKING TO END HIM THIS WHOLE TIME, THAT’S WHY. Pandora says it herself. She is the most devious of all creatures. So why is she keeping a secret this monumental from the one she loves, from the one she’s walked the Earth 4000 years for? Because she wants to be her own windkeeper, that’s why. She can play up the sob story to Abbie and Jenny for all its worth, but those are crocodile tears my friends. What Pandora isn’t counting on in that moment is the fact that Crane and THO have opened up the psychic connection and are watching this shit go down. “She KNEW,” THO snarls. Pandora, you in danger, gurl.

Abbie turns over their shards of Pandora’s box because when it comes down to it, like Crane, she will always choose one of her friends’ lives over a short-sighted victory. The box gives Pandora the energy she needs to harness the spell and the barrier is broken. Joey collapses to the ground, still alive, thankfully. Is the Wendigo actually gone? IT BETTER BE.

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“Never underestimate the power of a natural bond.” – Sleepy Hollow Recap – Into the Wild

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Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 14
“Into the Wild”
Posted by Sage

Good morrow, Sleepyheads. Is everyone having fun on the bubble?

Just for funsies, I was looking back at some of our season two recaps. It was a dark time: a love triangle was brewing that would have turned the Mills sisters (soulmates, protectors) into sniping stereotypes; Lyndie Greenwood and Orlando Jones were both being slighted in favor of Blond-Beard; and against all odds and our wishes, the show was still trying to make Katrina happen.

Sleepy Hollow has been sweatin’, endeavoring to retroactively earn that season three pick-up. So we find ourselves back on the “could go either way” section of TV Line’s renewal report card. But THIS time, my friends, a strong case has been made. (Betsy Ross aside, and it seems like she’s been shelved anyway.)

As a Crane-light episode, “Into the Wild” is low on the ‘shippy scale. (At least the ICHABBIE ‘shippy scale, so mull THAT over.) But this hour made up for that in other areas. Let’s move on to the rankings.

#CreepyHollow

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Danny is leading a weekend-long FBI survival training exercise, and Abbie is raring to go. First of all, she sees the value in an activity that can take her mind off the symbol that’s been occupying her; and secondly, she knows she’s about to school everyone because what are the upstate New York woods to millennia-old Sumerian catacombs? The sitcom set-up moment comes when Abbie and Sophie realize they’re on a team (yay!), but that one of their teammates is out with appendicitis. (Danny, what did you DO?) Daniel “I can’t take a hint” Reynolds volunteers to be the ladies’ third. (I KNOW WHAT I SAID.) Sans cell phones, Sophie, Abbie, and Danny head off with their wilderness guide, Robbie Malone. Oh, Robbie. I wish you hadn’t said your name, because now I know you dead.

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Sophie and Abbie bond (more on that later); Abbie mocks Danny’s inability to read a map. It’s all normal Sleepy Hollow forest stuff until it becomes normal Sleepy Hollow forest stuff. Danny and Robbie spot an ancient well; the enclosure freshly broken “from within.” Cool. They note the Dutch markings in the stone framing the drop, but neither knows how to read it. Robbie takes photos to send to the rangers, you know, so some unassuming golden retriever doesn’t chase a squirrel and end up plummeting 30 feet into this a creepy Dutch pit filled with wooden shoes, or whatever. Neither Robbie or Danny seem particularly fussed that something BROKE OUT of this sealed well, and they don’t bother telling the ladies.

Which is Robbie’s loss, because he’s our victim this evening. Another triumph of the effects department stalks and attacks the guide, sinking its teeth into him like a vampire. The Verslinder is on par with the Tooth Fairy, my other pick for the most pants-shittingly scary creature of season three. It’s like a White Walker made of worms. That’s the best I can do.

Sophie and Abbie knock the creature back before it can finish Robbie off, but the guide is already badly hurt. Danny conveniently shows back up after the altercation is over (they tell him the suspect is a coyote) and puts his boss hat on. Sophie tends to Robbie while Danny and Abbie earn their medical badges by constructing a woodland stretcher for the wounded. Add “reads Dutch” to the list of reasons I’m glad Sophie’s around. She translates from the photos on Robbie’s camera, naming the beast: the Verslinder, “One Who Devours.”

