Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 12
“Sins of the Father”
Posted by Sage
Two Sleepy Hollow recaps in ONE WEEK? Our tardiness (and battle with avian flu) is your gain. And how about this nice little stretch of episodes? The new team structure is gelling, the wine is breathing, and Pandora is ready to chop the Hidden One’s dick off at ANY MINUTE. Life is good. To the rankings!
Whelp, Atticus Nevins is not, in fact, dead. Though his face and torso have seen better days. After a Pandora/Hidden One domestic that I will be covering in WhatTheDamnHell because WHAT THE DAMN HELL, an overly confident Sleepy Hollow cop collars their top fugitive in the forest. (Strange that they’d assume him alive after Pandora performed an impromptu splenectomy on him in the back of a prisoner transpo van, with the ensuing blood spatter and all. Anyhoo.) Since Nevins is on the top of the FBI’s Most Wanted list, red shirt cop declines back-up. He even tells his prisoner to “STAY PUT” when red shirt moves to check out a suspicious noise in the trees. Captain Irving would be ashamed at this level of training, I tell ya. A creature comes into the clearing and attacks red shirt while Nevins looks on, horrified. He did stay put though.
Nevins’ next move is to contact his demon-hunting nemeses. Abbie receives a text from a blocked number with a message and a map. “If you want to save lives meet me now. Come alone.” See, red shirt? You can only do that shit if your name is in the opening credits. Abbie does as her midnight mystery texter says (it was 8pm, I just wanted to use a Friends reference) and meets Nevins in the dark woods. Can I just say that I love Abbie’s blatant distaste for everything about that man? (“I don’t know if you’re stupid or crazy.”) Still, what he shows her is worth seeing. “You saw what did this?” she asks about the officer’s mutilated body. “It’s unstoppable,” he tells her. He offers his help, though it won’t come for free.
Ichabbie watches from outside the Masonic cell while Joenny interrogates their prisoner. (Now this is the kind of double date that suits this foursome.) Joey is all huffy, and Jenny isn’t inclined to give Nevins an inch of give either. Nevins prompts Joey to lift up his shirt to reveal his most impressive scar. It’s a crude incision across his torso that provokes an instant response from his interrogators. (I’m disgusting, I want to know what implement Pandora used. A fingernail, mayhaps?) He lays out his terms: money, a passport, and safe passage out of the country. (Jenny: “Thanks, we’ll find the monster ourselves.”) Crane, who’s been watching a lot of Food Network, sees an opportunity to try out one of his pal George Washington’s (riiiise up) interview tactics. They tap out Joenny, and Ichabbie make their appeal. Abbie tells Nevins in no uncertain terms that his compensation will be based entirely on the usefulness of his information, and that no guarantees are going to be made. This isn’t a mattress store, my dude. Crane unveils his bargaining chip with a flourish: a meal of roast chicken, potatoes and vegetables. Perhaps he’s gunning for a sous-chef position at Colonial Times.
Sophie joins the party at the archives, but her patience is thin. She yanks the tray away from Nevins (read your Emily Post, sir) and dumps out the rest of his meal. It’s time to start talking. Nevins tells the group about a strange experience he and August Corbin had during their tour in Iraq in ’91. He had heard of a cave on the border that housed a small horde of gold. A contingency of four men (Nevins, Corbin, and two others) snuck away from their camp on a secret mission of greed. They almost trip over the gold bars once they’re inside the structure, and Corbin warns that the whole thing has been too easy. Nevins has actual dollar signs in his eyes, and doesn’t want to hear that shit. They’re caught off-guard then by a vicious creature that leaps out of the shadows and takes out the two no-names. Corbin fires at the Gollum-looking ghoul (but like a tall Gollum), and he and Nevins escape with their lives and even a little bit of scratch. Corbin was obsessed with the supernatural from that moment on, Nevins tells the Scoobies. And Nevins, well, he would know that creature anywhere. It’s the same one he saw the previous night in the woods.
