SPOILERS AHEAD (or, um be-head?), so duck and cover, Sleepy Hollow fans!
Season One, Episode Seven: “The Midnight Ride”
Written by: Heather V. Reginier; Directed by: Doug Aarniokoski
Sleepy Hollow continues to alter American history this week as they revisit Paul Revere’s historic midnight ride. They also address the Headless Horseman’s menacing presence in their best episode of the series so far. Plus, Crane learns about bottled water and internet porn.
It’s 1775, and Paul Revere is racing to downtown Boston with the Horseman at his heels. He epically shouts, “The British are coming!” Oh, wait, did he just say, “The Regulars are coming?” As Crane later tells us — and a group of children on a field trip — Revere referred to them as “Regulars” because everyone was British and calling them such would’ve been most unhelpful.
In the present, Abbie has stocked Crane’s cabin with dry goods and bottled water. After teaching Crane a little bit about an off-brand Costco, Abbie runs into Morales in town. He asks her out for coffee as a “friend.” Afterwards, Morales runs into undead Brooks who threatens Morales not to get close to Abbie. Brooks claims he is the only one who can help Abbie survive, and he wants all other men to back off.
Meanwhile, Crane is meeting up with the Freemasons to discuss Horseman strategy. But once he gets there, he discovers his fellow Masons beheaded and sees Death riding off. (Does this mean James Frain is kaput?) With Abbie and Irving investigating the crime scene, Crane sees a slashed painting of Washington that prompts him to realize the Horseman is after his missing head.
Irving visits a tech lab, where his technician buddy Paul has been studying the Horseman’s skull. Paul hasn’t found a single thing about the skull that resembles a human. Irving dismisses him and asks for a proper box to transport the head in. The Horseman barges in, gunning down Paul while trying to seize the skull. Irving just barely escapes with the head, but at least he now definitively believes in the Headless Horseman.
Via an amusing montage, Crane, Abbie, and Irving try to destroy the skull — but nothing they do makes even the teeniest of dents. At a loss, Crane remembers some important documents that might hold answers. Abbie does some Googling and finds them on the internet (cue Crane fumbling around on a laptop). He tries to decipher the coded pages to learn new clues about the Horesmen — unfortunately, the Vigenere cipher they’re coded in can only be solved with a code word.
Abbie realizes she is late for her coffee date with Morales and calls him, but he’s too mentally unstable from Brooks’ warning to answer the phone. Looks like Irving isn’t the only one who is beginning to believe.
Through Sherlock deduction, Crane realizes the code word is written on the back of the teeth of Death’s skull (It’s “Cicero”). He unlocks the text and learns how to defeat the Horseman. He encounters Abbie in a standoff with Brooks, who has been confessing his desire for her safety. Crane sends him off with a message to the Horseman — they’re ready to meet.
The coded document said what Brooks warns, that the Horseman can’t be killed, only trapped. A witch must be summoned to turn the moon to the sun, Death’s only weakness. Abbie points out the UV lights can do the same, and a plan is hatched.
Crane lures the Horseman into the tunnels, and Abbie feigns a hurt ankle to get him in their booby-trapped room. Once in place, they turn on the lights and paralyze the Horseman with pain. Crane throws some shackles onto Death’s ankles, and they all admire that their problems have all been solved. (Until next week…)
This episode surpassed last week’s entry as the best episode of the series. They could have easily stretched the Horseman’s arc throughout the season, but instead they conclude a lot of what they set up earlier this season. Resolution abounds this week, and it’s truly fulfilling. With the first half of the season so brilliantly wrapped up, I can’t wait to see how they plot the second half.
Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…
Wardrobe Update: Crane is still sporting his ancient garb, but at least it’s looking pretty clean this week.
“You pay for water?” – Crane upon learning of bottled water
“Rumors of my demise have been…pretty much true.” – Brooks to a disbelieving Morales
The full opening credits sequence is back. I guess that abbreviated one last week was an aberration.
Via Irving’s secretary we get some randomly forced exposition alerting us to the fact that he has a daughter and an ex-wife.
Upon realizing that the Horseman is real, Irving says “I need to call the governor.” I guess he’s been listening to Britney Spears’ “Work B**ch” too much.
Left alone with a laptop, Crane amusingly stumbles upon some porn. Needless to say, he’s rattled by it.
“Your press knows no bounds.” – an appalled Crane defending the allegations Abbie and Irving make about Thomas Jefferson sleeping with a slave woman.
Abbie tells Morales that Jenny is getting out the mental asylum very soon — that seems fast, yes? Will she be a new series regular? Speaking of, where was John Noble?