SLEEPY HOLLOW Recap: 'What Lies Beneath' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

SLEEPY HOLLOW Recap: ‘What Lies Beneath’

February 10, 2015 by  

Tonight’s SLEEPY HOLLOW goes out to anyone who ever loved Frank Irving and everyone who never knew they needed a hologram founding father — so it’s for all of us, really. There might be some logical holes in this one, but it brings the heart and insanity that define this show, and just in time.

The War

When a survey team goes missing in the underground tunnels of Sleepy Hollow, Sheriff Reyes calls Abbie and Ichabod to help with the search. It’s a good thing that she trusts them to get results, because they’re literally the only people on the force who could ever solve this case. There’s a whole wing of tunnels that only Abbie and Ichabod know about. Being a Witness sometimes means keeping secrets that put others’ lives at risk.

Calvin Riggs — war correspondent, Pulitzer Prize winner, probably smells great — would like to change that. In addition to being the suave older brother of Daniel, one of the surveyors, Calvin is persistently curious and difficult to fool. He doesn’t buy the party line; he knows that mysterious things happen in Sleepy Hollow, and he doesn’t want his brother to be one of them. Abbie promises to keep him in the loop.

Using their own map, she and Ichabod search the tunnels until they find the hatch. One of the men lost his phone, and, naturally, he left behind a video, so Abbie and Ichabod now have a quick look at the creature that pulled the men down. It turns out to be one of many. Abbie and Ichabod barely have a chance to get away, and even then, they need an assist from the flash on Calvin’s camera. Nosy journalism saved lives today. In order to control how much information gets out, Abbie agrees to give Calvin limited access to the investigation, which basically just means telling him to wait right here. She even takes his phone. Abbie is great at negotiation.

Alone in the archives, she and Ichabod debrief. The chamber is what’s called a fenestella, and it was designed by Thomas Jefferson to safeguard the patriots’ most vital secrets. The markings on the hatch make reference to reavers, Washington’s secret forces, so it seems the creatures are sentries who’ve learned to adapt. Ichabod can adapt too. He pours powder on the flash of Calvin’s camera, shushes the reporter’s protests, and lights it up, sending a whole crowd of reavers into the shadows.

That buys Abbie and Ichabod just enough time to go below, where a door swings open into what might as well be a secret American history museum — complete with a sentient hologram of Thomas Jefferson. This show is really beautiful when it’s lost its mind. Hologram Jefferson even brags about outliving John Adams, because that’s actually what the two of them worried about on their deathbeds. What is real history anymore? It’s so hard to tell sometimes.

Ichabod and Jefferson know each other well; the two were close until the future president inexplicably cut Ichabod out of his life. (“Jefferson unfriended me.”) As it turns out, Jefferson knew that Ichabod was a Witness, and he built this fenestella just for him. When Ichabod found a blueprint of the project, Jefferson blocked him out entirely to avoid revealing anything. He had to wait for the second Witness, even if that took centuries. To guard the chamber, Jefferson built a cube to harness supernatural energy, and the witches of Katrina’s coven enchanted it to hold his likeness.

Now that Abbie is here, Jefferson can finally reveal the truth — every truth. The fenestella contains countless volumes of research. All of the answers to Abbie and Ichabod’s questions about their mission are in here. Jefferson even knows why they were chosen. There’s just one problem: the survey team is still trapped. Abbie finds the missing men on her own, because “Mills sister goes solo” is the only way anything gets done around here, but if they have to fight their way past the reavers, they could destroy the power source, taking the whole fenestella with it.

Abbie and Ichabod know the cost, but there’s really no question. They have to help the victims. After shutting the vault door behind them, Abbie carries on to find medical attention, and Ichabod returns to the fenestella to blow it up for good. As far as he’s concerned, this isn’t the same world anymore. There’s a whole town above the vault, and if three men could find it, more will come.

Ichabod has a point, but given how many magical weapons are in this town, couldn’t they at least try for a different solution? Couldn’t they even grab one book? This is like losing the Library of Alexandria all over again, if the Library of Alexandria had hologram founding fathers. Maybe it did. We don’t know. We lost it. Jefferson shrugs off his holographic death (Where do holograms go when they die? Will he rejoin the real Jefferson? Why does this matter so much to me?) and encourages Ichabod to keep fighting. Of course he will.

Above ground, Abbie and Calvin confirm the official story: an animal attack and a gas leak. Calvin knows better, but Abbie won’t give him any details. She trusts him and believes that he’s doing good work for the right reasons, but she still calls the shots. As long as there are more threats ahead of her, Abbie isn’t talking to the press. Calvin agrees to play by her rules, then emails her a photo of her own face. I mean, sure. That’s not weird. He tells her that he doesn’t reveal his sources, which makes me worry that his source is some kind of demon. It’s always the hot ones.

The Key Players

In all of the shakeup last week, I didn’t get the chance to properly mourn the end of Frank and Jenny, who had so much chemistry but never had their day in the sun. And now Frank is evil forever, unless he’s not. Frank asks Jenny to help him break into the police station; he says they still have his wedding ring, but he’s actually after a flash drive and journal belonging to the Hellfire Club. Jenny goes along with the plan, but only to see what he does. You can’t fool Jenny Mills.

The twist, as Frank would have us believe it, is this: his conscience is back. In order to fool Katrina’s test, the new, evil Frank found a rune designed to hide curses, but it worked too well. When he pressed it against his palm, he felt human again. Now, “our” Frank is out to do one last bit of good before he disappears forever. The ledger details wire transfers to the Hellfire Club, and the flash drive contains account numbers for offshore banks. Frank’s last act is to take care of his family financially. He begs Jenny to help. (“You’re the only one who understands.”) I’m not over their relationship.

If this is a final goodbye to the Frank we knew, I’m glad we got it. Anything else would have felt too abrupt. If it’s meant to indicate that Frank can be redeemed, that’s a little trickier. As a character, I wouldn’t mind seeing Frank saved someday, but he’s a casualty of a season that took too long to make up its mind. Now, any redemption story for anyone risks seeming repetitive. What this show needs now is to treat its villains like villains.

Like Katrina. Thankfully, we don’t seem to be wasting much time on her inner turmoil. She’s already dreaming about teaming up with Henry — unless he really did show up at her cabin to watch her sleep and then get inside her head to make her think it was a dream. I wouldn’t be surprised. In any case, she’s got a rose, and she’s seen THE BACHELOR. Who’s her first target?

The Witnesses

Abbie and Ichabod continue to flirt their way around town and share heart-to-heart talks on old warships, as you do. Abbie’s feeling directionless, but Ichabod wants her to have faith in their process, which is how they’re both able to blow up the fenestella. They’re taking this one step at a time, focusing on tangible victories. It’s possible that they’re also afraid to know their future; the more they know, the less they have to lean on each other.

Abbie and Ichabod both like to leap without looking, sure of nothing but the fact that they’re doing it for the right reasons. They lean on their values. Ichabod looks at Abbie with so much pride when she insists that two actual lives are better than 100 theoretical lives and a room full of research. If we hadn’t lost hologram Jefferson (RIP), I’d be tempted to think that the whole experience was a test, meant to ensure that the Witnesses were willing to sacrifice their comfort for the greater good. Blowing up the fenestella was so rash that it really only made sense as a symbolic gesture. It’s like Abbie and Ichabod got carried away by how great it is that their priorities are in order, and they didn’t stop to think through the possibility that they might not have to choose.

Then again, there are worse flaws.

What did  you think of this episode?

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