Sleepy Hollow: “Pilot” — Sept. 16, 2013

Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) escorts Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) in a squad car on Sleepy Hollow

Photos courtesy of Fox

Note: Sleepy Hollow Season 1 recaps were written after the conclusion of Season 2and may contain a couple of spoilers, especially in the links.

First Appearances: Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison), Lieutenant Abigail Mills (Nicole Beharie), Captain Frank Irving (Orlando Jones), Katrina Crane (Katia Winter), Andy Brooks (John Cho), Sheriff August Corbin (Clancy Brown), Reverend Alfred Knapp (Patrick Gorman), Headless Horseman (Richard Cetrone), Blurry Man (George Ketsios), Polygraph Technician (Nestor Serrano), Teen Abbie (Jahnee Wallace)

It’s the first episode, and the episode is full of firsts, but first things first. The pilot is mythology-dense. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover so grab a snack and let’s go! 

 It’s 1781, rebels battle Redcoats in New York’s Hudson Valley. As Ichabod Crane examines the hands of fallen Redcoats, a massive man atop a white horse charges at him. The Horseman, wearing a disturbing S&M mask, brandishes a broadaxe. Crane’s shot knocks the assailant off his horse. Good, that’s all settled, now back to the Revolutionary War. Oh, shit, the Horseman bolts upright and lunges at Crane, who eyes a brand on his foe’s meaty paw. This is not going to be good, is it? It is not. The fellow slices Crane’s chest with an axe. Slow-motion fall. Crane is not going alone; he interrupts the slo-mo to behead the Horseman with a sword. That is one BAMF tactic. Now the Horseman is Headless, and it serves him right. Crane completes his slo-mo collapse; fade to black. We hear two voices;  a man warns, “We don’t have much time” and a woman cries, “No, no, no, stay with me, please.” Spoiler: The woman’s voice is audible, that will not always be the case.

Ichabod awakens buried in a cave; it’s nightmarish and littered with mason jars containing skittering and slithering creatures. As Crane claws his way from beneath the ground, the mason jars shatter and free the icky critters. Does this mean they have just been hanging out in the jars the whole time? Those jars could use a good run through the dishwasher. Either the creepy-crawlies can survive without food, water and oxygen, or someone has been tending to them. The issue will never be addressed so read on.

Ichabod stumbles through misty woods and stoops to touch the yellow lines. He nearly gets mowed down by an 18-wheeler. It’s doubtful that 18-wheelers are allowed on country roads, but okay. Crane is flexible enough to pull off a cool bendy maneuver and avoid becoming roadkill. He’s not as lucky when a car sideswipes him. That second driver should have had his brights on. The reckless motorist gets out of his crashed car, probably for a 1-800-ISUEYOU scenario, but Crane notices a shrieking bird land on the road sign and hightails it. Maybe he suffers from Ornithophobia. Crane doesn’t know where he is, but we see that he is entering the Village of Sleepy Hollow, population 144, 000. Cue “Sympathy for the Devil.” This marks the moment when I knew I’d fall in love with this series. Commit the scene to memory because there will be a brilliant callback in the 30th episode.

At a diner, young, doe-eyed Lieutenant Abigail Mills and the gruff Sheriff August Corbin enjoy carbs and banter over fries and apple pie. It goes like this:

Abbie: So whatcha reading?

Sheriff Corbin: A Sleepy Hollow Register article about an unsolved homicide in Dobbs Ferry. There are many local unsolved crimes Why am I telling you this? You’re a cop, so you already know. Don’t worry about it, though. You’re leaving soon. I’ll just sit here and passive-aggressive a little bit.

Abbie: Fine, I’ll take some time to exposit that I’m going to Quantico in a week. It’s the FBI’s only feeder program, you know. I’ll mention this a few more times. Quantico.

The Foreshadowing Fairy: Girl, please. You know things always go sideways during a fictional cop’s last week on the job. If you weren’t so young, the script would call on you to say, “I’m too old for this shit.”

Abbie: Quantico.

Corbin: Okay, move on Foreshadowing Fairy, the Subtext Fairy is here now. “You, of all people” should be interested in these mysterious events, Abbie.

The Subtext Fairy: I hope the audience will remember the: “You, of all people” comment.

Reverend Alfred Knapp: I’ll just sit in this nearby booth and obviously eavesdrop. Don’t get too attached to me, Audience.

