SLEEPY HOLLOW Recap: 'Spellcaster' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

SLEEPY HOLLOW Recap: ‘Spellcaster’

February 2, 2015 by  


SLEEPY HOLLOW has spent a lot of time making excuses this season. Katrina lies, Irving is locked in a blood contract, and Henry has daddy issues, but it’s complicated, right? Not anymore. The push for redemption is over, everyone is embracing the darkness, and for the second week in a row, it feels like we’re moving in the right direction.

The War

Because all mystical objects must inevitably wind up in present-day Sleepy Hollow, a local auction house has just come into possession of the journal of John Dee, Queen Elizabeth’s most trusted adviser. Dee was also a sorcerer, and his journal is actually a grimoire, or book of spells. A man in a dramatic hat shows up at the auction house, boils the blood of the innocent (the two other people in the room), and want-take-has the grimoire for his very own.

Across town, Ichabod want-take-has some mini muffins from an unsuspecting realtor. He’s looking for a house, and he needs Abbie’s expertise. Abbie reminds him that buying a house requires income and proper identification, and anyway, they should just move in together. That last part is subtext. She’s actually here to bring him up to speed on the auction house. Ichabod recognizes a photo of the grimoire and clarifies that while the spells within are powerful, Dee was not a practitioner of dark magic. He was just trying to contain the evil so no one could access it. People really need to stop doing that.

Abbie and Ichabod call on resident magic expert Katrina, who is finally regaining the powers that were sapped in purgatory — and with the current position of the moon, her abilities are really at their peak: she can make flowers float now. They pull security footage and reconstruct the killer’s face, which Katrina recognizes. The killer is a man named Solomon Kent, and he’s responsible for the Salem witch trials.

Kent was a beloved leader and Puritan minister in Salem. He was also a warlock in an underground coven, along with Katrina’s grandmother, Helena Van Tassel. Kent became infatuated with a woman named Sarah Osborne, but Osborne didn’t love him back, and when she rebuffed his advances, he “accidentally” stabbed her. To cover it up, he made her look like the devil, spreading the word that there were witches among them. Helena confronted him about it, so he framed her too. She was hanged in public.

The Van Tussels left town that night, but Kent’s coven eventually managed to track him down and bind him to purgatory. Not to lock down this show’s concept of the afterlife, but it’s beginning to look like the most dangerous people are all sent to purgatory, because they’re too powerful to be trapped anywhere else. That’s comforting. Moloch’s death obviously freed him, and he’s after something in the grimoire. Abbie and Ichabod suspect that he’s looking for a resurrection spell to bring Sarah back from the dead.

When Katrina tries to track the spell book, she realizes that the it’s been split in two. It won’t work until it’s made whole again. They find the other half in a warehouse, but Kent finds it first. He reassembles the grimoire, slits his wrists, and raises two demons from his blood. While Abbie and Ichabod take care of the minions, Kent turns his attention to Katrina. She’s a powerful witch, he says, but she’s doing it all wrong. Her true potential — her true self — lies in darkness. It’s like he’s talking to the writers.

Katrina’s eyes go white for a second as she gives in to her impulses. Kent takes off and she pulls herself together, but she won’t help Abbie and Ichabod chase down the grimoire, claiming that her powers are sapped from the battle. That’s fine by our Witnesses. Magic might be off the table, but they’re still cops. They still have normal investigative avenues to follow. They can still check the 911 call log for signs of zombies. There’s been no word from the undead all night, which suggests that the resurrection spell was never Kent’s intent. He’s not looking to raise Sarah from the dead. He’s trying to go back in time to be with her, which could rewrite the world as we know it.

Abbie calls Frank, because they need backup and she’s tired of not trusting him. Ichabod is hesitant, but he doesn’t question her; he just formulates a plan to take Kent down with science. They know that Kent ingests jimson weed to enhance the power of his spells, so Frank shoots him with a chemical to counteract the effects. Abbie shocks Kent with an electric charge, and Ichabod punches his face. A lot. He admits that he is shaken by what Kent represents: the idea “that a person could so easily betray the people who trust and rely on him most.” On some level, Ichabod knows what’s coming.

The Key Players

When Abbie and Ichabod aren’t looking, Frank takes the grimoire from Kent and snaps his neck, dissolving his body and destroying the evidence. It’s official: his soul belongs to Henry, and he knows it. I feel like it’s finally time to mourn the Frank we knew. The first half of the season didn’t do as much with his struggle as I would have liked, and now he has no internal struggle. That honor goes to Katrina, who is just now catching on to the fact that she’s the villain. I’d probably prefer to see Frank go to war with himself while Katrina pulls a swift betrayal, just to avoid spending any more time with Katrina’s feelings than we have to. That being said, this is still the most promising plot Katrina’s seen in a long time. We have a clear sense of direction again, and I’ll take it.

Maybe the most appealing aspect of this episode is that it manages to move three characters into the darkness in three completely distinct ways. Frank is made evil by of forces outside himself, Katrina chooses to embrace the evil forces inside herself, and Henry just chooses to be himself for the first time. Holed up in a motel room, he bonds with the owner’s son, Ronnie. When Ronnie is threatened by other guests, Henry strikes back in the boy’s defense, using his powers to kill them all.

In the woods, Henry tells Frank that he’s done being “defined by anyone else.” He isn’t the Horseman anymore, and he won’t follow Moloch’s will. He makes the rules. Does this mean that he might use evil methods toward slightly more human ends, as he did at the motel? It’s not clear yet. Even Henry isn’t sure what it looks like to define himself. My only hope is that it involves a lot of sweaters, retirement hobbies, and cheerful greetings to directionless youths. (“Good morning gentlemen! I know you’re all very busy destroying your lives day after rich day.”) I’ve never liked him more.

The Witnesses

It looks like all Abbie and Ichabod needed was a good round of karaoke. They’re back in business this week, exploring open houses like a married couple and baring their souls in a dangerous warehouse. Abbie tells Ichabod that he reminds her of Kent in some ways; they’re “both men out of time, unwilling to give up on the women [they] love.” The difference is that Ichabod knows how to channel his regrets toward good. She’s right, and I think she’s part of the reason why.

Abbie and Ichabod refuse to let each other lose perspective. She gives him something to fight for in this time period, and when when he yells that Kent doesn’t belong here, it’s clearer than ever that Ichabod does. He returns the favor by reminding her that the only way to keep going is to remember what they stand for: “Love. Family. A life.” He gets all of that fighting by her side. Abbie is Ichabod’s top priority again, which is why he’d rather keep Katrina out of it when they go for drinks. He knows who really keeps him from the darkness.

What did you think of this week’s episode?

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Filed under Sleepy Hollow


6 Responses to “SLEEPY HOLLOW Recap: ‘Spellcaster’”

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