Recap and Review: Sleepy Hollow 1.04: The Lesser Key of Solomon


By P.S. Griffin


spoilers ahead


Summary: Wherein our heroes learn the name of their horned adversary amidst torture, gunfire, death, a cantankerous family reunion, and Demon Night 2: a Celebration of Modern Dance.


Recap: The episode opens on a flashback to the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773. Of course Ichabod was involved and not only that – he actually organized it as a diversion, so that he could steal an artifact for General Washington from those super-evil Hessians. Way to go, Ichabod!

Ichabod finds the crate guarded by a redcoated Hessian who defends it with Germanic spellcasting. There is an explosion and the wicked Hessian dies. Presumably, Ichabod survives to take the day and the crate. Yeah, Ichabod!

As if we need more reason to love Ichabod, we cut to him in the present day sitting alone, having a charming conversation about true love and true lovers fated to be with each other in life and death, now separated. He is giving romantic advice to Yolanda of Onstar by sharing his own experiences with Katrina. Yolanda is as charmed and as moved as this viewer. I am in awe of these writers right now. They made Ichabod seem real and very human, even as they mock his outsized romantic lead tendencies, all in an interlude of comic gold. Sigh …. Oh, Ichabod!

Abbie returns to the car, bringing us back to reality. Apparently, Ichabod accompanied her to the hospital, but was left in the car whilst she went to make things right with her sister. She has just discovered that her sister escaped via the ceiling.

Abbie convinces Irving to give them 12 hours to find Jenny because they are positive that she has information pertaining to the Headless Horseman case.

Meanwhile, Jenny is at a dive bar, enjoying a shot on the house, whilst her pal Wendell the barkeep gets the stuff that he’s been holding for her. Apparently, she is still in Sleepy Hollow, per her cryptic comments: “Remember when I told you, one day, this town was going to go straight to Hell? I hate when I’m right.” Well, she may be sorry that she is absolutely right in this instance; however, she strikes me as a hard-edged gal with a big shoulder chip built up over the fact that she was and is always right (in her estimation).

We cut to a German-speaking man interrupting a piano lesson to answer the phone; what follows is a terse conversation alerting him that Jenny Mills has escaped, as well as the fact that she knows the location of “Item 37.” He Is ordered to track down and handle both the artifact and the woman. He handles this task with that renowned German efficiency. The next shot is of the man and his posse of thugs talking to Wendell at the bar. Wendell claims that he has never heard of Jenny Mills and pulls out a shotgun when the conversation gets tense. Our efficient German easily disarms him. Loyal Wendell finds himself held down on the pool table as the implements of torture come out of the bag, mostly teeth-pulling apparatuses and drills worthy of Laurence Olivier’s brutal Nazi torturer in Marathon Man. Alas poor Wendell, we hardly knew you before you sang and croaked.

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Perfectly nosy Ichabod is also attempting to learn about Jenny from police records and Abbie’s family recollections. Apparently, Jenny is well-traveled, with records showing visits to Mexico and Somalia. Curious that she traveled so far away, only to return to the home that betrayed her. Abbie paints a sad picture of their home life. Their father died when they were young and their mother had a nervous breakdown; then they went into the foster system.

Abbie was lucky to stay in a good home after the incident in the woods. Jenny the truthsayer stayed in several places ranging from bad to worse. Of course Ichabod wants to visit her last home to find some conveniently overlooked clue.

Now is a good time to check in with Jenny, who is in a gas station restroom perusing the contents of the go-bag Wendell was holding. This appears to be her End of Days emergency kit, including a passport and at least two guns. You go, girl! Get thee to the nunnery or church or someplace sacred and safe and far away from Sleepy Hollow.

Captain Irving arrives at the murder scene at the bar and examines the remains. Wendell was decapitated, his head was left on the pool table and his corpse was impaled on the wall. Groovy, ghoulish and gruesome goings on in Sleepy Hollow! Irving notes that this is not the work of the Headless Horseman because the wounds were not cauterized, decapitation notwithstanding. Even so, he decides that this brutal decapitation should be kept quiet.

Nothing tops a gruesome murder scene better than the worst foster home in Sleepy Hollow. The upshot is that Abbie is scared, guilty and appalled. She justifiably takes it all out on one bad momma, threatening legal action if she doesn’t clean up her act. They also learn that Jenny used to hang out at some old cabin at Trout Lake. BINGO!

Our heroes arrive at the lake and Abbie performs some justified B&E, giving us an indication of her lifestyle before Sheriff Corbin took her under his wing. Ichabod looks as if he might propose over this skullduggery. They’re inside before he can and … speak of the devil! The cabin belonged to Sheriff Corbin, who remains in images beaming from photographs, including one with Abbie’s sister Jenny. Oh, oh … it seems that the sisters had more in common than they knew. It’s obvious that the kindly, secretive and prescient sheriff took both of the Mills sisters under his wing.

