After Reyes effectively put an end to all occult shenanigans last week, Jenny and Crane are out of the police sidekick game, and Captain Irving is wrestling with the truth bomb that his lawyer is the Horseman of War.
On the plus side, Abbie made a new friend in Hawley, aka Southern Gentleman Aquaman.
What adventures await our plucky heroes this week? Will Katrina finally remember witches are good at things like WITCHCRAFT and ground her wayward son? Probably not, but one can hope.
In the dead of night, in a spooky house, a little girl is lulled outside by equally spooky music. Props to whoever keeps trying to make this SINGLE colonial house look different enough to be at least three different homes. The little girl disappears into the night, escorted by a dude playing the flute, so I”m sure she is 100% okay and not headed towards imminent death.
The next day, Abbie is giving Ichabod eight kinds of hell for being a big baby about learning to drive. The man has photographic memory and there is exactly zero reasons for her to be Driving Miss Daisy-ing him all over hell”s half acre. Crane finally admits he”s been messing with her the whole time, proving it with some precision driving that show he has a great back-up career as a stunt driver lined up if this End of Days gig goes toes up.
Suddenly, an Amber Alert. Crane is instantly ready to assist with the retrieval of a stranger”s child because he is not a jaded asshole like the rest of us. Since Abbie is A) police and B) knows the family with the missing kid, they race over the scene…with Mills driving. Perhaps this was Ichabod”s plan all along? If you do something badly enough, people stop asking you to do it.
At the house, the parents are understandably upset. Some setup is…set up. The parents didn”t think they could have kids, so they adopted two boys. Then surprise! Sarah, the missing girl, was a happy accident. The kids get along great, Sarah is a good kid, etc. etc. A bunch of party decor indicates she just turned ten. Mom is blaming herself for falling asleep while working and thus, not setting the alarm. But what kid doesn”t know the code to the house alarm? Little Sarah was getting out no matter what. Don”t beat yourself up, lady.
Speaking of said lady, Abbie knows her because Mrs. Lancaster was Abbie and Jenny”s case worker after they became wards of the state. So Abbie feel particularly dedicated to helping someone who helped her during a dark moment. I”d scoff at the coincidence but Sleepy Hollow is a small town. They probably only have a handful of CPS workers.
While Mills is comforting the parents, Crane is skulking around in the bushes like a common thief. Even with Reyes nowhere in sight, he is still barred from police work. His spying turns up the Lancaster family is related to someone he knew during the war. Okay. NOW I CAN SCOFF.
Abbie spots her wayward partner is like “Get out of the bushes, you damn fool!” and off they go to scour the woods for any sign of Sarah. Crane is bitching all the while about how Daniel Lancaster was a scoundrel and didn”t join the war until he was certain which side would win. How Abbie hasn”t rolled her eyes so hard that they fell out of her head long ago is a miracle.
In the woods, Crane and Mills stumble across signs of a struggle. Blood spatters and trail that ends in a bone flute. A bone flute that definitely looks like it is nefarious. A bone flute that Ichabod Crane IMMEDIATELY puts his mouth on and starts to play. What the hell, Crane? Gross. The music sounds eerily similar to what we heard earlier and Abbie is instantly put into a trance. She wanders quite a bit into the swamp before Crane realizes he”s accidental worked a spell on her and stops.
Quite dramatically, Ichabod declares they”re dealing with a Pied Piper.
Back at the Exposition Library, Abbie has been looking for clues about the bone flute when Ichabod appears. He is still pissed off he has to use the secret doors to hide from Reyes. Much like when he had to hide from Betsy Ross because she was basically his groupie. Mills puts the kibosh on the trip down memory lane, because the show only has a runtime of one hour.
Crane recalls a legend of a Pied Piper – not THE Pied Piper – who supposedly lured an entire regiment of British soldiers into the night with music and promptly murdered all of them. Ichabod is put off by this honorless killing and sadly Abbie does not tell him to “suck it up, princess.” Instead she helps him figure out the flute is playing a summoning spell. The extrapolate that if Crane can play the music again, she might lead them to Sarah. Mills is getting a little too comfortable playing the role of “bait.”
Worried for her safety – and those of any passing Red Shirts™ – Crane devises a plan. He has his phone record a 30 second loop of the bone flute song and let”s Abbie wear her earbuds. To be honest, I”m surprised this worked. It feels like magic should need to be physically present to work. Like how you can”t smell smoke while watching a fire on TV.
