With a title like “Sins of the Father”, I expected this episode to be heavy on the Mills family angst. While it did get there in the end, it took the long way around, making stops at Villain Backstory Station and Scary Monster Rest Stop in the meantime, and leaving me wondering if the show is starting to run out of gas.
Spoilers after the jump!
The episode kicks off when Abbie gets a text from none other than Atticus Nevins, who introduces us to our monster of the week. Atticus has been living on the streets since Pandora cast him aside, and claims to have witnessed a Persian ghoul—which he has previous experience with, from when he had been deployed in Iraq with August Corbin—attacking a policeman. After some interrogation and research, Team Witness discovers that the ghoul is controlled by a golden scarab, and it looks like up-and-coming smuggler Randall has it. The B-team rolls out to acquire it, but when Jenny, Sophie, and Joe arrive at Randall’s hideout only to see Randall get ganked by the ghoul, they realize Nevins had the scarab all along. Nevins then sics the ghoul on Abbie and Ichabod and escapes with August Corbin’s most secret file while the two of them try to defend themselves. Finally, Abbie, who’s been struggling with her aim (what with being a year’s out of practice) manages to land a hit on the ghoul’s weak spot just in time.
While Team Witness recuperates from their struggles and have some more bonding moments, Nevins delivers the files he’s stolen to his contact, who turns out to be Reynolds’s Mysterious White Guy Boss from the mid-season finale. MWGB takes the files, which apparently contain coordinates for “the nine sacred sites”, whatever those are, and shoots Nevins, confirming that MWGB is both a bad guy and well aware of the supernatural.
Right up until nearly the end of the episode, I wondered how much “Sins of the Father” was referring to August Corbin versus Ezra Mills. Corbin’s connection with Nevins and his paranoia do definitely get Team Witness into a lot of trouble. However, the final scene where Abbie and Ezra talk brought it back around to the Mills family. Abbie is worried that she’s losing her mind the way her mother did, and still blames her father for skipping out while her mother was sick. Ezra admits that he thought it was the right thing to do at the time, but he was wrong, and he offers to help Abbie with whatever she’s going through now. There still isn’t reconciliation on either Mills sister’s part, but the seeds have been sown.
Our biggest complaint throughout this entire season has been the slow, slow movement of the plot, and this episode was pretty guilty of this as well. The Hidden One and Pandora can barely be called cameo roles, as they appear for all of one scene and spend all of it complaining. We get some backstory for Nevins just in time for him to get blown away by MWGB. The secret contents of Corbin’s file—the nine sacred sites—are the first suggestion in a while that there will be some sort of goal for Team Witness besides stopping the monster of the week, as presumably they’ll have to reach these sites before MWGB and his henchfolk do, or destroy them before Pandora and the Hidden One can use them, or something. It’s at least a step toward the plot moving forward, and with only six episodes left in the season and a likely cancellation verdict in its future, the show really needs to pick up the damn pace.
I was worried throughout the episode for Abbie’s mental stability. She’s clearly still very traumatized by her experience in the alternate dimension and has been pushing away Ichabod’s attempts to help her cope. She’s got some strange behavioral tics that she didn’t have before (Nicole Beharie’s acting is amazing here, btw); she’s been hallucinating the symbol she saw in the other world constantly and is drawing it repeatedly in her journal. She worries about her family’s history of mental illness, and at the end of the episode we see her swearing fealty to a giant rendition of the symbol that she’s drawn on the wall of her shed.
As a final aside, I am up to my neck in shipper angst after watching this. The episode opened and closed on the most tooth-rottingly domestic Ichabbie scenes I have ever seen, with a hearty helping of strong-emotional-bond-saves-the-day in the middle of the episode. I know they’re probably waiting for the “save us from cancellation” ratings week to let them actually smooch, but good goddamn is my body ready for it. (It has been ready since Season 1, but since it’s now possible without like, Ichabod cheating on his wife or anything, it’s especially ready.)
The plot edges forward by millimeters and inches, but it does, arguably, move. Who is Mysterious White Guy Boss? What’s his stake in all this? Will the Hidden One ever actually do anything besides sit in a cave and bully Pandora? Find out next time (hopefully) on Sleepy Hollow!