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SLEEPY HOLLOW Recap: Everyone Struggles With Coming Clean in “Blood From a Stone”

BY The Screen Spy Team

Published 6 years ago

SLEEPY HOLLOW Recap: Everyone Struggles With Coming Clean in

By Clara Pullman

The next chapter of Sleepy Hollow: The Final Reboot opens up on a circus tent in the middle of a field in Texas. I enjoyed this big scene setting opener that Sleepy Hollow specializes in. An itinerant preacher holding himself up as a savior while scamming his followers with an act that’s all showbiz and no substance seems appropriate right now.

Aaanyway, this preacher is using one of the artifacts that Malcolm is chasing after, so Jobe pops up to procure it. Jobe is still the scariest villain this season, which is why it’s disturbing when a new villain appears and knocks out Jobe like it was child’s play.

There’s someone else who really wants that artifact – and his appearance leads us to Malcolm’s backstory, the main purpose of this episode. A recent Sleepy Hollow promo trailer posed the question if we had ever wondered why Malcolm was so villainous, and my honest response was, eh. But his backstory was actually interesting, mostly because we finally see why Malcolm is so unprepossessing as a baddie: he’s a spineless weasel who sold his soul because he was jealous of the cooler guy getting more attention.

Sleepy Hollow gives us a Jobs and Wozniak style origin story for Malcolm. In the early 1990s – I think it’s the 1990s because of Malcolm’s tragically bad hair — Malcolm and his friend Ansel together create some computer thingee. Only Malcolm became consumed with jealousy when his partner grabbed all the glory, leading Malcolm to become a chemistry teacher and start a meth lab…no wait, that’s another origin story.

In this one, Malcolm’s jealous because Ansel became the face of the company, even though Malcolm believes he was the tech brains. Which, looking at them, isn’t hard to understand since Ansel looks like a model and Malcolm looks like what would happen if a 1990s era Billy Crudup played Leonard on Big Bang Theory.

So where are Crane and Diana during all this backstory explanation, you ask? Well, first they are at a kids’ soccer game, where Crane – whose frock coat and britches look spectacularly incongruous when he’s on a soccer pitch  — is telling Molly’s team the story of how soccer was invented, by Celts kicking around the severed head of a defeated Danish prince. (Sadly FIFA does not confirm this tale.) I love that he doesn’t treat the story as too delicate for the girls’ tender ears, and the girls, rather than being shocked, respond with ooh and ahs and practical questions about the severed head. Coach Crane is a hit.

But what’s really happening is that Crane is gently trying to guide Diana toward telling Molly she is a Witness. For Diana, this week’s theme is essentially “and the truth shall set you free” as she comes to understand that she is better off being honest with Molly rather than hiding the truth from her to protect her. When she does finally tell Molly, at the end of the episode, Molly responds as she did over the tale of the severed head – with interest and practical questions.  Because she’s not a professional actor, Oona Jaffe as Molly is terrific at acting like a real kid, and these scenes have really worked for me, the kid-actor skeptic.

But before we can get to this touching moment, Crane and Diana have to battle a disturbed warlock and a soulless billionaire. Team Witness has realized that Dreyfuss is the link to all the crazy stuff happening as part of his plan to collect those mystical artifacts. Crane and Diana are off to the blue-toned world of Malcolm’s glossy office building. This gives us a chance for the first real face-off between Crane and Dreyfuss, as Crane accuses Dreyfuss of indifference to the innocent lives taken during his pursuit of the artifacts. Dreyfus’s vaguely threatening response “No…unless you think you’ve lived an innocent life?” suggests he is aware of last week’s trial.

Remember that the first episode of the season had Malcolm and Jobe discuss when they need Crane back. So does Crane play a role in Malcolm’s plan somehow? One of the benefits of this shorter season is that threads like this are less likely to be dropped as the show picks up other storylines, so I’m hoping this is both a nice reference to last week and a bit of foreshadowing. (On the other hand, Sleepy Hollow continues its habit of abandoning poor Headless for weeks at a time. Is he still standing on J Street?)

The Crane-Dreyfuss mind games are interrupted when the baddie who knocked out Jobe appears, locks down the building and reveals himself to Malcolm as the twisted form of his old partner Ansel. In another flashback, we learn Malcolm almost destroyed his own work, but was saved by a messenger, one Jobe, carrying a contract for him that gives him the life he wants for the small price of handing over his soul upon death. Jobe also promises to take care of Ansel, who has spent the last decades in a tortured half life, covered in markings that burn his skin and wreak havoc when activated on others.

This week shows us why Jeremy Davies was cast as Malcolm, who at the first sign of danger,  snivels and squirms and tries to weasel out of any responsibility, to his employees – high body count in this episode – and to his former partner. He and Crane face off again, as Crane realizes that the artifacts he is gathering will help him cheat death – and cheat his contract. (Question: Why is Jobe helping him with this? Isn’t his job to deliver him to Jobe’s master?)

Meanwhile back at the Not the Archives, the B team is trying to gain access to the locked down Dreyfuss building and figure out how to fight this deranged warlock. We get a nice, lighter moment, as Jake continues with his hopeless crush on Jenny. He enlists Alex to help by talking him up to Jenny, in return for a month of lunches. The only relationship it helps is the one between Jenny and Alex, who geek out together over computer code and agree to offer Jake a tiny glimmer of hope in order to win the free lunch. Jenny throws him the weakest smile ever, but Jake is adorably clueless and is over the moon.

Back at the Dreyfuss building, a showdown between Ansel and Dreyfuss reveals that the artifacts form the Philosophers Stone, which will give Ansel his life back. Except there is still one piece missing, which enrages Ansel. Fortunately, it’s Jenny to the rescue again as she finds a way into the building and recites the words that defeat Ansel as he prepares to take his revenge on Malcolm. But Malcolm manages to escape with the Philosophers Stone – whoops.

Back at the Vault, Jenny, Alex and Jake know they need to find that final piece before Malcolm does. They figure out that George Washington stored the pieces of the Philosophers Stone on ley-lines of mystical power. Guess where the last one is? Yep, next week, Sleepy Hollow takes place in Sleepy Hollow again.

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