Friday, October 16, 2015

Sleepy Hollow 3x03 "Blood and Fear" (Mysteries of the Past) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

"Blood and Fear"
Original Airdate: October 15, 2015

I'm still clinging to the idea of this season's over-arching theme being "fear" and so far the show is with me. It's more blatant in this week's episode, "Blood and Fear" (I mean, look at it right there in the title) as our favorite Witnesses are starting to catch onto the pattern, too. It seems that Pandora's plan is to not only strike fear in the hearts of Abbie and Ichabod, but in the entire town of Sleepy Hollow. Why, though? Reasons were simple back when we were dealing with Moloch. He wanted to escape purgatory and bring about the end of the world. Easy-peasy. But Pandora is more enigmatic when it comes to her deeper motivations, and even though Abbie and Ichabod are starting to realize that Pandora and her box could be just as much of a threat as Moloch was before, neither they nor the audience knows what her end goal actually is.


This week, Pandora targets a nervous, nerdy guy named Nelson Meyers for her evil scheme. Nelson wants to date this girl in his office named Emily, but she's with this other guy, so Nelson uses an evil knife to stab him to death and steal all his blood. You know, usual workplace romantic drama! Of course, Abbie is called in because it's weird that a man was stabbed to death in an elevator, lost all his blood, but left no blood on the actual scene of the crime. I think Abbie's getting a reputation for being that FBI agent who handles all the weird stuff.

When Ichabod sees the body, he is reminded of a killing from his past. "So, some monster the Brits used against the Patriots?" Abbie asks, having recognized the pattern of Ichabod's flashbacks over the years. But surprise! This gruesome murder memory has nothing to do with the American Revolution. It comes from Ichabod's childhood, back when he went to Eton and his best friend was murdered in the same way: stabbed, exsanguinated, and the killer never found. I think Abbie's just as surprised by this memory of Ichabod's significantly pre-dating the Revolutionary War as we are. It was starting to seem like Ichabod sprung to life out of the ether, fully-formed and wearing a military coat.

Ichabod calls the killer "Jack the Ripper" and –– for the record –– there is no evidence of any serial killer being called "Jack the Ripper" in the 1700s, but we're just going to ignore that and chalk it up to artistic license. We'll also ignore the fact that the anachronism could have been easily avoided by simply not mentioning the name "Ripper" in the flashbacks and making it so that Ichabod's research on the Whitechapel killer inspired him to apply the name to the Eton murderer retroactively when he realized the MOs matched up. I'm very forgiving of you, Sleepy Hollow, because you're my favorite. Back on track: Ichabod tells Abbie that he discovered a pattern of "Ripper" killings that happened over the course of 900 years, and they assume that it means the killer is actually a supernatural being.

When they find out that the murder weapon was a particularly wicked-looking knife, though, they realize that it's not a summoned monster at all. It's the knife itself that possesses people and causes those who wield it to "shed all virtue and be wholly overcome with an unquenchable bloodlust." Fun! And that "unquenchable bloodlust" is very literal, by the way, as the knife actually sucks the blood out of its victims to become more powerful. In order to conquer this evil, they're going to have to separate the knife from its wielder, Nelson, or he'll just go on a killing spree and terrify the whole town –– Pandora's goal, no doubt.

The team figures out that they can stop Nelson the Ripper by "feeding" the knife blood tarnished by disease. Ichabod plans to do this by shooting Nelson with a dart filled with malaria-tainted blood. Things don't go according to plan –– because of course not –– and he winds up injecting the blood into himself and getting stabbed by the knife, which immediately separates from Nelson when is sucks up Ichabod's malaria-blood. Abbie goes to Ichabod since, you know, he's been stabbed by an evil knife and also has malaria so he's not feeling so hot and she wants to comfort him. But then Pandora shows up to taunt Abbie about how Ichabod is dying in her arms and there's nothing she can do about it.

