5 Awesome Things from Sleepy Hollow Season 1 Episode 9: Sanctuary

Sleepy Hollow (Photo: Fox.com)

Or: A Long Journey for Ichabod and Abbie Wherein They Encounter an Ent

Another 44 minutes of Sleepy Hollow that somehow didn’t really fill 44 minutes. There was a lot of running around in dark, dreary spaces at least. And family strife. So, I suppose, this was a perfect Thanksgiving episode.

Lena Gilbert, scion1 of east coast industrialists, goes a-explorin’ at an old family estate she’d been researching and promptly learns why you should never rummage about in a second-floor closet full of roots. It’s Thanksgiving time at SHPDHQ although Abbie presciently points out that fast food and hanging out with Ichabod “might be as much of a Thanksgiving as we’re getting.”  Turns out Lena’s lineage goes back to the founding fathers and her research notes include a scribbled ‘Katrina C.’ Ichabod DaVinci Codes his way to figuring out where Lena went – a sanctuary2 for freed slaves, political revolutionaries and the like. Of course, when Ichabod and Abbie show up to investigate the house slams all the doors and windows shut and won’t let them leave. Stupid house.

The place also used to give sanctuary from supernatural threats. The pair find Lena alive, and that the roots are filled with wine. I mean blood. Very thin blood. This discovery awakens the evil that had taken over the house, and the thing really looks like a six-foot tall Ent. There, I said it. Back at SHPDHQ, Jenny and Irving maybe sort of flirt vaguely kinda while she finally returns all the guns she ‘borrowed’ last episode. Irving’s ex-wife and daughter (who is in a wheelchair) arrive. The sancutary was probably run by the coven? Lots more running away from the Ent, and Abbie gets some ghostly visions. Irving’s daughter thinks he and Jenny are dating. Jenny is actually better in the scene than you’d think. Abbie sees Katrina in labor. Ravens fly at the window! The Ent-thing was coming after the baby? The Ent-thing holds its knife hand to Lena’s neck? Ichabod defeats the monster, Abbie brings some rum to the clubhouse, and here are five things about this episode more awesome than all that:

“We are in a damn haunted house.” Kudos to the writing team for handing Nicole Beharie that cut-to-credits line and more kudos for her always delightfully slightly-disbelieving delivery. And the real kudos go to an episode that, while kinda thin all around, made pretty good use of three characters trapped in a crumbling old house to create some feelings of entrapment and fear – all without resorting to cheap jump moments or heavy-handed music cueing. 

Irving’s backstory Despite some flat line deliveries from time to time3 Irving remains the most interesting character on this show. This time around we finally get to see both ex-wife and daughter and small doses are just right for both characters. The ex’s conversation with Irving, expressing genuine puzzlement at why Irving transferred to this ‘tiny’ town, shows why it’s not insane that he can rock a tactical vest and shotgun. There’s also now a threat that, if he cancels one more weekend visit with his daughter, the ex will sue for sole custody. Plus: “The Senate majority leader contacted me personally…”  When do we get to find out Irving is Illuminati? Please?

This week’s time travelling misunderstandings. The writers clearly have fun with the ‘Our present is Ichabod’s bewildering future’ concept and it has yet to be overused. This episode treats us to Ichabod discoursing on the various problems with (only alluded to) McDonald’s – namely that the meal resembles nothing Scottish, and the french fries (“From the Austrian Netherlands!”) are terrible. Later, he hands Abbie a package and wonders if it contains “more treasures from the Amazon”; I’m calling that a good easter egg.4

An expanded family tree Every time you think this show is going to wander around without any sense of how characters and history fit together they do you a solid like revealing the sanctuary’s house matron – and Katrina’s midwife – is Abbie’s ancestor. Plus Ichabod has a son, eh? Bet that won’t come up for three or four episodes…

Bad ass. Ichabod’s showdown with the Ent in the house’s root-filled basement, dramatically lit with road flares, was effective, to the point, and not as over the top as one might fear. Tom Misson delivers a good screaming session at the monster, defending his wife and child (in absentia), and then calmly, steel-eyes “Give Moloch my regards…” before delivering the killing blow. Now if he could just beat up on something other than a living shrub.

  1. That word becomes very interesting when you learn its second definition.  
  2. Ah, that’s where they got the title…  
  3. You can do it, Orlando Jones! I have faith!  
  4. I took it to mean Ichabod must have seen an Amazon.com delivery or two and now thinks all mail deliveries arrive from the Spanish colonies.  

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About Aaron Mucciolo 206 Articles
He does things. That's all we can say at this time. E-mail: mooch@whatelseison.tv