“Sleepy Hollow” S2 rewind: “This is War” (Season premiere)

Welcome back, everyone, to the no-holds-barred ride that isSleepy Hollow! How exciting was it to get back in the swing of things? I went into the season premiere, “This is War,” believing I’d read every spoiler I could find. I thought I was prepared, when, in fact, I wasn’t. The beginning of the episode really threw me for a loop while providing beaucoup Alternate Universe fanfiction fodder. I can hear the stories being typed up right now.

So let’s start at the beginning, shall we? We start with Ichabod alone in the dark, feebly calling out to see if someone’s there. He’s in the pine box, right? WRONG. He’s in Corbin’s cabin. Abbie turns on the lights and hands him a star-spangled cupcake, a single candle in its center. She also turns on Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday, which went from acting as the rallying cry for a national Martin Luther King holiday to the anthem to every black family’s birthday party. It would seem that someone in the writing room knows that special tic about us.

So it’s Ichabod’s 251st birthday! Somehow, a whole year has passed since we last saw Team Witness—Jenny’s dead, Katrina’s dead, Irving is MIA, and all Ichabod and Abbie have are each other. It would certainly seem that they’ve also become a little cozier with each other, what with both of them professing with copious eye-sex that they wouldn’t have gotten through their tribulations without the other.

Going back to the fanfiction aspect of this, I’m sure some out there who have written fanfiction that has advanced the fight a couple of years were surprised to see so much of what they had written laid out in the show as if it was canon. With any other show (i.e. Sherlock), I’d say that the writing room was trolling the fanbase. (The moment in the Series 3 premiere of Sherlock with the girl supposing that Sherlock and Moriarty were madly in love with each other seemed to be put in there only for a character to state how ridiculous that idea could be.) But in this case, with the amount of love the Sleepy Hollow writing room has for the fans and vice-versa, I’d like to think the writers and the fans are all on the same page as to how things might have gone if there was an alternate future.

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Anyways, Abbie and Ichabod are responding to a call from a professor who has files or whatnot on Benjamin Franklin’s mysterious key, the key he used when he was doing his electricity-kite experiment. This key is important to Moloch; it can open the door to Purgatory, allowing his army to roam free on our soil.

When Ichabod and Abbie arrive to the professor’s dwellings, both a police officer and the professor have been beheaded. Luckily, Ichabod, who remembers his mentor as being a pompous windbag, recalls that anything dealing with Benjamin is shrouded in shady antics. Therefore, he searches for a secret opening to the professor’s file cabinet and presto, the files pop out! But right as they’re about to bounce, the Headless Horseman shows up! Abbie and Ichabod try to down him (Ichabod using magic arrows, no less), but he escapes. Ichabod is intent on killing him for good, but Abbie stops him, saying that what’s most important now is to stop Moloch from entering their realm and starting the apocalypse.

They head to where they have Henry imprisoned (the same place the Horseman was imprisoned in Season One), and throw the files at him, hoping he can give them some answers. Instead, he turns the tables on them, saying that he can help them if Abbie allows him to eat her sins.

Throughout this alternative universe, Ichabod seems to have trouble breathing. It’s when Abbie is discussing what Jenny knew about the key that Ichabod really remembers that he’s not really there at all. He’s still in the pine box, Abbie’s still in Purgatory, and they’re both being manipulated by Henry so he can learn the location of the key!

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This time, when we see Ichabod wake up, he actually is inside the pine box. This leads me to some questions.

Was Ichabod half-dead to be able to momentarily join Abbie in an afterlife-fantasy scenario? Was Henry manipulating them both even though Abbie’s in Purgatory and Ichabod’s in the ground? Or was this scenario only in Ichabod’s head and the Abbie we saw was Ichabod’s mental image of her? Henry asks to see Abbie’s sins, but of course, he can’t read them—not because she wants a word with Ichabod, but because this Abbie is probably just a figment. This leads me to yet another question:

Does this mean that Ichabod really does have feelings for Abbie and would like to take things further with her but can’t because he’s bound to his wife? 

Or, even better—was Henry preying up on that sin of infidelity that already resides in Ichabod’s mind? No, Ichabod and Abbie never kissed, but a budding romantic relationship was heavily implied. Henry could have wisely picked up on this during his time with his father and Abbie and deftly used it to his advantage. Nice job, Henry.

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Henry’s been really busy in this episode. Not only was he knee-deep in Ichabod’s thoughts and sins, but he was also attempting to get answers from Jenny, who is, thankfully, alive! Jenny doesn’t look too bad to say she was tossed around in her truck. Henry revives her while holding her captive in what looks like an abandoned warehouse and quickly gets to questioning her about what Corbin told her about the key. He grabs her head and reads her thoughts via her sins, and quickly finds out all she knows about the relic. Turns out it isn’t much, since all Jenny remembered were fragments of pages. Henry tells one of his Hessian guards to keep watch over Jenny until he returns, and of course, this is when Jenny escapes in superheroine fashion.

Part of her escape was indirectly facilitated by Ichabod calling her from his cell phone. If we rewind back a bit to when Jenny’s still tied up, Ichabod is also still in his pine box, realizing there’s no service on his phone underground. Instead, he tries to record a video message to Abbie in case he dies, but he experiences another thing all of us with cell phones have experienced in the past—a full memory chip. Frustrated with technology, Ichabod decides to bust out however he can. Luckily, the ground above him is chock full of sulfur. After finding a rock and some scrap tissue paper in his pocket, he ignites the ground, climbs out of his hole and calls Jenny, which gives her the strength to bust out of Henry’s abandoned warehouse lair.