They don’t have to sit around and question what it is, Nevins says. Corbin did the legwork for him. Sophie and Abbie reluctantly uncuff him so he can rifle through their mini-Corbin archive. In front of his son, Nevins calls his war buddy and the guy who saved his life more than once a “paranoid bastard.” He’s not wrong. One of the drawers in his filing cabinet has a false bottom; underneath it is the file on the very first demon August Corbin researched. And in that file, is the advantage the Scoobies are looking for. The ghoul can be controlled, but only by the person who possesses a particular golden scarab. Ummmm, have you tried the Anthropologie home department?
Meanwhile, all the creeps of the Northeastern United States are reshuffling. With Nevins “gone,” his position sits empty. The #1 gunner for that empire is none other than Randall, smuggler, con artist, and frequent run-in of Joenny. Two of Nevins’ ex-goons are congratulating themselves on choosing the correct new master to serve; they arrive at one of their old boss’s storage facility to steal something that will prove their loyalty. The ghoul dispatches them quickly, and it’s so serious that the FBI calls an ACTUAL meeting. (I was beginning to think “ritualistic evisceration” didn’t even rate a response.) At that meeting? Abigail Mills, officially back to work, apparently. She sits next to Sophie at the briefing, and I know this scene was like two seconds long but it gave me LIFE. The women started off on the wrong foot, but that was entirely Danny’s fault. Since her return, Abbie has accepted Sophie entirely as an ally; they know what’s up better than anyone at that table. They’re both experiencing the same gut feeling about the case and whisper across the table that they’re missing something. Abbie goes off to do her own digging, and asks for coverage. “Yeah, I got your back,” Sophie assures her. LADIES.
Abbie returns to the archives to find an exasperated Crane. None of his usual sources are giving him a lead on the scarab, and Nevins is torturing him via the cell security camera. (“WANT MORE CHICKEN.” Same.) Abbie found a lead in the FBI’s customs enforcement list. One of the items? A vase embossed with a golden scarab. The suspect? Randall. Crane quickly interprets the danger of that scenario: an organized crime boss with “a vicious monster as a pit bull.” (I’m fine with it, leave the innocent pit bull babies out of this.)
Due to their individual brushes with the underworld, Joenny and Sophie know where to find Randall. Joe and Sophie case the warehouse while Jenny waits in the getaway car. It feels like a weird arrangement until Sophie sneaks up on a man twice her size, spider monkeys onto his back, and chokes him until he passes out. (Joe: “Okay, I’m impressed.”) They find a suspiciously man-sized crate and then Randall finds them. He warns them not to open it, as much as he’d love to see their reactions, and their fears seem to be confirmed. “My days in the minor league are over,” Randall boasts, and giiiiiirl, you don’t know how right you are. There’s no sign of recognition when they mention the scarab. The crate contains money, no monster. Joe looks stricken. If YOU don’t have the scarab, and I don’t have the scarab, then who’s remote controlling the ghoul? Hint: the ghoul THRUSTS its creepy, bony hand through Randall’s body, killing him instantly. (RIP Randall, you were a fun villain and also very hot.) It moves then to attack Joe and Sophie. Just as the ghoul is about to finish Joey, it senses itself being summoned and walks away. Joenny and Sophie speed back to the archives, Jenny calling to warn Abbie on the way. Surely there are dozens of criminals wouldn’t shed a tear over Randall’s dead body, but one of them is more powerful and clued into the paranormal than the rest. “Search him again,” Jenny instructs Abbie. Nevins has to have the scarab.
