Thus far, Sleepy Hollow has been both a disappointment and a joy. I’m in love with the show, but half the time, I’m either unsure about what’s going on because the episode in question is more chaotic than ordered, as it were. Or I think the episode is complete filler and has nothing to do with the greater narrative. Thankfully, “The Midnight Ride” falls into the former category—it’s not filler, but it’s still really confusing. And hey, I might be a little unsure about what’s happening, but at least I can sit back and enjoy watching Ichabod attempt to use the internet for the first time.
Our episode begins with Ichabod going back to see the Freemasons from the last episode because they have valuable information about the Headless Horseman that they wish to share with him. Unfortunately, when Ichabod and Abbie arrive, they discover that the Horseman has beheaded all of the Freemasons and stolen their heads.
Immediately, Ichabod believes that the Headless Horseman went there looking for his own head, but he soon concludes otherwise. It turns out that the Freemasons knew about a weakness of the Horseman that the Horseman doesn’t want getting out. Additionally, now that Ichabod and the Horseman are no longer connected to each other, the Horseman is going on a rampage to find his head and Ichabod no longer has the protection that he did before. Ichabod and Abbie decide that in order to prevent the Horseman from ever finding his head, they need to destroy said head.
Captain Irving is the only one who can get custody of the head back for them, something that he is reluctant to do, both because he still doesn’t believe that there’s actually a Headless Horseman running around Sleepy Hollow, and because the head is evidence. However, Ichabod manages to convince Irving to get it for them, and Irving goes off to the lab it’s currently stored in. Once there, the Headless Horseman shows up, and he and Irving end up in a shootout. Irving manages to escape with the head and now firmly believes in everything Abbie and Ichabod have been telling him, despite wishing that none of it had been true.
Ichabod and Abbie set out to destroy the head, but discover that it’s seemingly indestructible. They can’t crush it and they can’t blow it up. Along the way, the two of them come across the missing heads of the Freemasons, which the Horseman has hollowed out, put candles inside, and hung up for them to find. It was probably the creepiest part of the episode. Since our protagonists have the Horseman’s head, the Horseman is retaliating by using the heads of his victims to bait them.
As the episode progresses, the two learn from Andy, who, despite working for the Horseman, still wants to keep Abbie safe, that they can’t kill the Horseman—but they can trap him. Sunlight is the Horseman’s only weakness, but he only comes out at night. Thankfully, in the 21st century, UV light exists. So together with Irving, Ichabod and Abbie set a trap for the Horseman in the tunnels, actually succeed, and the episode ends with the Horseman in their custody.
As I said, it was an enjoyable episode, and Ichabod’s character is starting to grow on me again, if only because of his reactions to what happened around him this episode. He grieved over finding the Freemasons dead, and he’s also shown a little bit more emotion regarding what’s happened to his wife in the past few episodes as well. I would still like a lot more from him, especially in terms of character flaws, but I’ve been a little happier with him recently.
Unfortunately, this episode raised some questions, and I’m concerned that by making the Horseman’s skull indestructible—something it has to be, or the show would have ended this episode—creates a bit of a plot hole, for me at least. If the Horseman’s bone structure is so strong that beating his skull with a mallet will break the mallet before it even dents the skull, in the first episode, how did Ichabod even manage to get a sword through the Horseman’s neck? I know this is kind of a minor issue, considering everything else that’s going on, but this kind of thing really bothers me.
And here’s another thing that bothers me: Ichabod’s connection with the Horseman. Now that it’s broken, the Horseman can kill Ichabod without any consequences to itself. Before, if Ichabod had died, the Horseman would have as well. And though Ichabod is almost killed this episode during a chase with the Horseman, I have trouble believing that he’s suddenly in more danger than he was before. In the first episode, the Horseman clearly throws an axe at him. Additionally, much like Saika, I’m a little confused as to why the Freemasons didn’t just kill Ichabod themselves before the connection broke. The entire Apocalypse should have been averted by now. And here’s yet another question that wasn’t explained: how did the Horseman know where the police had stored his head? Shouldn’t he have gone there beforehand, instead of just conveniently showing up when Irving did? As much as I like that Irving now completely believes in what is going on, the whole shootout just seemed to happen because the plot demanded it.
On a more positive note, it was a little nice to see Andy again this episode, though everything’s been so confusing that I nearly forgot that neither Abbie nor Ichabod knew he’d been resurrected. Or even how no one has managed to notice that his body is still missing from the morgue. All things considered, our characters seem to take it pretty well. I still find Andy really creepy, especially when he assaulted Luke after seeing him try to rekindle his friendship with Abbie. I feel as if this episode tried to make him more sympathetic than other episodes, by having Andy betray the Horseman for Abbie and aggressively warn Luke away because “only [Andy] can protect her.” However, I don’t really sympathize with Andy’s character at all, since he’s pretty much a supernatural stalker with an obsession for Abbie. I do hope to see more of him in the future, since his role in the Apocalypse has been rather minimal thus far.
On another good note, we learn more about Irving this time around. Unfortunately, we don’t really learn why he’s been so keen on helping Abbie and Ichabod before having undeniable proof of the Horseman’s existence, but we did spend a good bit of time with him this episode. I think my favorite part of the episode was when Irving was helping Ichabod and Abbie set up the trap for the Horseman, and the three of them spent the time bantering about Thomas Jefferson and his romantic relationship with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings. This was a really great moment to show on TV, as it addressed the past injustices that people faced. I also really liked this scene, because it showed Ichabod to be in the wrong about something. Ichabod’s point of view is that Thomas Jefferson was a perfect person, when in actuality he was a hypocrite and a slave owner. Despite claiming that all men are equal, Thomas Jefferson still owned slaves, and he apparently used to plagiarize.
All in all, I think this episode was a bit of an improvement, but the show still has a long ways to go to tie up all the loose plot threads it has left hanging. Next week we’re going to see Ichabod attempt to interrogate the Horseman. Until then.