The Breakdown

Yeeeeesssss!!!!!  After two weeks of reruns, we’re back to new episodes with Sleepy Hollow.  Exciting things are always happening on this show.  John Noble (Fringe) graces us with his presence this episode and we find out how Ichabod and Katrina met.

The Sin EaterWe start off watching Abbie “deputizing”, as she says, an umpire at a baseball game.  In other words, she’s mad at a call he made and tells him off.  Ichabod says he doesn’t understand why she’s insulting the man “for a rule infraction”. He says he doesn’t see the point. She tells him for her baseball is about three things:  1. Tradition – the rules never change. 2. Teamwork – the players watch each other’s’ backs. 3. The sport is not discriminative against race, size, etc. etc.  Ichabod summarizes that it represents the spirit of democracy.  She tells him that’s what they were fighting for (back in his day).  She says all of this to say that’s why she screams at the umpire.  Ichabod jumps up and takes a bat at yelling at the ump, addressing him as sir and calling him a “basket face” (after it clicked that he was talking about the ump mask, I giggled). It was like a little kid trying to mimic one of their parents.

Abbie gives him kudos but advises that next time he should wait for the ump to actually make a call.  When they leave the game, Crane decides to go off on his own since he is starting to get familiar with the place.  Naturally, he ends up at Katrina’s grave site.  He hears a noise and as he turns around toward it, something hits him in the neck and he goes down.  As he loses consciousness we see through his eyes as a man in a suit comes rushing toward him with a little bag which undoubtedly was put over his head.

The Sin EaterNext we see Abbie driving down the road in the dark.  She appears to fade into a dream-like state and opens her eyes in a rocking chair in an unfamiliar house.  She hears a baby cry and walks toward a stroller that only has a stuffed toy in it.  As she is looking in the stroller, she hears something and turns around to see the headless horseman (from now on I’m going to call him Headless).  He chases her down the stairs and she turns knobs on doors until one opens.  After she closes the door, she looks up to find another peculiar scene with candles lit and people dressed in all black sitting around a table.  It sounds like they are chanting.  She keeps looking around the room and turns toward the table again to see it empty.

Behind her someone says “Hello Miss Mills”.  It is Katrina.  She tells Abbie it is an echo of her their old home.  It is a doorway in which she can reach people who bear witness.  She warns Abbie that the Headless she just saw is a manifestation of what is to come and that the horseman will be returning to Sleepy Hollow.  She tells her again about how he can only be stopped by the two witnesses (Abbie and Ichabod).  She also informs her that Ichabod was kidnapped and that she found a way to separate the blood tie between Ichabod and the Headless.  It is someone called the Sin Eater. Katrina says Ichabod has to be sanctified.  Abbie has to find the Sin Eater before sundown when Headless will return.  The dream state ends and Abbie wakes back up in her car and has to swerve out of the way of an eighteen-wheeler.

The Sin EaterAbbie attempts to tell the Captain about Katrina’s warning.  He listens to her and allows her to speak but you can see his extreme skepticism written all over his face and his tone is dripping with sarcasm.  He says there are two things in life a person should hold on to as long as possible:  Virginity and Skepticism. Since he’s already lost the former, he’s going to hold on to the latter for as long as possible (surprise, surprise).  Abbie convinces him to at least get her a 24 hour pass to get her sister out to help find Crane. Now the next battle is to convince her sister to help.  Her sister listens to her mockingly at first but once she mentions the Sin Eater, Jenny decides to help.

Ichabod wakes up in a dungeon-like room with candles lit everywhere and another man in a suit sits across from him as the tranquilizer wears away.  The man has a journal that is supposedly the true account of Ichabod Crane, but he won’t say who wrote it yet.  Ichabod shows off his brilliant observation skills and intelligence by calling the man Mr. Rutledge.  He goes on to say that based on the cuff links that say J.R. and the resemblance, he can tell this man is related to Edward Rutledge (who Ichabod knew well), the youngest person to sign the U.S. Declaration of Independence.  Ichabod can tell that the man works with his hands and has worn a ring in the shape of an inverted square and compass.

The Sin EaterHe looks around the room and mentions there are hexes to ward of evil (hard to miss the claw sitting on the table), and says these are all signs of Freemasonry.  He knows this because he is a Mason himself.  Mr. Rutledge wants to know if Ichabod is truly Ichabod Crane and questions him about when he first heard the Latin phrase Ordo Ab Chao (Order from Chaos).  This is an older motto of the fraternity. Ichabod tells the story of when he met Arthur Bernard who was a freed slave suspected of treason.  Ichabod was still fighting for the British at the time.  He is to interrogate Arthur until he reveals who Cicero is, another person said to have committee treason.  A Quaker nurse comes in to argue in favor of the man and demand they let her treat his wounds.  This nurse turns out to be Katrina.  She figures out quickly that Ichabod has a conscience and wants to show Arthur mercy, although he has not yet admitted that to himself.  In between beatings he continues trying to get Arthur to give up Cicero.  Arthur tells a skeptical Ichabod about demons living among men and turning them against each other.

