‘Sleepy Hollow’ ends season 1 with a killer twist

Who would have thought, reading some fall TV preview back in August or September, that Sleepy Hollow 's “modern retelling” of the Headless Horseman legend — complete with shotguns! — would turn out to be one of the most fun hours on television? The trailers for the show only made it look dumber than it sounded. I myself avoided it for a few weeks until, spurred by everyone telling me it was crazy-fun, I dug in and became hooked. And then here we are today!

The two-hour season finale of Sleepy Hollow didn’t cover much more ground than previous weeks (which, again, have featured Evil Treebeards and Demon Houses), but it did put a cap on something building for the past 13 episodes: reuniting Ichabod and Katrina. Those of us watching in the real world obviously don’t care if the two time- and dimension-crossed lovers get back together as really, their reunion only forestalls ICHABBIE finally becoming a thing. But, for the sake of Ichabod’s fragile heart and the screen time of the woman playing Katrina, this is what our last two episodes of the season are about. (Also, thwarting another of Moloch’s mini-Apocalypses. We’ll get to it!)

Now, reuniting with your Purgatory-bound wife of course first requires that you know how to get to Purgatory, something easier said than done. BUT, because this is Sleepy Hollow and everything is connected and of COURSE George Washington wrote and is buried with a map to exactly that place, our heroes aren’t exactly shit out of luck. No — they just need to find George Washington’s tomb. And that pretty much covers the first hour here. Parrish the Sin Eater returned, his zeal for eating sins matched only by his affection for Ichabod and Abbie, to pry some info out of a dead priest. THAT led to uncovering Washington’s tomb. THAT led to the exhumation of his corpse, and finding the map. THAT led to an attack by the latest zombified version of Brooks, who honestly didn’t pose much of a threat.

What I’m trying to say is that finding your way to Purgatory honestly doesn’t seem that hard. These guys had a more difficult time with the Native American Sandman! It’s really the navigating your way through Purgatory part that proves more of a challenge. There are, as Parrish relays to Abbie and Ichabod, certain rules to follow once you’re in Purgatory:

RULE #1: Don’t accept any food or drink from the spirits and spooks you’re interacting with. Not only does Purgatory-brand food and drink taste horrible, it might also serve as a spiritual shackle keeping you tethered to this in-between place forever. So just tell everyone you already ate.

(Actually there are no other rules that Parrish mentions. Perhaps I would have said DON’T TRUST ANYTHING, that’s maybe what I would have gone with, but it makes sense that a Sin Eater would focus on gastrointestinal issues.)

Purgatory proves to be not the most fun place in any of the dimensional planes, as Abbie and Ichabod are immediately tempted by spectral loved ones: Clancy Brown, offering Abbie a slice of apple pie; Victor Garber as Ichabod’s dad, demanding he imbibe some special drink. But they’re tough enough and they get out, and before long they’ve actually found Katrina. The catch: soul for a soul. Ichabod volunteers, but it’s Abbie who stays behind — demanding to do battle with the Moloch who destroyed her life 14 years ago.

Katrina and Ichabod return to the land of the living only to discover the shit has indeed hit the fan when Parrish — who we’ve had no reason to distrust — reveals his real identity: He’s Ichabod and Katrina’s son, Jeremy. Presumed dead but… not. Dug up by Moloch 13 years ago, he’s got a MAJOR bone to pick with the coven who buried him. In story terms, this is great for Sleepy Hollow. All season the show has thrown out supernatural villain after supernatural villain. Many were memorable, and some continue to threaten. But to have a regular “Big Bad” on the show with an emotional connection to the main character will only ratchet up the conflict in Season 2. This was a great, great move by the show.

So where do we end things heading into Season 2?

  • Abbie’s stuck in a dollhouse in Purgatory
  • Katrina has been taken by the Headless Horseman
  • Ichabod is left without either of his love interests
  • “Parrish” is thrilled to be ruining his parent's lives

A KILLER freshman season. See you all next fall!

Image: FOX