Saturday, April 2, 2016

Sleepy Hollow 3x17 Review: "Delaware" (Once More Unto the Breach) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

Original Airdate: April 1, 2016

Ah, here we are. The penultimate episode of Sleepy Hollow’s season three. Things are coming together, things are being revealed, our Witnesses are being adorable, hearts are being broken, and also the world is probably ending? Maybe? I mean, the bad guy wins at the end of this episode, and he looks like he’s ready to end the world. I’m pretty sure the Witnesses aren’t going to be happy that they left the world in the hands of their pals, only to return to a newly omnipotent Hidden One and yet another apocalypse.

Other bad things: one of the members of Team Witness is dead and another member is understandably distracted by this. Two more members of Team Witness are pretty new to the whole “supernatural end to all of humanity” thing, and I can’t really foresee them being able to help much. Perhaps they could offer up another halfhearted Ford commercial in the middle of the battle? That should throw The Hidden One off his game. It certainly threw me off.

Overall, though, “Delaware” proved itself to be a decent wind-up for what has to be an exciting finale. I’m not sure how “complete” a finale we’re going to get (please don’t be a cliffhanger, please don’t be a cliffhanger, I could not handle a cliffhanger, Sleepy Hollow, please) but there’s no way it could be boring. Not with all those flashy storms and doom a-brewin.’


Everyone: your vocabulary word for the day is “Katabasis.” A Greek word meaning “down” or “go,” it’s usually used in terms of a journey or descent — often, in myths and stories, into the Underworld or other realms. I don’t think I need to explain why this word is relevant to the current situation regarding Abbie and Ichabod, but I do think it’s interesting how often it comes up with these two. What’s up with them always journeying to other realms, guys? And dying? They almost-die so much!

Even they’ve caught on to this unsettling habit of putting themselves in bizarre situations/places, because they actually have a little chit-chat about it while in a boat on the way to the Catacombs. Also: Abbie and Ichabod reminiscing about their troubles so far, and Ichabod doing more of that thing where he borders on poetry every time he talks about how great Abbie is? Wonderful. Nearly as wonderful as them bonding over cappuccino and donuts.

Their journey to the Catacombs is an extension of the plot from last week, which I really adore. I missed this serial aspect of the show during season two, and I’m glad we got it back for season three — even if it’s not what TV writers would call “new-viewer friendly” or anything. What can I say? I’m a sucker for some good continuity, and this ongoing storyline is doing all the right things for me as a viewer. Anyway, happy reviewer digressions aside, Ichabod and Abbie are taking Betsy Ross’s gold-stitched flag onto the Delaware River, hoping that a bit of dawn’s early light will glint off the magical thread and show them the way. Which it does. Success!

But when they reach the end of this newly formed River Styx, they don’t find the Catacombs — they find the aftermath of a 200-year-old battle, with each one of Washington’s former soldiers looking freshly dead. Well, I sure hope none of those guys who had crossed with Washington were historically important, because apparently Washington and Betsy Ross were the only ones who got back. Now, I understand the show maybe switching the historical figures that really did accompany Washington with no-name cannon fodder, but didn’t Abbie say that — within Sleepy Hollow continuity — Paul Revere was on that boat, too? What happened there?

After a brief battle with a zombie (much to Abbie’s frustration) the Witnesses find their way to the Catacombs. There, they do a bit more bonding — talking about what it was like being without each other, and how they still carried on conversations with imaginary versions of their partners. I think my favorite part of this latter half of season three has been the emphasis on the Abbie/Ichabod partnership and bond, and their connection really shines in this episode. Not only are they at complete ease with one another (sharing breakfast, joking around in boats) but they’re also more honest than they have been in a while and more comfortable in their awareness of how connected to each other they truly are. Like, through-time-and-alternate-realms connected.

Beyond the cave where Abbie spent ten timeless months, the Witnesses follow Pandora’s instructions on where to go to fix her box and encounter a wall with a code to open it, leading to a hidden chamber. Where they find Betsy Ross, because we couldn’t leave that plot thread hanging, I guess. Ichabod is shocked and sad. Abbie is sympathetic, until she sees that Betsy isn’t dead yet. Then things turn hilarious, as Abbie gets that “Dear lord, I cannot deal with another one of Crane’s ladyfriends hanging around while we try to save the world,” expression on her face that you should recall from literally every other time Ichabod’s had a ladyfriend hanging around while they tried to save the world. Abbie’s impatience with Ichabod’s romances is a very consistent character trait.

