Not Alone At Being Alone: Sleepy Hollow John Doe Review
Is Ichabod Crane really comfortable in our modern world? This was a question Sleepy Hollow quietly asked us during episode five, aptly titled “John Doe.”
In what was a nice change of pace, this week’s monster was not a monster at all. Instead, Abbie and Ichabod found themselves battling off a deadly disease brought to the town by a young boy. When Abbie and Ichabod are first called to the scene, they are briefed on a boy found near the woods. We later uncover that his name is Thomas. He is dressed in clothing quite similar to Ichabod’s and his arms are covered in black veins. They don’t know who he is or where he’s from, so the police tag him as a “John Doe” and send him off to the hospital.
Abbie believes that this may be a kidnapping or child abuse case, but Ichabod has other ideas. Based on the boy’s dress he discerns that Thomas doesn’t know modern English. So he speaks to the boy in another language – Middle English. It works and the information Ichabod retrieves is surprising. Thomas is from Roanoke, Virginia. No, not the one you can visit. The first British colony and the one known for having mysteriously vanished. The two quickly set out towards the woods to find the colony and hopefully a cure. When they arrive, they encounter an entire village of people, including Thomas’ father. He imparts on the witnesses how Roanoke ended up in Sleepy Hollow. Their youngest inhabitant got sick by the hand of Pestilence, and after her death appeared to the village as a spirit.
She lead them away to this hidden world to survive. They are now caught in a sort of limbo, but as long as they don’t leave their sickness does not get worse. Take it outside and it re-emerges – something, the man states, is what Pestilence wanted all along. If Thomas dies and the plague spreads, he’ll be able to rise like Death. The duo quickly makes their way back to the hospital to get Thomas, but when they arrive Ichabod finds that he has caught the disease as well. In a frightening moment, Ichabod is seized by hospital staff and injected with a medicine that knocks him out. He is placed in quarentine with Thomas. While he is under, Abbie goes to the hospital rectory and Ichabod pays a visit to Katrina.
Upon seeing Katrina they share not just a kiss, but she vaguely reveals that there is a reason Moloch has trapped her in that place. Before he can learn what that reason is, he awakes. Abbie has also come for him, after her faith is tested in the church, with a cure. She manages to get Irving on her side and the witnesses sneak out of the hospital with the young boy. They trample through the woods where both the boy and Ichabod almost succumb to the disease. Ichabod’s will, along with a little adrenaline from Abbie’s pack, saves them and they make it the town before the Horseman can take Thomas. The boy is then returned to his family, who we discover was dead all along, and the rest of the infected are cured.
This episode spent far more time in Ichabod’s element and as such Abbie acted as an aid while he scuttled about trying to come up with an answer. The “solution” was quite a simple one, and came to Abbie after what appeared to be an unsuccessful conversation with God. Other characters have told us how very little faith Abbie has, both in what she’s doing and her supposed fate. It was nice to see that in a literal sense, making her acceptance of both that fate and her new life with Ichabod all the more satisfying.
Like the last four weeks, we were given fish out of water moments with Ichabod. In this episode, however, the humor seemed to mask something deeper. Thomas was the literal John Doe, a title given to an individual whose identity is unknown. That title could also be tacked onto Ichabod though. Crane has always presented himself as poised, but as the episode went on it became increasingly evident that underneath this he feels alienated, confused, and a longing for the world he once knew. We were given our clearest look at this during his scenes with Abbie.
Whether it was in the cabin discussing the rustic feel, in front of a web camera while talking to Thomas, or in the woods engaging about the sense of humor possessed by dead American founders, Ichabod’s quirky ignorance is clearly starting to wear on him. He is an intelligent, brave, and compassionate person – a hero – but exists in a place where everyone thinks he’s crazy or treats him like a child. To top it off, the one thing he has left of the man he once was is trapped in a demon’s purgatory. In this modern world Ichaod is essentially without identity.
Other than Abbie and Ichabod’s development, Detective Morales’ role became clearer, confirming that his first encounter with Ichabod was in fact fueled by jealousy. Luke spent the entirety of the episode questioning Ichabod’s presence at the station and eventually did some digging of his own. Oddly (or perhaps not), Frank Irving was there to put an end to Morales’ public declarations of wonder. It will be interesting to see where Luke’s curiosity takes him and whether he’ll serve as an aid or a detriment to our world savers.
Overall this week’s episode contained less physical action, but payed off tremendously with character development. Hopefully once the show returns after its small hiatus we’ll see further exploration of the role reversal our leads are experiencing, in addition to Sleepy Hollow opening its doors to some familiar faces (Andy and Death) and new characters.