Sleepy Hollow Season 2 Premiere Recap: War Games

Photo: Brownie Harris/FOX
Sleepy Hollow
Episode Title
This Is War
Editor’s Rating

How many moments into the second-season premiere did it take before you let our your first audible “Wuh?” Mine came somewhere between Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” and Crane’s rhetorical question, “Is there no end to this birthday madness?” In other words, pretty much right away. And when Abbie and Crane soon started talking about what happened a year ago, I thought, Wait — you’re gonna Mad Men us? Take each new season as license to jump years ahead in the story? Since when has Don Draper ended a season buried alive while Peggy’s in Purgatory?

And then, just when I was feeling really deflated, feeling like the Sleepy Hollow writers had granted themselves a big, old cop-out, then I was all, Ohhhhh. Oh, I see what you did thereAwesome. Let’s get into it!

So then, let’s get into it! I loved the episode’s trick opening, the way it played out almost a little too long, to the point where it felt like the year-ahead time lapse was something they were really going to commit to. (A clue I’m sure some of you got right away: Henry telling Crane and Mills, “Anyone can be tricked into believing a lie.”) In the meantime, the fauxlogue (see what I did there?) gave us our first dose of Crane and Mills badassery. (That sweeping shot of Crane as he took up his crossbow? Yeeeeesss!) It also gave us our first instance of exposition as action. You know, that thing Sleepy Hollow does where Crane spells out some heretofore superfluous piece of his Zelig-like backstory that just so happens to solve whatever’s in immediate need of solving. Or, in this case, that thing where Abbie pulls Crane aside to tell him she suddenly remembers that Jenny once said that Corbin once made her go retrieve an important sketchbook that belonged to Benjamin Franklin. This season, I have decided I shall embrace such plot devices as if I’m trapped six feet under and finally got a bar’s worth of reception on my newly upgraded smartphone. So hooray to Benjamin Franklin and his air bath! Hooray to Timothy Busfield, playing against type as someone with neither ginger locks nor clothes! (Side note: Ken Olin’s a SH executive producer. Does this mean other thirtysomething crossovers are coming? Can Hope please play Dolly Madison?) 

Once the fauxlogue ends and we’re right back where we left off last season, Crane swiftly goes about the business of doing what I thought was going to be impossible: MacGyver-ing his way out of that pine box lickety-split. (Must learn to differentiate soil tastes before carrying out plans to save world.) His Franklin backstory then provides a clear-cut (perhaps almost too easy?) path to rescuing Abbie from Purgatory without having to send Katrina back there … Oh. Right. Katrina. Alrighty, let’s get this out of the way. I had high hopes for Katrina this season, on the grounds that being back on the planet Earth should allow her to finally make use of her supernatural powers. But so far, it’s a different plane of existence, same damsel in distress. My notes from her first scene read: “Tied up in chair. Tries to escape for two seconds. Gets tied up in chair again.” (My one and only note from her second scene reads, and I quote, “SHIRTLESS HEADLESS BEEFCAKE HAHA.”)

Speaking of, how about some uniformed beefcake, now with a refurbished, just-like-new neck? Andy!! Who else said “Yay!” when they saw our Mister Brooks? Andy was a delightful surprise, even though we all knew he was coming thanks to the John Cho guest-star title card at the top of the show. How do we feel about, say, a #TeamAndyGail? #TeamAbbdy? What I’m saying is, my hand may have clutched my chest when Cho emoted the hell out of, “Moloch would tear me to pieces if he knew. I needed to know that I still have some trace of free will left. You remind me that I am human.” Everybody don’t watch Selfie so we can have our resident heart-on-sleeve-wearer back!

But back to our main ‘shipping vessel. Um, Abbie and Crane were being super touchy-feely last night, right? All the hugging and the “I don’t think I would’ve made it without you” and the “I WILL RETURN FOR YOU!” Plus, “leftenant” is now so much more than Crane’s pet name for Abbie. It’s also, thanks to the beheading of Evil “LOOtenant” Icky, the source of their first in-joke. Well, that and fist bumps. 

I’m going to start noting here any moments that I couldn’t quite figure out; please share your thoughts on these in the comments!

1. Why the growing roots on the bonsai tree in the decapitated professor’s office? Was that just supposed to randomly clue us in to the fact that they weren’t in reality, or was it referencing something specific from an episode last season that I’m not remembering? Was it just supposed to be Crane subconsciously bringing up his real-world predicament of being entwined in tree roots underground?

2. When Crane and Mills were fighting the Headless Horseman at the professor’s place, Crane yells at Abbie, “Consecrated rounds!” (Or “concentrated” rounds?) Then she fires at HH. Then she yells to Crane something that sounded like, “Callie’s arrows!” Did anyone understand what they were saying, and was that supposed to signal that they had, in fact, spent the past year in military-style training?


  • “I shall consider myself punked.”
  • “And here I thought science had won over superstition in modern America.”
  • “Diligence is the mother of good luck.” 
  • “Harvard University … that place still exists?”
  • Jenny: “It’s all about the Benjamins.” Crane: “Yes, it always was. Our Franklin was full of … aphorisms.” 
  • “Aaaand none of that recorded. Wonderful!”
  • “Blatherskite.” (Technically not a Crane-ism, but a real word I never before knew existed!)