The last time I wrote a review for Sleepy Hollow was for its “Dark Mirror” episode. In that review, I admitted to not having watched the previous two episodes before writing it. I did this in order to test whether it would actually matter or not if I skipped two full episodes. It didn’t. After all, Sleepy Hollow has dedicated its third season to switching back and forth between not having a plot and not having a plot that makes sense.
Now that we have finally reached its third-to-last episode, “Dawn’s Early Light”, it should come as no surprise to you that once again I skipped two full episodes. This time, though, I can say that it did matter. Important things actually happened in the previous episodes that I missed—such as the Hidden One finding out that Pandora betrayed him. I think I might actually be proud of Sleepy Hollow for doing something.
I have to admit that I did not have high hopes for this episode going in. Sleepy Hollow’s track record this season was so bad that I prematurely determined that “Dawn’s Early Light” would also be awful before watching it. I was wrong. This episode wasn’t just not bad, it was actually a lot of fun.
“Dawn’s Early Light” both advanced the plot and got back to the show’s roots in the process. This week was rife with old American lore—Betsy Ross’s flag has the power to open a mystical gateway to the catacombs, it’s guarded by an animated soldier skeleton capable of throwing fireballs, and “The Star-Spangled Banner” is the key to unlocking the flag’s hidden capabilities. It was awesome. And along with that, we also got some more characterization from Pandora.
Our episode opens with the Hidden One torturing Pandora due to her betrayal. He looks down on her for being a human and compares her to a house pet because he’s an abusive asshole. Pandora realizes that he doesn’t love her because of these things and betrays him again. This episode looks as though they have broken up with each other for good and the Hidden One tells Pandora that if she wants to live among the humans she will also die among the humans. When Pandora goes to find pieces of her box, she’s confronted by Ichabod, and she lets him know that the Hidden One is almost at full power and only she can stop him with her box.
Unfortunately, the box is still in pieces and the only way to regenerate it is by going to the catacombs. Also unfortunately, the tree Pandora used to get there has been destroyed and Pandora doesn’t know of another way. Following this, in true Sleepy Hollow fashion, Pandora then spends the rest of the episode sitting in the woods and doing next to nothing. I am glad that she got a little more character development this episode, even though I most certainly could have done without the “battered housewife” storyline—especially since the show’s not doing anything with that either. Is the purpose of watching an all-powerful god torture his wife and lord over her supposed to let us know what a bastard he is? Because we already knew that. He wants to wipe out humanity and he kills people. Who knows, though, if “Dawn’s Early Light” is any indication, maybe the following final episodes will expand on their fallout more and make Pandora an actual three-dimensional character we can truly care about.
Abbie and Ichabod manage to find Betsy Ross’s original flag, which she made with golden thread, but not before accidentally bringing forth a demon monster charged with keeping the flag safe. The monster spends the rest of the episode hunting Abbie and Ichabod down, and when Reynolds confronts Abbie about everything that’s been going on—she, Ichabod, and the monster trashed a history museum in their first confrontation—he gets a nasty surprise when the monster attacks him too.
The three of them get somewhere safe and our fireball monster is eventually defeated due to Jenny’s and Joe’s quick thinking when they douse it in liquid nitrogen and shatter it with a sledge hammer. Our episode ends with Ichabod and Abbie holding Betsy’s flag up to “the dawn’s early light”—quite literally—and the flag generates a holographic map that can lead them to the catacombs.
Many things happened this episode, and I was surprised to find myself enjoying just about all of them. While Pandora’s and the Hidden One’s characters still need some work, the same is not true for our main characters. Ezra Mills stops by this episode to continue reconnecting with his daughters and his interactions with them are awkward. Abbie seems willing to forgive him and move on, but Jenny’s still angry and has trouble letting go. She tells Joe that when she was young, Ezra used to buy her and Abbie taffy every day, but he couldn’t remember that her favorite was the pink. She admits that it was just candy and shouldn’t be important, but little things like that do matter to a child, and it goes to show just how much her father hurt her. Ezra is still determined to make things up with both his daughters, though, and ends up giving Jenny a bag of taffies. When Jenny opens the bag, she sees that they’re all pink. It gives me some hope that the Mills sisters will be able to reconcile their differences with him and learn to be a family, just as they did with each other, but I like that that doesn’t mean erasing the past or excusing Ezra’s previous actions.
Now that Reynolds finally knows the truth, Abbie, Sophie, and Ichabod can be open with him about all the magical and demonic happenings in Sleepy Hollow. Abbie had already committed herself to telling him the truth beforehand and most certainly didn’t want him to find out during a demon attack, but find out he did. All things considered, he takes it pretty well. He confronts Sophie about her involvement and why she didn’t tell him—because she didn’t think he’d believe her—and eventually gets a sit-down with Abbie to talk more. The two of them then kiss, and the Ichabbie shipper in me died a little.
Right now, things are looking pretty grim for Sleepy Hollow and while I desperately hope that the show will both be renewed and figure out what it’s doing for a possible future season, I fear the end of days is truly nigh for Team Witness. “Dawn’s Early Light” was one of Season 3’s stronger episodes, and I have to wonder why more thought wasn’t put into all the previous episodes. Hopefully, Sleepy Hollow will keep up its newfound momentum and maybe I will actually tune and watch it next week. Be sure to check back in with us here then to find out our thoughts.