Where We’re Going, We Won’t Need Roads. Sleepy Hollow: “Awakening”

Sleepy Hollow only has one episode left in this season, Sleepyheads! And after last night’s “Awakenings,” I am desperately hoping for a Season 3. I guess if you’re going o do something to reinvigorate your show, the penultimate episode is a good place to do it, but I’m not sure how they can wrap that final twist up in one episode.

We open on a sweet bookstore, which is apparently staffed by one very nice woman and her team of cats. Ichabod, having been in the 21st Century for over a year now, has just discovered the sci-fi section. Abbie tells him about Doctor Who, Marty McFly, Connecticut Yankee…

Ichabod: “Here I thought I was rather unique.”
Abbie: “Don’t worry, you’re the only one in the non-fiction section.”

As the witnesses stroll out onto the street, they talk about how dedicated they must be to their mission. Again. Ichabod assures Abbie that he’s with her, again, and this time seems to imply that he’s ready ditch Katrina if necessary. Shouldn’t they have worked this out half a season ago?

Because there’s Apocalyptic shit to be fighting. Henry’s working some sort of spell, and the bell in the town square seems to amplifying it. A woman Force-chokes her husband after he admits that he’s gambled all their savings away, a cyclist electrocutes a guy that runs over him, and a girl channels her dead father to accuse her mom of an affair at the funeral. Intense. As the bell tolls, their eyes all go white, and their strength spikes before they black out.

The Witnesses are running out to investigate when Jenny stops them. She wants to fill them in on Frank being evil now, because seemingly she couldn’t just text Abbie with that info at any earlier time? It seems important. But! Perhaps they can use their purloined Gorgon’s head to turn him to stone, and then figure out how to de-evil him later? Wait, is that an improvement? Abbie’s been toying with ways to resurrect Grace Dixon’s descendant, which really seems like something she should have told her sister. Seriously, these two need a brunch-date to catch up with each other.

Ichabod cracked the Liberty Bell. He’s very embarrassed about it.

Abbie: “You cracked the liberty bell?”
Ichabod “…a little.”

But there was a reason for it, which means we get a 1773 FLASHBACK!

Ichabod was supposed to destroy a shipment from Axminster Bell Company, as their bells were used as weapons to amplify witchcraft! He managed to destroy one, but now clearly there’s a new one in the town square of Sleepy Hollow, and Ichabod will need to concoct a new explosive to blow this one up, too.

They keep over-pronouncing Solomon Kent, so no one can possibly think they’re saying Kane. Heh. The Witnesses discover that Henry is planning the Ritual of Awakening, which sounds like a film Cinemax would show at 2:00 in the morning, but which is actually more like a mass Vampire Slayer Activation. Every time an evil enchanted bell rings, a thousand people realize that they’re actually witches. (I have just discovered the Christmas special that I need in my life.) Ichabbie are pretty sure that if they destroy the bell, they’ll stop the ritual. Unfortunately, while the Witnesses are researching how to thwart the coming Apocalypse, Katrina switches sides. Apparently that handful of conversations with evil people has convinced her that her years of fighting on the side of good were wasted, so she uses blood magic to contact Henry, and they reconcile via a series of overwrought speeches:

Katrina: “You are my son Henry, I hoped and prayed you were still alive…”
Henry: “This is destiny, our destiny. I have so much to tell you…”

And Henry fills her in on the awakening ritual:

Henry: “As my father is mortal, my blood is tainted! If you do it it’ll be perfect. To create a coven, a thousand strong, with us as its leader. No longer would our kind be hunted and burned.”
Katrina: “What about your father?”
Henry: “He’s not one of us.”
Katrina: “You’re asking me to give up everything I’ve believed in?”
Henry: “I can’t do this without you, mother.”

And then she gets all starry-eyed and happy cause her son wants her to be involved in his life. His evil, evil apocalyptic life.

Oooh! Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer above the Sea of Fog is hanging above the fireplace! Sorry, just noticed that.

Anyway, the Witnesses are arming themselves to the teeth for battle, which means that Ichabod gets to run around a hardware store like a little bug-eyed kid. This is this episode’s only attempt at fish-out-water humor, which is cool, but shouldn’t Ichabod have been to a hardware store by now? But whatever, ignore my quibbles, and focus on the fact that Ichabod discovers pink plastic flamingos.