“Hang up the phone, Mills,” he says calmly. Nevins decides the time is right to show his cards, since his pet is on the way and all. “A good smuggler uses every possible advantage.” He used Pandora’s wound to store his most valuable possession. He pulls up his shirt and a golden scarab scurries out of his back-alley surgery scar. It’s gross and GLORIOUS, well done effects. The group treasure hunting mission wasn’t the first time he had seen what lived in the cave. He went alone first. Nevins found the scarab in an ancient vase and could instantly feel the power it held over the ghoul. That was his insurance policy, and he didn’t mind a few casualties. He’s got the rest planned out. Sic the ghoul on Ichabbie, escape with Corbin’s files, and use the money he makes from the artifacts to buy his way to freedom. The ghoul shows up right on cue and Nevins shows off his best trick. If he inserts the scarab into the ghoul’s body, it becomes even more powerful. P.S. I will be calling him Fido for the rest of this recap, because Nevins is kind of his dad and because that’s his name.
So Fido goes after Ichabbie on Nevins orders. THAT POOR ARCHIVE. They trash the place for the dozenth time, trying to avoid painful death. Abbie needs “more firepower” and Crane covers her. Never one for subtle patriotism, Crane fights off Fido with American goddamn flag. Abbie’s bullets are barely phasing him, but Crane has an idea. What if the scarab were his weakness? He instructs her to set her aim there. Soon it’s clear that they need more space; Ichabbie do a synchronized somersault out of two side-by-side glass doors and run out into the courtyard. Crane engages Fido so that he can’t escape before Abbie gets a clear shot. (“Lieutenant, you have this.”) She has one, but she hesitates. Flashbacks to her Sumerian prison strike again (more in WTDH), nearly paralyzing her. Shipper goggles: if it hadn’t been her Biblical Life Partner about to get the life squeezed out of him by the cousin on the tall side of the Gollum family, she wouldn’t have snapped out of it soon enough. Sophie, for one, is impressed. (“Nice shooting, Mills.” “It’s just about practice.”)
Joenny are charged with retrieving Nevins. They separate to track him through the tunnels. Nevins finds Jenny before she can find him. He puts a gun to her head and forces Joey to drop his weapon. “You were family once,” Joe reminds him. “Family?” Nevins spits. “August Corbin hated me.” But Joey is just coming to understand what a complicated person his dad was, and that his mistakes didn’t outshine his good heart. “You loved him, Atticus,” he says, tearing up. “We both did.” Zach Appelman, if you wouldn’t mind LETTING ME LIVE. But Nevins is like, “FEELINGS? I didn’t sign up for this.” He drops Jenny and disappears into the night. Joey catches her and strokes her hair. IS IS TIME FOR SHIPPY YET?
We bid a bloody farewell to a great recurring character and a beetle took up the space recently vacated by a man’s spleen. That’ll do you 6.5/10 Sandmen for Creepiness.
This section is going to be longer than usual because GUESS WHO’S NOT FINE.
Crane is doing his gentle best to get into Abbie’s head, and it’s not out of character for her to push back. Crane knows his partner as a self-sufficient woman who won’t be strong-armed into sharing before she’s ready. That’s what’s so terrifying about this possession. Her Biblical Life Partner knows something is wrong, but he doesn’t know it’s wrong. What is it that has a hold on Abbie? All the traditional marks of fictional religious obsession are there. She draws the same symbol that she absent-mindedly sketched in her own blood in the last episode over and over in a journal. She hides a make-shift shrine to it in the Ichabbie family shed. (Is that where they keep their extra succulents?) And she sees visions of it as she goes about her day. (Abbie’s murmured “beautiful” when she saw the symbol burning away at work sent a chill straight down my spine.)
