Recap: ‘Sleepy Hollow’ – No one ever talks about their ‘Mama’ issues

Deputy Entertainment Editor
11.17.14

FOX

When we last left our heroes, the Scooby gang had just broken up again. Katrina was going back undercover as Abraham/Death”s Stockholm Syndrome girlfriend while Ichabod and Abbie continued the kabuki dance of pretending they don”t want to bone each other.

Also, I started helming the good ship Crawley – because Hawley and Ichabod are totally secretly pining for each other.

Did Katrina manage to murder that demon baby? Will the show keep enabling my new OTP? Let”s find out in tonight”s episode, “Mama.”

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Through the power of dream visions, we are transported to foggy Victorian London and/or ancient Roman ruins. Abbie is disoriented – which is strange because you”d think she”d be used to the dream sequence cold open by now – but she's drawn to a disturbing singsong voice. “You Are My Sunshine” has never sounded creepier than right now, emanating from the monk robes of Abbie Mills” dead mother.

Abbie is jolted awake just before we get a good look inside the robe. Which is probably for the best because never in the history of mankind has anything benevolent been inside a grim reaper cowl. Away from the vision Purgatory with her mother, Abbie can focus on mundane activities. Like quietly making fun of Ichabod Crane”s inability to open a pill bottle. 

Child and Revolutionary-proof caps. 

At some point Ichabod has come down with the crud, but he”s doing his level best to push through. Abbie is having none of it and tucks him in with a red plaid blanket and an admonishment to get some sleep. Then she”s off to go be a cop because Reyes needs her. Ichabod is put out but seriously, it is poor form to show up for work sick. Especially when you aren”t technically getting paid, so you have all the sick days in the world. 

P.S. Ichabod”s “I am sick, pity me” scarf is quite fetching.

Ever since the sting operation on the “satanic cult,” Reyes has backed off Abbie”s case. Apparently shutting down a group that is testing demon baby parasite via poison gets you brownie points with the skeptical, hard-ass police chief. Reyes even extends the most macabre olive branch ever: there have been three suicides in as many nights at Tarrytown. Reyes wants Abbie to investigate what”s really going on, even going so far as to say Mills” personal connection to the tragedy might give her the edge. Also, if Reyes had assigned the case to someone else, she knows – correctly – that Abbie would”ve hounded her about it.

With Ichabod out of commission, Abbie calls in the reserves. Jenny has joined the party! If the Scooby gang was a fantasy party, what roles would they have? Abbie is the Red Mage, Jenny the Fighter, Ichabod the Scholar, Hawley the Thief, and Katrina the White Mage, yeah?

Anyway, Jenny agreed to help because she knows Tarrytown better than anyone. What with being involuntarily committed on and off for most of her adult life. As she explains that Tarrytown is a building full of pain and fear, the point is driven home by the “welcoming committee.” One of the patients – Walt – creepy lurches towards the sisters and gurgles incoherently before being led away by a nurse. Surely that”s the last we”ve seen of those characters and they”ll not reappear later in this episode in pivotal roles!

The ladies head directly to Captain Irving for information on the suicide victims. Irving only knew one of them – Nelson – a dude who suffered from paranoid delusions but had been on his meds and organizing prayer circles and generally acting like a man who wanted to live. Irving is also sure to mention he did not kill those people. The good Captain is still in control of his actions, if not his soul.

Sometime later, the sisters are sitting in front of an overwhelming number of monitors, each split into smaller monitors. They”re pouring over the Tarrytown surveillance footage, but unless they have ADHD I”m not sure how they”re focused on anything. Besides, don”t they know the names of the suicide victims and where they died? Why not just use the cameras from their bedrooms? Is it because it wouldn”t look like a cool CSI sequence? Be honest, that”s the reason.

In a moment of revelation decades in the making, Jenny admits that she once snuck into Tarrytown to visit their mom when she was a kid. Which means either Jenny was a break-in prodigy or psychiatric facilities are disconcertingly lax on security, despite having more cameras than a government black site. Jenny says her last memory of Mrs. Mills is of orderlies dragging her away while she screamed and freaked out. To add insult to injury, baby Jenny is even holding flowers while watching this scene in slack-jawed terror.

