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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Before I get to As The Hell Mouth Turns, let’s talk about the other kind of feelings we got in this episode. Now that Ezra is back in his daughters’ lives, he’s not planning on retreating any time soon. He’s coming to them on their turf now, making casual visits to both of their homes. He wants a relationship – one that doesn’t end with coffee and a long overdue apology. As usual, Jenny and Abbie are of two different minds about it. Abbie is all politeness; since she realized that she wasn’t on the same decline as her mother, she seems to have softened towards her dad. Jenny’s guard is up, still. It’s very intentional that Joey isn’t present for either of her interactions with Ezra this week, as just his being there tends to open her up a bit. Early in the episode, Ezra pops by Casa de Ichabbie on his way to business in Atlantic City and gives the girls a scrapbook of family photos. He offers some loving remembrances of their mom while they page through it, and that about does it for Jenny. (“Yeah, and you left her.”)
Always protecting herself, Jenny insists that she doesn’t remember the souvenir Ezra would bring the girls from Atlantic City. But she fesses up to Joey later; it’s one of her few GOOD memories – of course she hangs onto it. Her dad does too. When he comes back home, he stops at Jenny’s trailer with a bag of memories. A bag of pink salt water taffy, baby Jenny’s favorite. He doesn’t ask to stay. He knows she doesn’t want that. “Just my way of saying thanks,” Ezra offers. “For what?” Jenny asks, refusing to expose how touched she is that he remembers. “For opening the door.”
Maybe for Abbie’s agency to be respected in every possible way? Well he’s got that too. I mentioned above that Crane put the decision to return to the catacombs in Abbie’s court. Twice. It “must be your decision,” he says, after hearing Pandora’s appeal. End of humanity or not, he will not rush Abbie’s recovery or force her to do something that she doesn’t want to do. At the end of the episode, Abbie and Crane sit in a park at “dawn’s early light,” Crane hoping and suspecting that the sunrise Key references in the National Anthem might activate Betsy’s flag. The way to the catacombs becomes clear, and it’s time to make the donuts. The confident smile Abbie gives him is everything. This time, she’s entering the catacombs as a survivor, with the person she trusts most in this world walking in next to her. It’s Amy and Rory jumping off the building in Angels Take Manhattan. “Together or not at all.” Let’s finish this thing.
Everything about Ichabbie’s progression in Season 3 is contrasted in the Danny and Abbie trainwreck. I hate that Danny tried every form of emotional manipulation he could think of to get Abbie back from her mysterious Sleepy Hollow distractions. I hate that he’s SO FRIGGIN RUDE to Crane all the time. (“Why does he have to be with you everywhere you go?” BIBLICAL LIFE PARTNERS, DEAL WITH IT.) I hate that he needed an explanation for all of the above before he could trust Abbie and stop treating her like every decision she made that wasn’t about him was ruining his life. I am all for Abbie having the same opportunities to date that Crane does, but the lengths that the show has had to go to in order to keep Danny in the dark have also sort of ruined him for her. Danny is petulant, and I don’t think that’s what gets Abbie’s motor running. Instead, I’m looking at that gif above. I’m a broken record in these recaps by now, but LOOK, now Abbie is even repeating me. She’s ready to cut herself open for someone, even if she does so cautiously. I think it’s pointed that Abbie tells Crane this before she makes a move with Danny, even if she thinks she’s only doing it because they’re friends. (That conversation could have just as easily happened with Jenny.) It’s kind of beautiful how the writers have taken Ichabbie’s obliviousness about each other and put those confusing feelings into their dialogue about other people. “If you care for someone, you do not leave anything unsaid,” Crane says about Betsy’s final letter to him. Meanwhile, these two have been casually pledging their devotion to each other since Season 1.
One more Danny complaint, and this time it’s personal. “Can I kiss you?” CAN I KISS YOU. It actually makes my skin crawl, I loathe this move so much. It’s up there with using the word “lover” in regard to creepiness. Not to mention that Abbie is perched on his desk, telling him that he’s freaked out by her feelings for him and Danny still needs to ask. I’m well aware that I’m projecting an unspeakably awful high school date onto this scenario, but please, can the idea that this question is romantic and not really, really dumb PLEASE DIE? End of rant.
Finally today, let’s discuss the collapse of The Hidden One and Pandora’s relationship. Pandora is setting fire to the rain. Her boots are made for walking. She can breathe for the first time. And her break-up game? RESPECT. Makes you wish you could send an astral projection to your ex’s house and tell him what a royal dick he’s been, doesn’t it? (“I will no longer be providing for you. No longer will I feed your vanity.”) THE BEST PART OF ANY OF THIS is that Pandora ACTUALLY cops to being influenced by Crane and Abbie. Pandora has power beyond what they can dream, but the Witnesses have still bested her every time. And finally, she knows why. “If there’s one thing I learned from those Witnesses, it’s that a power of a true bond can conquer any might. They are stronger because they have each other. They are stronger because they love each other.”
New rule: if your enemy ships it too, it’s time to reconsider the no-kissing thing.
8/10 for Shippiness this week, just to spite the NOTPs. I do what I want.
Thoughts for the Archives:
- Finally, Danny asks the question that’s been on my mind since DAY 1 of this nonsense: how is the public not suspicious about all the weird shit that occurs in this relatively tiny town? He didn’t get a good answer.
- Did Abbie TELL Danny that Sophie knew about the supernatural craziness going down in their jurisdiction? Or did he just suspect? I think she told him.
- “I swear, I’m gonna tie the key to Crane’s neck.” Married.
- Crane lightly encouraging Abbie to see her dad more messed me up real good.
- “Is he a ghost?” YOU WISH.
The finale will be upon us soon! Keep on tweeting with #RenewSleepyHollow and think Season 4 thoughts. Let’s talk about “Dawn’s Early Light” and the Burger King/KFC rivalry in the comments.