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Robbie’s cell phone is broken; they’re miles from help. Abbie lets Sophie in on her plan to stay back and look for the Verslinder while Sophie and Danny go ahead with Robbie. (How well can you possibly know this woman, Danny? A rest? She’s in better shape than the rest of the trainees – AND YOU – combined.) While she waits, Abbie’s mind wanders back to the catacombs, to her symbol, and the time she nearly let Crane die. The monster can sense the emo coursing through her veins and so it attacks. Abbie’s ready with Robbie’s knife and cuts off the beast’s arm. It regenerates before her eyes. (Cause worms can do that, y’all. SCIENCE.) Sophie reappears just as Abbie’s plan to singlehandedly rid the Sleepy Hollow wilderness of one more ancient demon backfires impressively. Again, the ladies send the Verslinder off to lick (ugh) its wounds. Now, Abbie’s hopeful that they have some time to figure out what they’re dealing with.

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Danny’s extreme aversion to danger kept him away from the second Verslinder duel too, but he’s just in time to join the ladies and Robbie to find shelter. (To the commenter who asked me to lay off Danny: I’m sorry, I physically cannot.) The Swiss Family Reynolds sets up shop in an abandoned cabin that coincidentally has nothing of import inside EXCEPT the centuries-old diary that will tell them everything they need to know to defeat their supernatural foe. How fortuitous. Sophie found the handwritten memoirs of a Dutch trapper, one Christopher Dan Pierre, by tearing up the floorboards in one of the bedrooms. (Is that part of FBI survivalist training or just being a bad house guest?) Christopher and his brother Thomas were hired by a nearby village to rid their woods of a monster. With no clear method of killing a regenerating entity (the Daleks: “RIGHT?”), the brothers decide to lock the Verslinder away. Thomas was bit by the creature in the process of entombing it in the well, and it’s long-dead Christopher’s duty to report via diary that his brother did NOT “expire.” Abbie and Sophie are nursing a zombie. A zombie with professional-grade timing.

Danny had already charged out of the cabin to get help in a scene that reminded me of that Jack McFarland quote, “Is that a huff? I think I’ll leave in it,” so it’s ladies v. supernatural Dutch monster yet again. They put Robbie back to sleep and Abbie assesses that he hasn’t completely transformed yet. There’s still a chance to save him. Sophie jokingly throws out “antibiotics” as a solution to the worst case of worms anyone’s ever seen, but Abbie’s wheels start a-spinning. She gets her Rachel Ray on and starts mixing up a 30-minute zombie cure. (If Abbie didn’t need food, water, or sleep in the catacombs, why did she need medicine? And was there even any organic material there to make it from?) Now all they need is “a delivery system.” Annnnnnnnnd I’m going to leave it here for now.

Eighth grade earthworm dissection flashbacks. 9/10 Sandmen for Creepy.

#SassyHollow

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So on the same day that Kim and I are invited to Witness Brunch, we’re also tagging along with the Mills sisters in whatever physical activity they choose. Not to participate, of course. Just to watch them embarrass mansplaining gym-goers just by being themselves.

That was the money shot, of course, but there was a lot of other stuff happening at the climbing gym. Jenny knows about the symbol and Abbie’s ride on the struggle bus. They chat about it casually (so casually that Abbie sneaks in a complaint about Crane’s Netflix obsession), proving that by opening up to Crane, Abbie pulled off the band-aid and now comfortably shares the burden. These are their lives now; there’s no point in compartmentalizing the normal and the supernatural.  Nor is there value in pretending everything’s okay when Abbie’s state of mind could put the people she loves in danger. When 3/4 of your crew has personally experienced demonic possession, why let shame win the day?

Abbie switches gears to Jenny’s commitment-phobia, joyfully poking fun at her sister’s enraged reaction to Joey’s well-intentioned over-step, that new trailer. (“Didn’t it come with a white-picket fence?”) Give me the missing scene where Joe asks Abbie what he did wrong and Abbie’s like, “Just ask me first next time, dude. I still know my sister better than you.” The thing is, the Mills sisters can laugh about his fuck-up because neither one of them doubts that Master Corbin is A) a really good person, and B) deadass crazy about Jenny. Contrast Joe with the patronizing guy who macks on Abbie by assuming she doesn’t know what she’s doing. (“It can be difficult.) STOP TEACHING THIS TECHNIQUE IN STRAIGHT BOY SCHOOL, IT DOESN’T WORK.

