The Coldest Story Ever Told: Sleepy Hollow, “Heartless”

After the perfect mix of character building and taut action last week, “Heartless” felt a little slack to me. But, the show continues building layers into Katrina’s character, and ends on a note that made me truly worry for Ichabod’s poor tortured heart. Plus its hard to go wrong when you send Ichabod into a nightclub.

However, it did give us an extraordinary scene: Ichabod introduces Katrina to The Bachelor! Or at least a Bachelor facsimile. They bicker over which woman should, for lack of a better word, win, and it’s goddamn adorable. As I’m sure is true in countless households across America, viewing The Bachelor together inspires Ichatrina to have an honest discussion of love, trust, and what they each want out of the relationship. But then Abbie has to walk in yelling for Crane like she’s his partner and they’re trying to stop the Apocalypse, or something. It’s obvious that Katrina is throwing the usual work schedule off…

Which is a problem because Henry has a heart! A beating, pulsating, quivering heart! And he’s saying a spell at it, and now there’s a gorgeous woman in the room with him! Is this some sort of occult Tinder? Ah, no. He’s just summoning a Succubus.

She immediately begins Succubusing, heading off to what we’ll soon learn is Sleepy Hollow’s only nightclub and seducing a nerd. Why do the nerds always get seduced and Succubused first? It’s such a stereotype. And why is she even bothering with Sleepy Hollow if she needs to feed on desire? Can’t she just go ride the last Metro-North home from New York City like once, and have all the souls she needs? Anyway, she leaves a desiccated corpse behind and Ichabbie are called into investigate. Abbie explains night clubs to Ichabod, calling them “meat markets,” but Ichabod cuts her off, explaining that they had “private dancing societies” in his day as well.

Abbie takes the bait: “Crane! You like to dance?”
Ichabod: “Wouldn’t you like to see.”

YES. Yes we would. But then their friend-flirting comes to an abrupt halt as they come across the aforementioned desiccated nerd. Abbie ventures that maybe Ichabod should give up on Henry already, and Ichabod refuses to hear it. “Katrina was returned to me, and so were you. I must give my son the same chance!”

To the Library! Katrina is helpful, coming up with magical possibilities for the nerd-burner. But then her crazy visions start are impeding their work! She keeps seeing a baby back in the old nursery in Frederick’s Manor. At first Ichabod and Abbie are going to soldier on, but then Katrina mentions that Abraham always used to make her a quince tea when she had demonic visions, so Ichabod drops everything to take her home and prove that he’s better than Headless. Hm. Abbie, left to her own devices, tries Hawley.

To his credit, he McConaugheys the shit out of their meeting, but can’t when he can’t ID the mystical perp, Abbie leaves him to the care of two gorgeous ladies at the bar. Is this a good time to mention that I’ve been to most of the bars in Sleepy Hollow? And that these ladies are not the clientele I’ve ever seen?

But enough of that—the Succubus is on the prowl! She finds a girl who’s in love with her friend’s girlfriend, transforms into said girlfriend, and says everything the girl wants to hear before de-souling her. It’s honestly sad, like a classic X-Files death where you actually feel something for the person whose murder Scully and Mulder come to investigate.

Abbie consults with Ichabod about the newest victim, and as they talk, Abbie realizes that the first victim was in the backseat of a car—and as all Americans know, there is only one reason anyone ever gets into the backseat of a car!

Abbie: He thought he was going to get lucky…(sees Ichabod’s confusion) um, get lucky, score, get some…”
Ichabod: “Ah, macking. He was macking with a lady.”

What the hell has Ichabod been watching?

So now, between Katrina’s theories and the macking insight, they know they’re looking for a sexytimes demon. Katrina believes it can ferret out hidden desire, and Abbie excitedly says, “Succubus!” Katrina, having apparently watched the Constantine pilot, uses melting wax to mark a map for Ichabod and Abbie. When the wax drips onto the harbor, Ichabod helpfully says that there’s only water there, but Abbie recognizes that spot!

They get to Hawley’s boat—which I’m going to assume has a horrible, beer-pun-based name—just as he’s meeting the business end of the Succubus, and rescue him.

Somehow, between being deeply drunk and full of adrenaline, he drops most of his façade and Ichabod realizes he has feelings for Abbie, which leads to a twisty conversation in the car about changing relationships, honesty, and how Ichabod will totally be OK if Abbie decides to debase herself by dating Poochie.

NOOOOOO!!! Don’t do it, Abbie! There have got to be more people in this town! It has a nightclub! Go out and meet someone who isn’t your sister’s mercenary-wannabe-Indiana-Jones ex!