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Meanwhile, in Purgatory, Abbie’s trying to stay alive as long as possible while staying away from Moloch. Surprisingly, our old misguided pal Andy shows up! Andy, who I’m glad to say looks like the human version we saw in the pilot, seems to have got some of his soul back in a way. It would seem that Purgatory has done him a world of good, even if he’s still tied to Moloch. This more rehabilitated Andy informs Abbie of Moloch’s plan to bring his army to the physical realm. Of course, Abbie wants to inform Ichabod about this, so Andy leads her to Moloch’s very lair, which houses a mirror that can allow the user to communicate with those on the physical plane. Andy says that Katrina used to sneak to this lair to use the mirror—that’s how she could communicate with Ichabod and Abbie and (attempt to) help them. To use it, all Abbie has to do is to repeat the incantation at the bottom.

Ichabod and Jenny are currently busy looking for Franklin’s key, with Ichabod deriding his former mentor all the while. I will go on record and say that I dislike many of the Founding Fathers (Jefferson in particular), but even I am surprised at the depth to which Ichabod hates Franklin. It’s true, though, that Franklin was a piece of work, if you read history, and I’m glad that the show didn’t skirt around that.

During their search for answers, Ichabod and Jenny come to believe that someone as narcissistic as Benjamin Franklin would hide a relic near on in something resembling himself thanks to an old notebook with Franklin’s phonetic alphabet. With that conclusion in mind, they head to the nearest Franklin statue.

It’s while they’re parked near the statue that Abbie is able to communicate with Ichabod via the mirror. Their first real meeting this season comes complete with intense hugging and tears. I’m not trying to start a shipper fight, because I’m all for us seeing the “true love” between Ichabod and Katrina, but Abbie and Ichabod’s reunion is tons more romantic than any scene we’ve seen with Ichabod and Katrina ever. I’m simultaneously gleeful and frustrated.

After Abbie informs him of Moloch’s plan, Ichabod swears once again to Abbie that he’s going to save her from Purgatory, but Abbie, who is always one for thinking practically, thinks that it might be better for her to stay in Purgatory if it meant that Moloch’s army would remain trapped. Remember, even though the key could save Abbie, it could also bring the army to the real world. Ichabod, just like a Jane Austen hero, swears up and down that he will not take this as an answer. He will come back with Abbie, because the Bible states that two witnesses are needed, not just one.

Ichabod and Jenny have to think double-time about where the key is because, as it turns out, the key is not in or near the statue. Another riddle Franklin told Ichabod back in the day reveals the real location of the key—the giant clock in the town square!

A brick in the clock tower, with the initials “B.F.” is the only thing hiding the key from the world. Now, with the key in hand, Ichabod can save Abbie.

However, Ichabod demands that he go it alone. Jenny, who wants to come along because Abbie is her sister, after all, is convinced by Ichabod to stay behind. If anything happens to him, Ichabod says, there should be someone left behind who knows the real truth about what’s going on. After Jenny hugs him and reminds him of the Purgatorial rules, he jumps into the void.

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Meanwhile, Abbie is desperately trying to find that amulet Katrina gave her. Remember that she threw it on Moloch last season, so that amulet could be anywhere. She’s almost crying with desperation when Ichabod arrives! He offers her some water, but just as she’s about to drink, the real Ichabod comes! The fight of the Ichabods is something I had never imagined I’d see, but I welcomed every moment.

Abbie, who seems to be half delusional with fear and exhaustion, sees the Ichabod fight through blurred vision. One Ichabod rises victorious from the fight and runs with Abbie to a clearing. They are so close to saying the incantation—SO CLOSE! But the Ichabod Abbie’s with is the fake! Luckily, this Ichabod isn’t that smart, since he says “Lieutenant” like an American. Of course, our Ichabod says “Lieutenant” much, much differently. This minute fact leads to Abbie finally vanquishing the fake Ichabod by beheading him.

The real Ichabod and Abbie say the incantation and open the door to Purgatory. But there’s one more hurdle! Apparently, Purgatory has some very swanky iron gates to get through. Ichabod uses the key to open the gates and, finally, they escape. The gateway closes just as Moloch is chasing them, attempting to follow them out. The key disintegrates into Ichabod’s hand. Now, Moloch’s got to find another way out.

Fortunately, Henry doesn’t get his neck snapped for failing like poor Andy. Instead, Henry, who I guess is like Moloch’s adopted son now, gets to control the armor of War, complete with flaming sword.

By the way, in case you thought I’d forgotten, Katrina is held captive by the Horseman in what I’m assuming is his own little cabin. Hilariously enough, the Horseman goes into a mini-striptease for Katrina as he’s dressing from his soldier’s uniform to his courtly clothes. He places the green pendant necklace he had once given to Katrina centuries ago. The necklace has now been magically retrofitted to give Abraham the illusion of his old head. With this illusion-head, Abraham tells Katrina that soon she will be his. He’s not worried about Ichabod in the least.

Also, naked Benjamin Franklin is no bueno. I’m glad we only have to see that once this season. I think.

I’m sure I’ll have some posts later on about the other word used for Purgatory—Gehenna—and more about War and his flaming sword. Both are laden with theory material. But until then, what did you think about this season opener? What did you expect to see and what surprised you? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

EDIT: Realized afterwards that Moloch brought both Ichabod and Abbie to Purgatory. But that doesn’t make much sense to me. It still seems like Moloch went into a part of Ichabod’s mind. If someone could explain it to me, feel free to do so in the comments section.

Photo credit: Brownie Harris/FOX

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