SPOILERS AHEAD (or, um be-head?), so duck and cover, Sleepy Hollow fans!
Season One, Episodes 12 & 13: “The Indispensible Man”/”Bad Blood”
Written by: Damian Kindler & Heather V. Regnier/Alex Kurtzman & Mark Goffman; Directed by: Adam Kane/Ken Olin
In this week’s two-hour season finale, the writer’s promised some crazy plot twists and cliffhangers as they finish off their incredible first season. The writers were not being modest; they packed this finale with some incredible twists that I doubt have been seen on TV before. I’m honestly still reeling from the ending, so maybe I should just start from the beginning of the episode.
Crane is frustrated as he tries to figure out the meaning behind Washington’s date in the Bible and as he tries to text Abbie. At her home, Abbie is amused by Crane’s typos, but her smile fades as she discovers Brooks is there. He warns her about the prophecy, how Crane will give her soul to Moloch. (While that seems out of character, obviously at some point she’ll have to trade her soul for Katrina’s — that’s the only way this prophecy could play out.) As Crane dredges up memories of Washington, he’s reminded of a conversation they had about Lazarus. A quick consultation with another Bible reveals that Washington’s has 10 extra verses in that chapter, and they have a concealed message.
The hidden message is from Washington (dated four days after his death) for Crane. He reveals that when he died they preserved his body with some cursed prayer beads that allowed him to resurrect a few days later. Being a zombie, Washington discovered a way to travel from Purgatory into the real world, and he drew a map of instructions for Crane to use in the War on Evil. With no idea how to find the map, Crane consults a list of those who helped Washington’s zombie transformation and realizes that Knapp, the warlock priest from the pilot, was in on the whole thing. The beads he was buried in would contain memories of what happened, and since they’re cursed, a sin eater could uncover those secrets.
In an underground tunnel, Brooks cries out for Moloch to make him into his emissary of evil, or some such nonsense. Moloch obliges and sends a plague of locusts to wrap him in some demonic cocoon. When he emerges, he looks like an alien version Brooks, clearly more powerful.
At the cemetery, they have called in Parrish for another mission. He tries touching the beads but gets burned. Abbie says they must be hexed to prevent evil from accessing their memories. She suggests they find another way to hunt down the map, but Parrish insists he can do it. This time, he holds on long enough to get a few glimpses of Knapp’s memories before he is thrown from the tomb. With his brief clues, they deduce that the map must be buried with Washington, and they have a few location clues as to wear that is.
Sleepy Hollow enters into Dan Brown territory as Crane uses Masonic techniques to uncover Washington’s hidden grave. Inside are pyramidal tombs and other elaborate accouterments. Crane warns that the place is booby trapped, and with his deductive Masonic reasoning, finds the hidden tomb of Washington. When he inserts his key into the giant crest, the tomb comes out. The map is located in Washington’s skeletal hands, but before they can read it, super demonic Brooks arrives, blocking the entrance with a giant slab of stone.
He attacks them and nearly chokes Abbie to death. She tries to tap into his inner humanity — the humanity that is in love with Abbie. Parrish touches his arm, and it summons up Brooks’ humanity. He urges Abbie to burn the map before she puts a hole in his head. She then trips one of the booby traps (on purpose), which makes the tomb crumble into itself, burying Brooks’ body as it starts to rise.
With the entrance blocked, Crane channels more Robert Langdon symbolical knowledge to lead them out the secret exit. He studies the map in his lamplight. Abbie tells him that they need to destroy the map or else Moloch will use it to unleash his purgatory army. Even though this is the key to saving Katrina, Crane says he values the world and Abbie too much not to destroy the map. Maybe they’ll find some other way to save his wife.
Meanwhile, Irving is dealing with an investigation into the deaths at his cabin in the woods. They don’t buy that “evil” was responsible for the murders, so they begin taking DNA from Irving’s family to see if it matches what was at the crime scene. Before they can accuse Macey of the murders (as ludicrous as that would be), Irving turns himself in for the crimes. But we’ll have to wait until next season to see if and how Irving can clear his name.
Not long later (just a day or two?), Parrish awakes with a dream of Moloch calling forth the second horseman, War. He will rise at the solar eclipse that night. The full gang (Abbie, Crane, Jenny, and Parrish) gathers to figure out this new threat. They need Katrina to bind the horseman to his grave, and Crane has conveniently been able to recreate the map using his photographic memory. Abbie gives him some crap for that, before agreeing to go with him to Purgatory.
They triangulate the entrance and do a chant to shatter the wall between worlds. Parrish warns them that if they eat or drink anything in there, they will trapped forever. Abbie awakes in the bed at Corbin’s cabin, a bandage on her head, and a living Corbin and Brooks looking over her. She’s in an alternate life where she went to Quantico instead of staying in Sleepy Hollow. Crane has a similar problem as he discovers that his father (Victor Garber) is welcoming him into a professorship at his school in London, having overcome his issues with his son. Both are about to partake in food and drink as they suddenly remember the other and realize they’re dreaming.