Abbie responds with a confession of her own. She always worried she”d end up crazy like their mom. And when Jenny ended up in Tarrytown, Abbie knew it was only a matter of time before the crazy genetics came home to roost. She”s determined to figure out what”s going on at Tarrytown because Abbie hopes it will help her understand why she was chosen to be a Witness.

There are leaps of faith and then there is blind, desperate groping for meaning. Your milage may vary as to which of the two Abbie”s hope is.

Sibling bonding over shared childhood trauma out of the way, the ladies finally realize cameras are room specific. Honing in on Nelson”s room around the time of the murder, they completely overlook that budget Nurse Ratchet from earlier was the last person to see him alive. Instead they focus on their dead mom”s ghost in the corner because neither of them have ever heard of a red herring.

Come on Jenny. You”re more genre savvy than this.

Okay, maybe Jenny is more savvy than I gave her credit for, because she went off to get the footage analyzed instead of taking it on faith that her crazy demon-hunted mother is back from the dead. Abbie is stuck babysitting a perplexed and still sickly Ichabod while this is going down. Crane is displeased by the lack of instantaneous results from his eucalyptus huffing. But that doesn”t stop him from pointing out to Abbie that of course none of the pills Tarrytown gave Mrs. Mills worked because Abbie”s mom wasn”t actually delusional.

The creepy shit she was seeing was real.

Suddenly, a flashback. The baby Mills sisters return home to a mother who is frazzled and clutching a baby doll. Mrs. Mills isn”t wearing a tin foil hat, but she HAS put yellowed newspaper over all the windows, which is only one step down on the “paranoid shut-in” barometer. However, her mantra to the girls of “Eyes open, Head up, Trust no one” is just good stranger danger advice. Most girls have heard a variation on this from their mothers. Only we”re looking out for potential assaulters and the Mills were on the look out for demons. 

Six of one, half dozen of the other.

Adult Abbie muses on why her mother”s ghost has returned now, after 15 years, to start killing Tarrytown patients. Her query is cut short by the arrival of my favorite person – Southern Gentleman Aquaman! Hawley comes bearing gifts: medicine, food, and books for research from the cabin.

Awwww, you guys. Hawley came to doctor an ailing Ichabod. CRAWLEY LIVES!

SGA also brought Matzah ball soup. At first Crane is dubious but quickly comes around to the strange yet delicious Jewish recipe. So…is Hawley Jewish? Also, how cute is it that Ichabod tries to hide how pleased he is that SGA brought him soup? The fanfiction practically writes itself.

Sustained by the soup brought by his crush, Ichabod whips out Washington”s map – does he keep it next to his heart or something? – and posits a theory. Tarrytown is build on a leyline. Perhaps with Moloch returned to this mortal plane, he is somehow compelling Mrs. Mills to kill in order to torture Abbie and Jenny.

Sure, why not?

We also learn the Scooby gang hasn”t heard from Katrina since she went back undercover and Crane is not taking it well. ALSO: Hawley is a Jane Austen fan. Quick, someone write a “Pride and Prejudice” AU where Hawley is Elizabeth and Ichabod is Darcy.

Crane is determined to help – and get all his coworkers sick in the process – but Southern Gentlemen Aquaman believes in a healthy workplace. The Matzah was drugged. Sleepy Hollow, indeed.

Back at Fredrick”s Manor, Katrina and Henry are trading barbs over the baby Moloch”s bassinet. Katrina is worried War means to harm the baby. Henry is convinced his mother has not a maternal bone in her body and taunts her into picking up the demon spawn. Without the illusion of the necklace, we get to see the gross glob that is an infant Moloch as it literally leeches on to Katrina”s neck. Henry is obviously jealous. This family has issues.

Is it wrong to think demon breastfeeding is kinda gross?

