Sleepy Hollow S01E08 – “Necromancer”
Sleepy Hollow “Necromancer”
Written by Mark Goffman and Phillip Iscove
Directed by Paul Edwards
Well, I was wrong, the Headless Horseman didn’t escape in the opening sequence of the next episode, it took him the whole episode to escape. Close enough!
What we get is an Ichabod episode, giving him some much needed characterization, and showing he’s not just a super human sent from the past, but isn’t always perfect and in control. We also get the return of Jenny Mills, being totally awesome as usual. There is Captain Irving kicking butt for a second week in a row, once he stopped being Captain Deny Deny, he’s turned into an action hero (who is still trying to keep everything under wraps, because it is crazy, because people will freak out, and because you don’t know who you can trust.) Katrina appears in this episode, and we find out more of why she’s stuck in limbo.
Don’t worry, villain lovers, we got the return of crazy German Hessians! And lots of demons running around, necromancy (it better with a title like “Necromancer”!), and origin stories of your favorite headless guy who rides a horse. Though the story was a bit convoluted. Things don’t seem to match 100% with what we saw when Ichabod met Katrina. Abraham should have appeared in more episodes before this one, just to inch the emotional impact up a few notches.
Story problems aside, “Necromancer” delivered some good action, conspiracy, and nutso stuff, so I was entertained!
We begin where we ended, with the Headless Horseman captured! This is worth a fist bump, which Abbie teaches to Ichabod, who is both enthused and bewildered. They can’t kill the Headless Horseman, but he is held in a prison designed by Thomas Jefferson to deal with the worst kind of demons. Ichabod theorizes because he was dealing with the French! Oh, France, you’re a punching bag 200 years ago, and still today! The prison features UV lights – which weaken the chained Horseman – and is protected by a hex spell that keeps demons out. Totally secure, I expect it to be destroyed very soon.
Ichabod has the idea he will interrogate the Horseman…by trying to use Andy Brooks! You know, the dead guy played by John Cho who isn’t dead.
The Headless Horseman’s red eye horse finds two hunters in the woods, one of which suddenly is speaking German on the phone and calling in Team 3 to help the Rider, and he shoots the other hunter! Hessians! Also he shoots his black friend, which might be more of a statement than you think in this series, which has larger than usual amount of prominent black roles. These Hessians are cold blooded mofos.
Captain Irving brings in Jennifer Mills (who was trying to enjoy a latte), but they don’t like each other as he doesn’t trust her yet and she doesn’t like cops of Abbie too much. AKA, these two will be an item by the end of the series. Their antagonistic meeting is interrupted by a robber in progress at an antiques shop, Jennifer knows the place and tags along.
Andy is the Necromancer for the Headless Horseman – which means he can speak with the dead and uses Egyptian symbols – though he doesn’t use the symbols at all this entire episode, they’re there just so Ichabod can find them and be right. Andy doesn’t want to do it but sort of forced into it.
The robbery was faked because all they were after was a Druidic bowl (called a phiale) that has magic powers. It can be used to remove the hex guarding the cell the Headless Horseman is in, thus we know the Hessians did it. Store owner Jesse Adams (Mark Jeffrey Miller) is Jenny’s friend that she used to retrieve stuff for (when she wasn’t working for the Sheriff), and he sort of knows what is going on with the whole good vs. evil thing. And he has big ears. Queue the opening credits…
Wait, the opening credits happened 14 minutes in?? Guh???
The Headless Horseman won’t talk, so Ichabod goads him on until HH drops a necklace that was Katrina’s, and then possesses Andy long enough to confirm the necklace was Katrina’s. When he’s possessed, Andy has black eyes, like the Sin Eater had, and a deep voice.
Ichabod explains to Abbie that Katrina was once betrothed to Ichabod’s best friend that we’ve never heard of before, Abraham Van Brunt, who gave her the necklace. Flashback city to 1773 and the necklace being picked out (by Ichabod, as Abraham is Van Lame) and boring Revolutionary Era dinner parties, which involve some dude playing music on a spinning harp thing. Okay, maybe it’s better than dubstep. Katrina already knows Ichabod picked the necklace out and she’s breaking off the engagement with Abraham because he sucks and because of Ichabod, and because she wants to be free to marry if and when she decides. To Ichabod, who she loves. Abbie comments that Ichabod had some game to make Katrina break off the engagement.