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Speaking of Joenny, Joe’s girlfriend isn’t letting Mr. Steer The Boat off the hook for replacing her entire HOUSE. But hey, Joe didn’t fall in love with Jenny because he wanted some soft, submissive thing. He was drawn to her independence, adventurousness, and ability to disarm a man twice her size. They’re the white hat Bonnie and Clyde, and Joe wouldn’t have it any other way. Still, I hope she never lets him live this down.

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Maybe this part of the recap ought to be in Shippy, but you know what? This is my blog and I am hella confused about Danny and Abbie right now. I don’t buy for one hot second that Danny didn’t somehow arrange for him to be in Abbie’s exercise team, and I don’t think Abbie did either. He stares directly at Abbie even though he’s pretending to ask if the set-up is “good with everyone.” (I don’t mean that he GAVE Ramirez appendicitis, but like, he could have reconfigured his personnel.) I do think his character suffered for the show wanting to keep him in the dark about the supernatural nature of their little wilderness problem. But I am still giving myself permission to be irritated by his response to Abbie’s attempt to “clear the air.” When Danny’s controlling the conversation, all he wants to DO is talk about personal shit with her. Now that Abbie’s “steering the boat,” he can’t take it.

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Honestly, Danny? MAKE UP YOUR MIND. This petulance isn’t going to get you laid. When Abbie leads, she LEADS. She does what needs to be done, she utilizes her teammates (in this case, Sophie), and she doesn’t throw away any time grandstanding about being in charge. Danny literally gave a speech about his duty to the mission and all it did was waste daylight. (“You don’t get it, I’m in charge. If someone’s hurt, I get help. If someone’s in trouble, I save them.”) When Abbie doesn’t respond to his advances by leaping into his arms, Danny calls “frigid.” He could learn a few things from Abbie’s cold response to rock-climbing guy. Accusing Abbie of selfishness? Of not doing her job? What exactly is he trying to accomplish?  He’s starting to talk about Abbie like an “asset” instead of a person. And while WE know that’s what she is to him, Danny would probably prefer if she didn’t just yet.

Do you ever miss Frank Irving so much your bones ache? 5/10 Donut Holes for Sass.

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“Benjamin Franklin sends his regards.” – Sleepy Hollow Recap – Dark Mirror

Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 13
“Dark Mirror”

Posted by Kim

I guess it was only a matter of time before Sleepy Hollow TRULY had a story crossover with The X-Files. To the rankings we go!

#CreepyHollow

A very attractive couple in their very attractive workout gear runs in the hills of Georgia of Sleepy Hollow. They show off for each other, each trying to out fitness the other, before the girl stumbles and disappears from the path. Her boyfriend stumbles over her bloody and mauled body before some creature with horns attacks and kills HIM.

THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER RUN, PEOPLE.

Turns out this whole scene was observed by The Hidden One, who is out and about looking robust in a tunic and belt from Demon Anthropologie. “Your skills remain quite admirable,” he purrs to the horned guy, who has blood dribbling down his face. (YAY MAKEUP TEAM.) “Do you not recognize your master?” Horned Guy babbles in a garbled tongue (where the wishful thinker believes he is saying “Yo, I thought Pandora was my master?”) as he tries to finds his words. “I haven’t used my voice in a long time,” Horns says. “It is time I gave the Devil his due,” The Hidden One declares while I take a shot because seeing how many Devil puns we can get in this episode seems like it will be a fun game.

Meanwhile, Abbie is still doing her morning runs and she is still tormented by visions of her time in the catacombs. She finishes her run and instead of just collapsing on the couch like an ordinary person, she goes into her shed and LITERALLY clings to her shrine to this mysterious rune. It has a hold on her like Harry Styles has a hold on me. She can’t function without making sure it still exists. Jenny nearly catches her rune worship because for SOME reason Abbie Mills stores her booze out in the shed and Jenny needs champagne for Mimosas. Abbie gamely deflects, suggesting that they just kill the champagne out there, leaving none for the boys. Note to the writers, I would like to see this in a future episode. I know we are all SUPER worried about Abbie’s mental state, but let’s just take a minute to admire what a cunning and adorable minx she is.

 

Team Witness Drunch (BELIEVE ME IMMA TALK ABOUT THAT LATER) is interrupted when Abbie gets a call about two murders at an antiquities museum (dealership? store? whatever, old things were there and that’s the only thing that’s important). Nothing about the murders feels remotely human. The victims have their jugular ripped out like it was a canine attack, but yet the pupils are blown as if they had been poisoned. “Great,” Abbie deadpans. “A menagerie of evil.” Crane harkens back to a legend where a creature who was an amalgamation of a whole bunch of deadly beasts roamed the Jersey woods. “A monster in Jersey? That urban legend, still around,” Abbie says. “It will be nice if for once, the story was just a story.” “Yet, we must face the truth,” Crane says, in his best “we’re about to go to opening titles” voice. “The Jersey Devil has come to Sleepy Hollow.” Somewhere, Fox Mulder’s heart just beat out of his chest.

