Sleepy Hollow’s first season finale pulled off one of the great shockers in television for the past year, but how we got there was just as incredible….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Sleepy Hollow wasn’t supposed to be the breakout hit of the fall in 2013. From the mere premise alone it sounded like a soon to be doomed campy mess that one of the writers from National Treasure came up with while on a bad acid trip. Fast forwards five months, and the first season finale of Sleepy Hollow is upon us and the two hours that we encountered ended up being some of the most satisfying television of the entire year.
Ride along with us as we go step by step to one of the most shocking finales on TV this year and certainly a cliffhanger that will carry us deep into the fall of 2014.
Map of Washington
Last week we learned that there were secrets hiding inside George Washington’s bible, but we weren’t aware of how deep the rabbit hole went. We figured out pretty quickly that not only did Washington live past his death, but he was resurrected zombie style and brought back to life just long enough to draw a map that showed the gateway between the Earthly realm and the in-between world of purgatory. One of the people that oversaw Washington’s brief time back on Earth was Reverend Knapp (remember he’s the one that guarded the Horseman’s head before he lost his own head early in the series).
The key to finding Washington’s map was hidden inside his bible while Henry Parish was called upon once again to read the prayer beads of Reverend Knapp because the sin hidden inside of that charm could unlock the secret of where this map could be found. Moloch is also on a hunt for the map and enlists Andy to try and retrieve it as well. He offers Abbie a seat high in Moloch’s kingdom, but she rebuffs him rather quickly. He reminds her, however, that Moloch’s prophecy is still outstanding — Ichabod will deliver her soul to Moloch personally and she should beware of trusting him too much. Abbie still has a bad feeling about this prophecy coming true but Henry has words to calm her down.
“Prophecies have a nasty way of fulfilling themselves if you let them”
Ichabod, Abbie and Henry rush to Knapp’s tomb and upon touching his beads, the Sin Eater is burned by whatever hex has been put upon the charm protecting its secrets. Henry won’t be deterred and he grabs on again to find out more about where the map has been hidden and what’s coming next from Moloch’s attack on Earth. A few demons pop up looking like charcoaled briquette versions of the cave dwellers from ‘The Descent‘ but they are dispatched with relative ease.
Luckily, Henry was able to gather enough information along with the bible to find out where the map was hidden — it was buried alongside Washington himself in a secret tomb just outside of Sleepy Hollow. Once the trio got inside, Ichabod deduces that Washington’s real grave was hidden beneath the shield of Cincinnatus — a famed Roman dictator who was called to service in the country’s time of need before he gave up his power when the conflict was finished (he really was an idol of George Washington as noted in the show as well). Ichabod finds a way inside the tomb and finds the map. His eyes wash over this key to the puzzle because he knows this is the way he can free his wife Katrina from her life inside purgatory.
Before the group can escape, Xenomorph-Andy shows up fresh off of being cocooned and transformed into a sort of half human, half alien creature. He kicks everyone’s ass, but luckily Henry is there to draw his sin out and in that momentary lapse, Andy reappears if only for a second to warn Abbie to destroy the map because Moloch needs it to rule the world.
Ichabod engineers their escape through a secret passage way but once they reach the surface Abbie shares Andy’s ominous warning. Despite his desire to hold his wife one more time, Ichabod agrees with Abbie’s feeling and he burns the map thus saying goodbye to his chance to free Katrina from purgatory. But not so fast…
Lest we forget that Ichabod has an eidetic memory (Sheldon from Big Bang Theory would be proud) and in his moment of weakness, sad at the thought of never being reunited with his wife, he draws Washington’s secret map complete with incantations written at the bottom just in case he finds a way to free Katrina without, you know, ending the world.
