‘Sleepy Hollow’ Breakdown: ‘For the Triumph of Evil’

Sleepy Hollow For the Triumph of Evil

SPOILERS AHEAD (or, um, be-head?), so duck and cover, Sleepy Hollow fans!

Season One, Episode Three: “For the Triumph of Evil”

Written by: Jose Molina (teleplay) and Phillip Iscove (story), Directed by: John F. Showalter

After giving us a taste of the monster-of-the-week formula last week, the writers give us a better blend of the serial and procedural storytelling this week. This is the episode where we really start to get sucked into the series as we learn more about Abbie. The influence of Fringe can also be felt throughout the episode.

Quick Breakdown

Abbie is called into the precinct to deal with an urgent criminal. An unnamed forensic psychologist joins her and Irving as they reach the room where Crane (sporting glazed-white eyes) is interrogating the criminal: Abigail Mills. A pale, hollow-eyed creature appears just as Abbie is awoken by a phone call alerting her to an urgent case. Will every episode begin with a nightmare?

At the scene, a Dr. Vega is about to jump off the ledge of a building unless she can talk with Abbie. She tells Abbie she lied to her sister and that she actually believed her. The Doctor had dealt with Jenny when she first was institutionalized after that traumatic demon meeting. Vega also happens to be the psychologist from Abbie’s dream, only in the real world she has the glazed-white eyes that Crane was sporting in her dream.

After her confession, Dr. Vega jumps off the building. When they look at the dead body, examining her pale eyes, they explode into dust. Irving argues for a scientific explanation, but Crane is eager to jump to the more demonic explanation.

Back at that storage room, which seems to be their headquarters/office, they watch tapes of Dr. Vega talking with Jenny. In Vega’s notes, she reveals that she believed Jenny’s story but felt too much pressure to release her. Crane decides they must visit Jenny to learn more.

At Tarrytown (an amusingly titled psychiatric ward), Abbie is not allowed to visit Jenny (whom we learn has been imprisoned there for breaking into a sporting goods store to stop up on end of the world supplies); but Crane is granted access. Jenny taunts him a bit but remains mostly close-lipped about her feelings. All she’ll admit to is holding a deep resentment to what Abbie did to her. Obviously, we can guess from where this animosity is rooted.

Sure enough, Abbie confesses to lying to the police about what they saw after Jenny confessed everything. They assumed Jenny was crazy and locked her away, allowing Abbie’s guilt over the event to fester as she lived a normal life. Her recount of that long ago day leads them to Mr. Gillespie, who found the girls in the woods.

At Gillespie’s, that faceless nightmare monster appears. While Abbie and Crane are already on their way, Irving is made away of a conflict at the property. He’s surprised to find them there until Gillespie requests Abbie. She tries to talk him out of shooting himself, but after the nightmare monster reveals his name, Gillespie shoots himself.

Turns out, this faceless monster is the Sandman. I can’t be the only one who immediately began to sing that Chordettes song “Mr. Sandman” (They even amusingly include the song in a transition later). After a quick trip back to the “office” — and a quick glance through a random book of mythology — they uncover the Sandman as a Mohawk mythic monster named Rokaronti (although no one in the episode pronounces the name consistently), a myth that Crane is familiar with from his days in the war working with the Mohawk Indians.

They seek out a Mohawk shaman who’s working as a car salesman. After dismissing them at first, he takes them to his form of a hut where he gives them a special tea to lead them to the dream world of the Sandman. The tea keeps them awake in the dream world, but it takes the venom of a scorpion to transport them there.

What follows is a dreamscape adventure where Abbie must battle her inner demons, along with Rokaronti. Once she confesses to having seen the monster, accepting all the blame for what happened to her sister, the Sandman turns to glass; and she saves them from the dream world.

They decompress in their office until Irving barges in. After hearing them out for why they’re using this room for their investigation, he says he’ll give them a key so they don’t need to use a secret tunnel to get there. He also tries to remain at least one degree of separation away from their exact investigations. Again, I feel like something is up with this guy.

Having faced her inner demons, Abbie goes to face Jenny. But when the nurse unlocks Jenny’s room, they find it dark and empty. As the nurse goes to lock down the building, Abbie discovers her sister’s escape route in a loose ceiling tile.



This episode blended the procedural and serial storytelling elements in a very engrossing way. The show seems to have settled into its tone, inserting a few light-hearted moments to alleviate what would otherwise be an oppressively dark series. Getting insight into Abbie’s past and giving us payoff for the end of last week’s episode shows that the writers know exactly where they are headed, story-wise.

Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…


A brief mention of how Abbie’s “parents are out of the picture” is pushed to the side to be explored later. I wonder if something demonic happened to them.

The energy drink gag with Crane choking on the stimulant has been the least annoying joke so far.

Morales (Abbie’s ex) makes another one-scene appearance, this time playing a practical joke on Irving who appears to take it in stride.

Did anyone else instantly think of the Sandman episode of Charmed when they revealed the demon?

Abbie and Crane’s chemistry as friends feels fully developed in this episode. They will make a great pair for this series.

The score this week really reminded me of the Fringe score, as did some of the other elements of the show (including that upside down shot of the car driving up the road).

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