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SLEEPY HOLLOW: The Show is at its Best — and Worst — in “Incommunicado”

By on March 19, 2016

Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane. Co. Cr: Tina Rowden/FOX

By Chris B.

“Incommunicado” leads us through another enigmatic hour of Sleepy Hollow, showing us its best and its worst.  The Hidden One goes big, then goes home; Joe takes a walk on the wild side; and Abbie and Crane learn that being Witnesses is in the blood.

The unexpected arrival of The Hidden One to the archives leaves Crane cut off from the outside world by an “impenetrable barrier” that seals the archives, raised amid Crane’s outrage at the threat his opponent made for Abbie to suffer a “slow and excruciating” death.  (Yes, Crane fears not his own demise, but Abbie’s?  That’s another matter.)  As The Hidden One throws his lethal ball of energy at Crane, it is caught mid-air by the metal symbol, the Emblem of Thura.  It feeds on the power of the gods, so the more The Hidden One tries to escape, the more likely the confrontation will end in “a maelstrom of fire.”

Team B handles the obligatory monster of the week, a banshee, while Abbie faces the prospect of working with Pandora to free Crane.  But as they move to kill it with iron arrows, a sudden missive from Abbie halts their efforts—they need it alive to break the energy field.  With a bit of Beethoven and a sound blanket, they capture the banshee, but when she struggles free and begins her wail, Joe has no choice but to kill it to save Jenny.

Since the B team could not bring Pandora an evil entity, they offer up Joe instead.  The wendigo inside him is the only monster they have in a pinch, so he volunteers to allow Pandora to turn him into the beast on the hope that it will save Crane and free him from that darkness forever.

Jenny is able to talk him down from a rage that takes him outside of the protective circle Pandora has established by offering up what he longs to hear (and what we’d rather hear exchanged between Crane and Abbie): “I love you.”  Of course, it works; he becomes amenable to the ceremony.  Just as Crane seems resigned to a final drink in the archives, Pandora fits together her box pieces, directing the wendigo energy upward, assaulting the energy field and allowing The Hidden One to escape.  Left behind is dust instead of the tablet and symbol; now these relics are gone, but Abbie still counts it as a win whenever they emerge alive from a stand-off with a bona fide god.

A Question of Faith

“What is a god without worshippers?”
“What is a man without a belief in a higher power?”
“Both are lost.”

This exchange between Crane and The Hidden One establishes a exploration of the concept of faith.  First is Crane’s faith in the transcendental nature of human achievement.  He makes the droll observation that his opponent is “not a reader”  (The latter merely shrugs, “Omnipotent.”  Guess that says it all.), something that’s denied him the “gift of discovery.” Crane attempts to give the ancient god a primer on the artistic genius of humankind that ranges from Duke Ellington to Prince to Mozart to Yeats, and in a reenactment of Good Will Hunting, he accuses, “You may know everything, but you understand nothing.”  Simple knowledge without wisdom has caused a tragic underestimation of what humans can create.

The Hidden One, not to endure the human’s sarcasm, tries to undermine Crane’s faith in himself by flooring him with intimate details from his past, like his disappearing to the stables with a candle to read forbidden literature, worrying his mother; that he’s lived to please, to serve; accusing him of being a puppet, incapable of making any choices, his whole life mapped out for him.  Even his role of Witness was passed along through his bloodline.  He uses his powers to gather the content of all the books available to Crane, pronouncing them useless to solve the problem at hand:  “You are alone, as you’ve always been.”

But we know better.  The Hidden One has not only underestimated Crane, but Abbie as well, and their bond.  Abbie had pronounced upon her return from the Catacombs that Crane is never alone, “not EVER.”  She meant it, and while Crane may have his faith in himself momentarily shaken, he never doubts Abbie.  Crane postulates that Abbie has sought Pandora’s help to break the barrier, and he encourages the god to “humor him” and deduce how the two of them could aid in the outside efforts.  As it happens, the translation that Crane has done on the tablet is 600 years too young, so, prompting The Hidden One with pad and pen, he insists upon a corrected version.  Time for Mr. Omnipotent to do his homework.

The Hidden One translates the tablet to which the symbols are applied, opening a portal that allows the two to see what has transpired in the chamber below, specifically Pandora’s confession:  She is the one who gave the symbol to the humans 4000 years before, the one used to imprison her husband, and she knew that the Witnesses had it, but she hadn’t told him.  Thus, the god learns that Crane was right—his all-seeing power has its limits.  He’s been played for a fool by the one closest to him.  Faith and trust are inexorably linked. Honesty feeds healthy relationships, even in a simple exchange about misappropriating magical relics to spy on pastry purchases; deception destroys a bond, clearly reflected by our dysfunctional immortal pair.  It is not an uncommon theme; last season, Crane offers up to Abbie, “Without honesty, how can a union between two people survive?”  The truth always finds us, and if we are on the wrong side of it, it finds us ruined. (Anything to add on that, Katrina?  No?  Nevermind.)

NEXT: Deaf Ears

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