As Abbie incredulously attempts to process this new information, Jenny pops out of hiding, talking smack with gun drawn. Abbie draws as well and so begins the Mills family reunion, with Abbie trying to make amends, Jenny laying on the blame, and Ichabod mediating by shouting the loudest. It’s a Mexican standoff worthy of Tarantino.

Apparently, Jenny helped Sheriff Corbin find rare objects all over the world. She saw him the night before he died. He was uneasy and had a very bad feeling that something was going to happen. He instructed her to come to the cabin and take a hidden artifact for safekeeping should he meet his maker.

After the infodump, Jenny opens a secret panel in the wall which holds an artifact, a special sextant that reveals a map of Sleepy Hollow and the location of another hidden object. I sniffle back a tear for Zero Hour, of which the crazy quilt of clues hidden in functional artifacts is reminiscent.

Ichabod is never silent for long. He recognizes the symbols tooled into the leather wrapping from one of his more renowned Revolutionary missions, “the destruction of the tea,” which history has rebranded with the more festive moniker, the Boston Tea Party. Ichabod is delighted to entertain the ladies with his tale of historic derring do, namedropping both Washington and Sam Adams in the process. Doubting Jenny interrogates him about his unit until she is a believer – Hallelujah!

We are treated to more flashback, which shows a lone Hessian attempting defensive spellcasting in an unknown tongue. This results in an explosion. The Hessian and everyone save Ichabod explode, allowing Ichabod to save the day and bring the boxed artifact to Washington. The stone casket housing this unknown artifact is marked with the same symbols tooled into the sextant wrapping.

Just as Ichabod shows the Mills sisters how the sextant works, projecting briefly a map of Sleepy Hollow with the location of the stolen casket marked; the goon squad from the bar torture/murder scene arrives with a spray of automatic gunfire. Our heroes run for cover and begin returning fire, enabling a Hessian goon to abscond with the special sextant. This is because they all ran for cover without thinking to grab the sextant. Dumb do-gooders! As disappointing as losing a major artifact is, they do manage to capture the torturer/music teacher and interrogate him. He proves to be quite loquacious, robbing us of another torture scenario; I know Jenny has a big, sharp knife in that go-bag and mercenary training ….

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Ichabod looks for the telltale wrist tattoo that identifies him as Reinhessian, Shadow Warriors, 5th Batallion. The Hessian is talking – gloating, really – about the imminent victory of the Army of Darkness now that his people have the sextant. It leads to the coveted chest that contains a doorway to the Seventh Circle of Hell, wherein 72 condemned souls wait on a shore of flaming sand. The Hessian is speaking of things described by the Bible’s Book of Revelation, enabling sister Jenny to realize that the chest contains the Lesser Key of Solomon, a powerful book of black magic that is the key to releasing 72 demons trapped in Hell by Solomon back into the world.

We cut to Irving’s investigation at this point, a move that gives us time to digest the Hessian’s confession, as well as hammer home the urgency of the situation. Irving has found the Hessian/torturer/music teacher’s house and is standing in the man’s basement of occult horrors. The Hessian is a man well-acquainted with the black arts, as well as torture and dismemberment. He has painted the basement walls red with his extracurricular activities.

Back at the cabin, the Hessian is still talking. He tells Team No Apocalypse that they all have met the man in charge, who knows all of their names. Yikes! The Hessian proceeds to describe the scary horned figure in the woods. No time for that horror to sink in as he continues to grandstand. The horned demon summoned the Headless Horseman. With each subsequent dark spirit he sends to Sleepy Hollow, his grand design gets stronger.

Yeah, right! Only if the horned demon is the personification of chaos, because I see little rhyme or reason to resurrecting Serilda or sending the Sandman, the easiest demon to vanquish within and outside of Christendom. Even the reanimation of the delightfully Undead Andy seems like a waste of dark mojo at this juncture. I will concede that everything about the Headless Horseman is money.

The Hessian is still gabbing because Horned Dude wants his adversaries to understand … I guess it’s death by exposition, guys! The Hessian’s cohorts have the map and will be opening the door shortly. Torture Hessian finishes his montage by spewing some German and biting down hard on that fake tooth. It’s suicide by cyanide for this demon loving dark warrior.

Ichabod has been silent for too long, so he helpfully provides translation for the German. My dear folks, it seems that the horned demon is named ‘Moloch’ and he shall rise – mwahahaha! Be still my beating heart.

With nothing better to do, Abbie and Jenny argue, whilst Ichabod proceeds to call upon his eidetic memory to redraw the super special map from scratch.

The remaining Hessians are already at the map’s hallowed destination, making preparations to raise a mess of demons – or would that be a passel? Because Ichabod is verily amazing and wise, our heroes are speedily en route to the church of the demon resurrection.

During the drive, Ichabod and Jenny bond, sort of, over soldiering and Edmund Burke whilst Abbie rolls her eyes in an obvious fashion. Hey, Abbie, just explain to Ichabod that Jenny was working as a mercenary – you know, like those killer Hessians. That should knock the admiration out of those gorgeous blue eyes.

