After three weeks, Sleepy Hollow is back! And so is the Headless Horseman (well… a little) in this episode, titled “Sin Eater.”
Abbie is teaching Ichabod about the modern American dream as expressed through baseball (aptly timed, since the world series was last week). Ichabod still has not been shopping for modern attire. After heckling the little league umpire, Ichabod goes to visit Katrina’s grave. He is hit with a dart in the neck and kidnapped.
Driving home Abbie goes into a trance and ends up in an echo house that Katrina communicates through. Katrina tells her about the Sin Eater. She says that the blood bond between Ichabod and the Horseman could be reversed (as now, the horseman was summoned, so Ichabod woke up. And if the Horseman dies, so goes Ichabod.)
Abbie wakes up behind the wheel with a message to find the Sin Eater and nearly collides with a tractor trailer truck. Abbie heads to the chief and tells him about the Sin Eater. He doesn’t buy it. Ever the skeptic, even after meeting a known time traveller, a body awakening in the morgue, reports of a Headless axe murderer, a ghost plague that could only be cured by crossing over to a time portal occupied by residents of the lost colony. So instead Abbie goes to recruit Jenny (back in the institution while Abbie’s guardianship paperwork processes- paperwork has to process on a TV show?! say what!?). Jenny is still feeling sassy, and slighted. But joins up quickly at the mention of the Sin Eater.
Ichabod awakens in a room full of candles. With his captor, Rutledge, and does some Sherlockian stuff to prove that Rutledge is a freemason. Rutledge asks about the phrase “Order from Chaos” and Ichabod remembers Arthur Bernard, a freed slave suspected of treason (by the British, for inciting the American Revolution), Ichabod was asked to torture him, which is where he met Katrina. Ichabod, of course, wants to show Arthur mercy and Katrina does also, because she “is a quaker”
Abbie and Jenny are looking for the Sin Eater. Jenny had previously researched a man visiting death row inmates globally, when those he visited met their death, their parting words we’re all the same, “I am sanctified.”
Arthur tells Ichabod that there are demons all around. Ichabod protests against the usefulness of public hangings, is threatened by his commander and then the other man goes all demon face. Katrina and Ichabod have a heart to heart and she finds out he knows about the demons.
Jenny cross references every death row inmate’s visitors log… umm… seems impossible, but okay. Abbie hashes out why Ichabod is so important to her, and then Abbie gets to go Sherlockian to find that the Sin Eater has been taking the identities of the dead death row inmates. His real name is Henry Parish (Walter Bishop… I mean, John Noble). Abbie says she knows what he is and who he is and says she needs his help. He says he doesn’t do that anymore. After telling him how important it is, four horsemen of the apocalypse important, he tells Abbie that Ichabod is underground with freemasons.
Seems like it would be hard to find an underground lair of a secret brotherhood… but whatever,
Back in the 1700s, Ichabod is ordered to kill Arthur, who says that if Ichabod pulls the trigger he will live with sin inside his heart forever, that he will beg for salvation. Ichabod spares him, intentionally missing, but is caught by his demon commander who shoots Arthur in the back. Ichabod drags himself to Katrina to heal him and says “Order out of chaos.” His sin is not acting sooner to free Arthur.
The freemasons have Katrina’s diary with the account of this tale and are satisfied that Ichabod is the real Ichabod (apparently they have been fooled before, how does that come up?) They convince Ichabod that he must kill himself to kill the Horseman forever.
Ichabod is willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good. Abbie says no. But tearfully relents.
Ichabod drinks the poison, but the Sin Eater arrives. He stops the poison from flowing to Ichabods heart and says he will save Ichabod from the poison and his sin. He asks Ichabod to summon Arthur and Arthur forgives him as a reenactment of the initial battle between Ichabod and the Horseman commences.
Ichabod is sanctified as wind blows and candles explode in the underground lair.
But it’s nightfall, and the Horseman is riding.
A great episode for sure. Good pacing, Abbie and Jenny using their wits, John Noble joining the team!
Ichabod is getting close with Abbie despite missing his wife, Katrina, and reminiscing about their complicated introduction. Although, I would have thought that the fact that his British army superiors were demons would have come up sooner (and frankly, this *true Americans fight on the side of goodness and humanity against evil* is a terrifying political sentiment to me). Also, I’m glad that Ichabod did not kill Arthur, because portraying that as forgivable would not work for me.
“For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.” Katrina says this to Ichabod. It’s an Edmund Burke quote. Burke felt the British government was fighting “the American English”, with a German-descended King employing “the hireling sword of German boors and vassals” (AKA Hessians, one such, the Headless Horseman himself) to destroy the colonists’ English liberties. Meaning; the Americans were more English than the English who were too, German.. On topic of American Independence, he wrote: “I do not know how to wish success to those whose Victory is to separate from us a large and noble part of our Empire. Still less do I wish success to injustice, oppression and absurdity.” Which is very sensible and also very in line with Ichabod’s “personal beliefs.”
Sin Eating is also a real idea, presumably Welsh in origin in which the chest of the deceased is salted and then bread placed on top, a beggar or relative of the deceased, depending on who you asks (or how fond the family is of eating off of corpses) is passed a bowl of ale over the body, drinks the ale, eats the bread and the sin is absolved. Not quite at all the same from what was present in the episode, but interesting none the less. Want to know more about interesting European death rituals? Read here.