The Audience: We’re good as long as the sheriff is okay.

The officers respond to a call about a situation at Fox Creek Stables, the horses are disturbed by something, most likely coyotes.

Abbie: Coyotes and villages are so quaint! LOL! Quantico.

The Foreshadowing Fairy: Side-eye.

The partners split up. Lieutenant Mills looks for Jimmy Oglevie, only to find his detached head. These Sleepy Hollow coyotes are no joke. In the barn, the sheriff encounters the Headless Horseman. The lack of a head doesn’t stop him; the Horseman is handicapable. Abbie arrives at the barn in time to see the perp gallop away on his white steed. He turns back to … I don’t know, smirk at her? The lieutenant spots Corbin’s head on the ground. This marks the first time Sleepy Hollow will give you a case of the feels. Abbie sobs as she radios in to report an “officer down.” That’s an understatement, but there is no “officer beheaded” protocol.

Officer Andy Brooks appears to be racing to the crime scene.  It goes like this:

Andy: Hi, damn sexy hobo. Why are you wandering in the street? I’m hauling you to jail.

The Audience: Um, why are you picking up a damn sexy vagrant, when there is an officer down?

Andy: Shut up, and let me advance the plot.

Abbie: Okay, I’m outside this guy’s cell now. What’s up?

Andy: Is this the many you saw at the farm?

Abbie: Nope.

Andy: Are you sure?

Abbie: Sigh, yes. The guy I saw wore a red military uniform and had a mark on his hand.

Ichabod: Hi. Did he have a broadaxe? Did the mark look like a bow? I’m going to end up hooked to a lie-detector machine now, aren’t I?

Polygraph Technician: Do you recognize me, Audience? I’m Nestor Serrano. I have appeared in many series. I’m surprised that I don’t have a character name.

Polygraph Machine: It’s funny how I register expository answers. Usually, the suspects can only answer with yes or no.

Nester Serrano: So, tell me about the Horseman.

Ichabod: “First I shot him, but he rose back up. Beheading him seemed the next logical step.”

The Exposition Fairy: Ichabod Crane was a spy for George Gorge Washington, and the last thing he remembers is being sent to triage, with his wife Katrina, a civilian nurse, at his bedside as he lay dying.

Nester Serrano: The good news is that you passed this test, which isn’t admissible in court, but is great for recounting backstory. Let me show you a one dollar bill so you can see an image of George Washington. It’s fun to taunt mentally unstable damn sexy hobos.

Captain Frank Irving: Hi I just joined the Sleepy Hollow PD. There is no Deputy Sheriff here to promote. Take this mentally unstable damn sexy hobo to St. Gregory’s.

Abbie: Where?

Irving: St. Gregory’s. It’s the hospital name we used for the pilot, you’ll never hear of it again, but according to the script it’s 20 minutes away.

Abbie: Okay, can I interrogate the damn sexy hobo first?

Irving: Nope. I mean yes. I am rendered powerless by your doe eyes and will always reluctantly agree to your requests.

Ichabod and Abbie’s first significant conversation doesn’t go well, but it does deliver our first moment of…

Quotable Ichabbie:

Abbie: Mr. Crane? I’m Lieutenant Abbie Mills.

Ichabod: A female Lieutenant? In whose army?

AbbieYou’re not gonna break character, huh?

Ichabod: You’ve been emancipated, I take it?

Abbie: Excuse me?

Ichabod: From enslavement.

Abbie: Okay, I’ll play along here. I am a black female lieutenant for the Westchester County Police Department. Do you see this gun? I’m authorized to use it. On you.

Ichabod: If you’re insinuating I endorse slavery, I’m offended.

Abbie: Wait, back up. You’re offended?

Ichabod:  I’ll have you know I was a proponent of the Abolitionist Act before the New York Assembly.

Abbie:  Congratulations. Slavery has been abolished 150 years. It’s a whole new day in America.

Ichabod: Oh. Well, I’m pleased to hear it.

