Progress, folks. This is what Sleepy Hollow can be when it’s working at its best: easy humor, sword fighting, and actual plot developments. And Lt. Mills being a badass in a leather cap and jacket reminiscent of Rhythm Nation.
It’s getting kind of tiresome to slog through all of the developments that Sleepy Hollow breaks through before getting to the meat of an episode, so here goes: Katrina speaks to Ichabod through a mirror, telling him that Moloch is growing, is preparing to sound some alert to gather his minions, and needs to be killed by a specific sword. This leads to Parrish spying on Ichabod and Lt. Mills through that same mirror, which leads to Parrish discovering — as they do — Enoch’s Sword, which leads to the sword of Methuselah that can kill Moloch, which leads to discovering that the “X” of the tongue of Ben Franklin’s “Join or Die” political cartoon marks the spot of the swords, which leads to a dream from last week’s episode, which leads to Lt. Mills and Ichabod finding some ruins at the end of a river, which leads to a run-in with the Headless Horseman (cut short because of sunlight), which leads to the realization that Ichabod owes Abraham for his very identity, which leads to the ultimate thrust of this episode: a brief kind of history of Ichabod — just as last week’s episode was a brief history of the Mills family.
Whew. It’s amazing how, week-to-week, each episode starts off with this kind of scattershot advancement until, finally, the whole thing coalesces with one ultimate goal. It’s an exhausting, exhausted formula but you’ve got to admit they do it well.
The gist of what we learn is this: Ichabod was brought to America by Abraham, who inspired him to “quit his professorship in order to make history rather than teach it.” The episode is peppered with flashbacks of their relationship back in England, but they don’t uncover much in the way of new information. It’s mostly just him and Abraham being bros until they hate each other because they both love Katrina.
Back at the “X” of the snake’s tongue, Lt. Mills and Ichabod stumble into a hidden Knights Templar lair. Where, yeah, there’s a Gorgon, which is the same thing as Medusa. Down there, as well, are figures from history, turned to stone by a Gorgon, one of whom is an ancestor to Lt. Mills.
After getting scared shitless and regrouping for some quick thinking, Lt. Mills and Ichabod decide to trick Abraham — who, duh, has no eyes and so can’t be turned to stone — into aiding them in destroying the Gorgon. They don’t have to do much, as he comes galloping into the place once night falls and he’s able to travel without sizzling.
Cut to Ichabod viewing the fight through his iPhone. Lt. Mills cracks, “Don’t tell me you’re trying to take a selfie with a Gorgon.” Lt. Mills reaches the interior of the temple, whose centerpiece is a deep well surrounded by various swords, any one of which could be the sword of Methuselah. Outside, Abraham kills the Gorgon, and confronts Ichabod. They have a duel, I guess. They yell at each other throughout, yelling about destiny and friendship and Katrina and heroes and villains. There are lots of whooshy sound effects as they swing axes and swords. It was a nice bit of swordplay, but kind of pointless. (Can Abraham even be killed at this point? And why can’t the Horsemen live in sunlight? The mythology has gotten so convoluted, I can’t even be sure.)
Meanwhile, in the depths of the lair, Lt. Mills, in her Rhythm Nation getup, attempts to pull a sword from the stone, and it turns into a snake! Abraham and Ichabod burst in, and there’s more angry screaming about how much Abraham hates Ichabod, and how he’s gonna steal his girl.
Abraham is called away by Moloch, who blows a horn to gather his forces — which is essentially the Horsemen of Death and War, as well as Parrish. (Again, we were lead to believe that the Horseman of War was controlled by Parrish, who was normally incapacitated while controlling it. Now they seem to be separate entities?) This gives Ichabod and Lt. Mills some alone time to discover that there is a sword, but it’s at the bottom of the well in the center of the room. It’s filled with oil, and the secret is that it takes teamwork to set it on fire and reveal the sword! Magic, folks. Ichabod pulls the sword from the well, its hilt glowing a majestic blue, and it’s kind of a nice moment, and one that concludes the episode.
There was progress with Irving and Reyes, too, but not much: Jenny was driving Irving toward the Canadian border, as Reyes set up checkpoints along highways and backroads. Irving bailed out of the car and ran, abandoning Jenny and telling her that he couldn’t get into hiding, hoping to create a “better world.”
So, the battle lines are drawn, and it seems that the upcoming episode, if it doesn’t get derailed by some errant mythological monster, will bring some of the show’s core conflicts to a close. One can only hope, because some new overarching storylines would be nice. Who knows what that could be, but maybe all of Sleepy Hollow could be overtaken by Moloch, forcing Lt. Mills and Ichabod to go underground and fight from there? Maybe that’s a little Fringe-like, but it could free the show up to have these contained storylines it’s been favoring, and it would be serving the overall mission of the characters rather than distracting from it. And that’s where the show has gone wrong this season: few of the conflicts viewers are invested in have been addressed. If the episode’s title is any indication, this is a sign of things to come. It may very well not be, but let’s hope it is.