Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 4
“The Sisters Mills”
Posted by Sage
How’d you sleep on Thursday night, friends? I considered dumping my change on my bed before I turned the lights on, just in cases. Let’s get to the rankings.
Little Saffron isn’t the only lady in this town with a “sadistic sense of humor.” The monster that Pandora conjured this week was pure nightmare fuel, both in intent and design. The case of the Tooth Fairy blended twistory and myth, and though the Betsy Ross integration was clunky as always, I’ll never long for the days where every threat had to be tied back to Crane’s “death” and Moloch. Anyway, let’s talk about that creature, eh? Unless you’d prefer to forget it…
You never want to see kids first thing on Sleepy Hollow. It means some scurry shit is about to go down. In the cold open, a dad tucks his two young girls into their side-by-side twin beds, then leaves them along together in the darkness of their pink and purple princess room. One of the girls turns to see what causes her sister’s immediate shriek, and is met by the sight of a man-sized monster lying on top of the girl, its snake-like tongue slithering out towards her face. What in the damn hell…?
Little Joey Corbin’s ears perk up when he hears the word “monster” – he was one of the first responders to the call – and alerts the witnesses to the child who’s now in a freak coma and her sister, who maintains that she saw something that no adult wants to consider. Jenny and Abbie approach Saffron gently as she clutches her baby sister’s doll, and ohhhh, there are going to be some emotional Mills Sisters moments in this one, aren’t there? (As the title would suggest, derp.) “We wanted to tell you that we think you’re very brave,” Jenny tells the kid. And she also tells her that she knows from experience how frustrated and small it makes a tiny person feel to be dismissed by the adults who are supposed to protect her. It’s a start.
The Scoobies gain Saffron’s trust further when Crane visits her in her treehouse hideout. (More about his comedy act to come in the #Sassy section.) He skips over words and asks for the visual. Saffron draws a picture of the monster that she saw, and this mother looks piss-your-pants frightening even in crayon. I flinched at Abbie’s question to Saffron, because how is this child supposed to know what the monster actually is? But the plot servicing dialogue served as set-up for an act-ending kicker: Saffron knows her sister’s attacker as the tooth fairy. Sleep tight, children of Sleepy Hollow.
Crane isn’t as surprised at the melding of G-rated childhood traditions and pitch-dark dangers as the ladies are. Most fairy tales had to be heavily sanitized by Disney before getting slapped with a soundtrack and making it to the library of Fine Family Entertainment.TM (Hans Christian Andersen needed therapy and a hot bath. Reblog if you agree.) Crane recalls that the loss of a baby tooth was no cause for celebration during the time of a strange and unexplainable plague that swept through the children of his community back in the colonial days. In between sword-fighting lessons and being the worst flirt of the 1770s, Betsy Ross nursed her beloved niece, who was struck with the illness. Paul Revere, DDS showed up to consult, but Crane was dismissed from the room with no fanfare before he could see what treatment entailed. Betsy’s niece recovered in full, and the plague was ended. Archive research turns up knowledge of a Syrian demon called the Abyzou; it craves children’s souls, and an open wound (like the cavity left from a lost tooth) serves as a “beacon” to draw the demon in. Crane reads that silver is the Abyzou’s only known weakness remembers Revere giving Betsy’s niece a coin. (This is why it became customary for parents to place change under their kids’ pillows when they lost their baby teeth.) The accounts say that the Abyzou is an invisible creature, but the accounts were all written by adults. What if, the Witnesses posit, it only reveals itself to children?
This Abyzou is still at work and about to prey on another child with a clueless parent. Just like the ominously innocent scene that opened the episode, the “there’s no monster in your closet/under your bed/outside of the window” foreshadowing never works out well for the kid involved. After his useless mother leaves the room, an achingly adorable little boy opens his closet to check for monster he’s certain he saw there before. It’s behind him instead, and I jumped roughly a foot and a half into the air. The effects and make-up department did a tremendous job with the Tooth Fairy, but it was the casting of a contortionist to play the demon that really threw it over the top. If I saw that thing crab-walking on my ceiling, I’d get on a plane and trade in Sleepy Hollow for the Amazon rainforest, where the only thing of that size crawling towards me is a scorpion or some shit. Jenny gifts little Gregory with a silver coin when she and Crane make their reconnaissance visit to his elementary school (getting to it), but the metal is just a stop gap. Team Scooby stakes out Gregory’s home, where a useless mom has been traded in for a distracted babysitter. The Mills sisters are damn crusaders, so they don’t think twice about going after a deadly monster that they can’t see. They see flashes of the Abyzou when it runs through the path of the lawn sprinkler, but it’s still no good. The Abyzou knocks both of them out and retreats back into the forest.
