Time for a hard-core reality check. In this week’s episode, our Sleepy Hollow crew faces two big revelations: Diana finally learns that her daughter is a Witness to the Apocalypse, while Crane experiences the hair-pulling torture that is landing a decent studio apartment in a major American city.
“I was assured a walk-in closet,” Crane tells stock character Sketchy Landlord as we open on his wretched real-estate hunt. (I so wanted him to make like Carrie Bradshaw and mention that the apartment also smelled like takeout — wait, he eats some takeout later! Coincidence?) Crane is reassured by Jake, who has apparently taken it upon himself to help, that it is “an edge neighborhood” soon to run amok with “cupcake joints and record stores.” Jenny joins in on the bougie ribbing, swearing that she’d never noticed Crane’s hipster vibe before. How is that possible? Yes, the beard, but also … his name is Ichabod.
Anyway, let’s stop right here for a quick brainstorm. What if, moving forward, Sleepy Hollow realigned its characters into a Scooby Gang threesome with just Crane, Jenny, and Jake? Don’t you feel like they have the most chemistry so far? Isn’t forcing an Abbie copycat in the form of Diana pretty weaksauce? If you have to keep reinventing the show, then actually reinvent it, don’t just replicate it.
The real question I’m getting at is, isn’t Jake just the best? I think I’m developing a platonic crush on Jake. (P.S. Jenny should totally follow my lead, but more about that later.) I pretty much live to see Jerry MacKinnon deliver his lines these days, and I dare say not a one disappoints. He’s like the half-nerd, half-lothario of my dreams. Congrats, Sleepy Hollow! I still don’t forgive you for Abbie’s demise, but you knocked it out of the park when you created this guy.
While Crane’s busy signing the lease, Diana sees Molly has drawn a sketch of some spooky trees, which she finds suspicious because her daughter usually draws people. Diana soon summons Crane to help crack her latest inexplicable case: an assassination attempt on the president by … the Headless Horseman! (I’m full of asides this week, but here’s one more: The president is a black woman. No matter how much I may chide Sleepy Hollow for its numerous and baffling foibles, its commitment to racial normalization is commendable and impressive.) Just in case you weren’t sure it was the Headless Horseman who was posing as a cop — as well as a person with an actual head — one of the officers who was on the scene later spells it out in videotaped testimony: “But this horseman, he was headless, right?” Crane insists that it was indeed the same HH he’s been tussling with for centuries and that “nothing will deter him from his goal.” As Crane further explains his HH backstory to Diana, we cue up the flashback montage: August Corbin! Abbie! Classical music! Crane uttering ye olde turns of phrase like “soulless blaggard!”
Just like forever, our Scooby Gang gets to sleuthing in their musty library, determining that HH seeks Madame President’s head. (You know, literally.) They consider how HH seemed to stop in his tracks during the assassination attempt and surmise that it may have something to do with the glyphs, runes, and whatnot installed in D.C.’s subterranean tunnels, or that it may have something to do with Benjamin Banneker. The Banneker discussion finally leads Crane to confess that he is … [insert gasp here] … a time traveler?!
Here’s the thing about this purportedly big reveal, which the show has been building up for a few episodes now: I don’t care. It’s not new information for us, and for those characters who just found out, it’s not information that’s gonna alter their arc on the show. Nobody’s gonna quit the Scooby Gang in protest over this. Sure, Diana acts like she might do that, but that scene where she hauls Crane into another room to privately yell at him wound up really rubbing me the wrong way. Janina Gavankar’s delivery felt weirdly demonstrative, and it certainly wasn’t helped by wooden buddy-cop clichés like, “You and me. Outside. Now!” (Silly but accurate: It reminded me of when Tyra Banks would performatively chew out an ANTM contestant back in the day and her subtext was all, “Look at how angry you are making me be at you!”) Diana is the new Abbie, so she’s obviously not going to quit, which means that scene feels like waiting out a kid’s temper tantrum. I know I’m on a huge Jake kick, but the only worthwhile part of that scene is watching his full-body reaction when Jenny finally tells everyone that Crane “is technically 265 years old.” (Anyone up for making some Jake GIFs, come to think about it?)
After that, Jenny, Jake, and Alex head underground while Crane heads into a lengthy reminiscence about that one time he totally met Banneker. This sequence was a bit too slow and drawn-out for my taste, but otherwise I really liked Crane’s well-acted meeting of the minds with Banneker. (Kudos to you, Edwin Hodge!) I also got more of my favorite new thing — Jake! “You know your runes,” he tells Jenny, trying to get all sidle-up-y with her. “You keep eyeballing me like that, you’ll lose an eye,” she snaps back. Am I shipping? Am I a #Jakenny shipper now? I know he’s no Joe, but even Joe was too dweeby for Jenny and that worked!
This all ties back to Mwah-ha-halcolm Dreyfus, who owns a leather folio containing some of Banneker’s D.C. designs, which include information on the supernaturally powered (though technically nonexistent) J Street. Here, we get yet another needlessly languid scene while Jeremy Davies lets seething sarcasm drip slowly from his lips like he’s trying to dangle a loogie in some poor kid’s face. “Would you be a dear and go fetch that?” he asks his demon-eyed assistant about the folio. He later tells Crane and Diana, “I sold my soul to the devil at age 25,” except then he insists he’s totally kidding. (Dibs on finding out that he’s not.) After Diana and Crane leave with the folio, Dreyfus’s goon asks Captain Exposition–type questions about what they may be up to and what their plans might be. It’s all a big snooze.
As always, the episode’s climax comes when Crane and his partner play Capture the Big Bad. This go-round, their machinations involve trapping HH (who’s looking incredibly T-1000 in his cop costume) behind a movable brick wall that looks like it came from a small-town haunted house. While the above-ground footage of this face-off is pretty ho-hum — it’s mostly just Diana waiting for the wall to open, plus Crane and HH in their usual standoff postures — things are more exciting down below as Jake and Jenny figure out their hieroglyphics shtick in the nick of time. “Roaches check in, end up buying a timeshare,” Jake jokes, which is a bad joke but I don’t care because I love him.
We end on several kickers. One, Diana realizes Molly is the second Witness after stringing together the clues about Abbie, Jenny, and the four white trees. Two, Dreyfus finds his own way into the tunnel, confronts HH, and suggests they join forces. Three, a wad of black goo mysteriously oozes out of the boot located in Crane’s not-walk-in closet and flings itself onto his face. The first we knew was coming, the second is unexpected but not totally surprising, and the third … wuh huh?! I have no idea what’s up there, but I’m definitely intrigued. Hmm, I wonder what Jake thinks of that cliffhanger …
- Crane: “And what of these so-called stunning views?” Landlord: “The neighbor showers with the shades up.”
- Jake: “That’s right up your OG-hipster-vibe alley.” Jenny: “How have I not seen that before? The facial hair, the boots … the obscure doughnut toppings?!”
- Jake: “Now that we’re neighbors, we can bro down. Chill-bo Baggins!”
- Crane [to his Ikea project]: “I shall show your Swedish cohorts that I am the master of this domain.”