 As they exit the police station, we get our first height-difference porn. Abigail Mills is petite, Ichabod Crane towers over her by at least a foot. He’s lanky, which makes him seem even taller. Short girls represent! Ichabod delivers one of his first adorkable moment, exhibiting childlike glee at raising and lowering the car windows. Come to think of it, this is Ichabod’s second car ride; Officer Andy picked him up, but the damn sexy hobo was likely cuffed in the back of the squad car and unable to toy with the windows. Ichabod’s hands are cuffed in front of him when he enters the card, but presumably he can still reach the controls, especially with those flailing fingers, to which we’ll become accustomed. As Abbie drives by the church, Ichabod locks eyes with the Reverend Knapp and recognizes him as the man who said they were running out of time. Disobeying Irving’s instructions, Abbie takes the prisoner on a side trip. It goes like this:

Abbie: Hey, raving loon, let’s look at this cave, which is in a remote area. You are no longer wearing cuffs, here is a flashlight, don’t use it as a weapon.

Quantico: Sigh.

The Exposition Fairy: Okay, let’s cut to the chase. Here is George Washington’s Bible, it was buried with Ichabod. It’s a good thing you two came back here or else Ichabod would never have known about this crucial piece of canon. Look at this page from the Book of Revelation. Headless is the Horseman of Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Crane and Washington were into all kinds of supernatural business, and G.W. instructed Crane to kill an unknown mercenary who would be recognized by a marked hand. That’s really dicey, given that the Horseman could have easily killed Crane from a distance, and he’d never have seen the killer’s hand.

The Horseman of Death confronts Reverend Knapp at the church, and they fight. Hilariously, there is a horse-crossing sign outside the church and Headless, vandalizes it, so the sign looks more like him. Did they need that sign? Sleepy Hollow is a one-horse town. The Reverend boldly declares, “I’ll never tell you where it is. I’m prepared to die.”

The Horseman: Okay.

Abbie arrives at the crime scene—with Ichabod still in the car. Captain Irving is furious to see that his orders have been ignored so he’s not interested in Abbie’s argument that Ichabod can’t  be the culprit because they were together. That same point would have been proven by taking him to St. Gregory’s like she was supposed to and not risking suspension, but I wasn’t consulted.

Officer Brooks, whose top priority is shading Crane, urges Abbie to walk away from the damn sexy hobo or risk Quantico. The graveyard is conveniently located next to the church. That bird we saw on the road sign in the opening sequence appears to be stalking Crane, who follows his feathered friend to Katrina’s grave. According to the tombstone, Katrina was burnt for witchcraft. Burning witches wasn’t really a North American thing, but I’ll let it go for now. Ichabod has concluded that he and the doe-eyed stranger are life partners. It goes like this:

Ichabod: We’d better work together to stop the Apocalypse.

Abbie: I’m going to Quantico in a week.

Ichabod: “No, no. You’re not, our fates are entwined now.”

The Audience: We declare you shippable.

Abbie: You are a damn sexy hobo, but the answer is still no. Besides, I, of all people, will not get involved in some supernatural thing again. Don’t forget that I said, “I, of all people.”

Ichabod: Okay, I’ll bite. What do you mean when you say, “I, of all people?”

Abbie: Never mind. Quantico.

Abbie arranges for Ichabod to have his own spacious room at St. Gregory’s. Abbie, of all people, shares her backstory. In their high school days, Abbie and her sister, Jenny, were in the woods when white trees appeared from out of nowhere. The sisters  heard an inhuman voice and spotted an alarming blurry figure. The Mills sisters passed out and were found on the side of the road. Everyone thought they were crazy, and Jenny ended up in and out of a psychiatric facilities. Abbie understands Crane’s plight.

Abbie later searches Corbin’s office. There is a picture of Corbin with two children. Later on, that detail will be trivia question fodder. There is also an 8×10 photo of Abbie in her cadet uniform. Abbie picks up the photo and a key, that was hidden behind the frame, drops out. Did Corbin intend for Abbie to find the key? If so, he left a lot up to chance, not unlike, General Washington. Abbie unlocks a cabinet filled with secret files and voice recordings, it goes like this:

Corbin: Funny thing, there are two covens, one good and the other evil. There are occult cases along the East Coast from Boston to D.C. Abbie, and Jenny were not the first to sight the four white trees and demon in the woods. That demon is here to raise the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Seeing as how I’m Abbie’s father figure, maybe I should have mentioned this sooner. Welp, live and learn.

Captain Irving: Just walking in here to tell you to go home. Excuse me while I turn to the camera and raise an eyebrow in a way that suggests I’m up to something.

At St. Gregory’s, the damn sexy hobo hears that freaking bird fluttering about and sees Katrina through a mirror.

