We begin with Ichabod fleeing through a dark and gothic forestscape, pursued by the Horseman and his three buddies. Indeed, while the title of the show is Sleepy Hollow and not Apocalypse NOW, it would not be utterly unthinkable to suggest a subtitle of “Apocalypse Really, Really SOON, Like….Probably Within Weeks At This Rate!”
Ah, but mind the gap….Ichabod stumbles and falls through a hole in the forest floor. Katrina is on hand to assure him that he’s safe – sort of. As safe as you can be when one of the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse has a bone (or several) to pick with you. (Just not the skull-shaped kind.)
According to Katrina, the Horseman has returned to gather the others, and an “army of evil” will help pave the way for their big reunion concert. The first of the dark spirits will rise with the blood moon! “She’s one of us!” Katrina adds! And Ichabod is tasked with stopping this “she.” Which she? Or…witch she? (Exactly.)
Aha! ‘Twas but a bad dream! Ichabod awakens to the dreary reality of modern life. And the dreariness of cut-rate budget motel decor in particular. See, he’s kinda sorta being held against his will by local law enforcement. They don’t want him wandering off until they have some answers.
Abbie finds herself trying to explain to her boss man that just because she saw her kindly old sheriff father figure mentor sliced in two by a Headless Horseman, it does NOT make her nuts. And sure, the surveillance footage that shows Andy’s head getting snapped like a pez dispenser while he was in a cell in police custody is weird, since it only shows Andy running at the wall like a lunatic, with nary a horned devil from the netherworld in sight! More stuff to file under “WTF!” (That file is getting full, fast.)
But what about Ichabod passing his lie detector test with flying colors, Abbie poses to the Captain? He’s got two words for her: “objective transference.” Two words featured prominently in Ichabod’s psych evaluation. Because, come ON – a guy who believes he beheaded a Hessian horseman under the direction of George Washington and with a little help from his witch wife has surely earned a few additional descriptive terms. Like “batshit nutjob.”
The Captain freely admits that, “I can’t explain what’s going on here – not yet,” which it seems shall buy Abbie and Ichabod “some latitude.” Whew! Latitude is exactly the kind of thing you want in your arsenal when you are pursuing a Hessian horseman under orders from George Washington with a little help from your witch wife! Well, that, and a dusty old Bible, and maybe some binding spells, and actual weaponry that might help to hold off the apocalypse and its henchmen a tad longer.
Abbie goes to retrieve Ichabod from his Motel 6 dungeon. He quickly assures her that he’s NOT happy about having his freedom restricted, and those donut holes she’s brought for breakfast are NOT about to assuage his anger!! Until he consumes one and is reluctantly mollified by the strange yet pleasurable sensations these dough-like sugar-coated modern marvels produce in his mouth! Damn you, Dunkin Donuts, for this most vexing and delicious distraction! But let’s not dally in the realm of eating your feelings instead of processing them! Nay! ‘Tis not the emotionally mature thing to do!
“Take heed, lieutenant – last night I received a warning.,” he announces to Abbie. “From Katrina,” in case you needed a little more clarification.
He tells Abbie about the dark spirit awaiting entry into our world. Also, “evil has found a new home…in Sleepy Hollow.” And that donut holes are fucking awesome.
Meanwhile, at the coroner’s office, a body punches its way out of a body bag. Oh, Andy! It seems one must relearn a few basic principles about depth perception and motor skills when one’s head is hovering over one’s backside. With more than a little awkward maneuvering, he slams his noggin back into its original position – more or less. Cue his blurry and behorned supernatural taskmaster, who, despite the fact that he’s speaking in tongues, manages to deftly berate his minion! The subtitles assure us that he’s not happy, but hopefully Andy can manage to not fuck up the next task. Something about releasing someone? Sounds easy enough.
As you might expect, having your head snapped like a pez dispenser and then slamming it back into position is not without side effects. Like hocking up a mystical ancient medallion.
Cut back to Abbie, and Ichabod riding shotgun in her police cruiser, en route to the kindly old Sheriff’s funeral. They have a little time to kill, so they shoot the shit. Abbie wants to talk about how awkward it must be to find yourself married to a woman whom you didn’t even know was a witch. Ichabod explains that it was a darker time, those old times of yore, when being a witch was a bit of a bummer should you find yourself caught by angry, paranoid villagers. Katrina had her reasons. She was protecting him. And herself. And the world, damn it. OK, it might have helped if she’s shared more with him during pillow talk in real time and didn’t have to rely upon delivering cryptic messages from a shadowy netherworld later on, but whatever.
