Sleepy Hollow "Sanctuary" Review: Family Ties

By Kaitlin Thomas

Nov 26, 2013

Sleepy Hollow S01E09: "Sanctuary"

Ichabod Crane, you are the father! 

"Sanctuary" was yet another fantastic hour of Sleepy Hollow, and it introduced even more questions regarding the series' complicated mythology while hinting at why Ichabod Crane and Abbie Mills' fates are entwined. Their history goes back much further than just the few weeks (months?) since Ichabod woke up from his 200-year-long dirt nap. As it turns out, in a wonderfully fun reveal, Katrina was pregnant at the time of Ichabod's death, and she gave birth to a son shortly thereafter. The baby was delivered by a woman named Grace Dixon, who was Abbie's ancestor. Naturally.

That bit of information doesn't exactly do much to explain why Ichabod and Abbie have been chosen by the powers that be as the two witnesses who must stop the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but it does at least hint at the idea of their destinies having been connected for far longer than even they realized. This is a common theme in stories about saving the world, as the idea of destiny or fate often plays a large role in such tales, so while it was a great reveal, it wasn't exactly surprising. But hey, there was a Baby Crane! What happened to him? And what happened to Katrina when she escaped Lachlan Frederick's formerly peaceful mansion five minutes after giving birth (I'm letting this bit of ridiculousness slide)? We're now nine episodes deep in Sleepy Hollow Season 1 and the series is dropping one knowledge bomb after another, yet we're not really any closer to getting answers to our biggest questions. Hell, sometimes I don't even know what my biggest questions are when it comes to this series. That should probably bother me more than it does, but so far, I don't mind. 

This week, Abbie and Ichabod were saddled with the task of tracking down a billionaire socialite who'd gone missing somewhere in the vicinity of Sleepy Hollow. On the surface, the disappearance of Lena Gilbert didn't appear to be a case that required Abbie and Ike's expertise, but once it was revealed that the name Katrina C. was found among Lena's things, the dynamic duo were on the case. They tracked her to the old Fredericks residence, which had been considered a sanctuary at one time, but was now in a state of disrepair on account of the fact that no one had lived in it for decades (centuries?), and the property had been sold again and again (probably because, I don't know, there was a dangerous monster living there?). 

Ichabod and Katrina had visited the home back in the day, and found that it was a safe haven for people of all walks of life. There were no slaves, and everyone who worked for Mr. Fredericks was paid a wage. But it wasn't just a sanctuary for emancipated slaves, it was a place free from evil. Fredericks had been a warlock in Katrina's coven, which is why she returned to the home when she was pregnant. She believed the magic that Fredericks had placed on the house would protect her, and her unborn child, from the evil that had sprung forth into the world at Moloch's request.

Unfortunately for Katrina, as soon as Baby Crane arrived, the home was attacked by what the credits of "Sanctuary" have assured me was a scarecrow. It was made out of roots and had grown on the home's property, which allowed it to beat the hex Frederick had cast to protect the home. By growing inside the property, it didn't need to cross any magical boundaries like most evil creatures would. The roots eventually invaded the entire structure, as seen in the present day when Lena first arrived and got dragged into the closet. When the roots were cut, they bled. This was a heavy-handed metaphor for family lineage, of course, and in an episode about ancestry and carrying on family legacies, well, what else would you expect? 

We all have roots, we all come from somewhere—including Lena Gilbert, who was one of Fredericks' relatives. Sometimes our roots are just as important to who we are as the life we've chosen to lead. Sometimes our roots are what make us, and what guide us, which obviously came to be true in Abbie's case, when she saw the ghost of Grace Dixon. Sometimes our roots also tie us down, which happened literally for Lena. And sometimes our roots are hella confusing because time travel. Ichabod, for instance, has his own magical roots of destiny, but because he's been displaced from his own time, he's also someone else's roots. His story this week wasn't so much about ancestry and his family lineage as it was about him discovering that his family lineage didn't end with him. Now he's even more set on finding his family in the present day. Finding Katrina and freeing her from purgatory after the Horseman revealed that her soul was his prize was Ichabod's top priority in "Necromancer," but now he's also set on finding the rest of his kin. What happened to Baby Crane? Did the child survive and grow up to start his own family? And if so, are they still in Sleepy Hollow?