Katrina: Hi Honey!

Ichabod: Hey, girl. You look good. The cleavage and billowy goth dress are working for you. Digging that wind machine, too. You’ve got kind of a music video thing going on.

Katrina: How did you like that bird I sent? You’ll never see it again, forget it. There’s not much time. I wasn’t buried in that grave; it was just a place to hide the Horseman’s skull. Reverend Knapp is guarding it; he’s in my coven. How’s he doing?

Ichabod: Wait, you’re really a witch? If Reverend Knapp has been strolling about the 21st century, why are you stuck in that mirror? I feel like we’re missing a few pieces.

Katrina: There’s no time to explain all that. When you and the Horseman battled, your blood mixed with his blood and now you’re linked. I had to cast a spell on you both so you wouldn’t die. We put you in the cave and entombed the Horseman in the river. If the Horseman gets his skull, the three other Horsemen will follow, and shit will get real. In addition to all that: save me.

Ichabod: How do I save you, and would you speak up?

Katrina: Look, just get me out of this misty realm. There’s some vague information in Washington’s Bible. You’ll figure it out. Oh, you’re also the First Witness. Yikes, I’m almost out of battery. By the way, light is the Horseman’s only weakness, he can’t survive in the sunrise. Catch you later.

It was all a dream, apparently. Ichabod awakens and finds himself restrained by some extras who want to inject him with a sedative. Restless sleeping will not be tolerated at St. Gregory’s even if you are locked up in a room all by yourself. Public hospitals are the worst.

Abbie returns for Ichabod and pretends she has a court order to release him. She also has an old map of the area that she took from Corbin’s office. Ichabod and Abbie go to the graveyard to dig up the Horseman’s skull. Leaving it underground seems practical, but they have their own ideas. As does the Horseman, who wastes time showing off his gun skills rather than just retrieving his head. The Lieutenant needs backup, and she calls Officer Brooks, who, in addition to throwing shade at Ichabod, is working with the Horseman. They are on such amicable terms that the Horseman just lounges about Andy’s apartment. Remember this for later on when you’ll wonder if major characters are living out of their cars. In addition to serving the Horseman, Andy clearly has a thing for Abbie. You’ll soon see that most of the regular male characters in town have a thing for Abbie and her doe eyes; it’s in the water supply. Abbie Mills is amazing, so it is warranted. Andy’s efforts to exit the friend zone include knocking out Abbie and placing her in the back of his squad car to “protect” her. Abbie bites the hand that protects her; she draws blood, too and commands Brooks to handcuff himself to the vehicle. Being physically aggressive with Abbie is a poor life choice.

Abbie (Nicole Beharie) and Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) gaze at each other in front of a police car as he holds the Headless Horseman's skull on the Sleepy Hollow pilot

In the meantime, Ichabod and the Horseman fight in the graveyard. Headless could just grab the skull, but he’s hellbent on roughhousing. Some extras respond to Abbie’s request for backup. They are neither in cahoots with the Horseman of Death nor creepily obsessed with Lieutenant Doe Eyes, so they do their jobs to the best of their ability. They do not, however, know how to take down a man with no head, so the Horseman just smugly gallops off. Fortunately, Ichabod has the skull in his possession, which enables Crane and his “Leftenant” to walk toward each other in slow motion with ship-approved smiles. Did Starsky and Hutch ever do that?

Captain Irving grumbles, but the officers who arrived on the scene corroborate Abbie’s bizarre tale and Andy, who is in custody, wants to plea bargain, “but only if he talks to you and Captain America here.” Ichabod informs Abbie that his wife called him the first Witness. The Bible references two Witnesses brought together for seven seasons, years of tribulation. Abbie will not go to Quantico, after all, she has to stick around and fulfill her duties as a Witness with the damn sexy hobo.

Cliffhanger: In his cell, Andy begs a horned shadowy figure for a second chance. Nope! The demon snaps back Andy’s head and lurches off before the Witnesses can question the officer. As Abbie looks in a mirror, she sees the blurry demon shuffle off. He turns back to look at her and the mirror cracks. Cue “Sympathy for the Devil.”




Elaine G. Flores, Chief Editor
Elaine is the chief editor of TV Recappers' Delight. She's an experienced entertainment reporter, reviewer, editor, blogger, columnist and Bon Vivant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>