(Also errybody take a shot because I’ve lost track of how many times Crane has said “{insert monster here} has come to Sleepy Hollow this season.

Back in the archives, Abbie and Crane dig into the history of the Jersey Devil. They find everything from the absurd (it looked like Bon Jovi) to descriptions matching their victims (“the head of a goat, the skin of a snake and the tail of a scorpion”). When Abbie says that a recent set of victims was found in Atlantic County Park (our unfortunate runners), it triggers a memory in Crane. Flashback to the beginning of his apprenticeship with Benjamin Franklin, where Crane’s hair is ESPECIALLY curly and Harry Styles Glorious. (Note to the wig team: WE LIKE THAT ONE.) Crane meets Japeth Leeds in the woods, a man who is Franklin’s nemesis and frenemy. Leeds is exceedingly cocky as his brags about how his work (especially his electrostatic inducer) is far superior to Franklin’s and if ole Benjy doesn’t stop copying him, he’s going to take his ass to the Continental Congress. “You chose the wrong mentor,” Leeds sneers to an exceedingly bemused Crane, who despite his protestations in modern-day, is incredibly faithful to Franklin. It turns out Leeds was ALSO known for seeking out a method to isolate animal traits in order to augment humanity. HMMMMM.

Franklin comes thru for his pupil yet again when the Witnesses find an encoded message from him in his almanac. “Having turned his back on the scientific community, Dr. Leeds has taken to experimenting on himself, altering his very physiology.” In a very Dr. Henry Jekyll move, Leeds began experimenting on HIMSELF. We see Leeds mixing potions and drinking them (I half expected him to burst out with “This is the Moment”) and then sprouting horns and a scorpion’s tail. That’s right…Japeth Leeds is The Jersey Devil and somehow all of this experiments ALSO prolonged his life, so he’s been kicking it for the past 250 years. Wicked. Abbie ponders if his laboratory is still in Atlantic County Park, which means it’s time for a field trip.

As the Witnesses are poking around for the laboratory, Jenny calls to inform them that the antiquities professors were murdered for some items they had on loan from the London Museum. Both objects were solid gold and known to be vessels to the powers of the Gods. Important! They find a Franklin stove in the middle of some ruins, which is odd. Odder still is that it is not FULLY a Franklin Stove but one of Leeds’ design. (Also look how Abbie fonds at him as he examines the stove. Control yourself, girl. Except don’t.) A fire appears in the stove, but Crane sticks his hand in it, knowing it’s an illusion. The stove creaks and moans and WHOOSH, we have a stairway to the lab. How many times have the Witnesses stood before a mysterious staircase leading into the unknown? Enough times to keep track of who has gone down them first. “I went in first last time,” Abbie smirks at Crane. PARTNERSHIP.

Abbie and Crane descend into the lab, where all the torches automatically come on because Leeds installed motion sensors. “Lots of details…but no devil.” (*takes a shot*) Abbie finds drawings of The Hidden One. Crane realizes what makes this case different from all their previous Hidden One monsters…Leeds wasn’t summoned. He came WILLINGLY in service to his master. Before Crane can go further in his deductions, he notices that his partner has basically frozen up as she stares at something on the table. It’s an amulet of Abbie’s rune and she is transfixed by it. She tries to play it cool when Crane questions her but he can DEFINITELY tell that she’s freaking out because he’s just that in tune with her emotions. “That is no alchemy symbol,” he warns. “If it in the possession of a fiend such as Leeds, it can only represent evil.” LISTEN TO YOUR BOO, ABBIE.

BAD NEWS BEARS.