Meanwhile at Tarrytown, the heroes are divided. Hawley questions the validity of hunting down a killer ghost without more firepower. Abbie wants to help Mrs. Mills. Jenny just wants to stop her. The fight over ghostbusting semantics is cut short when they catch sight of Walt – you know, from earlier – about to slice open his wrists in his cell. A short sprint later and our team has tackled the poor supernatural suicidal sap to the ground. But it was all just a diversion! Mrs. Mills ghosts into existence, only to Apparate with Abbie. 

Abbie reappears in an abandoned asylum hallway where the lights don”t work and the ghost of Mrs. Mills creeps around like we”re in a bloody Silent Hill game. She might be warning Abbie of danger with her declaration of “It”s not safe for you here,” or she might be threatening to kill her daughter. Hard to tell with unstable ghosts.

Mrs. Mills disappears but a jumpy Abbie almost shoots the nurse from earlier in the episode. The nurse that happened to be hanging out with all the suicide victims right before their demise. The nurse who is inexplicably in an abandoned wing of Tarrytown.

Clearly Abbie is not Spiderman or her spider senses would be tingling like crazy.

While Abbie was studiously overlooking budget Nurse Ratchet”s demon tendencies, Jenny was looking for her sister. And finding her ghost mom instead. In a moment of desperation, Mrs. Mills writes something in the dust of a door: an alpha numeric code to one of her video therapy sessions. 

Finally, a clue.

In a completely different storyline, Katrina is chilling with baby Moloch when she notices the poison inching up her neck. Wow, Abraham has gotten super lax on security if Katrina can just walk outside to pick up potion ingredients.

Returning to the Exposition Library, Abbie and Jenny are about to watch their mom”s therapy session but Jenny is having second thoughts. Unlike Abbie, Jenny doesn”t really seem to have any happy childhood memories to balance out the crazy. But she quickly buckles under sibling pressure and the sisters hold hands to watch. 

Mrs. Mills is distraught. The demons have followed her to Tarrytown and she can”t protect her girls. Over the course of her ramblings, Mrs. Mills reveals the truth: Nurse Lambert – whatever, budget Nurse Ratchet is a way better name – is a murderous ghost hell bent on killing the Mills matriarch for unknown reasons. The ghost of Mrs. Mills hasn”t been murdering those people; she”s been trying to save them for Nurse Lambert.

And now Lambert has set her sights on Captain Irving.

High on a cocktail of mysterious red pills, Irving has decided to end his life. He is also adding validity to my suspicion that Tarrytown is sadly lacking good security/oversight. Unbeknownst to a single orderly or janitor, Irving fills up an industrial sink with water to drown himself. Then, because if you”re gonna do something you might as well do it right, he adds strangulation to the mix. But the gang comes to the rescue at the last second, pulling Irving from the bath.

Hawley has a good back-up career as “aggressive life manager” lined up if this whole “supernatural broker” thing goes south.

By the time Irving comes to, the lab has done a full blood work up. The Captain was under the influence of psychotropic drugs, which left him open to suggestions. Especially demonic suggestion. What? I demand to the see the science behind this, Abbie “not a NIDA scientist” Mills. 

If Lambert is working for Moloch, that poor bastard can”t find a decent minion to save his life. Every single one of them has been undercutting his plans left and right: trying to murder future apocalypse chess pieces should be grounds for immediate dismissal. Via incineration.

To the Exposition Library! Now knowing what they”re looking for, it doesn”t take long for the Mills sisters to find their adversary. Nurse Lambert was an “angel of mercy” in the 1950s. A Tarrytown nurse who was drugging patients she deemed unhappy and convincing them to end it all. She was executed in 1959, but a little thing like electrocution can”t keep a good serial killer with a God complex down.

But how is Mrs. Mills tied in to all this? For answers, the Scooby gang – still minus Ichabod – heads back to the abandoned wing of Tarrytown. Specifically to the room the Mills matriarch spent 7 months of solitary confinement in before ending her life. 