“I neither wanted, nor did I invite, game!” – Ichabod
Captain Irving and Jenny figure out the next step for the Hessians will be to cut the power to the UV lights, and go to investigate the power station. Captain Irving kills a Hessian dude, while Jenny captures two. More German goons show up, but Captain had a whole swat team as backup. Captain Irving using resources at his disposal!
But something is missing from the Hessian van…a BOMB! And goodbye power station and power for Sleepy Hollow.
Headless Horseman is goading Ichabod now, saying Ichabod was the target all along and it is vengeance for Ichabod killing Abraham. Ichabod begins to lose control, obviously rattled at what the Headless Horseman is saying, but we’ve not seen enough of the flashback yet to know why he’s so upset. Captain Irving phones them to let them know the power will be out for at least two hours, and Ichabod now will Flashback City us to the rest of the story…
Ichabod says he didn’t kill Abraham. The day after Katrina broke it off with Abraham, the two were to carry the 1st Declaration of Resolves of the Continental Congress to be delivered. Ichabod is a moron who chooses that long journey by foot to reveal that Katrina loves him. So Abraham challenges him to a duel! Ichabod tries to get out of it, but Abe forces the matter and they fight for a while.
Abraham is the better of the two and knocks Ichabod to the ground, but is then shot by approaching Hessians. Abe screams for Ichabod to leave as he lays dying, we don’t know if his rage is at Ichabod because of hate, or because Ichabod is endangering the mission by staying. And that’s the last Ichabod saw of Abraham Van Brunt, who he’ll never have to worry about again. Also the Hessians were all wearing masks.
Ichabod is left to guard the Headless Horseman while Captain Irving, Jennifer, and Abbie patrol for Hessians. But the real problem is Andy, who had the magic phiale hidden inside his body and rips it out to cast the spell. Moloch Minions drop in – naked Vulcan vampires! Just shoot them and they explode into debris. Jeez, Moloch, why did you get the Dollar Store minions???
Headless Horseman breaks free to duel Ichabod for the audience members who haven’t figured out that the Headless Horseman is Abraham, complete with identical swordfighting stance that is cut back and forth to their old fight.
Headless Horseman says that Katrina is held captive for him as a prize when his job is done. But first he’s going to kill Ichabod! And he’s still a better fighter than Ichabod, who is knocked down. But before Ichabod is killed, Andy says that killing him is forbidden by the Master (is he Torgo???) and calls in the nude demons to warp everyone evil away.
The lesson of the day is that Katrina is the weakness of the Headless Horseman just as much as Ichabod. Which makes her character more important, she might be important enough soon to be in every episode! Maybe. Probably not.
Katrina being just a prize that now both sides are fighting for sort of lessons her impact on the story, and flies in the face of the weaksauce independent woman lines she was spouting in between lines about how she loves Ichabod. The writers haven’t found the right balance yet to make her more fleshed out, though I am aware it is harder for her character to interact with people to get developed (outside of flashbacks or the occasional one-person vision.) Hopefully this gets solved sooner than later, because her character is rapidly becoming a fifth wheel.
Andy Cobb continues to be more complicated than just a simple demon corrupted cop. He’s dead and hates that he’s dead, but he also sold his soul so he’s forced to do evil stuff that he regrets, he has no choice. It’s different from the Hessians in that he is compelled to do by being dead, though I doubt the Hessians could walk away from their deals, either. Andy helps the team a little when he can, perhaps in the future they might get his soul back in some sort of swap, who knows. I do like that he’s not the usual slimy toady, he’s got regret and depth, all of which can be turned off when he’s made evil. Like split personality.
I do think the Headless Horseman being Ichabod’s former best friend turned rival is too predictable. Also was there a Death rider before Abraham? Might be worth setting up some crazy history.