After watching Leeds’ home movie about The Hidden One (stay tuned for WHATTHEDAMNHELL) and taking the stolen gold artifacts into account, the Witnesses realize two things. One, that Leeds’ plan is to recreate the Golden Hourglass of the Gods. Two, The Hidden One is drawing the monsters to Sleepy Hollow to use their power for himself because he is a punk ass bitch who likes to steal EVERYONE’S wind. They are interrupted by a “Did I leave the Stove unlocked?” Leeds has joined the party in the lab and he’s CLEARLY delighted to see his pal Ichabod Crane. (“Had I known you were still alive we’d have had sherry and darts Friday nights!”) Crane has no time for pleasantries and banter. He calls Leeds an abomination, stating that Franklin knew his true nature all along. (SO LOYAL ALWAYS, CRANE. ILYSM.) Leeds is all “I’d rather be the Jersey Devil than be mediocre like you” and I love that they went this route with him. Yes, he’s evil AF but he’s so posh and sassy, I can’t help but be delighted by him. “Why should great men bow to the small-minded masses? Imagine an era where genius is rewarded, not feared. That is the promise of the Hidden One.” (Okay, but how is The Hidden One convincing all these people who are more powerful than him to just hand their power over? Is he Donald Trump?) “You’re insane,” Abbie sneers. “No,” Leeds replies. “I’m the devil.” EVERYBODY TAKE A SHOT. (Is that four now? How is everyone feeling?)

Leeds quickly grows tired of the banter. He wheels on Crane saying “Now, which would you prefer… bleeding out quickly from a severed artery, or expiring from a paralytic toxin?” and then promptly stings him with his scorpion tail. Abbie quickly shoots him because that is always her answer in these situations and then Crane, who is already fighting the toxin’s effects, attempts to stab him in the back. (As always, let’s take a moment to appreciate how Tom started contorting his hands as the poison took hold of him. His physicality for Ichabod is SO specific and so consistent and GOD HE IS SO GOOD IN THIS ROLE.) Leeds grabs his lightning rod electrostatic inducer and peaces out with an “If only you had some to work for me” parting shot.

Abbie quickly goes about finding a way to stop the venom from killing her Biblical life Partner. “We’re in a supernatural pharmacy. There has to be something to stop this.” Crane valiantly tries to talk her through it but the venom is working too quickly, rendering him unable to do more than groan. “Stay with me, Crane,” Abbie urges and her calmness is completely reminiscent of when Crane was badly injured earlier this season. Her default mode in these situations is to go all business because there is no other option. Getting hysterical helps no one. Unfortunately, her calm is broken when she spills the antidote everywhere and Abbie begins to freak out. She sees the rune amulet on the table and stops. She’s completely mesmerized (those are whispers she hears, yes?) and all thoughts of the urgency of her partner’s situation are completely forgotten as she focuses on the rune. (Side note: every time Crane brokenly says “Abbie” an angel gets its wings. FACT.) Ichabod manages to moan a “please” right before he loses consciousness and that manages to break Abbie out of her stupor. She remixes the antidote, cradles Crane to her and pours it down his mouth. (Will I EVER be over Tom and Nicole’s size difference? The answer is no.) Her hands are all over his face as she tries to get him to come to but to no avail. Abbie sits and clasps the amulet to her chest as she tries to breathe because she KNOWS she’s fucked up. BIG TIME.

 

 

I mean, I am not going to SAY it is True Love’s Kiss that finally revived him. But that is EXACTLY what I am saying. I’ll get into the ramifications of this situation in the shippy section, so hold tight Ichabbie fans.

After Ichabod recovers, they get a call from Jenny. Leeds was gathering the gold artifacts so that they could be reduced into the Sands of Life to fill the Golden Hourglass. To do so, he needs the Fire of the Gods aka Lightning, which is why he absconded with his lightning rod electrostatic inducer. They realize that Leeds will need to be at the highest point in the area, so they make their way there post-haste. Up in the hills, Leeds is singing the praises of the Hidden One (who is watching via the Pensieve in Pandora’s cave) and then shouts to the heavens, taunting the ghost of Franklin. “Who’s the true master of lightning NOW, Benjamin,” he taunts. (“Why are you so obsessed with me?” Benjy’s ghost shouts.) Leeds turns at the sound of two guns being cocked. Leeds may as well be stomping his foot in a temper tantrum when he sees that Ichabod survived his attack. “It appears I made the same mistake your mentor did: underestimated you.” Crane is essentially like “Yeah you did” and then goes on to warn him that no matter what he thinks, The Hidden One cannot be trusted. Leeds doesn’t give a shit about Crane’s warnings. It’s time to make some sands of life. Lightning strikes the lightning rod electrostatic inducer, the gold melts and swirls into a cyclone of sand. Leeds dances about, taunting Crane, taking no notice of the fact that Abbie is nowhere to be seen.  BOOM Abbie get Leeds in the gut with the lightning rod electrostatic inducer. “I was mentored by one of the greatest minds in history, Crane smirks. “Benjamin Franklin sends his regards.” Lightning strikes. Bye Leeds. It’s too late though…the Sands of Life are gone.

