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Sleepy Hollow S01E08: "Necromancer"

When I watched "Necromancer" for the first time, I was so engrossed in the story that at one point there might have actually been drool on my desk. So from now on, that's how I'm going to start judging the quality of a TV series: If you can make me sit with my mouth hanging open long enough that I've lost feeling in my jaw, then, uh, good job! That's pretty good stuff right there. But in all seriousness, "Necromancer" was a turning point for Sleepy Hollow. It was the second half of what probably would've been labeled as a two-parter back in the days when TV show's still did two-parters.

Last week, Abbie and Ichabod successfully captured the Headless Horseman with the help of the strongest UV lights on the open market and a Masonic hex that worked kind of like Supernatural's devil's trap, which makes sense because that idea came from the Lesser Key of Solomon, which we already saw at work on Sleepy Hollow anyway. And this week, after Abbie taught Ichabod how to fist bump (seriously, this show!) so they could congratulate themselves on a successful capturing, Sleepy Hollow decided that the next logical step in this weird supernatural buddy cop mash-up was for Ichabod to interrogate the Horseman while looking like the dashing Revolutionary soldier that he is. (Again, this show!)

Naturally, Captain Irving spoke for all of us when he pointed out the Horseman wouldn't be able to answer any of Ichabod's questions on account of being headless—and therefore mouthless—but that was fixed with a simple throwaway line about Evil John Cho being a necromancer, which meant that he could speak to/for the dead. It was awfully convenient that Abbie and Ichabod had a dead guy with such an ability running around in their tunnels, but I love every second that John Cho is on screen, especially now that it looks like his character Andy is conflicted over which side he serves. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

During Ichabod's interrogation, it was revealed the Horseman was in possession of a necklace that once belonged to Katrina, and thus began more fun exposition in the form of a flashback. As it turns out, Ichabod had chosen the necklace as a gift for Katrina back when she was engaged to another man, his best friend Abraham "Brom" Van Brunt. (I had wondered when this character would be brought into the story, and now we know.) Katrina, of course, did not marry Brom, breaking off her engagement (which had been arranged for her anyway) and choosing Ichabod. *fist bump* Ike's got game, y'all! And he wasn't even trying. In fact, he was actively insisting that Katrina not leave her fiance for him. Luckily Katrina was like, "Yeah, no, you're an idiot. I'm going to leave him and marry you and then get trapped in purgatory while you're destined to fight Brom forever because he sold his soul to Moloch and is now the Headless Horseman." 

Well, it didn't go exactly like that, but after Ichabod stupidly informed Brom that Katrina had ended her betrothal to Brom by picking Ike (if we're looking for an inciting incident, I think we just found it), it was time for a good old-fashioned duel! Whichhhhh Ichabod wanted no part of. Seriously, where did this guy come from? Sometimes he's too noble for his own good. 

After Brom was shot by the Hessians and Ichabod skedaddled in order to keep what was basically the first draft of the Declaration of Independence out of enemy hands, Ichabod assumed Brom had died, but in actuality, the Hessians went full-on What Not to Wear on him, giving him new clothes, a new haircut, and branding him. He sold his soul to Moloch before he died in order to get revenge on Ichabod, which takes this mythology to a whole new level and explains why the Horseman didn't immediately hightail it out of Sleepy Hollow (well, that, and the fact he needs his head in order to bring about the apocalypse). He's on a mission. And that mission is to destroy Ichabod and claim Katrina's soul when the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride together. Her soul is his prize, his reward for defeating Ichabod once and for all. 

This is a very interesting turn of events for the series' mythology. Even though Ichabod has successfully severed the blood bond that tied him to the Horseman, he's still inextricably linked to him through his past, present, and future. So let this be a life lesson to you all: Don't go stealing your best friend's boyfriend/girlfriend, otherwise they will become an immortal being and you'll be locked in a fight to the death for centuries. (And you thought this show was just about supernatural buddy cops!)

I wondered where the series was going to go after Abbie and Ike captured the Horseman in Episode 7, and even though I knew there was no way they'd hold him for long (as it turned out, they probably should've had the foresight to pick up some generators, since electricity is fickle and also really easy to shut off), I don't know that I ever entertained the idea of learning the Headless Horseman's origin story in Episode 8. But I loved that turn of events, and it was part of the reason I was so enthralled by "Necromancer." Leave it to Sleepy Hollow to humanize a character like the Headless Horseman, who's just as skilled with an automatic weapon as he is with an ax. I don't feel bad for him in any way, shape, or form, but he's not just an embodiment of all evil anymore. He's not just Death. He was a human being once—which to be honest, surprised me for some reason—and he was a human being who Ichabod knew well.

