When we last left the gang at the end of Season One, everyone who wasn’t John Noble was having the worst day ever. Abbie Mills was trapped in a dollhouse with her twelve year old self — which is honestly more hell than Purgatory. Jenny Mills was unconscious in an overturned truck. Katrina Crane was being Princess Peach’d away by Headless and Ichabod had been buried alive. 

We’ve all been waiting months to see how the Scooby gang is gonna get out of this mess. Because "This Is War."


Ichabod is right where we left him, living out our collective worst nightmare of being buried alive in a pine box by our evil son. Somewhere Jerry Springer is kicking himself for not thinking of this bit first. But wait! Where are the vines holding Crane down? CONTINUITY ERR—

Oh, he was having a flashback. Crane is back in at Cabin Mission Control. And it’s his birthday? Did someone accidentally splice in the wrong episode? Abbie is here and she got him a very festive cupcake. Red, white, and blue. Awwww. It even has a flag candle! They’re celebrating Crane’s 251st birthday. As you do.

In the never-ending list of things colonial Americans didn’t do, Crane has no idea what our birthday traditions are. Surprise parties, making a wish but not out loud, blowing out the candle…he’s adorable and perplexed by this ritual. It’s kind of amazing how many traditions we just take for granted to the point of invisibility. While this is going on, Mills is all “It’s been almost a year,” but almost a year since what? Since the events at the end of Season One? Since Crane was first resurrected? ANSWER ME, SCRIPTWRITERS!

But no. The cruel gods of pacing mock us all. Instead of answers, we’re kept off balance with more questions as the Sheriff’s Department calls. This is accompanied by thunder and the door spookily banging open, so we know it’s serious. Seriously a bad idea to go downtown. 

So obviously Crane and Mills book it directly the local Historical Society where a professor has specifically summoned them. In the middle of the night. On the one year anniversary of some serious shit going down. Nope. Nothing here smells like a trap. 

OH SHIT IT WAS A TRAP! At the Historical Society, there is an officer of the law just chilling in the grass. Which would be weird enough if he weren’t also missing his head. At least our protagonists are smart enough to arm themselves. Crane gets a crossbow because archery is super in vogue right now. (Thanks Katniss!)

To the surprise of no one, the professor is also missing his head. Weirdly both heads are not only removed, but missing all togehter? Is that new? Has Headless moved into serial killer territory where he takes a souvenir? Because, come on man. The Governor already called dibs on “Creepy Room of Severed Heads.”

Headless was so busy collecting his prizes, he left behind all the evidence. Whatever Crane and Mills were summoned to find out had to do with Ben Franklin. Who Crane knew because of course he did. I love him, but Ichabod is obviously a huge colonial groupie. But unlike his bro-crush on Washington, Franklin was on Crane’s shitlist for being insufferable. Franklin was weird. And getting laid a lot. And always had to be the smartest guy in the room. and Crane was totes jealous, you guys.

But he was also a good apprentice of Franklin and it doesn’t take long until they find the HIDDEN FILES. But before they can figure out what was worth dying over, Headless returns! Serious question: Where does a giant headless man wearing 18th century clothing go to buy ammo? A question to ponder while our heroes engage in a shoutout with the Horseman of Death. But it’s a new season, which means EVERYONE has new toys. In Headless’s case, the shiny new toy is bombs. In a puff of explosive smoke, he BAMFs away before they can finish him off.

In a rage, Crane is ready to hunt their foe to the ends of the Earth but Mills urges restraint. Even if Headless did kill Katrina and Jenny. Wait. Go back. Katrina and Jenny are dead? Dammit, I hate Anachronic episodes. Why are you torturing us like this? Headless wanted Katrina alive for — sketchy — reasons so what happened?

Cooler heads prevail and instead of running off after an immortal being probably leading them into a trap, our heroes take a look at the files. Inside is a charcoal rubbing of a key, which Crane recognizes as belonging to Ben Franklin. It’s the key he stole — probably — from the Hellfire Club (Emma Frost is gonna be pissed) and Crane was there when Franklin conducted the famous kite electricity experiment on it. Well, I’m glad our Founding Fathers knew how important Ichabod Crane was or we’d all be in trouble. Of course, one wonders HOW they knew…

Anyway, Franklin didn’t give two figs about figuring out how to harness electricity, which would lead to the dawn of a golden age of technological growth. He just wanted to destroy the damn key because it could open a portal between the world of the living and Purgatory. But even the power of Zeus wasn’t enough and Franklin runs off to hide the deus ex machina lest it fall into the wrong hands.

Unfortunately, the notes don’t leave a detailed map to the key’s location because George Washington’s lich only had a finite amount of time, probably. But there is one person who can help. Henry Parrish. Wait. Go back. Again. Henry is alive? And a prisoner of Crane and Mills? And is going by Henry again? WHAT. IS. HAPPENING? How do you trap the Horseman of War? Something here doesn’t add up. I’m starting to suspect this is an illusion or a Purgatory trick.

Despite the fact they can’t trust Henry as far as they can throw him, they take him the notes that could free Moloch directly to him. Guys, no. You’ve even got him locked away like a “Sleepy Hollow” Magneto. Henry is like, “Wow, y’all don’t learn do you?” before lying through his teeth about how he can’t sense anything in the paperwork about the key’s location. But it triggers Mill’s memory and she recalls Jenny probably knows where the key is because of her work with Corbin. 

Which is what Henry has been waiting for. Suddenly, Crane can’t remember anything from the last year. This is some “Dark City” stuff right here. It was all a lie. Moloch and Henry created a trap to ascertain the location of the loophole that’ll allow the gates of Purgatory to be opened. Now they just have to torture it out of Jenny. Lovely.

Without preamble, Abbie is back in Purgatory and Ichabod is back in his pine coffin, complete with restrictive vines this time. 

The minions of Hell are nothing if not efficient. Jenny has been freed from the car and taken to a nondescript location by the Hessians and Henry. After zip-tying her to a chair, the Horseman of War eats Jenny’s sins to learn the location of the key. He even monologues a bit but I forgive him, because when you know you’re going to get the information you want, a little gloating is only human. You’d think now that her usefulness is over, War would kill Jenny but he blunders into a classic villain mistake and keeps her alive. Maybe in case he can’t crack Franklin’s secret code?

Back in the pine box, Crane’s hold on sanity has slipped. He is tasting the the grave dirt leaking into his coffin. Does it taste like chocolate? Did War bury his father under the world’s largest Oreo dirt cup? No, it’s just sulfur. Perhaps instead of ammonia, demons pee sulfur. Let that thought just stay with you forever.

Mom. Wife. Geek. Gamer. Feminist. Writer. Sarcastic. Succinct. Donna has been writing snark for the Internet in one form or another for almost a decade. She has a lot of opinions, mostly on science-fiction, fantasy, feminism, and Sailor Moon. Follow her on Twitter (@MildlyAmused) for more of all these things.