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SLEEPY HOLLOW Recap “Heads of State”

BY The Screen Spy Team

Published 6 years ago


By Clara Pullman

This is a week for revelations on Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, as Diana realizes that Crane and Jenny believe her daughter has inherited the mantle of Witness from Abbie, and the Scooby Gang learns that Crane is 250 years old.

Oh, and it also marks the return of the Headless Horseman, still the best of Sleepy Hollow’s baddies.

So, how are we doing so far in this reboot? This episode was actually a good one. Well paced, rolling out its revelations in a way that held our attention, and the new Witness team is getting into a nice groove too. That helps make up for the fact that Malcolm still isn’t compelling as a baddie and we lack the instant connection that Crane and Abbie had — although thankfully Crane and Jenny are still a grounding force.

The cold open sees Crane peering through a door into a space that bears unspeakable evil – the cobwebbed closet of a dilapidated apartment that he’s considering renting. Crane is unimpressed, complaining that the ad promised a walk-in closet. “You could walk in there if you wanted to,” the creepy landlord tells him. Dun dun dun. That will be important at the end of the episode. But for now, my only question is, why does Crane need a walk-in closet?

While the landlord tries to spin the apartment’s lack of amenities, he casually mentions to Crane that the last tenant disappeared under mysterious circumstances (dun dun dun), stiffing him on two months rent. I still get a kick out of Crane’s lack of modern context in these conversations. When the landlord looks suspiciously at Crane and asks if he is a musician like the last tenant, Crane helpfully informs him, “Not by trade, no.”

After Jake convinces Crane that this “edge” neighborhood is right up Crane’s hipster alley, and also that the apartment is one-fourth the price of any others, Crane seals the deal. Jake is super excited that he and Crane will be neighbors now. As he leaves, he makes the world’s most awkward attempt at flirting with Jenny: “Jenny Mills, Jake Wells. Our names are…similar.” Jerry MacKinnon makes that line work so well with his off beat delivery, and he is making Jake Wells the most adorably irresistible nerd I’ve seen in a while. Someone better snap him up quick after this show is done.

As Jenny, Lyndie Greenwood gives him one of her patented looks of deadpan disbelief. I didn’t really see that coming either, Jenny. And even though it’s adorable, it’s also maybe a little soon. Seeing as Jenny’s  boyfriend just died at the hands of a demon a month ago. Maybe want to slow walk that one, show.

Meanwhile Diana is slowly realizing that there is a connection between her daughter’s recent mute spell and the entry into Diana’s life of this strange man that knows all about the supernatural. Molly shows her a new drawing of four white trees in a wood (dun dun…you get it). It’s a nice tie back to the original show concept and suggests that Molly is somehow able to see Abbie’s experiences as a Witness.

Of course the other callback to the original Sleepy Hollow comes without a head. A rifle-wielding man on a horse tries to shoot at the U.S. president’s motorcade (and by the way, excellent  choice of POTUS, Sleepy Hollow. I wish I lived in your version of the world. And not the current one.) As one of the cops shoots him, his head comes off and voila! He’s transformed into the Headless Horseman. The cop’s disbelief at what he’s seeing is another nice callback to the pilot, as it is when Diana calls Crane in to help make sense of this new headless situation, and he asks her “Did the assailant carry an ax?”

Crane and Diana head back to the Not The Archives to bring Jake, Jenny and Alex into the case. They quickly figure out  that the Horseman was after the president’s head, but was somehow prevented from reaching POTUS by a mysterious force. The search into this mysterious force leads to some major revelations about how Washington DC was designed (spoiler: to thwart supernatural threats) and about Crane himself. Turns out, the tunnels under the city are marked with wards, runes that [goes to Google] can create some kind of a spell or supernatural force. Normally I glide over these explainy bits in the show because it gets convoluted and usually it’s just one and done but I get the feeling this story about the secret underworld of Washington DC will play out over the rest of the season.

As our team investigates these runes, Crane realizes that he’s seen these before, and we’re off into flashback country.  Crane tells the story of an “unnamed Colonial officer” who visited Revolutionary Benjamin Banneker and saw his sketches for a new city that would be dedicated to liberty and incorporate the greatest ideas from history’s great cultures. Crane has also just outed himself because Banneker is a hero of Jake’s and he knows all about him, including the fact that all of his papers were destroyed in a fire 150 years ago. So Jenny spills the beans and Crane tells them the story of how he awoke in this century to fight side by side with Jenny’s sister, and his fellow Witness, “Leftenant Grace Abigail Mills.” It was good to hear her full name given this time, show.

Diana is getting dangerously close to realizing that Molly is carrying the Witness mantle on from Abbie and is not ok. But Jake is over the moon. He is relishing this new reality, where the supernatural world he wanted to believe was real, IS. In just a few episodes, he’s changed from being tentative and apologetic to leading the agency’s contributions to the cause and even confronting Crane directly when he knows that Crane is full of it.

It also looks like Banneker is being set up to play a key role in this season’s battle against evil, and I am on board with that. This character, and Edwin Hodge, the actor playing him, have a gravitas that was sadly lacking with last year’s Betsy Ross. He is also a good foil for Crane, and for highlighting the tragic inconsistencies in the Founding Fathers’ vision of a free America.

So, after this big revelation, Jenny finds out that there is a remaining folio of Banneker’s work, owned by one Malcolm Dreyfuss, Crane and Diana are off to meet with Malcolm.

Malcolm Malcolm Malcolm. Where is this character going right now? In this episode, he mostly  continues with his unique style of business relations: creeping out everyone he comes in contact with. Why doesn’t everyone end a meeting with him after five minutes by backing slowly away? He must be hella rich and important. Although we really don’t know why yet. I get teasing out the revelations but right now, it’s hard to see what Malcolm’s hold over everyone is since we don’t even know what his business is. I shall call it Globex Corporation.

Fortunately, Headless still makes a good impression and the rest of episode is spent trying to capture him in the mysterious missing “J Street” of Washington DC. Malcolm helps them with this task because he wants something from the Horseman, and is happy to let Crane and Diana do the hard work of trapping him. The Horseman is cool and scary again in this episode, I’m happy to say. I was afraid he might just be a cheap pander to the old audience, but he’s genuinely scary with his newfound ability to clap on someone else’s head and menace the city on a badass motorcycle.

The final big revelation is Diana’s. While they’re waiting to trap the Horseman, Diana confronts Crane about how Molly could have drawn him before she knew him and Crane finally tells her.  Diana is not having any of it and vows to keep all of this away from her daughter. Which is probably not going to pan out.

We end with Malcolm making his deal with Headless to give him the POTUS, and a little amuse bouche in the form of Ichabod Crane. Not sure how we know Headless has agreed to this plan, but the next thing we see is Crane in his apartment struggling to figure out how to construct his Ikea bed. (Note: You can’t do too many of these “man out of time” bits any more but Tom Mison still knows how to make them fun.) Remember that “walk-in closet”? Crane peers into it to find a seeping patch of slime that attaches itself to his face for the cliffhanger ending. That was genuinely a surprise and I’m happy to see Sleepy Hollow getting back some of the “you’re in for a wild ride” mojo. Let’s hope the payoff next week is good. It’s already been revealed that John Noble is back, and that has to be good, right?

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