Their alternate worlds crumble away, and Crane stumbles upon Abbie in the far more frightening world of Purgatory. Lost souls roam around the eerie landscape, unsettling the two as they hunt down the church where Katrina daily lights a candle for their dead son Jeremy. She berates Crane for coming back here, and tells him that due to a supernatural technicality, she can only leave Purgatory if she trades her soul with someone else (prophecy alert!). Crane, naturally, volunteers; but Abbie won’t have it. She’s got some unfinished business with Moloch, so she stays behind, trusting Crane to come back and save her when they’ve finished saving the world.
While they’re off doing that, Abbie has tasked Jenny with listening to some tapes that Irving sent her of Corbin’s conversations with Knapp. They have to find a saint’s name, which will be a sign as told by the prophecy. As she listens, Corbin talks about an old pamphlet he found for an abandoned church. Jenny finds the pamphlet in the files, and goes to the site it indicates. The place is truly abandoned, and Corbin was just as frustrated by it, since the name of the church has been hidden. Jenny almost gives up until she sees a toppled over sign. She grabs the sign and calls Abbie. Turns out the saint’s name is literally a sign.
We don’t get to see it, but she rushes off in her car to find and warn them. But Moloch has sent an obstacle: the Headless Horseman. A couple shots from his rifle send her truck flipping over. CLIFFHANGER #1: Is Jenny dead?
When Crane and Katrina leave, Moloch comes to attack Abbie. Fortunately, Katrina left her a hexed medallion to protect her from him. She staves him off and runs into the woods. Somehow she stumbles into a colorful tea party with her younger self and young Jenny. Today happens to be the anniversary of when they saw Moloch. Young Abbie tells her that they are the memories of that day, which Moloch took from them and hid here. Abbie insists they show her the memory.
Having emerged from Purgatory, Katrina does a little witch trick to find the horseman’s grave. But when they get there, Katrina doesn’t sense a body in the ground. Could this be the wrong place? Nope. Parrish says that the horseman is here. PLOT TWIST #1: Parrish is the Horseman War. He binds the two to nearby trees and recounts how he came to be there. Some 13 years ago, Moloch removed him from his grave, putting him into the real world to await his awakening for the Apocalypse.
Abbie’s stolen memory is of Moloch raising Parrish from the ground. As a witness, she had been sent to prevent it, but she was too young to do anything. After that delightful revelation, Abbie starts screaming about how she has to leave and get back to the real world. But Young Abbie tells her there’s no hope of that, because as the camera pans out we see that she is trapped in a dollhouse. CLIFFHANGER #2: Welcome to the Dollhouse, Abbie.
But Parrish’s story isn’t quite complete. PLOT TWIST #2: Henry Parrish is actually their son, Jeremy (I would like to point out I hinted at this happening in my recap of “Golem”). After being buried alive by Katrina’s coven, his anger festered. When Moloch brought him back, he stumbled upon an abandoned church with a sign that read: St. Henry’s Parish (the same sign that lies in the back of Jenny’s overturned truck). He acquired the name, and has been slowly manipulating the others into carrying out Moloch’s prophecy. He planted the idea of a sin eater in Katrina’s mind and spread little hints around in his other encounters with everyone.
After recounting his extensive manipulations this season, his headless brother shows up. Parrish relinquishes his mother into the horseman’s care. CLIFFHANGER #3: The headless horseman rides off with Katrina (presumably to find his head?). Crane is still reeling from all these plot twists himself. Parrish unstraps him from the tree, but before Crane can recover Parrish knocks his father into a deep grave he’s opened up in the ground. He binds Crane in the grave and says, “War isn’t coming to Sleepy Hollow. It’s been here waiting all along. And now, it begins.” CLIFFHANGER #4: Parrish closes the coffin lid on his father, leaving Crane buried alive.
This finale was incredible. So many awesome twists were revealed in those final 15 minutes. And the cliffhangers for all the characters rival that of the greatest cliffhangers of TV (could all these collectively be more insane than when Jack told Kate, “We need to go back!”). This exemplifies how much planning went into the entire season, with the writers layering in the various storylines that come together beautifully in the finale. And they’ve perfectly set up their season two arc (which should hopefully spawn some Game of Thrones-inspired “War is coming” posters).
Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…
Wardrobe update: Crane stumbles onto a Revolutionary War reenactment group and discovers that they sell authentic looking clothing. Crane now has access to an entire wardrobe suited to his taste.
“Many a mickle makes a muckle” – Crane uses this phrase he got from Washington, which means that a lot of little things can add up to something larger.
“Prophecies have a nasty way of fulfilling themselves if you let them.” – Parrish
“When am I ever going to stop being surprised?” – Abbie
When Katrina says she can’t leave Purgatory, Abbie says, “Sure you can. We’ll help you pack.”
When Crane embraces Abbie before leaving her behind in Purgatory, Katrina gives them a look that could be seen as either sad or judgy. I’m sure Crane-Abbie shippers ate that scene up.
“I married a witch. How cool!” – Crane, after seeing Katrina perform a little magic.
Parrish is THEIR SON, and he is WAR! I still can’t get over how great this twist was.
After Parrish says his ominous lines and closes the grave, the shot cuts to a title card for Sleepy Hollow playing a quick soundbite of the Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil.” This is a callback to when they used the same song in the pilot to introduce the town of Sleepy Hollow.