The Sin EaterAfter days of torturing/interrogating Arthur, Ichabod sees Katrina again at a hanging of three men accused of treason.  She holds a boy whose father is one of the men.  As Ichabod and Katrina make eye contact, we can see that they are already drawn to each other.  Ichabod goes to the Colonel telling him he thinks the public hanging aren’t having the desired effect.  For example, the boy who just saw his father hung would more likely become a future enemy rather than feel encouraged to comply.  The Colonel threatens to put him with the next round of traitors at the noose.  Ichabod assures him he is faithful.  The Colonel walks away but when he turns around, Ichabod catches a glimpse of his true demon-like face.  Ichabod finds Katrina in the woods and he admits his uneasiness with what’s going on.  She tells him that is his conscience.  They both discover they feel like they have known each other forever and then decide to introduce themselves.

As they continue to talk, Katrina realizes that Ichabod has seen a demon. She says, “They were right, you are the one”.  She tells him he has the power to bear witness and that he is very valuable in the fight between man and evil.  A horse whinnies and she scurries off after whispering in his ear that evil gets its strength when men do nothing and that Ichabod is a good man.  Continuing his story to Rutledge, Ichabod says he returned to Arthur’s interrogation and his sins were about to be revealed.  The Colonel says the time has passed and he has failed. He tells Crane his only path to redemption is to take Arthur out to the forest and shoot him.  As he and Arthur walk out there, Arthur tells him he is invaluable to the cause.  He says if he pulls the trigger he will carry sin inside his heart forever.  Ichabod pulls the trigger, purposely missing Arthur.  Arthur tells him the life he knew will never return.  He says the Cicero is all of them. He tells him to find Katrina and tell her the Latin phrase  and she will lead him to George Washington.

The Sin EaterAs he walks away, the Colonel shoots Arthur and calls Ichabod a traitor.  Ichabod runs his sword through him and his true demonic form is revealed.  With a swing of his arm he throws Ichabod several yards.  He comes toward Ichabod but hears some horses nearing and jets out of there.  We see Katrina in a cottage as an injured Ichabod slowly struggles in.  As he says the phrase, he falls to his knees. She holds him and goes down to her knees with him.  Ichabod ends his story saying he could not save Arthur and that this was his sin; saying that if he acted sooner he would have lived.  Rutledge closes the book and gets up from the chair, apparently believing that it is truly Ichabod.  He says “Brother Ichabod Crane, we are humbled to be in your presence…”.   Ichabod asks who wrote the journal and Rutledge answers that it was Katrina.  He says the coven and Freemasons were allies for a while but she betrayed their trust by hiding Ichabod’s body.  They were searching for him since he was tied to the horseman.  If he dies, the horseman dies.  Rutledge pulls out a box and reminds Ichabod of the sacrifice Bernard made.

Meanwhile, Jenny Mills is doing research and explains to Abbie that a Sin Eater can reach into a person’s soul and swallow their sins, ridding them of evil. Jenny recalls when she was working with Sheriff Corbin; she chased a guy through multiple countries who visited death row inmates before they died.  Their last words were always “I am sanctified”.  Abbie flashes back to Katrina saying Ichabod needed to be sanctified.  Jenny tells her the guy disappeared 2 years ago.  They continue researching and cannot find a real name for the guy.  As Abbie gets increasingly agitated, Jenny realizes how much she cares for Crane.  Abbie tells her that when Crane came along, she finally had a purpose that she understood and someone she was supposed to find it with.  Jenny bluntly says to tell the witch (Katrina) to be more specific next time she sees her because her husband is about to be a dead man.

The Sin EaterNo doubt this bluntness probably stings Abbie a bit but as she is looking off toward the wall, the term “dead man” sparks an idea.  She looks at some lists of names and realizes there is a man on death row in one facility that ends up on a death row roster from another facility the next year.  He has been hiding by taking on the identity of dead inmates.  His real name is Henry Parrish.  They go to his place in Connecticut and a man (who looks a lot like John Noble) cracks the door asking what they want. She threatens him with being locked up for identify theft to get him to open the door.  She tells him she knows what he is and that she needs his help.  He says he does not do that anymore.  He tries to describe what it’s like to see the deep dark secrets that people cannot even see within themselves.  He tells her that he’s been looking so deep into people’s sins and secrets that he carries them and he was losing himself so he had to stop.  She tells him about Headless being connected to Ichabod and to separate them he would have to pull out Ichabod’s sins since the Headless is pure sin.  It seems for a second he has changed his mind but he still says no.  He tries to walk past her and she tries to block him, desperate to get his help.  As he touches her, we see his visions and his eyes turn dark.  He tells her Ichabod is underground and he sees a square and compass on a door, which Jenny knows to be a symbol of the Freemasons.  Abbie wants more information but he tells her to leave saying that’s all he can do for her.