Irving Rolls Over
While our other heroes are out battling the forces of evil and finding George Washington’s tomb, Captain Irving is back at the station trying to find a way to explain a dead priest, a dead officer and only himself, his ex-wife and his daughter being in the room. When the police decide to pull DNA from his daughter Macey, Irving’s seen enough. He turns himself in and admits to committing the crimes while giving up his badge and his gun. His one last deed before heading to jail is handing off Reverand Knapp’s day planner to Abbie, which he believes will have some key meaning to the search they are on.
A Horseman Will Rise
The start of the second episode (the two hour finale was originally separate episodes later combined to make one grand season ending) shows Ichabod at a Revolutionary War re-enactment that he just happens upon (of course there would be one there when he needs it). Luckily they are selling clothing from the Revolutionary time period so Ichabod freshens up with some new duds before heading back to the cabin to work with Abbie and Jenny on the next step to stop Moloch’s evil plan.
Before Abbie and Jenny can marvel in Ichabod’s new clothes, Henry bursts through the door with some frightening news — he had a dream, more like a premonition, that Moloch plans to raise a second horseman later that night during an eclipse. It all made sense once they looked at the date on the calendar — it was 13 years to the day that Abbie and Jenny got lost in the woods and came face to face with Moloch before blacking out and so their journey began. On that fateful day was an eclipse of the sun as well so now everyone was on board that this was the time that Moloch would raise his horseman of the apocalypse to continue bringing hell to Earth.
So how do you stop a horseman rising from the dead? You bind him to the ground with a spell, of course!
Well all of the witches we’ve found so far are either wicked or dead and that only leaves one choice — Katrina. It’s here that Abbie faces her first true betrayal from Ichabod after he reveals that despite burning the original map he couldn’t help himself but to draw another one just in case he ever found a way to free his long, lost wife. She’s pissed, but now in a microscopic way she’s happy because they have a plan to free Katrina and battle back against the new horseman coming into the world.
In the midst of this while exploring Knapp’s day planner, they discover that he was meeting with Corbin regularly so while Abbie and Ichabod head off to purgatory, Jenny goes to find out why the sheriff and the pastor were huddling together so often.
We’re Off to See the Wizard
Once Ichabod, Abbie and Henry find the spot on Washington’s map where he found the place bridging the gap between this world and purgatory, they dynamic duo gets ready to head in to save Katrina. Before they swallow the red pill, Ichabod and Abbie are warned of purgatory’s evil charms — whatever you do don’t feed them after midnight….oops sorry wrong story. Whatever you do don’t accept any food or drinks while in purgatory because it will trap you there, bound forever.
Ichabod and Abbie jump through the portal to purgatory and both wake up in different places, each with significant meaning. Abbie awakens in Corbin’s cabin where he and Andy greet here with smiles glad to see she’s okay. Corbin tells her that she took a shot to the head while at FBI training and they brought her there to recover. She’s still going to graduate top of her class, but before she goes they need to share in some apple pie ala mode (send me to purgatory because that looked damn delicious).
Meanwhile, Ichabod walks into a school where he’s met by his doting father (played by Victor Garber). In this reality, the British won the war, Ichabod never turned against his country and his father didn’t disown him for dishonoring the family name. He’s welcomed back with open arms and a waiting residency where he will be a professor. This is all capped off by sharing a drink in celebration.
Luckily before Abbie eats the pie and Ichabod sips the wine, both remember why they came here in the first place and the dream worlds are shattered. They awaken just outside the church where Katrina goes everyday to light a candle for her fallen son Jeremy. Inside the church, Ichabod and Abbie tell Katrina that they need her for the binding spell and she’s the only one capable of stopping the horseman from rising.
She resists because the only way one soul can escape purgatory is to be replaced by another. Sure enough, Abbie volunteers and Moloch’s prophecy has come full circle — to safe the soul of his wife, Ichabod has to sacrifice his fellow witness to be trapped in purgatory. He promises that he won’t leave her there to rot and off he goes with Katrina back to the real world where Henry is awaiting them (side note, did anyone else notice the hug between Ichabod and Abbie while Katrina glared on? Curious how that plays out in upcoming seasons).