Meanwhile, Andy has helped himself to an available police car.
At the funeral, Abbie mourns while Ichabod takes the opportunity to visit Katrina’s grave and mull over her warning from beyond. “She’s one of us”? Aha! This dark spirit must be another witch!
Whom Andy is paying a little visit to right about NOW. That regurgitated necklace is placed upon a mysterious grave, where it awakens a lady looking decidedly worse for wear. Andy has some instructions for her: “Take their flesh, and he’ll help you reclaim yours.”
Not soon after, Andy is patrolling a dark country road at night. He pulls a driver over and inquires as to the good gentleman’s surname, which proves to be Firth. Alas, not of the “Colin” variety, it seems this fellow has a far darker fate in store than headlining in somewhat saccharine romantic comedies. Andy instructs him to proceed, although “this road won’t take you far.” Also? “It’s nothing personal.” Andy climbs back into his car and is soon off.
Just when this Mr. Firth thinks he’s merely avoided a moving violation from a creepy cop, he finds his car suddenly inoperable and his path obstructed. By a naked muddy lady! How often is a speeding ticket actually the preferable outcome? At least this once, for sure, because the naked lady is now on his car hood and seems rather determined to make contact. Through his windshield. And chest.
Back to the Ichabod and Abbie show! Following the funeral of her kindly mentor, Ichabod can’t help but notice that Abbie is in mourning. She explains that, after she and her sister had that little incident in the woods with the magic trees and demons, while her sister was committed to the nuthouse, Abbie acted out in other ways, including hanging with the sort of ne’er-do-well fellow who would drag his girlfriend into a life of crime, robbery and drugs. It was a robbery gone wrong that led her to her first meeting with kindly Sheriff Corbin – who took pity on her. Heck, he even bought her pie a la mode instead of arresting her. He’s kindly like that.
“I got more fathering in those five minutes than I got my whole life” Abbie says.
But enough emotional backstory! Abbie gets a call on the police radio. She wanted to be informed of any “unusual activity,” after all. The discovery of a charred body that has had its heart clawed out surely qualifies.
Abbie and Ichabod go to investigate. Upon viewing the remains, Ichabod has an “Aha!’ moment.
OK, I take it back – we haven’t quite fulfilled the backstory quota just yet. Ichabod remembers a night long ago, when his regiment was returning to camp. It was the night of the blood moon when he and his men discover that their camp has been ambushed…and the men in it reduced to ash!
He sensed a presence in the woods, and he turned to behold a black-eyed babe, the very sight of whom chilled his blood! Such tales became more frequent. There was talk of a dark coven led by one Cerilda of Abaddon. In fact, Washington believed the red coats had struck an unholy alliance with these badass beoyotches.
This strikes a chord with Abbie, who recalled that her boss’ hidden research had also mentioned a turf war between witches. Ichabod thinks they ought to delve into Corbin’s research a bit more thoroughly. They return to Corbin’s office. How strange that it’s already been wiped clean, with nary a file of supernatural research in sight. Abbie’s going to get to the bottom of this. She tells Ich to hang tight a minute.
PERFECT opportunity to introduce Ichabod to a meathead-flavored cop named Luke, who can’t resist the urge to talk politics circa the Revolutionary War. Ever the diplomat, Luke deftly reminds Ichabod that, “We kicked your ass,” before Abbie reappears, with a less than enthusiastic “Oh, hi” aimed in Luke’s direction.
Ichabod gleans much from Abbie’s eye rolling. As they take their leave of this knuckle-dragging nobhead, Abbie admits they she and Luke used to have a thing. Which she does NOT want to talk about. Besides, those files of Corbin’s were moved to the archives, so….there’s more pressing matters at hand! Yeah.
Now, technically, you need permission to access the archives. Or a new time-traveling bestie who has big ideas in basement-invading subterfuge.
To the basement!
Ichabod grabs a handily placed axe nearby and starts chopping a hole in the basement wall. Seems that if you scratch the surface, Sleepy Hollow is a big fat maze of subterranean tunnels. Suh-weet.
Ich offers Abbie a mini tour through the dark underbelly of the town she thought she knew. To their right, a secret enclave where the bones of dead witches were tossed by angry and paranoid villagers! (Witches didn’t deserve a proper burial, you see.) Abbie asks why Katrina had a proper headstone then, and as Ichabod reminds her, it was merely a front – a place to hide the Horseman’s head! The location of her real remains (if she is in fact dead)? Unknown.
And over here! The place you’d least like to take a smoke break. Crates of gunpowder!
