It’s a recap folks, there are going to be SPOILERS below the picture.
In this week’s installment of Ichabod meets the modern world, Abbie is trying to get Ichabod to play “Who Am I/Heads Up,” which Abbie insists will help them find the answers they seek from Grace Dixon’s diary by giving them a different way of looking at the problem. Abbie gives Ichabod “You cannot tell a lie” as a clue to his “identity” in the game and this is when we find out that sometimes history lies, because Ichabod cheats, looks at his phone, and pronounces Washington the country’s “Liar-in-Chief.” (I might have snorted at Abbie’s “Thank you, colonial Mythbuster” rejoinder.)
Katrina reaches out through the mirror in Nerd/Witness HQ to let them know that Molloch is still alive and growing alarmingly. Hearing a noise behind her, she severs the connection much to Ichabod’s dismay. Henry comes into the room that Katrina has recently vacated, lays hands on the mirror, and does the magical mirror version of redial, which lets him hear Ichabod and Abbie chatting (they don’t know he’s on the line). Problematic because right about then, Ichabod has a breakthrough about Grace’s diary: “chosen words” is an anagram for “Enoch’s sword.” At that exact moment Abbie gets a text alert to let her know that Sheriff Reyes is working with state police to track down the escaped Frank Irving, who was hitching a ride to Canada with Jenny. Not knowing how far the getaway car has gotten, Abbie texts a warning to her sister.
This of course spurs Jenny to drive faster. Irving is losing his optimism and laments that his family doesn’t know the truth about his actions. Jenny says that there will be time to tell them later, but for now he has to get someplace safe. Irving doubts that there is such a place anymore, but Jenny says she has to believe that it exists.
Back at Nerd/Witness HQ, Ichabod has found the book of Enoch which tells the legend of Methuselah. I obviously wasn’t paying attention in Sunday school when they talked about Methuselah getting a sword and killing demons with it, but apparently that happened, and now Ichabbie is convinced that such a weapon exists and they can use it against Molloch…if they can find it. While flipping through the pages of Grace’s diary, Ichabod realizes that a drawing in it is a disguised clue. Once he puts a reflective pencil cup on the drawing, it becomes obvious that it’s really Ben Franklin’s “Join or Die” cartoon, which you’ve probably seen a million times (including as a tattoo on Craig Ferguson’s right arm). But of course there’s more to it than that! Abbie pulls out a map with a river that looks exactly like the snake on it…right down to the curlicue in the snake’s tail (which seems like it should be geologically impossible). Ichabod posits that the snake’s tongue marks the spot, just like on a treasure map. Damn, that Ben Franklin was clever—he was leaving his cartoon as a message to the Freemasons so they would know where to find the Sword of Methuselah! Abbie wants to set out immediately, but Ichabod has found a warning: according to the Knights Templar, they must know themselves completely when attempting to find the sword or die in the attempt. Things just got all Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade up in Sleepy Hollow, people.
Henry was listening to this entire conversation, remember? Good, because I’d almost forgotten that myself. Turns out he let Katrina communicate with Ichabbie through the mirror so he would be able to spy on them. Now that he knows what they’re up to, he tells Headless/Abraham to stop them. But it’s almost dawn, which is when Headless turns into a pumpkin, and he protests. Henry is having none of that, and orders him off.
As Headless/Abraham swings into the saddle, Katrina comes out to try to distract him, and he calls her on the fact that she’s been talking to Ichabod tonight. He rides off into the night to get the sword.
Jenny and Irving come up to a police checkpoint and after a moment of arguing about Irving staying in the car, Jenny hands him a burner phone and drops him off, telling him to sneak through the woods and rendezvous with her past the checkpoint. Irving jumps out of the moving car, and Jennie drives on.
Ichabod and Abbie are out in a different set of woods, and Abbie recognizes the building they come across from her dream about her mother in purgatory—Abbie thinks Mama Mills was trying to lead her there. Just as she says this, here comes Headless, and he’s headed into the building. Ichabod counsels patience since dawn is fast approaching, but Abbie doesn’t want Headless to get the sword first and runs after him with Ichabod following. Headless knocks a plaque off the wall with his axe and pockets it. In her haste to figure out what he’s grabbed, Abbie knocks a brick over, revealing her location. Headless closes in on her, but Ichabod distracts him. Headless turns and fires his musket at Ichabod, missing. Repeatedly. And then it’s dawn and Headless is frying like an egg in the sunlight. He rides away on his horse, still smoking. So Ichabod and Abbie have a day’s head start on Headless, but Ichabod decides that Headless showed up for a reason—he (Ichabod) is tied to Headless.
Flashback to a dueling club in England where Abraham is trying to convince Ichabod to go to the colonies. Ichabod declines, citing his job, but Abraham calls his bluff, saying Ichabod’s professorship was his father’s idea. Abraham thinks Ichabod should join the army and become his own man rather than relying on Daddy. They continue their sword fight for a bit longer, and Abraham asks if Ichabod was “meant to teach history, or make it.”
