After a few episodes of relative tidiness, this week returns with a story made up of scattershot points and contrivances — including the tried-and-true Rosemary’s Baby-esque plot — with little to show for it, other than the return of Sheriff Reyes. But that doesn’t even happen until the very end.
“Deliverance” opens right where the last episode ended, with Katrina dreaming that she chokes on a spider that dream-Ichabod coughs up into her mouth. She wakes up sick, and, like a true meant-to-be-married couple, fights with Abraham (Headless Horseman), accusing him of poisoning her. He insists that he has nothing to do with her sudden illness. We, the viewers, know this, but it’s not until Parrish and his innocuous henchmen show up and declare that, yes, Moloch has new plans for Katrina, that the characters become aware of how much Parrish despises his mother. Abraham, as the Headless Horseman, attacks the henchmen, and Katrina makes for the hills, only to pass out and get picked up by the police. (Interesting observation: Did we know, before now, that the Horseman was damaged by sunlight? Is he a vampire? I hope!)
The police inform Crane and Lt. Mills that a woman in colonial dress has been taken to the hospital. Crane and Lt. Mills, up to now, have done little other than vote in the Midterms — how timely! — where Crane made Crane (i.e. dad) jokes about American Idol-atry and the 41% voting rate in America. (Forty-one percent of us vote? In midterms? How surprisingly high.) Sheriff Reyes makes a background appearance here, but to what seems to be no great consequence.
Crane and Lt. Mills go to the hospital, break Katrina out of there, and then, thanks to Crane’s unfailingly encyclopedic knowledge of all things supernatural, discover that this whole thing has its origins the Hellfire Club, a British secret society of scientists. Ah, so that’s who all those henchmen with Parrish were.
Lt. Mills tracks the Hellfire Club henchmen to a Brightly Lit Sci-Fi Warehouse full of evil trinkets, which she photographs (with her nifty iPhone). She finds a cadaver with cardiovascular infections that match, visibly, Katrina’s. This leads to the discovery that Katrina is not ill: She’s pregnant. With a demon, the Horrid King! Also known as Moloch! There’s a very convoluted backstory attached to this whole thing, but the key is that the Aurora Borealis has healing powers, and Benjamin Franklin loves it.
As Crane and Co. are talking about all of this, Parrish’s henchmen somehow infiltrate the archives and chase the three of ’em through the tunnels, all the way to the Church of St. Henry, the inspiration for Parrish’s new, evil-person name. While there, Crane and Katrina argue about whether Parrish can be saved. They ultimately come to the conclusion that Henry, the Horseman of War, could be won for good. Lt. Mills points out that this dude is serving Moloch, and has done some pretty terrible shit, but Katrina and Crane are delusional parents, and they’ve got their sights set on fixing him.
Crane meets with Parrish at Tarrytown, thanks to Captain Irving, who exists only as a plot contrivance. At first, it seems like Crane’s appeals to Parrish’s humanity will crack him, but, in the end, hedoesn’t really manage to appeal to Parrish’s love for his mother, even in using the word chicanery. Crane, in an attempt to force Parrish to see the true depth of his paternal suffering, grabs Parrish’s hand. Except, he sees a vague scene from Parrish’s past(a young boy running from something ambiguous), perhaps gaining an entry into his otherwise impenetrable psyche.
Crane returns to the archives, and Katrina is closer still to giving an explosive birth to a horned demon. They need an army, according to Crane, and Lt. Mills remembers something: She works for the police department, which in itself is a kind of army! Eventually, they see no option other than to turn to the prickly Sheriff Reyes and try to get her to enlist the Sleepy Hollow P.D. in support of their supernatural cause, though she has no idea of the supernatural elements at the core of this whole thing. Bearing photos of the Hellfire Club’s warehouse, Lt. Mills and Crane convince the skeptical Reyes that, at the very least, the corpse and illegal firearms are worth checking out. The siege turns out well: Lt. Mills and Crane retrieve a tablet containing a crucial jewel, and Reyes is turned to the side of the Colonial Crime Stoppers, finally seeing what Sheriff Corbin saw in Lt. Mills all along.
Mills and Crane run to St. Henry’s, where Katrina is in the throes of demonic pregnancy, heaving and hawing as baby Moloch attempts to claw his way out of her. In the most epic scene of the series — the music, lighting, etc. — is straight from the climax of a horror flick — Crane holds the jewel up to sunlight and as it passes through the jewel’s body it transforms, somehow, to the Aurora Borealis. This magical ray of light sucks the spirit of Moloch straight out of Katrina’s womb, leaving us, again, at the clean end of an episode of Sleepy Hollow, a trend that continues to annoy but doesn’t derail the show.
A few pieces have been moved in a few small ways. We’ve got Katrina with the Colonial Crime Stoppers, we’ve got, in the childhood memory accidentally revealed to Crane, a potential lead in dealing with Parrish, we’ve got Abraham/Headless Horseman perhaps decided to devote himself to Katrina rather than Moloch. A changing of the tides is maybe in order, but who knows. Chances are, next week will ignore everybody but Hawley and these other secondary storylines, which are just now gaining momentum, will once again be put on the back burner. At this point, it’s difficult to be mad at the show for treating its secondary characters as it does, because the show is still wildly entertaining.
However, it has been hewing too closely to the patterns of a police procedural. Which, to a point, is understandable. At the end of the day, this show is just a supernatural police procedural. But, due to the ephemeral, “spiritual” nature of most of the crimes/villains, the resolution of each episode’s individual plot is mostly unsatisfying, as few real changes occur on the show. Very little progress has been made in the past few weeks, and it feels odd to complain about that when shows like Law and Order basically have zero character development. But, the difference is that Sleepy Hollow began as something more than this, and it was clear that its episodes were serving to move the story further along. I suppose that, when it was revealed that Crane and Lt. Mills are witness to a “seven year war,” the idea of frequent significant plot advancements went out the window. But, that shouldn’t mean complete stagnation — or, maybe more accurately, very nearly complete stagnation, which is what, in these seven episodes, we’ve been given.