I love that Sleepy Hollow deployed the Ezra subplot at exactly the right time. In two separate scenes, both of the Mills sisters got the chance to have the conversation SHE wanted to have with her absentee father. (They’re so fucking strong, I can’t.) Jenny just wants to know why he bowed out. He answers candidly that he was weak and small, but by no means was that weakness the fault of any of the Mills women. Abbie, ever the investigator, sees an opportunity to learn more about what’s happening to her. She wants to know when and how her mother began to lose her mind. It was “in fits and starts,” Ezra says, and shit, that sounds familiar. “She was living in two different realities.” Ezra admits to being scared, hoping for a shred of sympathy. “So was mom,” Abbie shoots back. To some degree, Abbie is aware of what’s happening to her. But she turns on a dime, flirting over sandwiches with Crane one moment and praying to her Sumerian god the next. It’s almost like the possessed part of her has a stronger sense of self-preservation than Abbie herself. It’s that part of her that’s encouraging her to keep her distance from Crane, knowing that he’s the first person who could suss her condition out. “That’s the way the Mills women kick off,” Abbie says to her dad, wryly. “Crazy and alone.” Ezra may have been a shitty husband and father in the past, but I think I like him now. Abbie is a descendant of two strong families, he reminds her. He and his daughter have both been through some shit. “But I’m still standing,” Ezra says. “And so are you.” He offers to be an ear for her, but Abbie makes sure he knows that her life is complete without him.
There’s another malevolent force with its eye on Abbie. “Sins of the Father” gave us our first look at Jack Walters, the mysterious voice on the other end of Danny’s phone. (Standard shady white guy.) The two previously referred to Abbie as “an asset” and it was under Walters’ orders that Danny refused to accept his best agent’s resignation. (NO MEANS NO, DANNY. Back to HR training with you.) Now we learn that Walters is in bed (well, in car) with Atticus Nevins. He orders Danny to downgrade the search for the fugitive, and then gives Nevins what he wants: a way out of the country. Nevins hands Walters one of August Corbin’s files, this one folder with the coordinates of the “nine sacred sites.” (Could this have something to do with the Hidden One’s International Monster Expo? I think so.) He tells Walters he’s retired, and Walters agrees. Walters shoots Nevins dead.
MEANWHILE back at the Temple Of The Raging Gender Inequality, the honeymoon is over for The Hidden One and Pandora. The Hidden One wakes up in his four-poster bed with his sumptuous linens (I HAVE MANY LEATHER-BOUND BOOKS), and sees his “love” staring into the
penseive fountain thingy. “You mourn the loss of your power,” he asks? DUH DOY, Pandora fails to answer, but she definitely said it in my head. He seems touched by her sorrow and offers “a small token of [his] affection.” He transfers a tiny amount of power back to her, and it’s as insulting to Pandora as offering a parched person a tablespoon of water to drink. Pandora is basically like, “Please sir, I want some more,” but The Hidden One is a selfish bastard threatened by powerful women. Oh, and he’s a whiny pissbaby too. “Now you know exactly how I feel!” he shouts. I swear I didn’t make that up. “You wish to be my equal? Then as I suffer, so shall you.” That’s an MRA battle cry if I’ve ever heard one. God, I can’t wait until she snaps. And then becomes the subject of an episode of Snapped.
This off-key performance of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” is going out to my girl Pandora. MAKE HIM PAY for oppressing you, and release Abbie while you’re at it. 8/10 Golems.
#ShippyHollow and #SassyHollow
Fucking hell, he is WOOING her. Better yet, he’s doing it with the purest of intentions.
Ichabod Crane is so over the moon to have Abigail Mills back safely that he’d gladly slave hours nightly, cooking her elaborate meals. All she’d have to do is ask. I cannot get over his manly apron, popped collar (and chest hair) just underneath, bowing as his lady enters their home. He takes such pleasure in doing things for her. Yes, it’s a funny gag to have Crane belting out an aria while he chops garlic. But it’s also a show of his devotion and his sheer joy he receives from making her happy. As Kim just pointed out to me, this beautiful, careful dinner is such a stark contrast from the sad, frozen lasagna he made himself while she was gone and the Charlie Brown sandwich he tries to eat in this episode while she’s out. (“Goooood grief.”) It’s all for her. I want to punch him so hard. Maybe kick him in the shins a few times. Clearly, he wants to fight me, so let’s go.