The Sin EaterAbbie and Jenny find Crane with the Masons.  He explains that if he dies, Headless will die and that’s what he’s willing to do.  She protests of course and tells him about the Sin Eater and that Katrina told her about him.  She wants to bring Crane to the Sin Eater but he refuses, telling her there is no time and that if they were separated, Headless would be able to run freely.  He calls her Abbie (instead of Miss Mills) for the very first time and tells her that this is the only way; that he is living on borrowed time anyways.  As her eyes water, he tells her he is grateful they found each other across centuries.  He gives her a chance to leave while he drinks the elixir but she stays because she has lost too many people she couldn’t say goodbye to.  He puts the poison drink up to his mouth and drinks it down, telling her he’s sorry.

In the next scene, we see and hear a montage of past and present as he is fading away.  Abbie says “stay with me” and then there is the flashback of when Katrina said “stay with me” from the first episode when he was dying.  We hear Henry Parrish (the Sin Eater) say “he doesn’t have to die” and then he yells “NOT YET” right in Ichabod’s face, bringing him temporarily back to the present.  Henry has Crane put his hand on the table and he stabs his hand to get some blood.  Henry dips his fingers in Ichabod’s blood and puts it in his mouth (gross).  He sees a vision of Headless coming toward Ichabod in the war (when he still had his head).  Henry’s eyes turn dark again.  Henry has Ichabod say Arthur Bernard’s name out loud and tells him to summon him with all his heart.  He opens his eyes and Arthur is now sitting in front of him.  Crane tells him he doesn’t understand, he betrayed his country and did everything he could and Arthur died anyway.  Ichabod says Arthur’s death is on his soul.  Arthur corrects him saying his death saved Ichabod’s soul, that even though he saw it as a sin it was really his salvation.  He says Ichabod just needs to forgive himself because the Headless feeds on his regret.  He tells him that the together with Abbie their combine power will weather the storm.  He has Ichabod repeat some words about purging the wicked from his blood and his soul being sanctified.  The last words were “Death leave me now, I command you”.

The Sin EaterWe see the scene again of him beheading the horseman but this time when they fall we see their comingled blood separating.  Then we see the blood on the table from Ichabod’s hand splitting apart. Crane looks back up and Henry is sitting across from him again.  Henry takes what looks like a piece of bread and dips it into one of the two puddles of blood and EATS IT!  Everything is shaking as if there is an earthquake and some glass shatters.  As Henry digests the bloody piece of bread everything calms back down.  Ichabod says he no longer feels the horseman.  Henry says he is sanctified.  In a quick happy moment, Abbie and Ichabod squeeze each other.  Then Henry says that he can feel the Headless awakening and that he will come for Crane.  Rutledge says “we must prepare”. Ichabod says “we will be ready”.  We see Headless finding the hole in the ground that leads to the cave Ichabod was buried in.  He picks up some dirt around the grave Ichabod popped up out of and seems to get a vision of it happening.

The Analysis

It’s no secret, I am a fan of John Noble, so I am excited he has joined the cast, even if only as a recurring guess star.  I just like how he can appear a timid, vulnerable, older man or a rigid, mean, tyrant so well. And he has a great voice.  Enough about him though.  I’m glad new episodes have returned.  This was interesting although it had a couple of gross moments with the Sin Eater.  We already knew Ichabod wouldn’t die because…..well…there is no Sleepy Hollow without Ichabod Crane right?  Still, it was good to see just how far Ichabod would go to make things right.

It was also nice to see how he and Katrina met and what encouraged him to switch sides.  However, I wouldn’t mind seeing more of that origin story so I hope they will show more flashbacks about it in future episodes.  As always, the show sticks to its motif of tying the fictional story into real life history with Edward Rutledge’s descendant being the one confirming Ichabod is Ichabod.  That’s the most appealing part of the show to me.  I’m still not sure if I like Jenny Mills but maybe she will make a bigger contribution to the show in future episodes.  Now that we’re nearing the second half of the season, it looks like things are getting kicked back up a notch with Headless coming back.  Are you excited like I am?

Sleepy Hollow plays Mondays at 9pm EST; 8pm CST on Fox.