Sleepy Hollow: “Necromancer” Review

hollow1Sleepy Hollow’s last episode ended with Abbie, Ichabod, and Irving taking the Horseman into custody in a secret underground cell. I was not expecting that, since the Horseman is supposedly one of the big bads of the series. So I was really looking forward to this episode.

Spoilers after the jump!

Sleepy Hollow Headless Horseman chainsWe pick up right where the last episode left off, with the Horseman in a heck of a lot of chains, surrounded by UV light and a hex spell. Abbie and Ichabod want to interrogate the Horseman and figure out what he knows about the oncoming forces of darkness, but well, the Horseman doesn’t have a head, so how can they talk to him? Fortunately, they remember Andy Brooks, who they know spoke to him in the last episode. Upon finding the “unhappily resurrected” Andy, Ichabod figures out that he’s the Horseman’s necromancer—a person who can speak for the dead. Andy says he’ll speak to the Horseman for them, but he warns them that he’s sold his soul to Moloch and thus his body is not exactly his own to control.

Meanwhile, Abbie’s asked Irving to get Jenny and bring her into the team. Irving is not okay with this plan, given that Jenny just got out of a psychiatric hospital, but he collects her anyway. At the Sleepy Hollow police station, he gets a call about a store which has just been broken into, and Jenny tags along, claiming that she’s done some work with the store owner, Adams, before. Irving thinks it’s a simple robbery, but Jenny leads him into a hidden back room, where Adams, who’s been shot, tells them that some German speaking guys have stolen the Thracian Phiale, which can break through the hex spell around the Horseman. Jenny and Irving rightly deduce from all this that the Hessians are going to try and break the Horseman out of his prison. They rush to the Sleepy Hollow power plant, but are unable to stop the Hessians from blowing it up and shutting down all the power in the city—including the UV lights in the Horseman’s cell.

They made a pretty badass team, though.

They made a pretty badass team, though.

Back in the cell, the Horseman possesses Andy and literally uses Andy’s voice to taunt Ichabod with Katrina’s necklace. The necklace, apparently, was a gift to Katrina from Abraham von Brunt, Ichabod’s never-before-mentioned best friend. Katrina was engaged to Abraham, but she broke off her engagement because she was in love with Ichabod instead. Ichabod picks a pretty poor place to tell Abraham this—while the two of them are on a secret mission in the woods—and the fighting which ensues alert the British forces to their presence. Ichabod flees, but Abraham, who is mortally wounded, is turned into… the Horseman.

Katrina, last episode.

Katrina, last episode.

What the fuck? The Horseman is supposed to be Death himself, not some 200-year-old whiner who couldn’t get over the fact that all his money couldn’t buy him a girlfriend. And we learned in “The Sin Eater” that Katrina was a humble Quaker secretly fighting in the Revolutionary War along with her coven of witches—how is she suddenly a high class lady? Did Abraham buy her entire wardrobe as well as that necklace? Could Quakers of that time even marry outside their faith? How does George Washington feel about being replaced as Ichabod’s bestie? I mean, what the fuck?

Anyway, Abbie, Jenny, and Irving leave to defend Ichabod and the Horseman against the Hessians, but the Hessians somehow send the Thracian Phiale through Andy’s body, which is horrifying, and break the hex spell around the Horseman. The Horseman is about to kill Ichabod, when Andy shouts at him that Moloch wouldn’t want Ichabod dead and he and the Horseman disappear.

Katrina, this episode.

Katrina, this episode.

We learn a lot about Ichabod’s backstory in this episode, which is something we’ve been pulling for all along, but now that we’ve got it, I sort of wish they’d left well enough alone. I mean, this backstory makes no sense, if you think about it in context with the other bits of backstory we already know about Ichabod. And Ichabod’s relationship with Abraham doesn’t really paint him in the best light; he chooses to tell Abraham some really sensitive information in the middle of a covert mission, he loses a duel to him, he leaves his dying best friend to the mercy of the enemy—yeah, Ichabod shouldn’t be a perfect character, but he’s also not stupid and he’s not a complete dickhead.

He did, however, bring up some differences in 18th-century gender roles and 21st century gender roles, which really goes to show that he has absorbed some of the 21st century norms. He tells Abbie that women were afforded meager rights in his time, even if he does later tell Abbie that he violated his friend’s honor by getting together with Katrina. (Abbie tells him that’s 18th century rubbish, which is why Abbie is queen of my heart.)

As for her part, Katrina tells Ichabod that she was breaking off the engagement for herself, not because she loved Ichabod—she’s on a new continent and doesn’t want to be bound by England’s traditional arranged marriage laws. This is a fine, if anachronistic, attitude to have, but the plot goes on to say that she’s only trapped in Purgatory because she’ll serve as a reward for Abraham if and when Abraham completes his part in the Apocalypse. So along with her total lack of personality and general refusal to adhere to the rules of continuity, Katrina also gets to be reduced to an object for two men to fight over. Fun.

sleepy hollow luke abbieFinally, Andy and Luke. Yes, Luke wasn’t in this episode at all, but he and Andy have a couple things in common: they both work(ed) for the Sleepy Hollow Police Department and they’re both in love with Abbie. Why do they love her and how did those relationships start? As things stand, the fact that Andy and Luke are in love with Abbie is almost the only thing we know about their characters. Luke is suspicious of Ichabod because he’s in love with Abbie. Andy possibly sold his soul to the devil to protect Abbie. It’s very difficult to understand their motivations unless we also understand why they’re in love with Abbie. Granted, this is something we see all the time in other TV shows—except genderflipped. Almost all the companions are in love with the Doctor. James Bond gets information out of targets who sleep with him because he’s James Bond. So on the one hand, it’s fascinating to see this exercise in poor writing applied to a girl (Abbie) instead of a guy, but on the other hand—it’s still poor writing. Next episode, I hope we find out more.

2 thoughts on “Sleepy Hollow: “Necromancer” Review

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