Except... Ichabod isn't dying, really. When we see Abbie next, she's chatting casually with Daniel and they're sharing a drink, and I'm pretty sure she wouldn't be doing that if her best friend was at death's door moments earlier. When she goes back to her house, Ichabod's laid up on the couch and he's sick with the aftereffects of having infected himself with malaria and getting stabbed, but otherwise he's fine. So why was Pandora using phrases like "his life slipping through your fingers" when she was taunting Abbie? There's no way that Pandora doesn't know that the advanced medical knowledge of the 21st century could have Ichabod not only survive, but also be well enough to rest at home instead of in a hospital. She knows too much about the world to assume Ichabod's death, so why target Abbie with such specific phrasing? Perhaps it was a threat of things to come?

Whatever Pandora's plan may be, the Witnesses are going to put a stop to it and save the world. Again. Because that's what they do.


Just as Ichabod's past comes back to haunt him in the present, the pasts of Jenny and Joe –– and August Corbin, technically –– has returned to confuse and irritate them. While trying to get back the "Shard of Anubis" (that rock-thing that Jenny gave to that Randall guy in exchange for Joe's life last episode) they run into someone Jenny recognizes as having some of the same skills taught to her by August Corbin. The recognition makes her think bad things are on the horizon and she says to Joe, "Your dad's past is a maze of secrets. I feel like we just stumbled on a big one."

Jenny and Joe are an interesting duo because we don't really know how well they know each other. We know that Abbie used to babysit Joe when she was a teenager, but we also know that Abbie and Jenny never ran into each other despite each of them seeing August Corbin as a father figure in their lives. Did Jenny hang out with Joe when they were younger, without crossing the line that August Corbin set up between his "regular" life and the life involving the occult? I think the questions that spring up around Joe Corbin and his past with his father (and his father's past with the Mills sisters) adds an extra something to the show. The late Sheriff Corbin is a mysterious and large-looming character in Sleepy Hollow despite the fact that he was really only in a single episode, and I feel like Joe is there to bridge the gap between the Corbin/Mills past and present. It should be interesting to see how everything plays out.

Other Things:
  • Ichabod giving a stirring speech while Abbie plays on her phone and makes knowing remarks about his references to Jefferson? Excellent.
  • "What brings you to this abyss of red tape and apathy?"
  • It seems like Pandora is getting more and more actively involved with her evil machinations each episode.
  • "He deserves to know the truth. I would want the same, wouldn't you?" Abbie, that is a HINT FROM THE UNIVERSE to tell Jenny about finding your dad!
  • "You two have a great day agenting." Heh.
  • What does Abbie tell people when she drags Ichabod to crime scenes now? It seems like he wouldn't be allowed to hang around her when she's doing official FBI business.
  • "Are you sure you're related to August Corbin?" "Hey, you know I'm not the one who handcuffed you to a shower railing."
  • How many people did August Corbin know?! He was basically like the Ichabod Crane of the 21st Century; he just knew all the people.
  • Having a knife for a hand seems… inconvenient. Unless you're murdering people, in which case it's probably super convenient.
  • I love Abbie using words like "unsub" and cleverly disguising supernatural happenings as "ritualistic killings".
  • "Dinner?" "You know, the meal at the end of the day." Daniel Reynolds as: Agent Suave.
  • "Oh, please. As if Adams would have done any different." John Adams bashing? Yeah, Ichabod would get a kick out of the Hamilton musical.
  • "Damn." (Nelson the Ripper opens his eyes after falling out a window.) "Oh, damn!" Absolutely PERFECT delivery of those lines from Nicole Beharie.
  • I wonder what kind of paperwork Abbie has to fill out when she brings her civilian friend to help take down a crazy killer and he gets stabbed.
  • Okay, so Daniel is "a few years ahead" of Abbie, and they were "equals" at the Academy. So I'm thinking I was right, and Abbie did some initial FBI training with Daniel before having to put it on pause to stop the Apocalypse.
  • Abbie sitting with Ichabod while he sleeps! Scolding him for injecting himself with malaria! Fuzzy-brained, malaria-riddled, partially-exsanguinated Ichabod immediately freaking out at the idea of Pandora possibly hurting Abbie! I can't even deal with these two.
  • And a classic Witnesses fist-bump!
  • AND Ichabod expressing his gratitude for finding Abbie. Again. Look, I said it on Twitter but I'll say it here, too: if the show wants to end every episode with Ichabod finding new ways to express how wonderful Abbie is and how grateful he is to know her, I'm totally okay with it.


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