While Abbie recovers at the hospital, Crane and Jenny continue digging into the past to find the Revere method for taking out the Abyzou. Crane looks through the man’s dentist bag, griping about how he was “too clever by half” and nuts about codes and ciphers. He stalls on the phrase “more than the sum of its parts” and slides two of the medical instruments together. All combined, the tools become a weapon, with silver nitrate as the ammo. Jenny remembers that silver nitrate was used in the dawn of photography. It creates a flash of light. The Abyzou has a weak spot; Revere used the silver nitrate to find it and take the shot.
Crane and Jenny set a trap for the Abyzou with Saffron as the bait. In any other town, this might be an ethical no-no, but this child had a right to be involved in the saving of her sister. She’s already there in the darkness with them, and she’s in danger along with the rest of the town’s youngins until the monster is vanquished. The Abyzou shows up right on schedule, and Crane KICKS IT IN THE FACE and out of the treehouse. He and Jenny give chase as it seeks refuge in the trees, but the silver nitrate is working. The creature is fast, and substance wears out before they make the kill shot. Crane throws the rest of the particles at it in a last-ditch effort; Jenny runs the Abyzou through with a poker, and it disintegrates. Team Jen-Bod FTW.
Also relevant to this section: Jenny tracks down the name of the lady drifter from episode 3 who suspiciously knew all of August Corbin’s signature moves. Sophie Foster is her name, but a mysterious personage called Atticus Nevins is the one paying the artifact hunter’s way. This means nothing to anyone now, but his identity has to be linked to the purpose of the Shard of Anubis that everyone is so hot for. What’s the connection between Atticus Nevins and August Corbin? And could it be possible that the two men are one and the same? WHAT IF AUGUST CORBIN ISN’T REALLY DEAD?
Good god, that monster is chilling. And it kills wee babes. That’s a solid 9/10 Golems. (If August is still alive, this scale will BREAK.)
We have no ranking system for the level of Mills Sisters bond-age that’s happening at any given moment, but #ShippyHollow serves as an all purpose feels-meter. It’s no coincidence that the first victim of the modern-day Abyzou is a little sister; the Jenny and Abbie parallels are obvious from the very beginning. Jenny is so well-adjusted and resilient, her institutionalization seems like a distant memory. But the hell she’s been through comes screaming back when she meets Saffron, whose bravery was rewarded with the adult brush-off. At least that was all she got; Jenny was locked up and declared insane.
But the younger Mills doesn’t hold that part of her life against her sister anymore. Life is too short, she well knows, and she only gets one Abbie. Crane gives the elder Mills that honor, but I think Abbie would argue that Jenny is the strongest person that either of them know. Think what she’s been through and the kindness she’s been able to retain. It’s a testament to the deep friendship she and Abbie forged as children, and to the unconditional support of her second father, August Corbin. (Seriously, if he’s alive, I’m going to not be able to watch Jenny find it out.) It’s so meaningful that Jenny can be the spokesperson for Tessa, the younger sibling who will never stop looking up to Saffron, no matter what. “You and I,” Jenny tells the girl, “we’re going to have many more happy years together with our sisters. I promise.”
