Recap: 'Sleepy Hollow' - No one ever talks about their 'Mama' issues
When we last left our heroes, the Scooby gang had just broken up again. Katrina was going back undercover as Abraham/Death’s Stockholm Syndrome girlfriend while Ichabod and Abbie continued the kabuki dance of pretending they don’t want to bone each other.
Also, I started helming the good ship Crawley — because Hawley and Ichabod are totally secretly pining for each other.
Did Katrina manage to murder that demon baby? Will the show keep enabling my new OTP? Let’s find out in tonight’s episode, “Mama.”
Through the power of dream visions, we are transported to foggy Victorian London and/or ancient Roman ruins. Abbie is disoriented — which is strange because you’d think she’d be used to the dream sequence cold open by now — but she's drawn to a disturbing singsong voice. “You Are My Sunshine” has never sounded creepier than right now, emanating from the monk robes of Abbie Mills’ dead mother.
Abbie is jolted awake just before we get a good look inside the robe. Which is probably for the best because never in the history of mankind has anything benevolent been inside a grim reaper cowl. Away from the vision Purgatory with her mother, Abbie can focus on mundane activities. Like quietly making fun of Ichabod Crane’s inability to open a pill bottle.
Child and Revolutionary-proof caps.
At some point Ichabod has come down with the crud, but he’s doing his level best to push through. Abbie is having none of it and tucks him in with a red plaid blanket and an admonishment to get some sleep. Then she’s off to go be a cop because Reyes needs her. Ichabod is put out but seriously, it is poor form to show up for work sick. Especially when you aren’t technically getting paid, so you have all the sick days in the world.
P.S. Ichabod’s “I am sick, pity me” scarf is quite fetching.
Ever since the sting operation on the “satanic cult,” Reyes has backed off Abbie’s case. Apparently shutting down a group that is testing demon baby parasite via poison gets you brownie points with the skeptical, hard-ass police chief. Reyes even extends the most macabre olive branch ever: there have been three suicides in as many nights at Tarrytown. Reyes wants Abbie to investigate what’s really going on, even going so far as to say Mills’ personal connection to the tragedy might give her the edge. Also, if Reyes had assigned the case to someone else, she knows — correctly — that Abbie would’ve hounded her about it.
With Ichabod out of commission, Abbie calls in the reserves. Jenny has joined the party! If the Scooby gang was a fantasy party, what roles would they have? Abbie is the Red Mage, Jenny the Fighter, Ichabod the Scholar, Hawley the Thief, and Katrina the White Mage, yeah?
Anyway, Jenny agreed to help because she knows Tarrytown better than anyone. What with being involuntarily committed on and off for most of her adult life. As she explains that Tarrytown is a building full of pain and fear, the point is driven home by the “welcoming committee.” One of the patients — Walt — creepy lurches towards the sisters and gurgles incoherently before being led away by a nurse. Surely that’s the last we’ve seen of those characters and they’ll not reappear later in this episode in pivotal roles!
The ladies head directly to Captain Irving for information on the suicide victims. Irving only knew one of them — Nelson — a dude who suffered from paranoid delusions but had been on his meds and organizing prayer circles and generally acting like a man who wanted to live. Irving is also sure to mention he did not kill those people. The good Captain is still in control of his actions, if not his soul.
Sometime later, the sisters are sitting in front of an overwhelming number of monitors, each split into smaller monitors. They’re pouring over the Tarrytown surveillance footage, but unless they have ADHD I’m not sure how they’re focused on anything. Besides, don’t they know the names of the suicide victims and where they died? Why not just use the cameras from their bedrooms? Is it because it wouldn’t look like a cool CSI sequence? Be honest, that’s the reason.
In a moment of revelation decades in the making, Jenny admits that she once snuck into Tarrytown to visit their mom when she was a kid. Which means either Jenny was a break-in prodigy or psychiatric facilities are disconcertingly lax on security, despite having more cameras than a government black site. Jenny says her last memory of Mrs. Mills is of orderlies dragging her away while she screamed and freaked out. To add insult to injury, baby Jenny is even holding flowers while watching this scene in slack-jawed terror.
Abbie responds with a confession of her own. She always worried she’d end up crazy like their mom. And when Jenny ended up in Tarrytown, Abbie knew it was only a matter of time before the crazy genetics came home to roost. She’s determined to figure out what’s going on at Tarrytown because Abbie hopes it will help her understand why she was chosen to be a Witness.
There are leaps of faith and then there is blind, desperate groping for meaning. Your milage may vary as to which of the two Abbie’s hope is.
Sibling bonding over shared childhood trauma out of the way, the ladies finally realize cameras are room specific. Honing in on Nelson’s room around the time of the murder, they completely overlook that budget Nurse Ratchet from earlier was the last person to see him alive. Instead they focus on their dead mom’s ghost in the corner because neither of them have ever heard of a red herring.
Come on Jenny. You’re more genre savvy than this.
Okay, maybe Jenny is more savvy than I gave her credit for, because she went off to get the footage analyzed instead of taking it on faith that her crazy demon-hunted mother is back from the dead. Abbie is stuck babysitting a perplexed and still sickly Ichabod while this is going down. Crane is displeased by the lack of instantaneous results from his eucalyptus huffing. But that doesn’t stop him from pointing out to Abbie that of course none of the pills Tarrytown gave Mrs. Mills worked because Abbie’s mom wasn’t actually delusional.
The creepy shit she was seeing was real.
Suddenly, a flashback. The baby Mills sisters return home to a mother who is frazzled and clutching a baby doll. Mrs. Mills isn’t wearing a tin foil hat, but she HAS put yellowed newspaper over all the windows, which is only one step down on the “paranoid shut-in” barometer. However, her mantra to the girls of “Eyes open, Head up, Trust no one” is just good stranger danger advice. Most girls have heard a variation on this from their mothers. Only we’re looking out for potential assaulters and the Mills were on the look out for demons.
Six of one, half dozen of the other.
Adult Abbie muses on why her mother’s ghost has returned now, after 15 years, to start killing Tarrytown patients. Her query is cut short by the arrival of my favorite person — Southern Gentleman Aquaman! Hawley comes bearing gifts: medicine, food, and books for research from the cabin.
Awwww, you guys. Hawley came to doctor an ailing Ichabod. CRAWLEY LIVES!
SGA also brought Matzah ball soup. At first Crane is dubious but quickly comes around to the strange yet delicious Jewish recipe. So...is Hawley Jewish? Also, how cute is it that Ichabod tries to hide how pleased he is that SGA brought him soup? The fanfiction practically writes itself.
Sustained by the soup brought by his crush, Ichabod whips out Washington’s map — does he keep it next to his heart or something? — and posits a theory. Tarrytown is build on a leyline. Perhaps with Moloch returned to this mortal plane, he is somehow compelling Mrs. Mills to kill in order to torture Abbie and Jenny.
Sure, why not?