SLEEPY HOLLOW Debriefing: You gotta have faith


I don’t normally recap Sleepy Hollow, because I confess the details of the actual mythology escape me most of the time. What can I say, my favorite scenes are almost exclusively the ones in which Ichabod faces the modern world, as my weekly posts can attest.

However, I couldn’t let this episode go by without some commentary, because I really loved seeing the relationships play out tonight between Abbie (Nicole Beharie), Ichabod (Tom Mison) and Katrina (Katia Winter). Sure, the episode began jovially enough with our heroes participating in American democracy, but Katrina’s sudden reemergence at a local hospital alters their course, and for the rest of the hour we’re left to follow them on a journey to rid her of the demon growing inside her, before Henry (John Noble) conquers them for good.

I must admit, I’ve been a little cold on Katrina thus far in the series’ run. I have nothing against her, exactly, but I feel like most of the time, she’s written passively, as a pawn of Abraham’s, or Henry’s, and because we’ve seen so little of her relationship with Ichabod, I find it hard to really see them as a couple. It’s only this season that I’ve even started to grasp her as a character in her own right, with the revelation of all her own plotting in purgatory, to escape her own fate. She’s not just a pretty face, she’s an “enchantress” and a surprisingly adept player at this game, all things considered.

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

All this to say that while we’ve heard both Ichabod and Katrina declare their love for one another in the past two seasons, I didn’t really “get” them, until tonight. That is largely thanks to Tom Mison’s wonderful acting: the star-crossed couple are given so few scenes together, but he sells every line, displaying Ichabod’s desperation and devotion all at once, and there is no doubt Katrina is the only woman for him, despite her secrets and lies. Mison is always a treat, but he was especially skilled tonight, going from sarcastic to vulnerable to enraged all in the blink of an eye.

In the same vein, while I’ve been wary of Katrina in the past, figuring there must be some more secrets up her sleeve that will strike Ichabod and Abbie at the most inopportune moments, I nonetheless believed her tonight when she pleaded with Ichabod to have faith in her, and by extension in their vengeful son Henry. (“We have never lost faith in each other. Have you really lost all faith in our son?”) She made a good point: she didn’t suffer through 231 years of purgatory just to give up on her husband or their son in Sleepy Hollow, and she kept believing in Ichabod even when the evil forces around them tried to convince her their cause was lost. Why stop believing in that love now?

So, seeing them reunite was surprisingly touching to me — along with watching them both discover the peculiarities of the modern world, but that is for another post. Yet, I also found the inherent conflict between them regarding what to do about Henry compelling, too. Katrina has always been unwavering in her belief in the good in their son, deep down, whereas I get the impression Ichabod’s belief in Henry is more of a belief in Katrina’s instincts, rather than his own.

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

Throughout all this, though, is Abbie, kind of acting as a sounding board. We know her stance on Henry: she wants him gone, for good, and thinks he’s beyond hope at this point, which she’s tried to impart upon Ichabod in these past few episodes. (“Do NOT let your feelings for him affect our mission.”) She doesn’t see the humanity in him anymore, despite knowing who his parents are. However, Katrina is unwavering in her faith in her son, and though Abbie clearly disagrees with her, she tries to see her side, because of how much it means to Ichabod. She’s put to the test when she realizes that the demon of the apocalypse is growing inside Katrina: Katrina states that they could end this once and for all by destroying the demon’s vessel, i.e. kill Katrina before it has a chance to hatch, but Abbie never even considers it. Firstly, because she’s a good person and won’t take another person’s life, but most importantly, because she couldn’t do that to Ichabod, no matter how dire their current situation seems. She may not know Katrina, but she cares so deeply for Ichabod that she doesn’t want to further his pain. So they decide to find another way, and eventually they do, in the nick of time. Thanks, in part, to Abbie conning Sheriff Reyes (Sakina Jaffrey) into sending in a swat team to recover Ben Franklin’s tablet containing the prism needed to defeat the demon. (Yeah, I know, it makes even less sense when I type it out — sorry folks.) Again: she’ll go to the mat for Ichabod, every time. And Katrina is his family, so there is no question they’ll go to any length to save her.

What I’m trying to get at is that Abbie and Ichabod’s friendship continues to drive the show, and it captivates me. I have to confess that I don’t “ship” them in the least romantically: I realize that odds are the show will go there at some point, but right now, their platonic love for one another is unlike anything I currently watch. It really is a “pure” love, in the sense that their affection binds them together for this common goal of theirs, their mission. They’re selfless towards one another and put their personal feelings aside to help each other — which is why last week, Ichabod admitted defeat on Henry’s inherent goodness after realizing what it’s cost Abbie and the town, while this week Abbie set aside her desire to destroy Henry to allow Ichabod and Katrina the chance to get through to their son. The writers could have easily chosen to display jealousy on the part of either of the women in this scenario, or framed it as a budding love triangle, but everyone’s higher calling takes precedence, and the petty drama, so far, isn’t even on the radar.

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

That being said, there are the seeds for some wonderful points of conflict in the future: not only Abbie vs. the Cranes in terms of what to do about Henry, but also Ichabod and Katrina disagreeing over the issue as a couple. Ichabod sides with Katrina, for now, as near-death experiences are wont to do, but he’s also seen the evil in Henry in a way Katrina can’t, or won’t, as his guilt-ridden mother, and it seems clear that in spite of his faith in Katrina, he knows they’re reaching a breaking point with Henry. So when their son inevitably causes more destruction in his wake at the next opportunity he encounters, how are they going to react to it? Or to each other? It should be a wild ride.

Ultimately, it is all about faith. Ichabod and Katrina’s faith in each other, and in Henry. Abbie’s faith in Ichabod’s judgment, and that his instincts about Henry will prove to be correct. Ichabod’s faith in Abbie standing by his side, even when she doesn’t agree with them. And everyone’s faith that Henry won’t destroy their world once and for all before they can get to him first.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Does Henry have the mother of all Mommy Issues or what? What happens if Katrina sets foot in Forever 21? If Ichabod is so disgusted with American Idol, what happens if he watches Utopia? And Ichabod’s new job description: perfection or perfection?


Nels knew how to operate a TV remote control before she knew how to talk. As a result, she has spent an inordinate amount of time pretending she actually lives on a soundstage. When she isn’t watching whichever show is currently capturing her heart, she is writing about how said show is currently capturing her heart. She loves pie.

One Response to SLEEPY HOLLOW Debriefing: You gotta have faith

  1. […] mentioned a few weeks ago that the biggest treat for me in watching Sleepy Hollow is seeing Abbie (Nicole Beharie) and […]

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