So many questions surround this story. Why did the scarecrow arrive just as the baby was born? What does Moloch want with the kiddo? We know that evil can be created—we saw that last week when Brom became the Headless Horseman—but evil can also be born. Was their infant evil? I think that would be one hell of a twist for the series, especially since Ichabod only just found out he was a father. To learn that his child was destined for evil would be an interesting way to incorporate the good-versus-evil aspect that so often accompanies stories about families and magical destinies. I thought Jenny might have ended up being the evil to Abbie's good, but it's possible that Ichabod and Katrina's son is actually the evil to their good. Who knows? At this point, Sleepy Hollow could go anywhere and do anything and I think I'd still love it.

Speaking of families, we were introduced to Captain Irving's ex-wife and daughter this week. If Ichabod and Abbie's story dealt with the common themes of destiny and family legacies, the Irvings' story dealt with another theme that's often present in supernatural series about heroes trying to save the world: personal sacrifice. It happens all the time—the hero must sacrifice something close to his or her heart in the name of the greater good. Irving moved to Sleepy Hollow to run its small-town police department, one that was one-tenth the size of the precinct he used to manage in New York City. And now, his ex-wife is struggling to understand why he's unable to find time to see his daughter when he lives in a quiet, peaceful town like Sleepy Hollow.

At this point in the episode, my notes read, "OH HONEY, IF ONLY YOU KNEW!" But of course she can't know. It looks like Irving is simply choosing his job over his child again, but what his ex-wife isn't privy to is that he's doing it so that his daughter has the chance to grow up at all. He's sacrificing his own personal happiness, and possibly destroying his relationship with his daughter, in order to help save the world, and he can't even tell her. It's sad to see, but it happens all the time in stories like this one.

With "Sanctuary," Sleepy Hollow once answered just as many questions as it created. We now know that Ichabod's timeline first merged with Abbie's long ago, when her ancestor delivered Baby Crane, and again when she facilitated Katrina and the baby's escape from the scarecrow sent to do Moloch's bidding. But we still don't know why either of them were really chosen to be the saviors of the universe. Yes, it's now their destiny to do so, and the dawn of the Horsemen has been a long time coming. But the question that arises in the aftermath of "Sanctuary" is, "What will Ichabod and Abbie do next?" Ichabod made quite statement when he attacked the scarecrow's roots in the basement of the old Fredericks mansion; these two characters are both strong and make their own choices, so while their destinies might've led them to this moment, and will guide them toward their end, it excites me to see where they're going because anything could happen.


– Decapitations this week: 0 (though the scarecrow definitely took an ax to the face)

– Things that confused/annoyed Ichabod this week: Drive-thru windows, what we're supposed to believe were McDonald's french fries, and the idea that the Pilgrims ate cranberry sauce and pie at the first Thanksgiving. 

– "The Pilgrims didn't have any sugar to make a sauce, let alone a pie! And venison, not turkey, was served!" 

– "She would have told me." When Abbie first informed Ichabod of the baby, the expression on his face broke my heart. Why hadn't Katrina told Ichabod about their son? I know they didn't exactly have much time to gab when she invaded his dreams or whatever, and I know Ichabod needed to focus on the Horseman, etc. But he had a son! This storyline excites me. Do you think his son lived? He had to've lived, right? Are Ichabod's descendants going to play a part in the future of Sleepy Hollow? Do you think any of the characters we've already met are related to him?

– What do you think Baby Crane's name was? Since I'm obviously super fond of naming people who don't have real names, I think I shall name Baby Crane Frasier. Just kidding. I'm pretty Frasier Crane was born a grown man. From here on out, until we learn Ichabod's son's name, I'm going to call him Joey.

– Jenny made Thanksgiving dinner! I loved it. Almost as much as I loved her bonding with Irving's daughter.