Flash forward to the present, where Ichabod says that Abraham made him who he is and their fates are intertwined. More than that, Ichabod is convinced they’ll meet in battle again. Abbie wonders if maybe he’s not overstating things; even if Abraham did influence him, he acted on his own to come to America, right? Maybe not.
Flashback to Abraham and Ichabod in a tavern, shortly after he left the army. Ichabod sees Katrina, who is glad that he’s not a redcoat anymore. And then, the problem: Ichabod apparently didn’t know that Katrina was with Abraham and Katrina didn’t know that Abraham and Ichabod were friends. Oops. Abraham invites Ichabod to his estate, predicting Ichabod and Katrina will get on famously. Little does he know…
So Abraham responsible for Ichabod joining the army and coming to America, and Katrina was responsible for Ichabod deserting and becoming a Witness. How can Ichabod know himself if all of his major life decisions were influenced by others? Abbie believes there’s a reason for all of it and Crane regains his sense of purpose, but it remains that Headless took the clue they needed. Never fear, Abbie saw it (girlfriend must have eyes like a hawk since she wasn’t that close to Headless when he chopped the plaque down and took it). She draws it on the ground, and Crane identifies it as Ouroboros, the snake eating its tail. (Lotta snakes in this episode.) He explains it symbolizes the connection between Heaven and Earth and gets a little 18th century philosophical on us, but Abbie breaks it down 21st century style: “As above, so below.” Literally. They start digging and find Ouroboros in the ground, the handle to a trapdoor that covers a circular staircase that leads to a cavern.
Abbie goes down gun out, because she’s been through too many supernatural battles not to be prepared, and yells at a statue, thinking it’s a person. There are a lot of statues in the cavern, and some creepy as hell shadowy thing tucked away in a nook in the wall (this would be why I normally avoid watching this show by myself in the dark). One of the statues bears a resemblance to Abbie and has a lantern by its feet that reads “Dixon.” Based on the clothing, it’s from the 18th century, so a descendent of Grace Dixon, but Crane fears it isn’t a statue—none of them are, they were real people turned to stone. And right about then, Crane decides they need to get the hell out of Dodge, so they run with Crane screaming “don’t look back!” They shut the trap doors just in time to trap something with fangs below the ground, but not before the reveal of it jumping out of the dungeon before the commercial break made me jump a foot (see above about me not watching this show by myself in the dark).
Abbie, justifiably, is all OMGWTFBBQ on this, and Crane explains that it was something he thought only lived in Greek mythology: a Gorgon, which can turn it to stone if they meet its gaze. Gorgons have snake-hair, too, because snakes are the predominant image in this episode. Crane realizes that all the statues in the dungeon, all of different nationalities, were people searching for this sword. In fact, he concludes, the discovery of America could have been a by-product of the search. Abbie is in disbelief that he got that out of their little trip to the cavern (although I was thinking it, too), and Crane hastens to apologize for the shock of seeing her ancestor frozen in stone. And now is when Abbie’s unshakeable faith about her mission in life falters. If her ancestors all died on this quest, who’s to say that isn’t her destiny as well? Crane insists this isn’t the case; they just have to face their fears. But Abbie is thinking of a way around that. Maybe they can’t get close to the gorgon because they’ll turn to stone the second they look at it, but someone without eyes could take care of the gorgon for them. Someone like Headless.
Jenny waits for Irving on the bridge, but gets a voicemail from him instead. He’s going to stay underground and fight, he says. (That’s really all there was to that scene. It felt like “Well, we ought to give Jenny and Irving some screen time here. Not too much, though.”)
Back at Henry’s House of Horrors, he has a shofar and apparently will not be using it to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. Nope, Henry’s going to blow it when Molloch is fully grown, in a creepy bar mitzvah type setting, to call his servants to his side. Katrina makes light of her son’s new toy, and Henry pretends to be pleasant as well until he pulls out the decoction that Katrina made last episode from the Devil’s Breath, and right then teenage Molloch wanders through. Katrina says she was stupid not to have killed Molloch when she had a chance, and Henry tells her about the mirror redial trick, mocking her humanity as failure. She tells him that it’s a good thing she was compassionate so she could save him from the coven, and he fires back that she wouldn’t have had to save him if she’d let Ichabod die. That action could have prevented everything that followed, and she could have been a mother. He denies his humanity because she denied him in favor of Ichabod. Mother of the Year.
