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SLEEPY HOLLOW Review: Secrets & Family Ties in “Whispers in the Dark”

By on October 9, 2015

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

By Jennie Bragg

Secrets. Sleepy Hollow is full of them and we got a glimpse into a few new ones this week. Pandora is back with her hipster-style evil and she’s conjured another creature from her box. She’s set up shop in a coffeehouse at the Tarrytown train station, selling coffee and creeping out one of the station patrons by telling him, “You’ve got to tell me your secret.” He looks nervous and unsettled and next thing you know, a black smoky cloud is taunting him and he’s not much longer for this world.

His secret relates to an embezzlement scheme that he and two colleagues have stumbled across – and which he is about to report to the FBI. This is the driving story for this week’s baddie but it is really secondary to the bigger secrets that Crane and Abbie are harboring. Crane’s has to do with his past as an American patriot and spy while Abbie’s… well more on that later because that’s the bigger reveal.

This smoky wraith conjured by Pandora is a demon that bonds with a human host and, essentially, hunts down and destroys people harboring secrets. This revelation comes thanks to Grace’s journal (yay for a short flashback to the luminous Grace), and sends Ichabod down memory lane. Where he again meets Betsy Ross. He and Betsy are fighting General Howe, a British officer using an American traitor turned into a wraith to root out spies from the Culper Spy Ring.

Meanwhile, Abbie has a new boss, she and Ichabod are tracking down the new baddie using the Archives, which Ichabod has grand plans to save, Joe Corbin is back in town and Jenny has a rock. Like Abbie said last week, LOTS to catch up on.

NEW LIVING ARRANGEMENTS

But first. Crane and Abbie. Living together. This is pretty much pure shipper sugar and as you might expect, we got a few “nudge nudge wink wink” moments from that. Especially the bit with Ichabod realizing he’s got Abbie’s flimsy camisole in his hands while Abbie walks in. For me, this was a little obvious and contrived – not to mention a repeat of the scene where Ichabod held up Jenny’s bra in season one’s “Vessel.” And the scene with him rushing across the floor with a sweeper (is it just me or did that remind anyone of Melanie Griffith’s topless vacuuming in Working Girl?) and running to the kitchen to fetch his burnt Bedfordshire clanger all seemed a bit over the top and not terribly Crane-like. I half expected Dick Van Dyke to come in and trip over the footstool while Ichabod wailed, Oh Rob! (Sorry youngsters, Dick Van Dyke show reference, which even I’m too young for really. You’ll have to Google it. And I’ll try to make cultural references more current than the 1980s if I can.)

The best part about it was Abbie and Ichabod eating together and talking -something they were always able to do in the past without having them live together. The little jokes about how only in Sleepy Hollow does your boss get eaten by a demon (which, ok, was a little cold, but still funny), pivoting into a serious discussion about how Abbie will make her new life work with the re-emergence of Evil, that is what really works so well on this show when it’s clicking.

So how will Abbie balance it? It’s not clear because things are about to get even more awkward when Abbie gets a call to investigate the mysterious death at the train station. How cute was her knowing eyebrow-raise at Ichabod when she answered the phone as “Agent Mills” and his little smile of acknowledgement – a great shared moment that says a lot more about how they’re connected than when they actually talk about it.

SLEEPY HOLLOW: Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and Abbie (Nicole Beharie). Co. CR: Tina Rowden/FOX

SLEEPY HOLLOW: Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and Abbie (Nicole Beharie). Co. CR: Tina Rowden/FOX

The awkwardness comes when another FBI agent shows up: Daniel Reynolds, who trained with Abbie at Quantico and who is now in town as her new boss. Clearly Abbie and Daniel did more than just train together, and Abbie looks taken aback that she now has to report to him. Crane is none too impressed with the situation and Abbie has to shoo him away when he gives Daniel the eye.

On his way out of the train station, Crane is approached by Pandora who makes another of her seemingly random comments to him. Now both he and Abbie have had contact with the new baddie, who is definitely interested in the Witnesses but it’s not yet clear why.

Eventually he and Abbie find their way back to the Archives, where Ichabod makes the connection to the wraith mentioned in Grace’s journal and we see he and Betsy Ross teaming up again in a flashback. Betsy is still a Woman Who Knows What She Wants and there is a little more flirting with Ichabod. But the bigger story is Ichabod’s revelation that, when he was captured by the British, he was briefly tempted to win his freedom by ratting out his fellow patriots. This secret is pulled out of him after he and Abbie encounter the wraith as they try to save the lives of the other two whistle-blowers. This flashback also plays into the final showdown with the wraith. Ichabod and Abbie realize that the way to defeat it is to call it by its true name — in this case, the name of the American turncoat. Once his weakness is revealed, Ichabod and Abbie work together, again, to kill him and our evil for this week is gone.

While this main storyline is happening, Jenny is off having her own side adventure involving Joe Corbin and the mysterious rock she pulled from her own box – or ‘Jenny’s box of stuff she stole.’ Joe was a fan favorite from last season and his return didn’t disappoint. He comes across Jenny’s trailer in the woods – let’s pause a second to enjoy that. Jenny’s trailer in the woods. It’s as awesome as it sounds. He sees it’s been ransacked and turns out it’s a guy looking for that rock – a guy who ends up using Joe to lure Jenny out and get it from her. Jenny and Joe have some great scenes talking over their relationship with Joe’s dad, August Corbin, and the secrets that Jenny still holds regarding her role fighting evil with Corbin. In some ways, Jenny and Joe’s scenes were the most like season one Sleepy Hollow, and sat in a nice place between fighting evil and deepening our emotional connection to these characters.

SLEEPY HOLLOW: Abbie (Nicole Beharie). Co. CR: Tina Rowden/FOX

SLEEPY HOLLOW: Abbie (Nicole Beharie). Co. CR: Tina Rowden/FOX

Abbie and Ichabod’s scene on the porch is both a nice wind down and an intriguing reveal. Abbie joins Ichabod, who is relaxing with a cold drink (although, if I could make a small request, perhaps Ichabod doesn’t need to moan with pleasure every time he sips a liquid) and Ichabod shares with Abbie his shame over his having considered betraying his fellow patriots. He then draws Abbie out on what she’s hiding – something that these two have always been good at. Turns out during the nine months when she had no Ichabod and no supernatural baddies in her life, she went looking for the missing piece of her family – her father. And found him. Turns out he lives not far away, even though he hasn’t been in contact since she was six. Ever cautious, she’s not sure yet what to do with this information but it’s obvious she’s going to keep pulling this thread so we’ll see if more Mills family members are coming our way.

At the end, we see Ichabod taking off on his new cause: having the Archives declared a historical landmark. He’s told that his plan won’t work if he’s not an American citizen. Before we have a chance to figure out if he likes this idea, he’s thrown down another bow (this one was pretty awkward, truth be told) and gone off to figure out why the train station coffee shop has suddenly disappeared. He and Abbie later make the connection: it’s Pandora and they’ve both had contact with her now. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the tablet from episode one is still there and is still puzzling our Witnesses with its message.

NEXT: WHERE WE ARE NOW

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