Season 2, Episode 6
And the Abyss Gazes Back
Posted by Sage
Happy Sleepy Holloween, Sleepyheads! Ours wasn’t too shabby, what with our adventures at NYC’s Sleepy pumpkin patch with Tom Mison, John Noble, Headless, and Fakeabod. Tom and John both teased the shifting alliances and earth-shaking revelations that are still to come this season. “And the Abyss Gazes Back” did its part to bring the gasps with the introduction of Sheriff Corbin’s estranged son Joe; the purpose of Henremy’s “supernatural Anthrax”; and Ichabod Crane, the online gaming junkie. (“Actually, it’s about ethics in journalism.”) As per usual, we have lots to cover in all four buckets, so let’s hit it.
Whilst hanging out at Sleepy Hollow’s answer to The Maxx, Crane and Abbie run into Joe Corbin, son of Abbie’s deceased mentor, in the middle of a bar fight. He’s a soldier, home from Afghanistan after an honorable discharge. He’s cold and even aggressive to Abbie, who he blames for his father’s death. (“You’re not my family.”) Considering we’re just finding out that Joe exists, I can’t even blame him for the inferiority complex. Abbie is the Heathcliff to Joe’s Hindley Earnshaw (though she’s much more well groomed) and he’s allowed a resentfulness to fester in him for years over his father’s bond with the Mills sisters. And in this town, emotional vulnerability like that is catnip to our pals, the dark forces. Remember the pied piper’s bone flute? Henremy wrote Joe a ransom letter for his soul and dipped it in the powder he crushed it into. I imagine there’s quite a bit left, and it’s more than a little disconcerting that Moloch’s powers work long distance.
Aside: Kim got me all excited for this character because she was sure he was played by Zach Gilford aka Matty Saracen aka 7 aka QB 1 of the Dillon Panthers. I don’t think I have to tell you FNL fans that this actor did not play Matt Saracen, but Zach Appelman does look remarkably like him. Long story short, I really miss Matt Saracen.
After he received Henremy’s letter, people started to die around Joe Corbin, starting with his entire platoon and continuing with his high school buddies at Pioneer Point. To complicate matters further, the dead have had their organs harvested….and a horned man-beast has been spotted fleeing the scene. We were overdue a wendigo appearance on this series, frankly.
The witnesses figure out fairly quickly that Joe and the creature are one and the same, so their attentions turn to breaking the curse. Abbie (like a boss) orders Hawley and Crane to pursue a cure through the Shawnee of Sleepy Hollow, leaving her, Jenny, and Joe to face Henremy and his foot soldiers. The hex on the cell precludes Henremy from using his supernatural powers, so he instead relies on his powers of persuasion to get what he wants from Joe. Young Corbin goes with Henremy, not because he falls for his efforts to poison Joe against them, but because he wants to protect the Mills sisters. (“Once a hero, always a hero.”) He hands over his inheritance – the deadliest poison known to man – and Henremy “cures” him by bringing on his fourth and final transformation. “The true curse is humanity,” Henremy says. “Now Abigail will see what you truly are: a creature of war.” Rude.
For Not-Zach-Gilford as a organ-chomping sub-human, this episode gets 6/10 Sandmen for Creepiness.
PS, did my yogis notice that Abbie closed out her practice with the Crane pose? The prosecution rests.
Meanwhile, Nick Hawley must have death wish, because he’s fixing to pull the sister switch. You do not pull the sister switch on Jennifer Mills. She is a demon hunter and she will cut you.
I just don’t see Abbie going for it. She seems not to even notice that Hawley’s attractive, though she would find him so if she actually looked. It’s not even a case of “Crane on the Brain.” Abbie is focused completely on the job at hand – no time for office romances. So while Lieutenant Oblivious ignores Hawley’s goo-goo eyes, Jenny and Crane do not.
I’m annoyed at the attempt to ratchet up the tension between Abbie and Jenny via dude. The Mills sisters have survived so much worse than this. I ache to see them laugh in the face of boy problems. What I’m not so mad at is the opportunity to meet Ichabod’s jealous side. The sass eyebrow and scorching side-eye are in full effect when he notices Hawley noticing his Biblical life partner. And when he sees them in the archive with their heads together, cozily researching, he can’t help but sarcastically knock to alert them of his presence. Subtle.
For sexually-charged headstands, blood oaths, and a green-eyed Crane, I’m bestowing 7/10 fist bumps for shippiness to this episode.
Another contemporary invention straight up seduces the strategist in our beloved Ichabod. It’s no surprise that the man who struck up an intimate friendship with the OnStar lady would also find the appeal of online gaming irresistible. His long-distance relationships are a little more fraught in this arena, however. “One thing I know is that my allies and I had just obliterated the largest horde of rabid zombies I’d ever encountered and then suddenly, out of nowhere, Chief Wiggum49 and HaloIsMyBitch12 decided to frag me.” I need Crane’s oped on Gamergate like I’ve never needed anything before.