It turns out that Betsy’s been frozen in the Catacombs all this time — begging the question of who the heck returned to send Ichabod a break-up letter and marry twice more. Since she lacked the resources, she couldn’t create a makeshift hourglass like Abbie had, and she seems to have lost track of time. A lot. She thinks it’s 1777. Womp, womp, womp.

Also, the Witnesses still haven’t rebuilt Pandora’s box, which they should really get a move on doing since things aren’t going too well back on Earth...


The mission for the rest of Team Witness is pretty simple: stall for time. Pandora’s idea for doing this is to plant spikes in the ley lines that surround The Hidden One’s chosen vantage spot on the top of Bear Mountain. Things are going swimmingly until The Hidden One decides to be a jerk and start an angry-looking storm (in a neat effects shot, by the way — in addition to the shots of Abbie and Ichabod on the Delaware River, this episode has had some pretty neat visuals) that breaks the compass Pandora was using to find the ley lines.

Luckily, Jenny owns a map with ley lines marked on it. She sends Joe to get the coordinates off the map, which he does. Joe texts the coordinates to Sophie while Jenny’s busy getting herself into trouble with The Hidden One by trying to shoot his evil hourglass. Because The Hidden One is terrible, he puts a curse on Jenny that turns her love into pain, which means that Joe is the one hit by the curse and morphs into a wendigo. Again. Right in front of Ezra Mills.

When Jenny shows up to save her dad from her monster boyfriend, she discovers that Ezra already knew about all the supernatural stuff in the world. He knew August Corbin. He apparently knew about Abbie’s role as a Witness, and Crane, and everything else — but we’re not given nearly enough information about what, exactly, this all means. Papa Mills’ awareness of his daughter’s Witness status, and her roommate/friend being the other Witness, does throw Ezra’s “Take good care of my daughter” comment to Ichabod from last episode into a new light though, doesn’t it?

This fun revelation and new Mills background info is cut short by tragedy, however, when Jenny is forced to shoot wendigo-Joe after the spell to reverse him fails. Since this is the way things go in television shows, Joe transforms back into his human self with just enough time to say goodbye, and to tell Jenny he loves her, before dying.

We’re really going into this finale on the lowest note possible, people. It’s bad enough that Joe is dead and Jenny is sad, and Betsy Ross is distracting the Witnesses from their box-restoring goal, but those ley line spikes that were meant to hold The Hidden One off for a bit? He totally breaks through the barrier they create, the final grain of sand falls in the hourglass, and he absorbs the power that will make him omnipotent.

Bring on the finale.

Other Things:
  • "We should embrace the fruits of life with a full heart." Try embracing each other, you world-saving doofs.
  • Throughout this episode, Shannyn Sossamon portrays Pandora as a tired but composed woman going through a messy divorce, which is accurate and excellent.
  • Abbie looked happier talking about entering a place that she likens to Hell and drinking coffee with Ichabod than she does at the prospect of spending time with Danny, which is a bad sign for any relationship.
  • “Instead of taking you, he took Betsy Ross and Paul Revere.” Subtle jab from Abbie on Betsy Ross and Paul Revere, there.
  • We got to hear Nicole Beharie sing again! Yay!
  • Confirmed: Abbie Mills is better than Betsy Ross and George Washington. (We all knew this, though.)
  • This show should have had at least a 45% increase in Abbie/Ichabod hand-holding.
  • “I don’t know what I hate about you most: the way you talk, or the way you treat women.” Both is good, Jenny.
  • The weirdly skeptical look Sophie had when Danny segued into a Ford commercial was hilarious.
  • I hope Abbie is REALLY angry at Danny for the whole “spying on her for the FBI” thing. Like, he told Sophie the truth before Abbie? What even, dude.
  • “Bird. Huntress. Hourglass. Sun.” I’m probably reading into things here, but, bird = Crane (a kind of bird), huntress = Abbie, right?
  • I’m fairly certain that Betsy Ross isn’t making it back to the present day. I hope not. We have too many people on Team Witness! We’re running out of room around that table in the Archives.

1 comment:

  1. I love your reviews of Sleepy Hollow! I have shipped these two from the very beginning and wish the writers would have paired them romantically during season 2. Viewership would have increased if this had happened.