Look, I”m not one to tell an administration how to run their business, but why the hell would you have two unsafe, derelict wings of a psychiatric institution? And if you DID have them, why would they not be locked up or off-limits? This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Thank goodness for lax administrative oversight though or someone might have come to investigate why Abbie Mills – officer of the law – and her sister were tearing apart the walls of their mom”s old cell. Under the plaster, a portrait of the Mills family emerges along with the lyrics to “You Are My Sunshine.”

The song triggers Jenny into an unhappy childhood memory. That song is playing on the radio and Mrs. Mills looks drugged, distraught. Young Jenny is trying to show off a picture she drew but realizes something isn”t right. They aren”t picking up Abbie from school. Instead, an attempted carbon monoxide murder/suicide is on the table for “family time.”

Dude. 

Mrs. Mills chooses this exact moment to become corporeal and imbue her girls with the task of finding the journal passed down from their ancestors. Oh, and also to get the hell out of here, because it isn”t safe. 

Too late! Nurse Lambert snatch-and-grabs Abbie, locking Hawley and Jenny in the cell. Seriously, does no one in the other parts of the building here this? No one coming to check out all this screaming and banging?    

Mrs. Mills tasks Jenny to find the journal while she saves Abbie from the demon nurse. Budget Nurse Ratchet is living up to her spiritual predecessor by strapping Abbie into a creepy wheelchair. I swear to God, I half expect to see Pyramid Head amble around the corner any second now. 

In the abandoned archive room, Jenny and Hawley don”t ask questions like “Why are all these dead people”s effects just rotting in here instead of being returned to their grieving relatives?” Instead they get right down to finding the journal in Mrs. Mills” box. It contains the picture Jenny drew the day her mom tried to murder her…how sweet? It also has a sketch of Fredrick”s manor and a West African incantation to expel witch doctors returned from the dead.

I guess “almost” only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and exorcisms. 

While this was going on, Lambert was making a rookie mistake. Somehow Abbie got her monologuing. So we get to hear all about how Lambert sees herself as a good guy, saving people from the pain and suffering of living. How everything will be better soon. She monologues so long, Mrs. Mills is able to choke her out with the warden”s keys. 

Best not to ask where those came from.

With few options, Jenny begins to chant the West African spell. An eerie wind kicks up, which she rightly takes as the supernaturally equivalent of “You”re doing it, Peter!” and keeps it up. Within moments, Nurse Lambert implodes over floor grate. Self-cleaning demon: leaves only the fresh scent of despair…and the key ring.

Hawley and Jenny free Abbie but – drunk on mystical power – Jenny declares it”s time for a seance to say a proper good-bye to their mother. A quick pit stop to pick up Ichabod – who is feeling much better after his enforced nap – to round out the group, and they”re able to summon Mrs. Mills to her old Tarrytown cell.

Which begs the question, why did they never do this before if the sisters wanted closure?

Whatever, no time for questions because Mrs. Mills is following the hallowed tradition of dead parents everywhere: being cryptic as hell for no good reason. Yes, she knew Abbie was going to be the Witness. No, she won”t tell her why. Yes, there was a demon trying to kill her and Jenny in the garage that day. No, she won”t say what page the “hidden weapon” is on in the journal.

Her mission of being obtuse to the point of infuriation complete, Mrs. Mills fades away while her daughters beg her not to. The boys stand around awkwardly because what else are they gonna do?

As the group leaves Tarrytown, Captain Irving runs out into the road. Somehow he used Nurse Lambert”s murderous mischief to his advantage and escaped. This blows my mind since it didn”t look like any employees gave two shits about what was happening. Irving dives into Abbie”s trunk and they Scooby gang burns rubber.

The episode ends with Katrina making a potion to murder the demon baby. In the kitchen. Where Abraham or Henry could catch her at any moment. But they don”t and she steels herself to murder an infant. But lo! The child is gone. Or is he? Downstairs, a rapidly accelerated Moloch is now a child, and he”s calling Katrina “mother.” Great, now she has to have the stones to murder a kid. 

You can do it Katrina. I believe in you.

So what did you guys think? Was Nurse Lambert just a monster-of-the-week? She didn”t seem like a demon. Will Irving manage to elude recapture?

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