No advancements on the Joe/Jenny front, though we did find out that Jenny has been trying to set her friend and artifact hunting protege up. (The Mills sisters are great at killing monsters, but their true passions lie in matchmaking.”) Does Jenny know other women? I don’t think she’s the type to join up with the Sleepy Hollow Ladies Auxiliary. The only explanation I can string together is that she meets them at Mabie’s, and then tells them all about her hot EMT bro who isn’t a wendigo anymore. It’s an awfully girlish hobby for these two badasses, no? Regardless, we finally got the Crane/Joe bro time we were promised at NYCC, when they’re teamed up for the Tooth Fairy stakeout. Like everyone else in his life, Joe has an opinion about Crane’s text-flirting with Zoe, and his classifies both the frequency and the content of their correspondence as very un-tutor-like. Crane seems determined to keep his professional life and love life separate, (Would that he had been so adamant about this when Katrina was being shoved down our throats.) but Joe knows that that kind of compartmentalization is impractical, and more trouble than its worth. I believe that we’re supposed to think of Betsy when Crane cites his “experience” on mixing business with pleasure, and I’m sure we’ll see where that whole disaster goes even more wrong. But his “as is my way” suggests a perpetual struggle with finding the line, and we all know that he hasn’t known Zoe long enough for that to apply. To reiterate: Crane knows he spends too much time pondering the nature of an ongoing working relationship and the “auxiliary feelings” it provokes. HM.
Whoever could you be talking about right now, Crane? Your failed attempt at being coy gets this episode 7/10 Fist Bumps for Shippiness.
As I mentioned above, Crane is in constant contact with Zoe, who was clearly born too late to read The Rules. Slow your roll, girl. Let him text first every once in a while. Abbie finds Zoe’s persistence adorable, and delights in pointing out to Crane just how hard he’s downplaying the lady’s interest in him. She’s also low-key jealous, even though she can’t quite see to ranking Zoe as an actual threat. I think that deep down, Abbie knows that all she would need to do to lock this guy down is to say the word. She’s not ready to pull that trigger, but she isn’t overjoyed about watching him do the dance with someone else. (“So just because I can’t go out with him, someone else can?” – Leslie Knope) Or maybe she’s just not about being that rebound. Whatever the reason for them, Nicole Beharie is bringing it with the reactions again this week.
Here for Crane being funny, because life is short and this is a show about a hell mouth in upstate New York. Let the people live a little. 8/10 Donut Holes.
Soooo, Pandora is Sumerian. And maybe a lizard? Either that or she jaundiced and she should check herself into that hospital right away. Crane assesses Pandora’s motives in unleashing the Tooth Fairy and makes sure that Team Witness’s strategies for fighting it don’t feed into her intent to spread panic. You’d think Pandora would be frustrated at this point after being thwarted so many times, but really she’s still having a ball. I think she delights more in these small moments of undermining human decency, like when she tries to un-do Jenny’s appeal to Saffron. (“So many words and empty promises those adults of yours make. I don’t even now how they keep all of it straight, seeing as they don’t believe you.”) And she’s most certainly hunting the witnesses in particular. She wants to break Abbie; she doesn’t mind if it takes a while, but she will find that weakness – that “pesky thing [she] can’t accept to lose.” (PANDORA SHIPS IT.) She goes so far as to let Abbie in on the weakness that eradicated whatever humanity she used to have. (“He beat me until I forgot all language.”) And it can’t be a coincidence that her confession is related to a father. As usual, Abbie doesn’t bow to this kind of psychological attack. As long as Pandora is going after kids, Abbie Mills will be there standing in her way.
What does worry Abbie is the connection between the tablet and Pandora. They both come from the same history, which gives the “destroyer” prophecy more weight. The best the witnesses can guess, Pandora is there to stoke the fire of fear in Sleepy Hollow until they are forced to do something that will cause harm instead of good. What’s really frightening is that intentions don’t seem to matter, and that Pandora remains sure and steady in her plans. Her black roses are still in bloom.
Did I mention she’s a lizard? 6/10 Sandmen
Thoughts For The Archives
- There’s just something about the way Abbie Mills says “ratified.”
- Yep, peeping Toms. That’s a job for the FBI. You’re lucky he still wants to get up in that, Abbie. Reynolds will believe anything his favorite agent tells him.
- Friendly reminder that there are SEVERAL Crane limericks in the tie-in journal that was released last year.
- Child development classes should include a unit on not saying things like “There’s no such thing as monsters.”
- Besides the monster, the most effective visual moment of the episode was little Gregory’s water glass going pink with blood.
What do you think, Sleepyheads? Are Abbie and Crane “epilutu”? Is Daddy Mills a player in the fight between good and evil? Do you think you’ve ever been half that cute after a visit to the dentist? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and be back here next week for Kim’s recap of the Sleepy/Bones crossover, for which we are cautiously optimistic.