‘Sleepy Hollow’ Season 2 Episode 17 Recap: “Awakening”

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This week: a bell rings, turning people into demons; we find out that Ichabod cracked the Liberty Bell; Katrina is obsessed with Parrish and is no longer a complete pushover; Parrish starts dressing like David Lynch; and a giant twist that hints the show may have gotten its elusive first season groove back.

The episode doesn’t start too promisingly because it starts, as always, with Abbie and Ichabod palling around in a bookstore, making jokes about time travelers and generally being buddies until a disturbance in the town springs them into action.

This time, it’s a big bell in the Town Square that starts ringing and transforming people into white-pupiled demons who have temporary witch powers, such as talking with a super-deep voice or throwing angry drivers into electrified pickup trucks. The spell fades pretty quickly, though, and the townspeople return to normal. Unsurprisingly, we see that Parrish is responsible. He was unable to perform the spell completely effectively because he isn’t a full-blooded witch, so he convinces Katrina to do it for him. “This is why I saved you from Moloch, to save us both,” he says, which is for sure true — true enough to get Katrina to betray mere mortal Ichabod.

Abbie and Ichabod, after determining that the tolling of the bell had been responsible for triggering demonic abilities in several other bad guys, investigate the bell, and we find out that it was cast in the same mold as the Liberty Bell. Of course, because this is Sleepy Hollow, we find out that Ichabod created the famous crack in the Liberty Bell.

Eventually, Frank Irving had to enter the picture. He chases down Ichabod, Abbie, and Jenny after they’ve stolen the bell from the Town Square, taking it to some abandoned building in order to blow it up. Jenny shoots him in the chest a few times, but he doesn’t die because he’s demonic. Frank and Irving run off. Parrish and Katrina come upon Ichabod and Abbie, and Katrina stands strong as Parrish’s mother and ally. She’s enthralled with the idea of converting the world to a coven of witches. She shoots a ball of blue at Ichabod and Abbie and uses really awfully animated CGI bricks to trap them in an abandoned building.

Later, Katrina and Parrish share a moment. “You’ve given me back my soul,” Katrina says as she affectionately strokes Parrish’s cheeks just before being confronted by a gun-toting Ichabod. Father and son shout a bunch of stuff at one another. Ichabod fires at Parrish, but Parrish uses magic to stop the bullet. Distracted, Abbie floors an SUV toward him from behind, but Katrina shoots a fireball at it, causing the thing to burst into flames. Abbie is a total boss, though, and somehow escapes, running back to where the bell was stashed in order to light an explosive and bust it.

Katrina and Parrish discover her there, and tie her and Ichabod to a stake. The two Witnesses hatch a plan, use guns hidden on their persons and split Parrish’s concentration: Ichabod shoots toward the bell, and Parrish freezes the bullet. Abbie shoots Parrish, and he dies.

This releases Irving from his spell, and he and Jenny have a nice hug. Which is very touching, but annoying because Irving has been such an extremely played is-he-or-isn’t-he villain this season, nearly impossible to care about. But that doesn’t matter, because an enraged Katrina creates a time spell-slash-tornado and disappears — but not before Abbie chases after her.

After a commercial, we open on Abbie face down in the forest. An odd orchestral version of “Sympathy for the Devil” starts playing, and as Abbie comes to, we realize that she’s been taken back to Revolutionary War-era Sleepy Hollow. Lest we forget: Abbie, unlike Ichabod, is a black woman. For her to go back to this time isn’t the funny, charming fish out of water story of Ichabod in the future. No, Abbie back in time is in real danger of persecution, and it doesn’t take long for her to get arrested.

It’s a plot contrivance that is sure to make for an interesting finale next week. It could maybe even make for an interesting third season, but the show still hasn’t been renewed for next year. That said, if this last hour is handled correctly, the whole conflict of the show could be resolved by changing certain things in the past. That could lead to some tricky time-travel math, but, whatever: the Sleepy Hollow team pulled it off with Fringe, so they could surely pull off something. The point is, for the first time since the first season, Sleepy Hollow has left us with a cliffhanger that could have real influences on the world of the show. And it feels good to be rooting for Ichabod and co. again.