Sleepy Hollow isn't introducing anything new with this revelation; we know that evil isn't just born, but can be created. However, the idea that the Headless Horseman—who is, for all intents and purposes, Death—was born from the desire for revenge... that's definitely an interesting addition to the mythology. You always think of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as existing outside the realm of humanity, like the devil himself is bigger than the world we inhabit, and it's possible there was a Horseman of Death before him and Brom took over in that moment in the woods with Moloch and the Hessians, but right now, Brom is the Headless Horseman, and the Headless Horseman is Brom. I'm inclined to believe that if Brom succeeded in killing Ichabod and claiming Katrina's soul, his duty would be completed and the role would transfer to someone else, like a very screwed-up family heirloom being passed down from generation to generation. But it's also possible that wouldn't happen at all, and that would mean the apocalypse would never come, which might explain Moloch's hesitation at seeing Ichabod dead.

I'm only speculating, of course, but the fact that Sleepy Hollow has chosen to go down this road is exciting. Ichabod blames himself, believing he created his own arch enemy by falling in love with and marrying Katrina. And this revelation has given the series a new sense of purpose. This is no longer just a war against evil; it's personal now. And if Supernatural has taught me anything, it's that the more personal the story, the more involved our protagonists are, and the more emotional it will be. And that's definitely the case here.

"Necromancer" was a great episode, guys. It answered as many questions as it created, but it set up the rest of the season and I've actually never been more excited for a new episode. Like, can I just sleep until next Monday? Because that's what "Necromancer" did to me. We know who the Headless Horseman is and what he wants, and because of that, we know his weakness. But at the same time, Abbie and Ichabod are still playing a game that's far larger than either of them realize. Moloch doesn't want the Horseman to kill Ichabod (at least not yet), and Andy isn't taking too kindly to being Moloch's butt monkey. He sold his soul, and he has to do whatever Moloch orders him to do, but he still has enough of a conscience that he regrets those actions—that's why he told Abbie that he didn't want to remove the Freemason's hex, which is why the Horseman was able to attack Ichabod, but he had no choice in the matter. This is just another example of the series surprising me with its complicated storytelling, and I have to say, I don't hate it. But we still don't know exactly what Moloch really wants, and I wonder if we'll even figure that out this season. We still have five episodes left, and if they're all as good as "Necromancer," if they're all as focused and fun as "Necromancer" was, then I'm seriously going to need to invest in a bib in order to keep the drool off my shirt. 

*fist bump*


Decapitations this week: 0

– Things that confused Ichabod this week: Fist bumps! "Makes no sense," he said.

– In case you didn't notice, that opening scene was 15 minutes long. Yes. 15. Minutes. Long. God bless, Sleepy Hollow.

– Where did the Horseman, Evil John Cho and the masters of darkness go?

– How awesome has Captain Irving become in the span of a few episodes? 

– Jenny was back this week since she's out of the psychiatric hospital now, but sometimes I wonder whose side she's actually on. There's something about her that just makes me go, "Yeahhh, I could see you being evil." This probably stems from watching too many supernatural shows where people double-cross each other all the time, but I'm gonna keep my eye on you, Jenny.

– "Of course, everyone in Tarrytown Psychiatric can read 16th century Druidic scripture!" is basically the way Jenny acted upon having found the box in the back of Adams' store. And now I'm just imagining a Sleepy Hollow/Mean Girls mash-up in which the Headless Horseman is Regina. (Help me?)

– The wrong way in the tunnels gag reminded me of something Supernatural would do, or something that Buffy the Vampire Slayer would do, which automatically means I want to marry this show.

– Irving: "Dead guy, mental patient, and a time-traveler from the Revolution..." Abbie: "That's our team."

– "I neither wanted, nor did I invite, 'game.'"

What did you guys think of "Necromancer"? Did you drool? It's okay if you did, I promise I won't tell anyone (I'll tell everyone).

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AIRS ON 1/5/2015

Season 2 : Episode 12

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