Leeds, despite his hideous looks, was more sassy than scary. 3/10 Sandmen. 

#WHATTHEDAMNHELLHollow

Thanks to Leeds and his super ahead of its time film projector, we FINALLY got some backstory on Pandora and the Hidden one. A long long time ago in a galaxy far far away Once upon a time, the Gods ruled over the world from a golden palace. Humans were nothing to them, mere servants to their whims. Among the LITERAL servants to the Gods was Pandora, who delivered offerings every day as if she was living in some sort of Mythological version of Panem. There was one God who had been outcast and forced to live hidden away in the catacombs (where Abbie was???). If you guessed that this God was The Hidden One, you win a million dollars. One day, Pandora (who is playing up the meek and wide-eyed ingenue thing like a CHAMP) brings him a flower. When he questions her motivations, she bats her eyelashes and says “I only wanted to bring you a bit of joy.” The Hidden One, naturally, is completely enchanted by her and doesn’t question her intentions.  (Leeds says in his voiceover that she was a ray of hope, which is ironic considering that according to the myth, the only thing LEFT in Pandora’s Box after she managed to close it WAS hope.)

The Hidden One reveals to Pandora WHY he is hidden away in the catacombs: all of the evil in the world is hidden away in a singular box and it has fallen to him to guard it. He shows her the box, saying that all the power to destroy his brother above (Zeus?) is contained therein. He’s too busy showing off to notice the look in Pandora’s eyes. I noticed the look right away because it’s how I look at an unopened box of Tagalongs or HQ pictures of Louis Tomlinson in jewel tones. I believe the kids call it THIRST. She is SO THIRSTY for that box from the moment she laid eyes on it (if not before).  But here is where I get confused and where the story starts to get a little murky. Pandora unleashed the contents of the box (HOW) and got rid of all the good guys. Somewhere along the line she evolved from meek servant girl to bad ass powerful sorceress and she and the Hidden One started banging (I can only assume). Eventually “humanity” betrayed The Hidden One and cast him back down to the catacombs. WHO LED THAT BETRAYAL? Based on her thirst for power, I can only say that Pandora did? But somehow The Hidden One doesn’t know she was behind his fall from glory? If she was so powerful, how could she not stop his betrayal if she had nothing to do with it? DOES SHE ACTUALLY LOVE HIM OR WAS SHE USING HIM? EXPLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN.

Later, The Hidden One finds Pandora at the Tree of Wonders. She’s still pale from her lack of power and she’s DEFINITELY still pissed. In a reversal of roles, he brings HER a flower. She’s not buying it at first, but The Hidden One presses on say, “You are the only gift I have ever needed.” Then he FINALLY asks her to join him and her face lights up. I don’t know what prompted this turnaround but I have to think it’s because The Hidden One finally realized that SHE is the more powerful one here. (At least that is what I want to believe.) They stand over the pensieve/hot tub time machine as the golden hourglass containing the sands of life appears before them. “The time has come,” The Hidden One crows. “The new world begins now.” Pandora stares at the hourglass with a familiar expression.

THIRST.

SHE. IS. GOING. TO. GET. YOU. 7/10 Golems. 

#SassyHollow

 

 

Okay, I have a new life goal and that’s to have brunch with Team Witness. Everything about this was glorious. I loved the trio of Ichabod, Jenny, and Joey preparing the meal as they waited for Abbie to get back from her run. We got to see the return of riled up and pretentious Crane as he ranted about breakfast food.

Ichabod: These eggs are named after a traitor to this nation. These delicious baked goods after a member of the Hapsburg Monarchy, which is an affront to anyone who ever fought a Hessian. So, what is in a name? Apparently, nothing.
Joe: Lox?

To quote Sage, SHUT UP ICHABOD EGGS BENNIE IS DELICIOUS. Also I am glad to see that Ichabod still has an affinity for all things baked goods. And I LOVED Jenny’s “I have a new word for you. Mimosa.” WELCOME TO THE NEW AGE CRANE. It’s bubbly and delightful. AND THEN we get Joey looking like an adorable puppy as he shows off his spoon parlor trick. (Dear Zach, if you read this, please let us know how many takes that took. XO.) We have Crane making low-key dick jokes about Benjamin Franklin and you have Joey and Abbie teasing each other as Ichabod and Jenny clean up. It’s all so warm and domestic that you forget that these are a bunch of BAMF demon hunters. More of this, always.

