Sleepy Hollow Season 1 Episode 4: The Lesser Key of Solomon

Meanwhile, back at the church1 the Movers have found the chest and moved it into the light. One of them opens the chest and pulls out the book while the other commandeers a nearby stoup to use as a pedestal. There’s a ritual a brewin’! The latter hands over a blade wrapped in a cloth which the former uses to slash his own palm and drip blood onto the blank pages of the book. Why didn’t the bald Mover just unwrap the blade first? Seems like a lot of unnecessary ceremony here, but then again they probably aren’t expecting to be stopped in their apocalypse-bringing.

The blood sizzles into the pages and writing emerges in a style reminiscent of the Marauder’s Map. Not that I am suggesting anything evil, arcane, or German about Harry Potter. The Mover with a bit less blood in him than before does some reciting and a nearby octagonal altar bursts into flames. I was wrong. That’s what I need for my back room. The two watch reverently as boiling something2 pours from the altar and slowly spreads on the floor. Commercials.

The mystical lava is forming a very neat pentagon around the altar. So geometrical these armageddon-ists. I always knew the world would end through geometry. Abbie and Jenny have slipped into the church from different sides and they (and we) see four demons trying to break free of the portal’s cover, stretching against it like fabric. No time to be awestruck now, Abbie – order the pair to back away instead of just shooting them where they stand. That will work great, and one of them will not pick up the ceremonial knife and whip it at your head. Wait, I was wrong, that’s exactly what happens. Jenny starts firing, Abbie joins in, and the not-bald Mover gets hit by Abbie. He’s not wounded so badly that he can’t swing at Abbie with a makeshift club and knock her down. Meanwhile, Jenny and Baldie are tussling and, since he’s a foot and a half taller than her, he’s shoving her towards the pit o’ demons. I get that this is a very different effect than Crispy the Thirtysomething Witch, but it’s a pretty poor showing for a show that clearly has an effects budget.

Jenny gets a thumb in Baldie’s eye but it’s really Ichabod tackling him that saves the day. Ichabod is now wielding a small knife he got from somewhere and Baldie is swinging an all-metal axe he got from… somewhere. You know what, it’s a fight scene in an abandoned church with some demons boiling up through the floor so I’m just going to not think too hard right now.

Not-Baldie is limping about while Abbie gathers her wits and goes for the book. Just as she picks it up Not-Baldie gets his gun to Jenny’s head. If this were a different show3 and they’d done a better job of character development with Jenny to this point I’d say now would be a great time to f with expectations and have Jenny sacrifice herself, or, better still, have Abbie knowingly choose her quest over her sister. Instead, we get a rather clunky and poorly edited sequence where Abbie  puts the book down, all right – INTO THE PIT OF DEMONS! Apparently that’s all you need to do to break the ritual, and also apparently Hessian cultists who have waited their whole life for this moment don’t shoot their hostages in anger, but just spit ‘No!’ and allow their hostage to get the upper hand and shoot them. Meanwhile, Ichabod throws Baldie into the pit. Flames swirl, demons wail, and everything disappears neatly and without any scorching.4

  1. It’s unclear from Ichabod’s map if this is supposed to be the Old Dutch Church, which it really, really isn’t, or just nearby, so I’m (somehow) letting this all slide.  
  2. I’m going with mystical lava.  
  3. Not better, per se, just different, more like it’s partial progenitor Fringe.  
  4. I get it – they didn’t build this set like they did the tunnels, so they couldn’t bust it up like they did the tunnels. I’m just noting that the end result is much shallower than what this show has shown itself capable of doing.  

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