Luckily, magic in the Sleepy Hollow”s world doesn”t play by my finicky rules and Abbie is instantly entranced and on the move. It doesn”t take long until Crane spots movement and brings Mills back to the land of the fully conscious by removing her earbuds. Abbie is on point, drawing her weapon and ready for a fight as soon as she regains control of herself. I like this pragmatism.
But it is all for naught. For the movement in the woods wasn”t the Piper but our favorite Southern Gentleman, Mr. Hawley! SGA is injured but not critically. He tells our heroes he saw Sarah recently and she”s probably still alive. But he was attacked by the Pied Piper. Crane is suspicious and Hawley is all “calm down Pride and Prejudice.” He was on a job to find the bone flute – not save the girl – because it”s a high value artifact.
However, SGA is still an expert on the occult and drops some much needed backstory. The Pied Piper is a local legend. Mr. Daniel Lancaster hired a mercenary to kill the British troops who had commandeered his house (and daughters) and then betrayed the merc as soon as the job was done, because he”s an idiot. In retaliation, the mercenary now takes one Lancaster girl every year on her 10th birthday because nothing says “revenge on a grown ass man” like inflicting terror and injury on girl children. The patriarchy is alive and well with demons. Surprise, surprise. According to the legend, the Piper kills the girl and turns her bones into a new flute.
Of course, Hawley doesn”t believe in any of this crap. He just assumes some psycho is reenacting the legend for giggles. Against Crane”s protestations, Abbie agrees to give Hawley the flute if he helps them find the girl and bring her back alive. SGA agrees.
We skip over to Captain Irving, who is deep in the throes of reading the Bible. When suddenly, a vision. Irving is in a future where everything is on fire and battle rages in a city street. His eyes are demon black and he straight up murders a dude while the Avatar of War sits astride his horse in the background. Irving is not amused.
Earbuds back in place, Abbie is on the move again. Hawley is confounded but amused by her entranced state, yet still solidly a non-believer. Crane is cranky about co-headlining “Hottest Dude In Sleepy Hollow” still but he preserves by consoling himself with talking out loud about the Piper and how he weaponizes tone and frequency to weave magic.
You know, if only they had a witch on hand to work through the intricacies of the occult. OH WAIT.
Our three heroes find the lair of the Piper. Using his powers of “reading the script” Crane discovers a hidden door in the ground, covered by leaves. Abbie descends first because she”s the cop. Underground, they”re funneled down a narrow hallway into a room with a glowing hearth. This definitely feels like a trap.
SOMETHING IS WATCHING THEM.
But no one sees it. What Abbie sees is Sarah, chained up and unconscious in a recreation of the round room that killed Claudia in “Interview with a Vampire.” While Mills and Crane are distracted freeing the child, Hawley comes face to face with the Piper. Guess he”s a believer now. SGA empties his clip into the creature but bullets are still highly ineffective against demon-infused humans. The Piper uses a stick to make an ungodly noise but Crane tackles him, giving Hawley enough time to throw a grenade. The three of them beat a hasty retreat with Sarah, with SGA blowing the lair to smithereens because he”s a completionist.
In relative safety, Southern Gentlemen Aquaman is like, “Well that was fun but I want my flute now.” Mills and Crane are aghast. This guy just learned demons are real and he want to get paid and run away? Well, duh. Finding out evil is real just means business is booming and it”s time to get drunk and forget. Abbie tries to appeal to his sense of reason, that the End of Days is coming whether Hawley likes it or not. Hawley counters with “Which one? There”s like over 200 versions.”
Well played, occult expert. Well played. In fact, now I”m remembering Crane said the bone flute was the oldest Chinese instrument. Will “Sleepy Hollow” be branching out beyond the Christian apocalypse mythos to extend the life of the show?
Sarah is safe and Abbie is a woman of her word. She gives Hawley the flute…after breaking it in half. Way to go, idiot. Just screw up your working relationship with the most knowledgeable supernatural expert you know.
Crane and Mills return Sarah to her parents. Tearful reunions all around. The day is saved! But something isn”t right with Mrs. Lancaster. She seems almost disappointed at the return of her daughter.