Witness Drunch + All the Sass from Leeds = 7/10 Donut Holes

#ShippyHollow

Speaking of Jenny and Crane cleaning up from brunch, can we talk about how BLATANT Jenny was when she commented on the fact that Crane “seemed happier”.  I read a LOT of fan fic and a comment like that basically means “I KNOW YOU ARE IN LOVE AND I APPROVE.” So. Head Canon Accepted. Also, Crane has the nerve to get all bashful when she says it before he changes the subject and comments on Abbie’s mood. (Which is really code for “Tell me she is feeling it too, Jenny.” Fight me on this.) Both Ichabod and Jenny are perceptive enough to know that despite appearances, things are not completely kosher with Abbie. But they ALSO both know that pushing her to talk will get them nowhere. The only thing they can do is be there and wait and hope for Abbie to open up to them. “We must remain cognizant of her needs,” Ichabod says. YEAH YOU DO THAT.

So we come to the moments right after Abbie wakes Ichabod with True Love’s Kiss. Like I said, Abbie KNOWS she fucked up. You see it cut her to her very soul that she almost let Ichabod die. Thus, the time for secrets and delicate boundaries comes to an end. When Abbie claims distraction, Ichabod calls her on it. “By that symbol,” he says. “One you clutch in your hand even now. You were drawn to it, Lieutenant. It has a hold on you. If it is here, it is a thing of evil.” I think it’s important to note that Ichabod doesn’t call her out because he’s angry. Honestly, I think he could give a shit that he almost died. He’s so concerned about ABBIE in this moment that he feels he can no longer remain silent. And I think that lack of judgement and pure concern and love is what finally breaks her walls and the confessions come pouring forth. “It doesn’t change the fact that I need it,” she replies brokenly and you SEE the horror sweep across Ichabod’s face as he realizes JUST how long she’s been suffering in silence. “The Catacombs, the year of solitude…No sleep, no way to dream…There was no escaping it. I was in my head the whole time, in a bad place, and then, one day, that’s when I saw it, on the temple wall. I started drawing it, tracing it… It gave me peace. Gives me peace. As horrified as he is, Ichabod never says that she’s ridiculous. He simply reminds Abbie of what she is. A warrior. “When soldiers return from war, they do what they need to carry on.” Abbie can definitely read the horror on his face though because she is not an idiot.

HIS FIRST INSTINCT IS TO TOUCH HER AND HE STOPS HIMSELF AND I AM ON FIRE.

Later, when all the battles for the day have been won, Ichabod finds Abbie on the couch, clutching the amulet. An awkward silence hangs between them for a moment because Ichabod has made his views about the clear (he may not want to JUDGE but he’s still entitled to his opinion) and he doesn’t want to fight, considering they’ve both had a stressful day. So he moves to give her space but this time it’s ABBIE who makes the first move. “Don’t go,” she says, barely above a whisper. “Come and talk to me.”  So he does. And like you see in that gif, his FIRST instinct is to touch her but he holds back because this is NOT about him. This is about what she needs in this moment so as much as he may want to hold her and spoon on the couch, he keeps his distance. He’s SO GENTLE with her in this moment and he apologizes for even giving a HINT of judgement (which I didn’t see but clearly he felt he had done so). “I have seen enough men scarred by war. They must use whatever means they can to… live with the memories they carry. It is not my place to judge how one bears their private burdens.”

 

“You could’ve DIED because of how much I needed this,” she says, ripping my heart in two. You can SEE how much she’s beating herself up for letting him down. I LOVE Ichabod’s response to that because his face is very “Yeeeeeeeeeah, I did almost die, my love. That wasn’t great. But you know what? I didn’t. So maybe let’s work through this so it doesn’t happen again.” Yes. I got all that from an inhale, an eyebrow raise, and a head tilt. Tom is THAT good.

 

NICOLE BEHARIE THOUGH. Look at her. Abbie Mills doesn’t go full-out open with her emotions very often, so when she DOES you know it is a significant moment. Abbie is so broken here but you know what? She is also incredibly strong. She’s never been MORE strong than she is in this moment, in the middle of her brokenness. Her eyes never stray from Crane’s face as she says that she has been lying to herself.

