Recap and Review: Sleepy Hollow 1:02: Blood Moon

By P.S. Griffin

Summary: Wherein Ichabod and Abbie prevent the resurrection of an evil witch from colonial times before the Blood Moon! In addition, there is prophesy, magic, a medallion, a demon, reanimation, shirtless Ichabod, coffee, and donut holes. Oh, my!

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Recap: The second episode begins with Ichabod running from the four Apocalyptic horsemen in the woods before he is captured by an animated tree channeling a scene from The Evil Dead, and dragged underground to his cave. Luckily, it’s a prophetic vision from sweet Katrina, who is compelled to repeat her dire warnings about the army of evil that will rise in preparation for the Apocalypse. She has some new information, telling him that the first dark spirit arises with the Blood Moon and that she is “one of us” (great use of standard horror movie dialogue)! Of course she must be stopped before she kills again.

Shirtless Ichabod awakens and discovers he is under protective custody. He is trapped until Abbie arrives, giving us an opportunity to see his hotel room peppered with sticky notes from Abbie, presumably to help him navigate this strange world of modern conveniences. Her notes are sweet (Television is like theater) and are a subtle way to address Ichabod’s fish-out-of-water status in this episode.

Meanwhile, Abbie is discussing the Headless Horseman case with Captain Irving. Apparently, the two other cops have recanted their firsthand accounts of the horrible spectre. Furthermore, station surveillance tapes show Officer Andy running at the mirror and breaking his own neck backwards, which is not what happened! It’s still Abbie and Ichabod against the world.

Surprisingly, Irving is willing to let them continue to investigate as long as they don’t “embarrass” him. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the facts. Irving is supporting an officer who is on record as seeing two of her squad killed by two different demonic murderers. He is also happy to see her partnered with a civilian who believes he has time traveled from 1781 and continues to dress like it. I honestly fail to see what would constitute ’embarrassment’ for this man. It makes perfect sense for him to take this moment to run off to Albany to secure additional resources, right?!! Even as he admits readily that something strange this way has come to Sleepy Hollow. Still pleased to meet you, Captain Irving!

Abbie shows up with donut holes, which fail to soothe Ichabod’s outrage over his unjust imprisonment. In fact, his peeved demeanor only intensifies when he discovers the 10% levy on baked goods. After he finishes fussing charmingly, he recounts his latest prophetic dream. Abbie teases him about not knowing his wife was a witch, and also requests that he try being less crazy and more normal. The point of this scene is to highlight the amazing rapport between these two crazy kids, despite being born centuries apart. As in the pilot, the chemistry between our odd couple is compelling. These characters and their relationship possess the kind of magic that can make a show and break our hearts. I may be experiencing my first shipping moment.

At the morgue, a writhing body bag unzips to reveal Officer Andy, who has been reanimated by the scary, horned demon that broke his neck. Apparently, the poor mangled fellow still has work to do, like releasing an evil entity, perhaps? He coughs up a medallion necklace – which looks to be an unpleasant process, even for a zombie – and reluctantly gets busy after the demon issues him an order in an unknown, ancient language. Reanimated Undead Andy has a can-don’t personality and a gruesome, messed-up neck, both of which are welcome running jokes throughout the episode.

Abbie attends Sheriff Corbin’s funeral while Ichabod watches from afar. At his wife’s gravestone, he realizes the true nature of the evil that seeks to arise by killing before the Blood Moon – by gosh, it’s a witch!

Speaking of which, after nightfall, Undead Andy gets busy with the medallion. He places it on a grave marker, where it smokes and bursts into flames by the light of the moon, bringing forth a magic lady, witchy lady, burned lady most foul. She comes across as more silly than scary, however, her movements evoking a mashup of the wild girl from Nell and the feral Mother/Priestess of the bone eaters in The Thirteenth Warrior.

Undead Andy gives her the demon’s message that the “ashes of the pious will ordain her resurrection.” She is to take their flesh to reclaim hers. Sounds like a recipe for murder most foul.

We cut to Undead Andy in his stolen police cruiser, stopping a car and telling the driver he must hear his name. Jeremy Steven Furth complies. Undead Andy monologues, “Jeremy, wherever this road takes you, and it won’t be far, I want you to know it wasn’t personal.”

It’s a bad day in Sleepy Hollow for Mr. Furth. After the extremely creepy encounter with the weird cop with the even weirder neck, his car won’t start; a crazy, burned lady is snarling into his windshield; and finally, he spontaneously combusts into ash.

Come daylight, Ichabod and Abbie are chatting about witches (They draw their power from the moon cycle) and Sheriff Corbin (He was the father figure she desperately needed). They get the call about the latest incident and arrive on the scene. Ichabod, the Revolutionary War soldier with no modern police training, is allowed to examine the body by poking at it. Happily, he realizes that the heart is missing (or, at least, a hand-shaped scoop is visible where the heart was), and he has seen the same gruesome corpses during his War. Way back in old Colonial times, a series of similar murders was traced to a dark coven, headed by a High Priestess Serilda of Abaddon (Abaddon being a dialect of Romanian Greek, according to the show). General Washington believed that the coven had made a deal with the Redcoats. Given the Horseman’s Hessian garb, it may be worth noting that ‘Serilda’ is a Teutonic name meaning an armed warrior woman. See: http://www.babynology.com/meaning-serilda-f66.html.