On stakeout in the woods, Ichabod and Abbie are preparing for Headless’s arrival. Ichabod went all MacGyver and made torches out of his socks and some pitch, and Abbie…brought flares. Upstaged by modernity again, Ichabod. Abbie does a recap of how nuts their situation is, and here comes Headless. They drop a flare down the Gorgon’s lair and head down with Headless in hot pursuit. Headless, as always, shoots first and apologizes later. Ichabod, meanwhile, uses his phone to see what’s going on without looking directly at the gorgon (Points to Abbie for “Don’t tell me you’re trying to take a selfie with the gorgon”), not before time because I was wondering when he was going to remember the rest of the Perseus myth (basically, you can’t look a Gorgon in the eye, but you can look at the reflection of a gorgon without being turned to stone). While Headless is doing their dirty work, they go looking for the sword, sock torches in hand. But of course that would be too damned easy, and in another Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade moment, there are dozens of swords surrounding a font of water. Damn Knights Templar always play the same game. Choose wisely, Ichabbie! Ichabod decides to buy Abbie a little more time at sword selection by holding off the victor of the battle and leaves with the caveat that it might be a test with only once chance at success. Yep, sounds pretty Templar.
Unsurprisingly, a gorgon is no match for Headless. He chops her head off, and then turns on Ichabod, attacking and calling out to him. Ichabod can suddenly hear and see Abraham, because everyone who goes down after the sword “must wear his truest face.” (Except wouldn’t that mean that Abraham would have had his head while attacking the gorgon and thus been turned to stone? I’m confused.) So Abraham has an axe to grind (see what I did there?) and tells Ichabod that he’s dreamt of killing him. Ichabod calls for a match of honor, and their unfinished sword match from before is back on. Except Abraham has an axe. Whatever. Fight, guys! While hashing out your feelings!
Turns out Abraham feels like his life has been shaped by Crane just like Ichabod believes his life was shaped by Abraham. “I was supposed to be the hero of this story, not the villain!” he yells, but Ichabod is not taking the blame for Abraham’s poor life choices or their effect on his relationship with Katrina. But Abraham points out that Katrina always comes back to him, and now he going to make her his bride. And then Abraham goes for his gun.
Meanwhile in the sword room, Abbie picks a sword but it and all the other swords turn into snakes (so very many snakes in this episode). To me, this suggests that she chose…poorly, but Abbie claims it means there is no Sword of Methuselah. Abraham barges in, and Abbie can see his head and hear him, too. Abraham levels his gun at them and…the shofar blows. Before Abraham can go to Molloch, however, Ichabod serves up a little truth tea and reminds him that his choices got him where he is. Abraham draws the gun, but decides not to shoot Ichabod because it will be more fun to watch him suffer while Abraham is with Katrina. He leaves to find Molloch.
And here’s where it gets a bit confusing because Crane has a moment of doubt now when he says he can’t see the sword because he doesn’t know himself (I thought there was no sword???), but Abbie tells him to decide to live. And Crane has another one of his little epiphanies when he realizes that life is a series of choices. Abbie reminds him of who he chose to be, and Ichabod tells her that he sees himself most clearly through her. Morally uplifting Ichabbie moment over, they start looking for the sword again. Ichabod deduces that “Know thyself completely or perish when you attempt to see” refers to the water in the font at the center of the room since it reflects one’s true self. Except it’s not water, it’s oil, so he tries to use a torche to set fire to it. But the oil extinguishes the torch when Ichabod puts it in the font. Realizing the thing which sets them apart from the other people who sought the sword is that they came together, they put both torches into the font at the same time and set it on fire, revealing the sword. Ichabod pulls it from the font in an Excalibur moment, swearing that the apocalypse isn’t coming that night and that Molloch shall not rise.
Henry would beg to differ, backed by the Horsemen of Death and War (well, War’s avatar, since Henry is the Horseman of War) with Molloch rising in a fiery circle before them. Roll credits.
Next week is the fall finale and “Magnus Opus” was a pretty good lead-in to that, although I was disappointed that Jenny and Irving were effectively sidelined again. I want them to be a very big part of next week’s episode or I’m going to be upset. I was happy that Abbie and Ichabod’s Witness partnership got so much screen time, although I had to wonder at Abbie’s sudden conviction that she was destined to be a Witness because it’s her legacy. I mean, her roots didn’t suddenly change just because she got Grace Dixon’s journal and met the ghost of her mother, why now? Equally problematic for me is that Abbie’s faith turned on a dime when she found one of her ancestors in the gorgon’s lair and decided she destined to die there because her ancestor had. I might be wrong, but I think Abbie trying to make sense of why she was charged to be a Witness has only really been a really strong part of the story line for the last couple of weeks. Why now? And where is Crane’s “I’ve never made a choice on my own in my life” vibe coming from? That one was handled a little better because at least we could see Abraham thinking the same thing about himself, but these still seem a little like afterthoughts in the overall plot. Even with these issues, I still liked the story and am happy to see Sleepy Hollow going back to the elements I liked best in the first season. Let’s see where the Fall Finale takes us. Hopefully to a more unified Jenny/Irving story.