SLEEPY HOLLOW Recap: 'The Akeda' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

SLEEPY HOLLOW Recap: ‘The Akeda’

December 1, 2014 by  


I was not prepared for the mid-season finale of SLEEPY HOLLOW. I thought I was, but that was a mistake. Then again, nothing really could have prepared me for this. Sound like a certain apocalypse to anyone?

The War

As Abbie and Ichabod speed back to Frederick’s Manor with the sword of Methuselah, ready to stop Moloch’s rise, the skies are lit up with red lightning. You’d expect a few sirens and frantic townspeople in the streets, but everything is quiet. Red lightning is just another Monday around here.

The lightning also apparently has intelligence, because it strikes Abbie and Ichabod’s car, and the minute they try to call a cab, it takes out the phone lines. Our Witnesses commandeer a motorcycle (now the top item on Ichabod Crane’s Christmas list, if you were wondering what to get the colonial soldier who has everything) and ride the rest of the way to the Manor, which Henry has abandoned. He’s left behind his wooden model of the town, with flags to mark where he’s hit. Abbie and Ichabod string yarn between the flags to reveal a pentagram over the city.

A cry from the backyard interrupts their craft time: Headless has Katrina chained between two posts for the binding ritual. Ichabod plunges into the fight. By the time Abbie has unshackled Katrina, Headless is at Ichabod’s mercy, but before Ichabod can end this, he has to know where Moloch has gone. Katrina extends the charm on her necklace, allowing everyone to talk to Abraham — who’s about to change the game.

Apparently, the sword of Methuselah takes the soul of anyone who uses it. Abbie and Ichabod are skeptical, but on Katrina’s urging, they keep Abraham alive long enough for Jenny to track down an old text that proves he’s telling the truth. Abbie asks Ichabod to consider the possibility that they’ll have to die for this — the two of them for Henry and Moloch — but Ichabod hesitates to commit to killing his son.

While Abbie and Ichabod debate noble sacrifices and family loyalty, Jenny’s at the table getting things done. She figures that they can save both of their souls if Irving wields the sword instead. You can’t claim a soul that has already been given. Katrina confirms this to Ichabod twice over — once when he asks her about the sword, and once when he catches her telling Abraham how much she cares for him.

Feeling betrayed, Ichabod asks for her opinion on Henry, and she echoes his sentiment that their son is not the target. If they kill Moloch, Henry’s soul will be released. Ichabod doesn’t seem to like his own opinion very much after he hears his wife say it. He returns to Abbie determined to do whatever is necessary to end this, even if it means sacrificing his son.

Jenny, still getting things done, brings everyone’s attention to a code at the end of Irving’s last phone message. Ichabod and Jenny track the captain to an old garrison, and he agrees to use the sword, although he’d like to see his wife and daughter first. There’s no time. Irving makes Jenny and Ichabod promise to watch out for his family if anything happens to him. This really doesn’t feel like it’s going to end well.

Sword in hand, Irving returns to the dungeon with the team. He gets Abraham to admit that Moloch is at the four trees where Abbie and Jenny first saw him. Burning the first tree brought the lightning. The second will bring blood. The third will bring Moloch’s demon army, and the fourth completes hell on earth. Jenny: “We’ve all got to weapon up.” Have I mentioned lately that Jenny deserves the world?

They track down Hawley at a bar, and it starts hailing blood, which is all the encouragement he needs to round up some powerful weapons. As Katrina restores their magic, Hawley takes over watching Abraham in the dungeon, and Abbie rejoins the team. They march toward the trees just as the third is burned. Moloch’s demon army awakens. In all of the supernatural chaos, Abbie is shot in the arm, and Jenny pulls her back to safety as Irving lets the sword do its thing.

Irving battles Henry’s Horseman of War armor and eventually destroys it, but not before War slices him in the side. Irving staggers into Ichabod’s arms, and Ichabod calms him as Katrina tries to heal him with her magic. It’s no use. Abbie only has to see their faces to know that her captain didn’t make it. They bring his body inside and promise to fight in his honor.

Abbie gets self-sacrificial again, but when Ichabod tries to argue that he should take the sword instead, she realizes that this is bigger than any one of them. They can’t just be willing to sacrifice themselves. They have to be willing to lose the ones they love. She has a plan, but she doesn’t count on Henry showing up at the church. Ichabod puts the sword to his son’s neck, but he offers one last chance. They’re only after Moloch. All Henry has to do is let them pass, and he can live. Henry gets elaborately choked up before grabbing Ichabod’s neck and leading everyone to Moloch.

Our team is tied to the four trees, with Katrina on the fourth. Moloch wants Henry to kill Katrina so the final tree will burn, but Henry protests; she was promised to Abraham. Moloch doesn’t keep promises, Henry. Ichabod cries out that they should take him instead, and Henry doesn’t seem to have a problem with that. “Any man willing to sacrifice his child should die,” he says, before abruptly spinning to face Moloch. “As should any god.” He runs Moloch through with the sword.

The Key Players

After a slow start to the second season, this midseason finale brought everything back to a grand scale, with big twists, big consequences, and big character developments, but I can’t help feeling like this show is still selling itself a little short. Katrina and Ichabod’s compassion for Henry has been their blind spot all season, and now it turns out that they were right. It’s charmingly optimistic, but it feels a little easy. We obviously don’t know how this will play out, but this show is so focused on the power of choice, and I’m hoping it doesn’t lose sight of the choices that Henry has made all along.

Irving’s free will has also been at stake this season, and it feels like there should be more to that story. I’m sad to see him go (assuming Moloch doesn’t somehow raise his soul from the dead). This episode nailed the emotional beats of Irving’s death, and it’s bold of the writers to cut down someone so beloved, but looking forward, he could have been part of a bigger story. We’ve lost a character who still had momentum and kept a few who don’t — and if this clears the way for a romance between Jenny and Hawley, I’m not into it.

The Witnesses

Ichabod and Katrina’s marriage also died this week, however unofficially. She’s been lying to Ichabod for centuries, but her affection for Abraham isn’t a lie, and that’s the last straw. The two agree that until this war is won, they’ll see each other only as soldiers. It’s a refreshingly mature end to their relationship, and I liked that they each recognized that they’d changed too much to ever go back.

This life has given Ichabod and Abbie a bond that they can’t share with anyone else. They’re willing to die to save each other, but they’re also willing to die together. Somehow, in the middle of the apocalypse, they find ways to hold on to pieces of a normal life, even if it only lasts as long as a motorcycle ride. Ichabod’s confusion at where to buckle is priceless, especially when Abbie tells him to just put his arms around her. “Of course,” he says, “but where do I buckle?” That about sums it up. They don’t have a buckle. They just have each other.

What did you think of SLEEPY HOLLOW’s mid-season finale? See you after the break!

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