Realizing that where there are covens there are witches, they go to the station to peruse Corbin’s detailed files on witches and strange happenings … which are missing! They were moved to the archives located in the armory. For some reason, Abbie cannot secure the key. However, Ichabod knows a secret way in through the useful tunnels under the city, dating from his day.

As they walk, Ichabod asks about Officer Luke, with which he had an alpha male clash. He correctly ascertains a past relationship with Abbie, who is adamant that they were never “betrothed.” Methinks that Ichabod is far too curious and the lady doth protest too much.

Ichabod then gets to prove his manly worth by breaking through a wall, which blocks their passage to accessing a hidden tunnel complex that leads to the Armoury, as well as an ossuary containing the remains of condemned witches. Hmmmm, timely reveal, that. However, his wall-busting technique was faulty since it was executed with shirt! Boo! They also find some boxes of Revolutionary War armaments, including boxes of gunpowder placed there by Ichabod himself!

Even more exciting is the Archive room itself, which screams, “Heroic lair!” nearly as loudly as that of the Men of Letters compound on the CW’s Supernatural. Corbin’s files indicate that another coven, the Sisterhood of the Radiant Heart, made Serilda vulnerable to a mortal attack, after which she was hunted, trapped, tried and burned at the stake. Of course her last words were a revenge curse because that’s what evil witches do: “By the turn of the Blood Moon, your ashes will be mine. Your flesh will be my flesh. I will live again.”

Ichabod’s quick realization, a common occurrence on this show, is that she will require the ashes of the descendants of the magistrate who condemned her for her resurrection spell. Robert Daniel Furth was the Magistrate, ‘Furth’ also being the surname of their ash corpse. Time to worry about the other descendants!

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Undead Andy is of course busy verifying the other descendant, a small child playing ball – AWWW. Undead Andy learns that his daddy is dead, as well as the seemingly doomed child’s name, ‘Kyle Hemington’ (the name of the maternal line of descendants). “It’s a nice name. I am sorry it had to be yours,” says delightfully deadpan Undead Andy.

It’s nightime, most likely the witching hour, and Kyle is awoken by a cat’s caterwauling. Goodnight, sweet prince! Sadly, it’s Serilda and not flights of angels that have come to sing thee to thy rest (My apologies to the Bard for misappropriating a most lovely turn of phrase).

We cut to our heroes arriving too late to stop Serilda from taking the urn containing dead Daddy’s ashes, because luckily for Kyle, he was adopted. Now we race to the one place any witch worth her salt would go to resurrect her body, the ossuary of the condemned witches in the hidden tunnels beneath the city.

Once again, Undead Andy is in the lead as he grumbles and grouses his way through digging up Serilda’s remains. Apparently, there is no rest for the wicked undead in Sleepy Hollow. It’s skulldiggery with too many bones about it!

Serilda starts the spell as our heroes enter the tunnels. There’s still time for banter amongst witnesses! Abbie hands Ichabod a gun and tries to provide some basic instruction. Manly soldier boy insists he knows all there is to know about firearms. I sense inopportune comic antics at Ichabod’s expense, him being a literal man out of time.

Ichabod finds the now lovely Serilda first and fires a well-aimed shot, which the witch catches and crumbles. In typical villainous fashion, she takes the opportunity to gloat in an unknown language, observing that Ichabod carries Katrina’s “stench” in his heart. Katrina was the witch that bound Serilda’s powers and is now trapped, a captive in the “world between worlds.” Mwahhaha! (evil, gloating laugh sounds). The follow-up gist being, there is no help for you my sweetie, or that little wife of yours! Aren’t evil witches grand, and grandiose prior to their demise? This time, this alternate reality, I somehow suspect that water will not do the trick.

Despite the language barrier, Serilda’s dangerous intentions are clear. Abbie and Ichabod run for cover, whilst Ichabod is chastised for losing his gun (He tossed it because he thought it held a single round). His comeuppance is brief because thar be a witch to kill. Serilda conveniently stops on top of the crates of gun powder and Ichabod throws his torch, which sputters out. Drat! Oh, wait, finally, thar she blows! … or rather, burns, which is a fit demise for this evil firestarter.

The episode ends on a melancholy note, despite their apparent victory. Ichabod is wondering whether he can save Katrina from the World between the Worlds. Abbie longs for her world to be the way it was before everything started. Ichabod responds, LOL!, no chance of that, but at least it’s the two of us against the world …. Coffee?, all uttered in his quaint, very charming turn of phrase. Surprisingly, no one wonders if the twice-burned witch can be resurrected during another Blood Moon, perhaps using their ashes ….

Still wistful, Abbie walks into Corbin’s office, only to be welcomed by the calming visage of her mentor. They also had a sassy, comfortable rapport, apparently. His advice: It doesn’t matter if she is dreaming if he is with her – and she should not be afraid of number 49, because that’s where she will find she is not alone.