It’s All in the Church
Jenny finds out some crucial information after sifting through all of the files from Corbin and Reverend Knapp so she heads off to a church they talked about to find out what secrets were hidden within its walls.
She makes a revelation after finding a fallen sign on the ground — as it turns out one of Moloch’s prophecies about ‘a saint’s name’ was literally about a saint and as she rushes back to warn her sister, the Headless Horseman appears and shoots out her tire after blowing a hole through her front windshield. Jenny’s truck flips and as she lays on the ground bleeding from the head, the Horseman rides off with the secret still in tact.
The Horseman Arrives
Katrina and Ichabod find the spot of four white trees (where Abbie and Jenny encountered Moloch all those years ago) but when she tries to bind the ground to stop the horseman from coming up from the dead, nothing happens. Just then, Henry turns to Katrina and Ichabod and tosses them against a tree and wraps them up with vines.
At the same time this is happening, Abbie finds her happy place inside purgatory (kind of like Katrina with the church). It’s her old doll house where she always told Jenny to go and not to be scared. Inside she meets the younger versions of Abbie and Jenny who have been locked away there for 13 years. Turns out they are the memories that Moloch stole from that day in the woods when the girls blacked out. It seems they saw what Moloch really did but to ensure his plan wasn’t ruined, he took their memories and locked them away.
So what did Abbie and Jenny see?
The second horseman being brought up from the ground — this was the horseman of war as the bible foretold, “and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth” — he was already on Earth 13 years ago and that’s what Abbie and Jenny were never meant to see when they accidentally wandered into Moloch’s woods.
Back to Ichabod and Katrina — they are now face to face with Henry Parish, who was never the sin eater, but the horseman of war raised by Moloch. He planted the seeds with both Ichabod and Katrina over the past few months to bring him deeper and deeper into their inner circles while in reality he was plotting their demise. Here’s where the real knife gets stuck in and twisted —
The sign that Jenny found was from a church — St. Henry’s Parish. It was the same church the horseman encountered after being resurrected from the grave by Moloch so he took the name for his own. So who was this lost soul brought back by Moloch to serve as the horseman of war?
Henry Parish is Jeremy Crane!
Jeremy Crane — buried alive by Katrina’s coven all those centuries ago, brought back by Moloch after sitting underground for more than 200 years with only his thoughts to haunt him. He’s not here for a sweet reunion. As a matter of fact Jeremy is pissed at his parents after the torment he endured for all those years.
The Headless Horseman shows up and Jeremy hands over his mother to him because as we remember he was always in love with Katrina and wanted her for himself before Ichabod got into the picture. Meanwhile, Ichabod is tossed down into the open grave where Jeremy once sat for over 200 years, bound by vines as the dirt covered over him. At that moment, Jeremy shattered the second seal of the apocalypse much to his father’s horror.
Abbie is trapped in her childhood dollhouse stuck in purgatory. Jenny is laying half dead on the road in her turned over car. Katrina is now a prisoner of the Headless Horseman and Ichabod is buried alive after finding out his long lost son is very much alive and now a minion of Moloch.
The war is coming and Sleepy Hollow won’t return until the fall of 2013.
What a fantastic season finale! I can’t be sure that the writers behind Sleepy Hollow had this all plotted out from the beginning of the season till now, but the way it all unfolded was a stroke of pure genius. I certainly can’t predict if future seasons of Sleepy Hollow will be as good as the debut offering, but the way the first season was crafted and executed was just genius. If you were a fan of Lost (and it still rates as one of my favorite shows of all time despite some glaring questions left unanswered), the freshman season of Sleepy Hollow was a perfect example of how a mish mash of puzzle pieces all comes together, leaves you wanting more, but still gives you satisfaction at the end of a season.
Kudos, Sleepy Hollow — I will be back in fall 2014 waiting with bated breath.