Now that they know what they’re dealing with, they can figure out how to hunt it. This is helped by Katrina having anther vision… but wait a minute, why is Katrina having a vision of a baby in Frederick’s Manor? And what is Henry doing there? And why does she feel like a part of herself is missing? And—aw, crap! It’s Li’l Moloch! They didn’t completely destroy him after all! And now Katrina, his birth vessel, has a psychic link to him. Ichabod and Abbie quickly surmise that the Succubus is feeding Li’l Moloch from the souls she’s harvesting. Since she’s an “Inchordata” her heart is currently being stored outside of her body (which sounds like an excellent idea) and since Abbie happens to know that Henry bought a spot in a nearby cemetery, a plan is devised.

Now we cut back and forth between a cemetery and a nightclub! 15-year-old me does not even know what to do with herself right now. Abbitrina find a jar, and Katina says she can sense the heart, but when Abbie looks into she sees maggots! Billion of maggots writhing around in the jar being maggoty. Eeeuch. Thanks, show. She takes a deep breath and suggests pouring them out to get to the heart, but Katrina, looking more scared than she did when Moloch was crowning, says “Won’t they run everywhere?” Abbie, confused, says that maggots won’t run, but when Katrina looks into the jar, she sees rats! Squirming around, being all ratty. But at least rats are cute.

Katrina realizes the jar has been enchanted so they’ll see different icky things, which makes me which the whole gang was here, because I want to know what Ichabod and Jenny are squicked by, too. I’m guessing Ichabod is spiders, and Jenny…actually, does anything scare Jenny?

Abbie, ever the trooper, reaches in and pulls the heart out with only a deadpan “that is nasty” to convey her horror. Katrina begins the spell, but somehow it back fires and knocks her out!

Meanwhile, at the club, Ichabod is not happy about modern music, modern dancing, or much of modern anything else. He believes that the volume makes it impossible for anyone to ask for a permanent dance partner, and I think we should just let him keep believing that. One slightly bitchy New Yorker note though: all of the people in this club are entirely too dressed. The girls are wearing actual shirts. That cover things. Come on, show. I’m willing to go with you on your wild leaps into the past, and your batshit allegations about Ben Franklin, but we need some verisimilitude, here. Anyway. Ichabod has been lured into a back room, where the Succubus is telling him that she feels his doubts, and that he doesn’t always have to be strong. So Ichabod’s great secret desire is that he maybe doesn’t want to be the last man standing against Apocalypse? Anyone else hoping that it was Abbie, maybe, just a little?

Now Abbie is reading the spell! Because luckily in the Sleepyverse you just have to read the words, and not have any innate magical abilities or belief or anything. The heart catches fire, and Abbie looks severely freaked out that it worked!

The Succubus is sucking Ichabod! But wait, Hawley is here! And…he’s out. Knocked down by the Succubus in less than a second. What is this guy’s deal? How has he made a career as a Rare Magical Stuff dealer without learning how to fight a demon? Or at least watching an episode of Buffy? Luckily, Ichabod was only temporarily Sucked, and takes the succubus out with a knife/gunshot combo.

As the show takes a breath, Katrina decides to go back to Abraham, because she has more ineffectual spying to do, and Abbie binds Hawley’s wounds and gives him the charred heart of a Succubus. He responds in the worst possible way:

Hawley: It’s not everyday a girl gives me her heart.
Abbie: …now I have to punch you in the throat.

God I love that woman. Ichabod is shockingly OK with Katrina’s decision, but when we check back in with Team Apocalypse, we find Abraham holding Katrina’s hand, Henry calling her Mother, and… Li’l Moloch! Except he doesn’t look like a demon at all, he looks like an adorable little baby! Except it’s already been established that Henry can cast enchantments that make people see things the way they want to see them but. Aw, crap. Katrina has either forgotten that, or just doesn’t care, because see’s grinning like a besotted fool. She’s gone Bairn Simple…

Notes & Errata!

So, who is Heartless? Is it the Succubus? Or is it Katrina?

The fighting between Abbie and Katrina really bugs me. Katrina has now trotted out her, “he’s my son, his soul is still good, we can’t consign him to Hell just because he fell in with the wrong crowd” argument three times, and Abbie always responds with “I’m a Witness, killing Horsemen is kinda my whole deal” and then Ichabod is caught between them. It’s frustrating that the show can be so good about having an array of friendships and partnerships that cross gender lines, but then suddenly feels the need to insert a catfight for a dude to resolve.

Ichabod’s Struggles with Modernity!

He and Katrina watch The Bachelor together!

Ichabod totally knows what “macking” is!

He tries to have a man-to-man talk with Hawley, but it kind of shorts out.

Whither Everybody Else?

No Irving or Reyes this week, and barely any Henry. No Jenny, but we’re now assured that Hawley has a crush on Abbie, so presumably that will become an annoying plot point soon if Jenny’s still into him…

But, more important: next week they’re trying to save their mother’s soul! And since the episode is called “Mama,” I’m willing to bet Katrina’s psychic bond with Wee Baby Moloch will come into play!

Leah Schnelbach is glad that this episode cleared up the origins of Valentine’s Day: apparently St. Valentine gave a demon heart to Emperor Claudius? No wonder it’s such an uncomplicatedly fun holiday!


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