– With each passing episode, I love Abbie and Ichabod's secret HQ in the archives more and more. Every good savior of humanity needs a clubhouse.

– Lena Gilbert, eh? Really? Jose Molina used to be a co-executive producer on The Vampire Diaries, and he now holds the same role on Sleepy Hollow. It's probably just a coincidence, but it's still a bit too close to the name Elena Gilbert for my liking.

– The attack on Fredericks' home was preceded by a murder of crows flying into the windows, and if Teen Wolf has taught us anything, birds of any kind attacking a building is definitely not a good thing and is actually really scary. Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds has been terrorizing humans for decades now. To this day, my heart races at the sight of a large flock of birds. I'd really appreciate it if movies and TV series would just quit it with the birds for awhile. Thanks.

What'd you think of "Sanctuary"? 

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  • shootingstar609 Jan 03, 2014

    I believe they said in the episode that Baby Crane's name is Jeremy.
    But bravo Sleepy Hollow, another awesome episode! I'm really sad that this show has a shortened first season especially since it's being followed by something way not as good. Makes me wonder what the writers have planned for the season finale...

  • katikool Dec 10, 2013

    Nerp, the best cultural disconnect was "More treasures from the Amazons?", as uttered by Ichabod when Abbie got that package. Love iiiiiiitt.

    This show is up there with other excellent supernatural dramas with a comedic flair, like Buffy and Supernatural, and that makes me so happy :D

  • andreweather Dec 09, 2013

    You know I was thinking last night they missed an interesting cultural disconnect about Ichabod's reaction to a 'billionaire'.

    He'd have thought of billion as the 'Old British Billion', what we now call a trillion, or a million million, not the American and international (and since 1975 the UK as well) billion, which is a thousand million.

    So that's something they could have played with.

  • ErlendJohanne Dec 11, 2013

    Well, in Scandinavia at least, a billion is still 1,000,000,000,000. So a million millions. And a thousand million is called a milliard.

  • makuyi Dec 04, 2013

    I knew I recognized the name Lena Gilbert from somewhere! Maybe it's a nod for fans of both shows..

  • Copioli Dec 03, 2013

    Ichabod was very shocked by all the billionaire thing. That was fun.

  • SarahHagen2 Dec 02, 2013

    The 'vision' of the birth was a little convenient, but otherwise the haunted house set was super creepy, and it will be interesting to see who Ike's son turns out to be.

  • OutrSpaceBonobo Dec 01, 2013

    We learned two important things this week. Crane's been doing his history homework - he was all an expert on the GNP, an idea that didn't develop until after WWII. And he's terrible at math - according to Wikipedia, the GNP of the US didn't cross into the billions until around the beginning of the 20th century. Although, I could be wrong about that second one b/c like Crane, I'm terrible at math. ;P.

  • StineJensen1 Dec 02, 2013

    Crane said the noe billion was the GNP for the thirteen colonies for his entire lifetime, not for one year of it

  • OutrSpaceBonobo Dec 01, 2013

    PS: Tree monsters rock!

  • RoverGuy Dec 01, 2013

    Who carries an axe like that in their car? I could see a hatchet, but a full blown axe?

  • antmorris3511 Dec 06, 2013

    i think ichabod used that axe to gain access to 'the reliquary' or whatever that place is where clancy brown kept all his otherworldy artifacts.

  • gmanBegins Nov 30, 2013

    There is a romance a brewing between Jenny and the Captain!! and I like it!
    Sleepy Hollow is killing with these 3 episodes..keep it up. Somehow the HouseTree scared me and made me laugh at the same time. Grade=B+

  • kalel32688 Nov 30, 2013

    Awesome episode! Somehow I knew Grace Dixon would turn out to be Abbie's ancestor, and when it turned out to be true, I was like "I knew it!"

    Loved Ichabod taking down the Scarecrow with an axe. This shows us you do not mess with his family!

    Anyone else notice Ichabod lost his jacket near the end? Does that mean he'll be getting a NEW one? FINALLY?

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