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The Skin I’m In: Sleepy Hollow “Necromancer” Review

By on November 19, 2013
Photo by: Brownie Harris/FOX

Photo by: Brownie Harris/FOX

After several episodes and a basket full of jokes, Ichabod Crane had quite the defining episode in this week’s “Necromancer.”

Sleepy Hollow picked up almost exactly where it left off last week with Irving, Ichabod and Abbie in the tunnel chamber holding Headless captive. They’ve got two things on their to-do list: 1.) Inform Jenny, set to be released that very day, about what’s going on and 2.) Figure out what they are going to do with Headless. They know they can’t kill the horseman, but perhaps they can extract (read: torture) some information about his return and Moloch’s plans. One problem: he can’t talk. Abbie’s quick thinking brings the crew around to  their answer, Andy. So while Frank ventures off to find Jenny, the witnesses try to locate neck rolls in the tunnels.

While they are busy searching, we find that the Hessian’s are still alive and well pretending to be harmless hunters (who shoot their partners because they know too much). At the precinct Frank has found Jenny, but it wasn’t without struggle as the younger Mills isn’t too fond of the po-po. After a wonderful eyebrow duel, Jenny reveals she has more important connections so Frank ends up bringing her into the fold. Avengers assemble. Back in the tunnels they find Andy’s nest and to no one’s surprise he creepily pops up out of nowhere. It is then that he confesses a sad fate.

His soul belongs to Moloch, and so when he is called he has no choice other than to carry out the demon’s bidding. You can see from his disposition with Abbie that he’s quite a reluctant baddie, and there is a moment where Abbie feels for him. Crane apparently isn’t in the mood for sentimentality (or wavering morality), and so he quickly beckons them back to the chamber where they chain Andy up and begin the interrogation.

Team sexy eyebrows follow a lead to an antique shop where they find the owner shot. To make it worse, an ancient relic that can destroy the hex holding the horseman captive is gone. They still have the UV lights though, so things still seem good until Mills intelligence strikes again – this time through Jenny, who puts the pieces together. If they cut the power through the power grid, Abbie and Ichabod will be left entirely defenseless. They race to take care of the new mission, but when they arrive the Hessians are there and seemingly have the upper hand. However, Frank’s got some back up. Things look good until Jenny brings Frank some electronic device and seconds later the grid blows up.

Meanwhile Crane is busy illustrating exactly what made him such a great torturer in his time. Throughout his entire encounter with Headless, Crane’s smugness is so thick in the air you could cut it with a knife. At one point he looks Headless right in the neck innards and ends up knocking a necklace off the Horseman’s body. It’s not just any necklace though. This necklace belongs to Katrina and was given to her by her former fiance. We are then shot back in time to see Katrina and Ichabod share twinkly eyes over a necklace her fiance has stolen credit for picking out. After Abraham steps away, Katrina shares with Ichabod her plans to reject her arranged marriage and instead choose her own fate… to be with the first witness.

The Hessians successfully rigged the power station and have left Ichabod and Abbie without the assistance of UV light, but those are the least of our witnesses problems. Ichabod’s calm is being tested and Abbie seemingly can’t help him. Ichabod falls apart when Headless states he betrayed and killed Abraham. Ichabod says he didn’t, but another set of flashbacks reveals some interesting information. While on a mission to deliver an important pre-declaration document, Abraham confides that Katrina has turned him down. It is then that Ichabod decides to share he and Katrina have a thing… and want his friend’s blessing!

This results in a sword duel where Abraham is injured and Ichabod is forced to leave him to keep the document safe. While hiding Abraham is killed and revived by none other than Moloch. In the final moments of the episode, Headless breaks free and a fight between Ichabod and the horseman/Abraham ensues. Before Headless can kill our first witness though, the minions the Mills sisters were fighting in the tunnel rush the room and snatch Andy and Headless away. What we walk way with is the knowledge that Headless has come back not just to end the world, but to get revenge.

Pictured: Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane -- © 2013 Fox Broadcasting Co.

Pictured: Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane — © 2013 Fox Broadcasting Co.

Part of the episode’s writing strength lies in its ability to balance Ichabod’s new brazen disposition while continuing to incorporate the more subtle development moments the character is better known for. Ichabod’s goal was to uncover the Headless Horseman’s motives, but the process revealed more about the man he is. Driven, Ichabod at times will sacrifice his logic and composure to get what he wants. Despite Andy’s warnings, something Ichabod would have normally listened to, he pushed to bring Moloch’s minion into the situation (and it ended up biting everyone in the butt). When he was getting emotionally unstable he kept going, something he doesn’t normally do. He was cocky and manipulative, two traits we have barely seen on Ichabod (or at least to this extent). At one point he even experienced blinding anger and the upstanding gentleman we once knew was gone. Before us stood not a hero or a knight in shining armor. For the first time we saw a man struggling with the reality of his choices and his fate.

The moment that may have stood out the most involved Ichabod yelling at Abbie, which should have been surprising on several levels. First of all, while Ichabod’s frustrations with the modern world have been increasing as of late, he’s always maintained a sense of emotional control. Second, he wasn’t just yelling at anyone. He was yelling at Abbie and after he got done, he failed to apologize – another unusual thing for Crane. In episode six Crane’s guilt over his “sin” came across as a bit excessive. In a situation where the tensions and guilt could have been higher (why wasn’t this betrayal Ichabod’s sin plotline again?), he lashed out at someone who cared about him and failed to live up to his gentlemanly nature.

The relationship implications of this interaction, during which Abbie was trying to return a favor, remain to be seen. It was quite the moment though acted spectacularly by Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie. Mison’s explosiveness may make it easy to ignore what was going on with Beharie, but this was also a defining moment for Abbie. It was only two episodes ago that the lieutenant was fighting to save Ichabod, a man whose presence she seemingly put up with for quite some time. Abbie is a woman who spent her entire life building emotional walls to keep people out and she let those walls down for him. Not long after do we see him testing those receding barriers.

In addition to Ichabod’s massive development there was even more team building than last week. Frank and Jenny were a spectacular duo, matching wits, fighting skill and intensity. Can we get Jenny on the Sleepy Hollow police force? As for the actors, Lyndie Greenwood and Orlando Jones have their own chemistry heaven, so hopefully we will continue to see their characters interact. Andy, despite hesitations last week, became a tragic character. Brooks scene with Abbie had been building since the pilot and served to make one of the story’s most morally questionable characters one of its most empathetic. It also offered Andy a chance to extend beyond the John Cho references, developing into an almost completely fleshed supporting character. It would seem that we are still rooting for you, Brooks.

One big bone we were thrown was why Katrina is trapped in purgatory: Headless is jealous. Before she landed in misty creek, Katrina defied the conventions of her time and chose love further confirming that at least one female character’s power, in a magical twist, will come from something that traditionally keeps female characters relegated in storylines. That may be a double edged sword and perhaps already is as it’s still unclear if Katrina’s development was for her or for the two dudes who were fighting over her. Ultimately this episode gave us a lot of answers about major questions, and allowed some supporting characters to shine. Ichabod finally had some proper development, but after what transpired it will be interesting to see how Abbie reacts (if at all) next episode and where their relationship goes from here.

Watch Sleepy Hollow Mondays at 9:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT on FOX.