As I said earlier, Crane is an expert at giving Abbie space. He takes no offense when she blows his dinner and their double date with Jenny and Joe off (politely, and with great affection) to put in some time at the gun range. He’s open with her about the motive or pity behind the “five-star treatment”: there is none. “You, Lieutenant, are a woman of infinite pride and unparalleled resourcefulness,” he says, almost drowned out by his RAGING HEART EYES. “But, after the deprivation you endured, this is the very least I could do.” And it’s his face rather than his words that communicate to Abbie that he’s worried about her. (“And to answer the question you are thinking but not asking, I’m fine. Thanks to you.”) His suspicions are heightened at this point; the situation will become more dire soon, and he’ll be the first on the scene. For now, he’ll continue to be careful with his partner, letting her take the lead on how quickly she wants to assimilate back into normal life. (I’d kill for a man to get that excited about MY hot wings cravings.) Abbie, for her part, is as honest with him as she can be with anyone. Because she knows what all she’ll get in return for that vulnerability is complete and unconditional support, no judgement or expectations. “Just as you were by my side when I returned to Sleepy Hollow,” Crane pledges, “so I shall be by yours.” Just bone already. Unconditional support is so hot.
Over at Jenny’s home-sweet-trailer, the Joenny ship is sailing on smooth waters. Jen (still not over it) thanks Joe for urging her to talk with her father. Jenny doesn’t take well to people telling her what to do, but Joey’s take on the subject is a direct product of his patriarchal regrets. Joey wants Jenny to do things her way, just not to let her grudges rule her life. It was hard to see Ezra, Jenny tells Abbie. But she doesn’t regret opening that door again. It did her no good to let the hurt fester. Jenny isn’t used to having someone besides her sister care so much about her emotional well-being, let alone someone who’s as good at tracking scumbags as she is. (“Good? We’re the best. We’re like Bonnie & Clyde minus the crime spree.”) I’d like to point out that they have this conversation while Jenny is nestled on Joey’s chest. And if anyone from the show is reading now: thank you for this fanservice. We like monsters, but we also like cute boys in tank tops. We appreciate you for bringing those two blessings together.
The sassiness was modest in this episode, but let’s take it back to the gun range for a moment. Daniel Reynolds may fill out a tight t-shirt nicely, but he is working my last good nerve. It KILLS me that he’s pushing his history with Abbie to keep her at his professional side when we really know he’s working on some shady orders. Abbie has made it clear to him that Danny’s feelings for her aren’t Abbie’s problem. “So our talk the other day,” he starts, referring to the l-word. “I said some things I wasn’t expecting to admit.” THEN WHY ARE YOU BRINGING IT UP AGAIN? Abbie shuts him down, saying she doesn’t want to have this personal conversation in such an inappropriate place. He suggests they go elsewhere and Abbie is all like, “You didn’t let me finish, I meant orrrr anywhere else.” Stop trying to trap her with your feelings, bro. Agent Mills doesn’t operate like that. “Maybe another time,” Abbie says. “Woman with a gun.” Drop that mic.
What’s next in Ichabod’s arsenal of date ideas? I can’t wait to find out. 7/10 Fist Bumps for Shippiness.
The sass level usually goes down as we enter the back half of the season. Things to do, demons to wrangle. But we’ll see. 3/10 Donut Holes for Sass.
Thoughts for the Archive:
- “Keep it warm for me?” “Yes, of course I can.” Why did this destroy me?
- “A diminutive being stranded far from home….Perhaps a different suggestion.”
- “I know when you’re hurting…I don’t want anything to cause you more pain.” I love where the Mills sisters are at right now.
- Current mood: Crane sipping tea from a delicate cup, monitoring an illegal prisoner.
- “Can I ask you guys, are they all this ugly?” “Usually they’re worse. This one is actually not so bad.”
- I spat out my water when the ghoul did a front flip over the witnesses. So unnecessary, so great.
- “No poultry is safe in Sleepy Hollow this dark night!”
What did you think of “Sins of the Father,” Sleepyheads? Kim is on duty for this week’s adventure, “Dark Mirror.” And it looks creepy af. For now, let’s dissect this episode and Crane’s expanding culinary skills in the comments.