Sleepy Hollow "Awakenings"

Abbie wants to know how they’ll blow it up without destroying the town, but luckily there’s tunnel, so they can pull the bell in and blow it up without hurting anyone. But…won’t that cause massive structural damage to the town’s foundations? And, um, the other cops? Won’t they notice? Hell, civilians? Anybody? No? No one will notice this explosion, a scant thirty miles north of New York City? OK, cool.

But enough chatter about logistics, Irving is sniping them! Jenny goes after him, and we get a great action sequence of the two of them chasing each other through cars and shooting at each other. Irving’s wearing a SWORD, in case you doubted his bad-assed-ness. Jenny gets the drop on him, shoots him down to the ground, but then he gets up with blacked-out eyes. I’m so torn. The part of me that cares about these characters wants Frank to be good again, happy and safe with his beloved family. But then part of me just wants Orlando Jones to become a black-eyed demonic killing machine, because how freaking cool is that??!!!

Ichabod sees Henry and Katrina walking together. Henry has her by the arm, and it’s really uncomfortable to watch. Ichabod tries to reason with her, but she insists that Henry has changed. When Ichabod reminds her that she’s been fighting for good her whole life, she parries by saying that Washington promised witches equal right, and since he reneged on that promise, she needs to unleash the witch population and to hell with the rest of humanity. Um, wow. Wow to all of that. Then she attacks Ichabod, throws a fireball at the Witnesses, and Henry rebricks the wall they just broke down.

There follows an awkward conversation in which Ichabod says he won’t hesitate to kill Henry this time, and they start running through tunnels again to go to the town hall.

Meanwhile, in what may be the cringiest scene yet, Katina cups Henry’s face and tells him that he’s “given her back her soul.”

YEEEEAAAAUUUUGHHHHH.

Sleepy Hollow "Awakenings"

I’m going to take a moment to say that Katia Winter and John Noble are selling the HELL out of all of this, by the way.

Then Ichabod shows up and calls Henry out, and this all feels so much more like two suitors battling over a passive woman than a father and son argument, let alone an Apocalyptic battle. It’s just skeevy.

So Henry and Ichabod face off, Ichabod does shoot Henry, but Henry stops the bullet, which leaves Abbie trying to run him over, until Katrina blows up the car.

Allow me to say that again: KATRINA HAS JUST BLOWN ABBIE UP.

Ichabod screams “Leftenant!” but since he stands facing Katrina and makes no move toward the car, it’s easy to see that Abbie isn’t in there. Katrina tells Ichabod that he and Abbie chose this fight, and he replies, “How could you disregard all we were? I pulled you from purgatory Katrina.”

Which is a problem, yes. This show wants us to buy that Katrina has switched sides with blinding speed, after building up Ichatrina’s doomed love affair all through Season One…

Anyway. Henry realizes they’ve been duped, and Ichabod tells Katrina, ““Last chance.”

Meanwhile Frank is pursuing Jenny through the tunnels, but since she’s the most competent person ever she leads him to the Warded Room, where she just happens to have Gorgon’s head in a bag. Some sentences are so much fun to write. Irving asks about his family again, and she refuses to give in to him, but he claims that once the Awakening takes hold, they’ll discover who they truly are. So…after all the weird hints that never went anywhere last season, are we finally getting confirmation that Frank isn’t a human? Jenny eyes the head. She’s ready to stone him if she has to.

We cut to Abbie and Ichabod tied to a pole. How did they both get captured? When Ichabod said “Last chance” to Katrina, did he mean, “Last chance to capture me?” Because that sounded both awesome and heartbreaking, but now apparently she’s overpowered him offscreen. And why would anyone tie their main enemies up to the same pole? Have these people never seen a movie or read a comic book ever? And then they leave them to conspire quietly while they work the spell, apparently just out of earshot.

The bell begins tolling, and we flash through various citizens of Sleepy Hollow to see whose eyes are whiting out. The friendly bookstore proprietor is a witch! But just as I decide that the finale will be all about Ichabbie fighting an army of witches, Abbie shoots Henry, and he ends up with what looks like a blue glowing bullet hole? The bell stops, the spell stops, and Katrina holds him as he finally, finally, actually, dies.