Elsewhere, Crane and Hawley take their bickering act out on the road when Abbie sends them to seek help from the Shawnee. It’s a sassy decision in itself, since Abbie a) gets them both out of her hair and b) delights in seeing them so uncomfortable with each other. Hawley has fun with funny words (“Wendig-JOE,” “Dances With Wendigos”) and Crane tries to sound casual when calling people by their nicknames. (“Big Ash? Big Ash? Big Ash.”) Big Ash and his team (especially Shaman Frank) are welcome back anytime, by the way. There have to be more goodies that’ll come in handy for the war against the darkness where that ceremonial skull came from.
Finally, Jenny Mills seems to have had her sass-stores depleted by a storyline that puts her in the moony girl role. (Hawley isn’t good at “helloes and goodbyes.” He’s just a scoundrel. But you like him because he’s a scoundrel. There aren’t enough scoundrels in your life. Also: never tell him the odds. Seriously, don’t do it.) But she does get one great line off when she comes back from a midnight raid of the medical school, wherein she drained its “freshest cadaver”: “That said, we should probably donate some blood this year.”
Because Jenny Mills is nothing if not a conscientious anarchist and Ichabod Crane nearly bursts a blood vessel playing with 13-year-old gamers online, this episode gets 7/10 Donut Holes of Sass.
Of course Crane knew Daniel Boone well. He also knew Squire Boone, his brother. Squire Boone was the victim of a curse and a cannibal. Any questions? Let’s move on.
Henremy: “Those who fight monsters should see to it that they do not become them.” When one gazes long enough into the abyss, the abyss gazes back.”
Just when we thought Henremy’s mind games with Irving couldn’t get any more dark and twisty, Irving is presented with a way out of his contract. “A life for a life,” Henremy tells Frank, and oh, look. The drunk driver who paralyzed his daughter Macy is just over there, conveniently housed in the same facility. It’s getting very Seymour Krelborn/Orin Scrivello up in here. What I mean to say is, “The guy sure looks like plant food to me.”
But Irving has got nerves and convictions of friggin’ steel. He resists the temptation to fall, even when the scumbag who destroyed his family blames it on a child for being “too stupid to get out of the way.” Even Frank’s will can’t last forever, which is why he reaches out to Abbie in desperation. (“I trust you, Abbie. Please don’t let me down.”) Somebody please help Frank Irving. Because I’m starting to get those Will Graham vibes and that’s bad news for literally everyone.
Joey Corbin survives his wendigo phase to hopefully go off to Quantico and be a credit to his father and foster sisters. But Henremy still makes off with the jinkan and puts it to work in one of his creepy science experiments. The liquid manifests into a rotund little spider, who scurries off Henremy’s table to crawl up Katrina’s cleavage and crawl INTO HER MOUTH. What the frack does THAT mean and does it have anything to do with being a “hellfire shard”? Is this a Rosemary’s Baby situation? Can Katrina possibly end up with an offspring more black sheep than the Horseman of War?
I should point out that while Henremy is animating that eight-legged insect of death and sicking is on his own mother, Crane is giving Abbie a speech on why he won’t give up on his son. When Katrina showed that same sentiment, I figured that her blind love for her firstborn would be her downfall. I’m all for Crane and compassion, but there’s no basis for his optimism. It’s disconcerting. Abbie looks terrified when Crane compares Henremy’s situation to Joe’s. Joe was cursed against his own will by the very person her partner believes still has some inner goodness. This one’s a lost cause, Ichabod. Make a new one with Abbie and move on.
SPIDERS IN YOUR MOUTH WHILE YOU SLEEP. 9/10 Golems for that image alone.
- “Jinkan is an incredibly powerful poison from Southern China. The deadliest creatures are sealed in a solitary utensil and devour one another until their veins are concentrated into a single toxin.” “Cute.”
- “Every woman wants their man in good shape.” Every woman. Witches. Maybe police women. I don’t know.
- “I gotta handle this.” Abbie Mills is 4 ft nothing and breaks up bar fights in her spare time.
- “Sorry. Hamburger double juggs.”
- “He likes Superman.” “He is Superman.” Season 2 has had a lot to say about the relationships between parents and children, especially fathers and sons. Henremy has given up his soul to find a father figure and still doesn’t have the relationship he wants – with either of his dads. Joe mends his relationship with the memory of his father, even though the Sheriff is already gone. And Abbie and Corbin almost have a traditional father/son relationship. They were crazy about each other, but she’s definitely not the stereotypical “Daddy’s girl.” And now she’s stepping into Corbin’s role when it comes to supporting his son: “Never gave up on you for a second. Neither will I.” Abbie Mills sees your traditional gender roles and wants no part of them.
- “Lieutenant! Are you alright?” There are other people in the cell, but try telling that to Ichabod Crane.
- I’m convinced that Abbie’s tap of appreciation on Crane’s chest after he sliced his own palm was improvised. I watched it four times.
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