 

 

I mean, I know you guys know this but DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH IT MEANT THAT GRACE ABIGAIL MILLS ASKED FOR HELP? Abbie has always prided herself on her independence, on the fact that she is CAPABLE and she needs no one. But no person is an island. Abbie knows she has reached a point where she can no longer do it on her own. And she trusts Ichabod so deeply that she knows he will not let her fall. You physically SEE Abbie become unburdened the moment she asks him for help. Things may still get bad. But she’s not alone now. She never HAS to be alone. I think she’s finally seeing it now.

And if my head canon is that they snuggled on the couch the rest of the night, then so be it.

 

 

And then there are these loved-up assholes. FIRST OF ALL, we are using the term GIRLFRIEND now, you guys. Second, we have them doing what EVERYONE should do post-Drunch, which is going home for some sexytimes. I love how Joey gently teases her as they walk towards the trailer like he doesn’t PLAN on spending the rest of the day in bed with her. (GOD.) I love how Jenny lights up around him. I don’t understand how anyone can be not on board with these two. They are SO good for each other, it physically hurts me.

 

 

Naturally, because I am not allowed to have nice things, the Joenny afternoon sex romp is derailed by the fact that the trailer’s water main is busted and everything is flooded. BUT THEN the show decides that I DO deserve nice things because Little Joey Corbin starts talking about the future. “You know, Jen, this whole place could use a renovation. We can afford it. Look, we have been unearthing the past for months now. And personally, I’m feeling ready to take on the future.” SET ME ON FIRE. LOOK AT HIS EASY AND CASUAL USE OF THE WORD “WE”. LOOK AT HOW HE CLEARLY THINKS OF THE TRAILER AS “THEIRS”. LOOK AT HOW HE BLATANTLY LOOKS AT HER WHEN HE TALKS ABOUT THE FUTURE BECAUSE HE SEES A FUTURE WITH HER IN IT. WHO ARE YOU JOEY CORBIN AND WHY ARE YOU TORMENTING ME WITH YOUR GOOD AND PURE HEART. AND THEN YOU HAVE TO COCK YOUR EYEBROW AND USE A DAD PUN LIKE “FLOOD MONEY” AND GRIN. GOD YOU HAVE SOME NERVE, SIR.

Overeager puppy that he is, Joey takes Jenny’s permission to spruce up the trailer a wee bit too far. As in an entirely new trailer. To some women (ME judging by the way I reacted to Joey clutching that giant red bow), this would be considered a romantic gesture. To Jennifer Mills, sister of Abigail, and lover of boundaries, a gesture this big and grand is the opposite. Jenny flips her shit, mainly because she was cut out of this choice. It bears repeating that the sisters Mills have grown up completely used to not having anyone to rely on. Jenny has no concept of someone wanting to spoil her just because he can. So instead, the shiny new trailer feels like a violation (“YOU CAN’T JUST REPLACE A PERSON’S HOUSE WITHOUT ASKING.”). That wasn’t at all his intention and you can see that he feels horrible. He just got REALLY excited about a prospect of a future with this girl that he is in LOVE with and he went overboard. I just want to pat him on his head and say “You tried, puppy.”

By the end of the day, Jenny’s crappy trailer is back. And more importantly, Joey acknowledges that he has heard and understood Jenny’s anger. “I jumped the gun but I think you KNOW that my heart was in the right place,” he says sheepishly. He recognizes her boundaries and even though Jenny clearly enjoys torturing him a little bit, he’s obviously forgiven. “Never touch my stuff without asking,” she says, in between kisses. “Yes ma’am,” he grins. GOD. JUST GO DO IT. Clearly that’s what’s on Joey’s mind, but Jenny’s not done tormenting him. She slams the door in his face with a grin, leaving Joey crying out a tormented “JAY!”

I can’t wait till they get married.

EVERYBODY IS TAKING DOWN THEIR WALLS AND I AM HERE FOR IT. 8/10 Fistbumps. 

Thoughts for the Archives

  • I know I just finished talking about them, but can we talk about how Joey was all up in Jenny’s space during brunch prep??
  • In a not entirely unexpected twist, Ichabod’s citizenship request is denied. I’m curious as to how this will play out with the rest of the season. Will deportation be a genuine risk? Also this: “You helped create this country.” “The irony is not lost on me.”

And that’s our episode!  What are your thoughts on “Dark Mirror”? Let us know in the comments.