Back at the little church of horrors, the Hessians have found it, the mother lode of demon raising, the Lesser Key of Solomon. Hessian #1 cuts his hand and bleeds on the book, which reveals secret text from the “Ars Goetia,” an occult text specifically for summoning supernatural beings. See: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goetia for more information.

They read, “The portal shall be opened, the key shall be turned, in the name of Moloch.” During their recitation, heavy sh*t begins to go down. The baptismal font begins to bubble blood and shoot flames, and demonic forms stretch the thin veil between realms that has formed around the font as they try to break free amidst the blood and fire. I figured that there would be blood, lots of it; however, I must call foul on the lack of gut-retching bloodshed. What demon worth resurrecting would come without a sacrifice? Oh, well, back to the dance of the 72 demons in the veil!

Our heroes arrive just in time to view this horrific spectacle. Bad modern dance and bad CGI aren’t jiving to create a scary, world-ending tableau y’all! A fight ensues, with all parties involved trying to kick ass and keep an eye on the bloody dance spectacular. Of course our heroes prevail. Badass Abbie takes the damned nuisance of a book and flings it into the flaming veil of writhing demons, sealing it and them in Hell where they belong. This is the kind of last resort, out-of-the-box move that distinguishes the Badass Hero. Way to go, Abbie! The Hessians are understandably upset and quickly dispatched.

Back at the station, Abbie and Jenny sort of bond. Abbie tells Jenny about the Witness thing. Jenny is a bit miffed that her sister is the one who was chosen when she is the one who told the truth. Abbie admits that she can’t change what she did, but she can try to make up for it. In fact, she has already filed papers to become Jenny’s conservator, which should get her sprung pretty quickly.

Abbie thinks they can work together to get answers. Jenny rubs salt in the festered wound by relating that Corbin said Abbie would find her when she was ready and Jenny needed to find a way to forgive her sister. Jenny never thought it was possible to forgive Abbie. Abbie apologizes for taking so long to man up. The tense, stilted delivery of this scene tells us that the sisters have a ways to go towards restoring their bond.

The final scene is between Ichabod and Abbie. He shows her an illustration of Moloch in Milton’s Paradise Lost. She concurs that it is the demon from the woods. Ichabod remarks that now they know whom it is they are fighting.


Vital Statistics: “The Lesser Key of Solomon” was written by Damian Kindler and directed by Paul Edwards.

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Review: I’m in love, I’m in love, I’m in love, I’m in love, I’m in love with a wonderful show! This episode was just a crazy quilt of thriller and horror tropes done up with a satin bow. For a mytharc episode, there was surprisingly little worldbuilding; however, I am okay with that in episode four, especially because it was so much fun, bad CGI aside.

So, what did we learn?

The evil, spellcasting Hessian mercenaries are still involved, sporting the same regimental tattoos, and have added dental torture to their repertoire.

Ichabod planned the Boston Tea Party as a diversion to steal a boxed artifact for General Washington from the British that was guarded by Hessians. All Washington wanted from the mission was the casket in his hands and Ichabod’s safety. Why is Ichabod so important and what did Washington know?

Yes, I remember that Katrina says that he is a Witness. I still think Katrina is a baddie and Ichabod is Moloch’s ringer.

Yes, we learned the name of the big, bad, horned dude! This Moloch knows our three heroes and believes that he is in control of the long game that he is playing. I am not so sure about that since, aside from the Horseman, I have not been impressed with his moves thus far. Time will tell.

Miss Jenny Mills is clinging to that shoulder chip like she will drown without it. Jenny, freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose … well, actually, it can be another word for owning one’s life and accepting responsibility for one’s decisions. As amusing as the Mexican standoff between sisters and Ichabod’s impatient shushing were, I hope that the sisters find their love and trust again. I suspect they will very quickly, based on the show’s breakneck approach to everything.

I said it before and I will say it again. I think both Mills sisters are Witnesses. Why else was Sheriff Corbin preparing them both for the end of days by mentoring them both in ways that they were ready to accept?


Tidbits:

The Boston Tea Party was called “The Destruction of The Tea” by John Adams and Sam Adams was a key player. See: http://en.m.wikipedia org/wiki/Boston_Tea_Party.

Moloch is a character in the fictional work by John Milton called Paradise Lost. According to biblical history he was an ancient Ammonite God worshipped by the Canaanites, Phoenicians and others. His worship was referenced as idolatry in the Old Testament and was associated with the propitiatory sacrifice of children. See:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moloch.

The Lesser Key Solomon is an occult work that contains a section known as the “Ars Goetia” that describes 72 demons imprisoned and how to contain and control them. See: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesser_Key_of_Solomon.


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IFPRecap and Review: Sleepy Hollow 1.04: The Lesser Key of Solomon