And here, a ladder! Leading to the archives! The place you’d most like to find backstory housed in bulk!
It’s here where the history of Sleepy Hollow lives, Abbie explains. Correction, counters Ichabod! It’s where the recorded history lives. Lots of it. Big fat overflowing piles of recorded history. They decide to split the files in order to hasten their search for answers.
Cut to some cute kids playing in their yard. They kick the ball into the street. Andy catches it and warns the little fellow to watch himself. He thinks their parents would be mad if they were run over, and yes, he says this aloud. Andy asks the boy what his name is. Kyle Huntington? Nice name, says Andy. Oh, and sucks to be you.
He tells the kid to run along.
We soon learn that Cerilda of Abaddon was a type of Greek gypsy witch whose fate was sealed by the Sisterhood of the Radiant Heart. (Holla, Katrina!) They used white magic to weaken Cerilda, which made her vulnerable to attack. The burning at the stake variety, to be specific.
Hey! Guess what the name was of the magistrate who sentenced Cerilda to death?! Firth! Can you believe it?!?! (Oh…you can?) And guess what the married name was of another descendent of Firth’s? That’s right! Huntington! It all makes sense now. Or at least those two little bits do.
And hey! Guess what tonight is? The blood moon.
Cut to little Kyle Huntington being tucked into bed by his mom beneath the ominous glare of said moon. Kyle is a curious little fellow, and quite possibly less timid and frightful of scary noises coming from the first floor of his house in the dead of night than most kids his age would be, judging by his eagerness to investigate.
He finds the front door open, and closes it. Hey Kyle! What’s that behind you? Or more specifically, who? She looks kinda mad. And muddy. And nude.
Abbie and Ichy soon burst through the door! They find Kyle (and his now somewhat hysterical mom) untouched! Whew! Close call! Or was it? Say….Kyle’s mom notices that the urn containing her husband’s ashes is missing. Did she mention that Kyle was adopted? Yeah. Now seems as good a time as any to bring it up, ‘cause it turns out that the witch just needed those ashes. No kids will be shoved into any ovens tonight! Cerilda got what she came for. Suckers.
To the tunnels! Where Cerilda is looking for her human remains right about now. At least Andy is making himself useful…with a shovel. He’s kinda skeptical that after several hundred years she would still remember the exact loc…..
His shovel hits its target. Cerilda’s to do list is getting shorter. Exact revenge on her tormentors? Check! Secure her mortal remains? Check!
Abbie and Ichy arrive on the scene and see that someone’s been digging up witch bones! NOT good. They split up so they can cover more ground.
Cerilda is sprinkling magical pixie dust upon her remains. Ichabod turns the corner in time to see her looking a little more human. Uh oh. But it’s OK! He’s got this! He whips out a pistol and tries to introduce her to its business end. Ah, but she catches the bullet. (Hello? Witch.)
Abbie goes to investigate the sound of gunfire, and runs into Ichabod. Run away! Run away! Ichabod will explain later, when a reanimated and now very angry witch is NOT hot on their trail.
Cerilda is feeling a tad premenstrual. She smells Katrina on Ichabod. Katrina! The slag who bound her from doing evil! Cerilda takes a little time to gloat over the fact that Ichabod’s wife is now trapped between the worlds! Bwahaha! Serves the meddling bitch right. Fortunately, Cerilda is somewhat slowed down by all that mean girl chortling, giving Ichabod the opportunity to toss the torch he’s been carrying into that handy crate of gunpowder nearby.
Our special this evening? Flame broiled witch, lightly drizzled in a reduction of gunpowder, cobwebs and an ancient grudge match between good and evil.
Ichabod and Abbie have slightly different reactions to the night’s bizarre events. Ichabod for one is delighted to discover that his beloved witch wife may yet be alive! Abbie is less than thrilled to find herself “this far down the rabbit hole.”
Ah, but who better than guiding you out of a rabbit hole than the ghost of your kindly but now dead father figure boss mentor? Whilst Ichabod busies himself elsewhere for a moment, Abbie and Dead Kindly Corbin share a moment. Frankly, he’s glad that all of this strangeness has awakened Abbie to some hard truths. One of which is, “Don’t be afraid of number 49.”
Yup, that’s hard. Hard to make much sense of, but hey, we’re only two episodes in.
Cut to Abbie’s sister Jennifer in the nuthouse, doing a spot-on impression of Linda Hamilton in T2. Pretending to take her meds, being wary of doctors who just don’t get that the apocalypse is nigh, and doing lots of push ups and pull ups. (The apocalypse can be especially hard on those without adequate upper body strength, after all.)