Maybe.

Ichabod goes to him, too, and Henry tells Katrina to call him Jeremy, and mumbles something about his family being together again. And then he turns yellow and dusts.

OK, that seems pretty definitive.

Meanwhile, in the tunnels, Frank collapses and pukes up all the evil Henry put in him, which makes me think he is actually dead. Jenny is scared, but finally drops the Gorgon head and goes to him.

Ichabod, for some reason that makes zero sense, attempts to comfort Katrina. His wife who has repeatedly sided with their evil son, flirted openly with her ex-fiancé who is now a Horseman of the Apocalypse, and who kinda sorta murdered his own former fiancée? Yeah. He’s trying to make her feel better for defeating their evil son.

Sleepy Hollow "Awakenings"

And Katrina finally fulfills all of her promise by standing up and force choking him. Let me stop a moment and say that Katia Winter does a great job in this scene. She tells him that her biggest regret is saving his life, and promises him that she won’t make that mistake again. She opens a portal, and as she steps into it Abbie yells “Katrina!” and goes in after her, leaving Ichabod screaming “Leftenant!”again, but this time, he means it.

Abbie wakes up in the woods, and wanders to the road, where she’s almost run down by a… horse-drawn carriage. Ummm…then an acoustic string quartet begins playing “Sympathy for the Devil.”

We’re in the past. I’ll admit I watched the next five minutes with my mouth open in shock. First, we check in with Katrina, covered in a soldier’s blood, who tells Henry she’ll never leave him again. So we’ve come to the time of her pregnancy, and she’s planning to let Crane die in order to live a normal life with her son. But enough of Katrina, yes?

Sleepy Hollow Awakenings

Abbie Mills, African-American female in 21st Century garb, is trapped in 18th Century New York. She is immediately asked for her papers. Which means freedom papers, which means that since she can’t produce them she could be…um… seriously show??? You’re going to go there? She gives up, and they throw her in prison after snarling at her not to speak. As they put her in jail, she claims to have information, but says she’ll only speak to Crane.

Notes & Errata:

Seriously show???

OK, let me state this a bit better. This is a thrilling twist, completely ramped up the drama, and I really didn’t expect it. It’s also both a great callback to the time travel discussion at the opening of the episode, and a brilliant play on the opening of the show last year. But, as Louis C..K. has told us, sending a white man through time can be fun and exciting. Any not-white not-male person? Tends to be less fun. I just hope you can pull this off without ruining the delicate balance of humor and history that you’ve managed to keep up. Because if you do, Season Three is going to be incredible.

OK, here’s what always throws me. We’re in the past, so now hopefully Modern Ichabod can team up with Jenny and Frank to try to do stuff in 2015, but meanwhile, Abbie and Past Ichabod are probably going to be fighting Katrina so she doesn’t change the past? Are people going to fade out, Marty McFly-style?

Nice job, show, seeding your Doctor Who and Back to the Future references there in the first couple minutes.

Also, great cover of “Sympathy for the Devil”!

Is Henry actually gone? Why did he turn into yellow Groot spores before he died? Wasn’t he supposed to be the Big Bad next year? It isn’t Katrina now, is it? Please tell me Katrina isn’t the Big Bad.

If Henry’s clearly most sincerely dead, then I want us all to take a minute and think about how fantastic John Noble is. He’s acted the hell out of this role, even when it hasn’t made any sense.

I wish this one had a longer arc, because the Bell Witch Project plot was super-keen! I really wanted to see more of Ichabbie taking on an army of witches, and dealing with the real emotional fallout of Katrina’s choice. As I’ve said a few times this season: this is the kind of storytelling this show needed back in the fall! But, if we’re getting it now, I’m happy to take it.

Ichabod’s Struggles with Modernity?

Well, he wants a flint and steel, which is sweet, but he’s also really excited about power drills, batteries, and pink flamingos.

Abbie’s Struggles with the Past

Ummm, I’m not touching this.


Leah Schnelbach really wants next week’s episode right now! Which hasn’t happened in a while… Come yell at her on Twitter!

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