By Chris B.
In this week's episode of Sleepy Hollow Pandora is tortured by The Hidden One, and accused of being like a spoiled house pet used to feasts instead of being grateful for the table scraps it should receive.
When he tires and orders her to clean herself up for more “punishment” later, she sneaks into the Masonic cell searching for bits of her box. As it was originally forged by the gods, it is the only thing that can contain The Hidden One before he destroys all of humanity, which he will be able to do in approximately 48 hours.
The catch: it can only be regenerated in the Catacombs.
Pandora has little hope of traveling to the Catacombs since the Witnesses destroyed her hard-grown Tree of Fear, but Crane recalls that Betsy Ross’s cutlass made it there somehow, so true to the Witness mantra, there must be another way. Abbie is understandably less than thrilled about the prospect of returning, and Crane respectfully allows her to make the ultimate decision about whether or not they choose to trust what Pandora has told them: “I know what that place did to you. I know how hard it has been for you to recover.”
He will not force her to do what she cannot.
The team deduces that the crossing of the Delaware River by Washington and his army was actually a trip to the Catacombs, one on which Betsy Ross accompanied him, while Crane was left on shore. The flag that she stitched before leaving, the one with the 13 stars, had been oddly laced with a golden thread. Abbie is able to put that together with pieces of Crane’s research from the time Abbie’s absence. The jug Crane had stolen was the one that had allowed Orpheus to locate Eurydice in the underworld, but when Orpheus wished to enter, he’d used a lyre, one strung with gold thread. Thus, they need to get the original flag, supposedly still housed in the home of Paul Revere in Boston.
Unfortunately, the extra protection designed to keep the flag safe comes in the form of the Eternal Soldier, who now will pursue Crane and Abbie until he kills them.
While the flag at Revere’s home is a decoy, it does provide a clue to the original flag’s whereabouts via strategically placed holes in its fabric. Joe realizes that these are musical notes that correspond to those of The Star-Spangled Banner. Turns out Francis Scott Key was a Mason, and during the War of 1812, he secreted away Betsy’s flag and wrote the national anthem as the code to finding it in a secret chamber below a statue of Orpheus on the grounds of Fort McHenry. Once it is found and the Eternal Soldier dispatched, they are able to put the last piece in place; thanks to the key lyrics “by the dawn’s early light,” they are able to see their path to the Catacombs.
The trip is a go.
Out of Character
One of the very best aspects to this rocky third season has been the addition of Shannyn Sossamon. Her portrayal of the gleefully evil Pandora has been consistently stellar. While many of the Sleepy Hollow faithful mourned the absence of the Headless Horseman, Pandora has been a villain worth watching every week.
Thus, the addition of her erstwhile husband was a downer, not only because he has done little more than whine and complain, but because she alone was magnificent and did not need to share her glory with anyone. While Peter Mensah could have been a great addition to the mayhem, his skills were misapplied to a character that has done nothing to enhance the overall storyline.
But this is minor in comparison to the truly glaring missteps of this installment. While watching, I believe I made noises akin to the “stuck goat” that Crane ascribed to Alexander Hamilton. It was out of sheer dismay, as this show made yet another of its hideous swerves with the one relationship that it needs to get right: Abbie and Crane.
The characters that we see in “Dawn’s Early Light” bear little resemblance to the characters we know, even in the form that the show itself established just before its mid-season break. Our Crane crumbled under the weight of Abbie’s potential loss—sleeping on mirrors, ghosting on Zoe, letting plants die. When she returns, he joyfully makes her elaborate meals, tends to her wounds, and gently assists in healing her emotional turmoil.
In the same respect, our Abbie withstood her time in the Catacombs thanks to her solid bond with Crane—speaking to him constantly (“my Wilson”), and holding onto the sure knowledge he was searching for her. When she returns, she calls his spirit back from the depths and confides in him alone, leaning on him for her recovery.
The Abbie and Crane we were subjected to in this episode were amnesiacs or perhaps something out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This Abbie, despite two previous conversations applying closure to her past with him, claims that the only barrier to a relationship with Daniel had been her fear of telling him about the world of monsters. This Abbie forgets she called him a “climber” and overlooks his assertion of dominance as “her superior officer.” This Abbie shares a laugh with Danny at Crane’s expense before sharing a kiss with the same mouth that had recently told her that it wasn’t his choice to ask her back to the FBI.
Similarly, this Crane is choked up by his love for Betsy Ross, a woman he once had called “insufferable” and with whom he denied ever having a relationship. This Crane gushes stupidly over stitching and pushes Abbie toward the very man whose initial introduction had him posturing possessively around his Lieutenant.
Who are these people? I don’t know them, and what’s more, I don’t like them. But what I really don’t like is inconsistent characterization that makes the audience feel as if it is watching a beach ball being bopped around at random. It is unacceptable. The searingly loyal fans of this show, those who watch dozens of times and trend weekly on Twitter, deserve better than this. The gifted performers, those whose talents are squandered by questionable creative decisions, deserve better; and even the characters, the Ichabod Crane and Abbie Mills that captured our imaginations and our hearts, deserve better.
Get it together, Sleepy Hollow, before all is lost.