I’m going to admit first off that I would very happily give Ichabod Crane driving lessons. He went from adorably naive to sassy and saucy in less than 60 seconds. (Oh yeah, I went there). But seriously, as much as I like the drama, the action and the mythos of this show, the writers definitely know how to add just the right amount of humor and levity. It doesn’t hurt that Tom Mison and Nicole Behari have fantastic chemistry and that Mison’s delivery is spot on every time.
Now, to the show! After the fun driving lessons (well placed in the plot, as we all expect Crane to learn and grow in his 21st century life, clothing choices notwithstanding) we get the case of the week set up: Mr and Mrs Lancaster — upstanding Sleepy Hollow citizens — have reported their 10 year old daughter is missing. Beth Lancaster was Abbie and Jenny Mill’s case worker after their mom was committed to the psychiatric hospital when they were young girls, so Abbie feels an obligation to help them find their daughter, Sarah.
When she and Crane search the woods near the house, they come across an old bone flute. And far be it from me to worry that Sleepy Hollow will follow the lead of Once Upon a Time and start to cross streams in mythology, but I did raise an eyebrow when it was implied it was the Pied Piper’s. Thankfully, we were saved again by solid writing and, instead, find out, through Crane’s history lesson of the day, that the Lancaster family has suffered a curse for generations: a demon mercenary is bidden to claim the bones of one Lancaster daughter when they reach the age of 10. This is thanks to a Revolutionary-era patriarch, Daniel Lancaster, who didn’t like the way a troupe of British soldiers was treating his hospitality and summoned said demon to lure the troupe outside and kill them all. Daniel reneged on his payment deal with the demon, so the demon decided to play the curse card. As demons do. I know Abbie made a point earlier in the episode of mentioning Crane’s eidetic memory, but he truly is a walking Encyclopedia of American history, isn’t he? Good thing he knew this background.
After testing the flute (yes, Crane really did just pick it up and put it to his mouth from the forest floor – ick) and discovering its Pan like properties, they proceed to use Abbie as the bait to follow the tune to its destination. Along the way, they run across the artifact dealer, Hawley, wounded in the woods. Seems he was hired to find the very same flute in their possession. Is it just me or is it hard to know exactly where TPTB want to go with Hawley? I mean, sure, if he’s the untrustworthy, self-serving ruffian they make him out to be, it will likely just get annoying through the season, but add an element of unbalance to the series (which is good). But, I’m getting the feeling that even after he protests too much about the curse and the demon mercenary, he’ll join Team Ichabbie and side with the angels, as it were. For now, he’s assisting Crane and Abbie because they promised him the flute once Sarah is rescued. They find the demon’s lair, and man what a cool demon! All preternaturally fast and blurry. He gave me the creeps! With a little demon scuffling, they rescue Sarah and give Hawley the flute. And thank goodness the writers were reading my mind, because they had Abbie break it first. I was going to be terribly annoyed if she handed over another artifact to this guy; it’s bad enough he has the coin of persuasion from the last episode. It would have really bothered me if they let him collect these items, especially since as far as they know, he’s selling them off to unscrupulous buyers. So, again, thank you to Damian Kindler for not letting us down on that.
After Sarah is rescued and brought home, Abbie and Crane not only decide to head back to take down the mercenary demon for good, but they also discover they have a ticking clock on them since the curse came with a bonus: If the Lancaster daughter can’t be taken, then ALL the children in that generation of the family will die. That’s a really well planned curse, you have to admit. But, thanks to some new-fangled tech – noise cancelling earplugs (that even glow blue!) – Abbie and Crane are armed for the fight and prevail. Although it was a little anti-climactic for them to have discovered and disposed of this demon in one episode, it does leave the door open for the show to introduce more of these mid-level, Ronin elements to the demon world and not have it specifically tie to the Moloch arc.
And not to be forgotten, poor Captain Irving finally gets wise to his predicament as Henry’s newest minion when he figures out the pen prick was more than just an irritant, and was him signing away his independence in blood. He’s still not sure what Henry has in store for him, but those visions of himself as a demon warrior can’t bode well. And how lucky are we to get even more of John Nobel’s Henry this season? When Henry tells Irving that war is but an instrument of justice, I was worried he may start to convince Irving to take him up on his offer of assistance. When a Horseman of the Apocalypse asks you what he can do for you, think hard before you answer, is all I’m saying.
Final shout out to Kindler for giving us the scene in the archives. I think from now on when I need to access a password protected site, I’m going to invoke the “log in ceremony”, too.
Sleepy Hollow airs Monday at 9/8c on FOX. Watch full episodes on FOX.com.