After Ichabod interrupts her vision with coffee, we cut to a Room 49, which contains an intense, athletic young woman working out. A nurse hands her medication and asks if she’s been seeing monsters lately. The woman fakes taking her meds and continues her workout. Behind her, that scary, horned demon blips in and out of our realm. Yikes! Welcome back to the Apocalypse, Miss Jennie Mills!

Vital Statistics: “Blood Moon” was directed by Ken Olin of Thirty Something fame. The episode was written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Mark Goffman. The cast includes Tom Mison as Ichabod, Nicole Beharie as Abbie, Orlando Jones as Captain Frank Irving, Katia Winter as Katrina Crane, Clancy Brown as Sheriff August Corbin, John Cho as Officer Andy Brooks (Undead Andy), D.J. Mifflin as the horned demon, Nicholas Gonzalez as Detective Luke Morales (the jealous ex-boyfriend), and Lyndie Greenwood as Jenny Mills (Abbie’s estranged sister).

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Review: The show started out exceptionally strong, so it is no surprise that this episode doesn’t quite live up to the tour de force that was the Pilot. That said, “Blood Moon” definitely builds upon the mytharc and nails the budding heromance between the two leads. Opposites not only attract; they complement each other extremely well. He’s an extremely tall, erudite gentleman of a past era. She’s an extremely short, sassy, hard-edged modern police woman. Despite the proverbial odd coupledom of this match (made in heaven?), combined, the pair is sublime. There is just enough grousing, teasing, mocking (his accent) and sassing to make the pairing believable.

I really loved the bit about the gun because Ichabod was on the verge of being insufferable at times with his all-knowing mien and quick wit. His naiveté with modern weaponry was just enough to take him down a notch without losing his shine. The episode also did a good job of demonstrating how important both heroes are to the success of their shared mission. Abbie is as sharp as Ichabod, even if she lacks the Oxford classical education, photographic memory, and first-hand experience with 18th-century Sleepy Hollow.

I loved seeing John Cho again. He is even better playing dead – or rather, Undead. I hope he periodically returns to add humor by virtue of his dry, deadpan personality, as well as the potential visual shtick of a slowly decomposing character, much like Griffin Dunne’s dead friend in An American Werewolf in London.

The return of Clancy Brown as Sheriff Corbin was also most welcome. He radiates goodness and strength in an all-too-brief vision by Abbie. It’s a far cry from the horrifying visions that Katrina sends to her beloved husband. Her visions have too much information, seem designed to push him in a precise direction of action, and are panic-inducing. I still do not trust her, especially because there were entirely too many tells in this episode that she is GOOD.

It is clear that while Ichabod is being given visions by his wife the GOOD witch, Abbie simply has hers. I suspect that her sister Jenny shares this trait. I love Ichabod and Abbie together. However, I am still not sure about Ichabod really being a witness.

I would be remiss if I left out the warts. I hated the witch “backstory,” or rather, the fact that there wasn’t enough for me to care or for the Horned Man to care. I understand why the Horseman would be awakened. I do not understand why Serilda was resurrected. After all, she was defeated once; she failed once. To my mind, it would have worked better to tie her revenge curse and resurrection directly to the necklace. The restart of the Apocalypse awakens the magic in the necklace and whomever wears it … yada, yada, yada.

I really wasn’t scared or impressed by Serilda herself. I don’t understand why they made up a ridiculous name for a Romanian dialect of Greek, either. Couldn’t she be Serilda of (Abaddon) because she loved destruction or worshipped Abaddon? This seems like an unnecessary fabrication, considering available occult lore, and gives me the idea that they’re borrowing piecemeal from another genre show that features two heroes fighting demons and Horsemen to stop the Apocalypse, Supernatural, and are covering up their homage with hastily cobbled backstory. Those who watch Supernatural know that the demon Abaddon was introduced last season.

The second wart on this episode involves Captain Frank Irving, who is simply too agreeable to be believable, especially with Ichabod being simply far too hands-on at crime scenes. In two episodes, Sleepy Hollow has convinced me that Lieutenant Abbie Mills is as sharp as they come and an excellent law enforcement professional. Therefore, I need to see a scene where she questions why Irving is so easygoing about Ichabod and the growing creep factor of Sleepy Hollow murders.

This episode alone, Ichabod demolished a wall, lit some potentially unstable dynamite, and prodded a corpse. Realistically, we need to see some repercussions, although happily, he didn’t destroy anything but an evil witch and a slipshod wall. At the least, why isn’t she instructing Ichabod about crime scene procedures? The man was born before forensics was a science! Even Patrick Jane of The Mentalist is reprimanded about crime scene protocols and he is the reason his team solves all of their cases. These logic fails are annoying, but thus far, are a small negative on an otherwise enjoyable series.

So, what exactly is the World between the Worlds?

You can watch Sleepy Hollow on the FOX website or buy it in standard or HD on Amazon Instant Video.

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IFPRecap and Review: Sleepy Hollow 1:02: Blood Moon