Sleepy Hollow Recap: The Roots of All Evil

Sleepy Hollow Season 1 RecapIt’s Thanksgiving in Sleepy Hollow, so let’s make like families everywhere and go around the table, saying what we’re grateful for. I’ll start.

I’m thankful for Ichabod Crane’s sea-glass eyes. I’m thankful for Abbie Mills’ no-BS, head-cocked way of viewing the absolute insanity her life has become. I’m thankful for “leftenant” and baked-goods-tax rants and NorthStar’s Yolanda. I’m thankful that no evil tree monster has ever decided to make me its bitch. And above all, I’m thankful that Moloch’s got no beef with my family… at least, none that I know of.

While you’re contemplating what to say thanks for at the start of this Turkey Day week, let’s go over what happened in “Sanctuary.”

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NOT LOVIN’ IT | In the episode’s opening moments, a trust-fund baby and her driver/bodyguard pull up to an abandoned estate. We learn that the colonial-era building once belonged to someone in her family, it’s one of the oldest homes in the area and that she recently purchased it. Then, she opens a closet inside the house, cuts her hand on some vines that have infiltrated the building and gets sucked into the evil shrubbery. Sit tight, rich chick. We’ll be back to you in a while.

Meanwhile, at the precinct, Ichabod clutches a fast-food bag and bemoans “the eradication of a thrice daily tradition” of sitting down to a proper meal. Also, “Despite this establishment’s nomenclature, this resembles no Scottish meal I’ve ever eaten.” (Heh.) Abbie listens good-naturedly, then remarks that cold McDonald’s French fries are probably the closest thing they’re going to get to a Thanksgiving meal… which then requires that she explain the traditional spread to her puzzled, then incensed partner. “The pilgrims didn’t have any sugar to make a sauce,” he cries, “let alone a pie!”

A few moments later, Ichabod apologizes for his peevishness. The holidays approach, you see, and “You’re alone,” Abbie intuits. He looks sheepish. “I mean no disrespect. Your company holds the greatest value to me,” he replies, and awwww. Still, without Katrina or anyone he loves nearby, Ichabod looks like a green bean casserole without a can’s worth of fried onions on top: incomplete and dejected.

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HORROR SHOW | Just then, Abbie and Sadchabod are called into Capt. Irving’s office to investigate the disappearance of Lena Gilbert, the billionaire socialite we saw communing with nature against her will at the start of the show. Turns out, Lena is a descendant of Lachlan Fredericks, one of the founding fathers. She’d also dated George Clooney (“An Irishman?” Ichabod asks, in a silly throwaway line that made me laugh nonetheless), had been investigating the house’s history and had left a note about a “Katrina C” on her desk in New York City.

“One initial does not a connection make,” Abbie (rightly) says, but nonetheless, she and Ichabod speed off to Fredericks Manor. Ichabod recognizes the house as somewhere he and Katrina visited way back in the day. A flashback shows us Ichabod in an unbecoming hat, Katrina with a ‘do a drag queen would envy and the estate as a “safe haven” where everyone (including former slaves) were free and guaranteed Lachlan’s protection.

The pair make their way inside, where they find Lena’s bodyguard dead and his employer nowhere to be seen. Abbie realizes there’s no cell service, but when she tries to go outside, all of the doors slam shut of their own accord. “We’re in a damn haunted house,” Lt. Mills says as she and Ichabod exchange wild-eyed looks.

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MEET THE FAMILY | Let’s leave them for a moment and check in with Jenny, who’s returning some guns to Capt. Irving. She asks him over for a Thanksgiving dinner with her sister and Crane, he quips “We act like normal people for a change?”… Goodness gracious, are these two flirting? If so, it’s cut short by the arrival of his wife Cynthia and wheelchair-bound teen daughter Macey. Neither is happy that he’s been pretty MIA since taking the Sleepy Hollow gig, but Cynthia issues him an ultimatum: The next time he cancels plans with their daughter, she’s going to file for sole custody. (Side note: “What happened, happened.” Fill the comments with your take on Cynthia’s cryptic comment.)

CIGARS ALL AROUND! | Back at Casa Creepy, our witnesses spend a lot of time finding odd things (like Katrina’s copy of Gulliver’s Travels, with Ichabod’s “In case I die” letter in its pages, leading the pair to think the witch had, at some point after Ichabod’s burial, returned to the house) and having spooky run-ins (like when Abbie keeps seeing ghostly visions of Grace, the home’s African-American matron). There’s a lot of running around in the dark, flashlights bobbing, Abbie and Ichabod getting separated and the building groaning like Chewbacca on dollar-burrito night.

While Ichabod is finding and losing and re-finding Lena (and getting chased by an evil shrubbery doing Moloch’s bidding), Abbie follows Grace into a room where she has the mother of all visions: She watches a laboring Katrina deliver Ichabod’s son with Grace’s help. Then, a hellacious amount of birds slam into the windowpane with violent force. (OMG, did she give birth to Lost‘s Walt?)

When Crane and Mills reunite in the house, she gently tells him what she saw – including Lachlan, who was a member of Katrina’s coven, getting gored by the tree monster while Katrina and Grace beat their escape — but Ichabod has a lot of trouble processing it. “Abbie,” he says quietly, barely holding himself together, “what happened to my son? Please, I need to know.” (Tom Mison, ladies and gentlemen, dissolving me into an aching ball of goo once more.) But Abbie doesn’t have any more information.

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MAKE LIKE A TREE… AND GET OUTTA HERE | Somehow, Ichabod and Abbie get Lena safely out of the house and away from the roots monster. (Side note: On behalf of the entire Roots family, I’d like to apologize for his truly uncouth behavior. Someone‘s not getting mentioned in the Christmas letter this year!)  Abbie wants to flee, but Ichabod grabs a hatchet from the trunk and turns to go back in. “That thing came after my son!” he tells his protesting partner, asking her not to follow him. I’m pretty surprised when she doesn’t.

So he goes inside, hacks away at the evil arbor and even quips as he finishes it off: “Give Moloch my regards.” He comes back outside, hair aflutter and covered in sap-blood, looking very much like Brad Pitt at a certain point in Legends of the Fall. “I should like to go home now,” he informs Abbie.

MISSED CONNECTIONS | Later, Abbie finds Ichabod in the archives and invites him to Thanksgiving. He says he’d be terrible company. She promises, “There will be rum,” which at least gets a smile out of him. She talks about hard Thanksgivings past, and he recalls his Oxford professor father and what he’d think of his son’s path. The takeaway: You see what you have now, and you embrace what’s in front of you. (Key word, Ich and Abs? EMBRACE.)

At that moment, a box of documents arrives from Lena in New York. The package includes the family tree of Grace Dixon, the ghostly woman who appeared to Abbie. And guess who’s on it? A woman named Lori Roberts – “my mother,” Abbie says with wonder. “My ancestor brought your son into this world.” (And, as you’ll recall from the episode where Team WTF had the Hessian tied up at Corbin’s cabin, Abbie’s first name is Grace. Hmmmm…)

Once the witnesses realize that their paths have been entwined for centuries, it seems like a good time to crack the seal on the rum, no? “To family,” Abbie says. “To finding family,” Ichabod adds as the episode comes to a close. (Side note: In my head, they finish those drinks and Abbie cajoles him into coming to dinner, most of which she spends explaining why perfectly sane people choose to stand in the cold in New York for hours to watch other perfectly sane people shepherd giant balloons around the city.)

Now it’s your turn. Were you surprised by the revelation that Ichabod is an Ichadad? Do you want more, or less, Katrina in your Hollow? Jenny and Irving: a thing? Hit the comments!