Back in the Exposition Library, Abbie passes out noise-canceling headphones. They”re going back to murder themselves a Pied Piper. Crane points out Mrs. Lancaster”s weird behavior and a quick police database search confirms their suspicions. Over hundreds of years, dozens of Lancaster girls have gone missing on their 10th birthdays. Hawley was right. In fact, in all that time only one girl was ever recovered. And shortly thereafter, all the kids in the house died mysteriously. So we”ve got ourselves a good old-fashioned Catch 22. Let the Piper take one kid to save the others, or they all die.
I don”t mean to point out the obvious, but at some point wouldn”t you just stop having kids to end the curse?
Concerned for the safety of all the Lancaster kids, Crane and Mills rush back to the house but it”s too late. The boys are being taken to the hospital with an unknown illness. The Piper cares not if the kids are biological or adopted…good to know. Mr. Lancaster says his wife was in the house getting Sarah ready to go but of course she isn”t. Obviously she headed back into the woods because losing one kid is better than losing three.
This time Ichabod drives. But not before stealing the Lancaster family sword off the wall.
Mrs. Lancaster isn”t answering her cell phone but no matter, they know right where she”s going. Back to the creepy well. Abbie tries to talk her down – this is getting to be a habit – but Mrs. Lancaster is armed with a gun. She”s either taking the Piper down or giving him her only daughter to save her boys. Crane joins in, saying they can fix this and Momma Lancaster breaks down crying. She”s just freaked out because that thing took her sister and I mean, honestly what kind of mental state can you be in after living under the shadow of imminent doom your entire life?
Just then, the Piper attacks! And we get our first good look at him. Daylight is a harsh mistress. He looks like what happens when you cross-breed an orc and an elf. Basically, don”t.
Abbie doesn”t even flinch, unloading her entire magazine into the creature in an almost laissez faire manner. She does just enough damage to keep him from taking Sarah again. Bullets might not kill but they must sting like a bitch because the Piper retreats.
Ichabod is in hot pursuit, back down into the cramped quarters. Guess Hawley”s bombs didn”t destroy as much of the lair as one would assume. Why Crane gives up his advantage is a mystery for the ages* because the Piper would totally have made another go for Sarah if they”d just waited half an hour. Instead Crane puts in his LED ear plugs and makes ready to attack. One problem, noise canceling ear plugs cancel out ALL NOISE and the Piper gets the drop on him.
In short order, Crane is down and the ear plugs are out. The Piper starts up with the mind-numbing noise again and just before Ichabod”s brains leak out of his ears, he stomps the Piper”s foot with a brick.
At this point I literally laugh out loud at the absurdity.
There”s a short scuffle. Crane lops off the Piper”s arm. The Piper is all “Tis but a flesh wound. Come at me, bro.” Ichabod is no match. He”s down for the count again. But lucky for him Abbie Mills to the rescue. She skewers the Piper with the Lancaster sword and the creature is struck down for good.
Um, were we ever told that he needed to be killed with the Lancaster family sword? Whatever.
Back at Terrytown, Irving is having a very awkward conversation with his lawyer, the Horseman of War, over a game of chess. Visual cues! War is all “I never lied to you, really.” To which Irving gives the appropriate amount of side-eye. With a dejected sigh, Henry says he understands, but that giving up his counsel means Irving”s wife and daughter will no longer receive financial benefits and Irving will be trapped for who knows how long. He goes on to point out that War is just an instrument of justice and have Mills or Crane even TRIED to help get their so-called friend? Have they kept his family safe?
In the end, War reveals his hand through Bible verse. Ezekiel 18:4 “All souls are MINE.” Irving realizes he accidentally sold his soul to Henry when he signed that paperwork in blood. Look, I”m no occult expert but even Hell is a form of organized crime. They tend to frown on loopholes and tricking people into things. They prefer folks to willingly sign their souls away. There”s no way that contract holds up in a court of demon law.
Unaware of Irving”s predicament, Abbie and Ichabod are savoring their victory with an overpriced coffee. Abbie even gloats a little bit, because they”re getting pretty good at this Witness stuff. Famous last words.
A little ways away, Hawley”s buyer for the flute shows up. Despite it getting broken in transit, the mysterious middleman pays full price. SGA is disconcerted buy hey, don”t look a gift horse in the mouth.
We end with the flute making its way into the hands of War. Who immediately grinds up the bones of a dead 10 year old girl and tastes the resulting powder. “It”s perfect,” he declares. Well, that was disturbing.
What did y”all think? Did you miss not having Jenny or Katrina around? Will Hawley come around to fighting for the side of good? Will Irving be smart enough to tell his friends the state of his soul?