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Sleepy Hollow Review: “Necromancer” (Episode 1.08)

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<i>Sleepy Hollow</i> Review: &#8220;Necromancer&#8221; (Episode 1.08)

Last week, Abbie and Crane learned that you may not be able to kill death, but you can trap it. This week, the witnesses of Sleepy Hollow learned that upon trapping death, you may not want to sit down and have an actual conversation with it. But in an episode about necromancy, that’s precisely what happens. Although things kick off on a celebratory note—Abbie teaches Crane how to fist-bump once she realizes they truly have captured the Horseman—the narrative goes dark again when they decide to use dead (or undead) officer Andy Brooks to communicate with the Horseman.

Brooks (played by John Cho) is shaping up to be a fascinating character. Last week, he was the good guy, leading Abbie and Crane to the Horseman. This week he admits to Abbie that he can only help her when he is in complete control; when he becomes possessed by the Horseman he can only do the Horseman’s bidding. In “Necromancer,” Brooks serves two masters; he communicates with the dead Horseman in an attempt to gather information for Abbie and Crane, and then (while possessed) he breaks the spell that holds the Horseman in captivity. Indeed, he is a tortured soul, with no control over which master he serves. But when he is at his most human, he wants to assist Abbie’s cause.

It is Crane’s idea to get the Horseman to speak (using Brooks), and he soon begins to suffer the consequences of such a brilliant idea. The Horseman, still in chains, suddenly reveals that he has in his possession a necklace belonging to Katrina. Crane must recount and relive the tragic history of that necklace, and flashbacks reveal that his close friend, Abraham, was actually engaged to Katrina first. Crane and Katrina were secretly in love, which is why Crane was able to help Abraham pick out the perfect necklace. The jewelry would go on to become a symbol of betrayal for Abraham, who was unwilling to forgive his friend, nor give his blessing to the relationship between Katrina and Crane.

When the Horseman (speaking through Brooks) explains that he is after Crane in an attempt to avenge Abraham, it becomes clear that Crane is wrecked with guilt. He begins lashing out at the Horseman (a rather ridiculous-looking scene—Crane screaming at and shaking a headless body in chains), and Abbie attempts to calm him. This is not the first time Abbie has had to reign him in, and the dichotomy between the two witnesses is highly visible. Abbie is almost perpetually composed while Crane’s passions often get the best of him.

More flashback scenes show that Abraham was killed by German soldiers just as he was attempting to take Crane’s life. Crane was, however, unaware that these soldiers were members of the Hessians and Abraham would go on to sell his soul to them. And all this for the love of one Katrina!

But the most exciting part of the episode took place on the other side of town, where Captain Irving released Abbie’s sister, Jenny, from the mental institution so that she could join them on the case. Jenny proved to be invaluable, and she and Irving made for quite the match. The tension between them was perfect, both of them being headstrong to a fault, but both needing each other to get the job done. Once again, Jenny’s superior knowledge of all thinks spooky and otherworldly worked in her favor, and they were able to determine that the Hessians were back to break the spell containing the Horseman. Unfortunately, they were unable to stop the Hessians from somehow transferring the relic to Brooks’s body. The Horseman (as Abraham) becomes free long enough to engage in one more battle with Crane, revealing that he is back for his prize—Crane’s wife and his former betrothed, Katrina. But Brooks stops him from killing Crane and in a final, creepy scene, they are all blinked out of the Masonic cell by a group of frightening, little dark creatures who shatter into bits when they are attacked.

This episode’s title speaks volumes about Sleepy Hollow and a certain suspension of disbelief in which viewers must be willing to engage. The transition from reality as we know it to the twisted reality of the town of Sleepy Hollow isn’t always smooth. Unlike, say, a Whedon-esque universe, there’s seldom much tongue-in-cheek here (at least there was a bit in this episode), and the show could use more playfulness at times. Still, it’s all entertaining enough that we’re willing to go along with it, and the single shoe dropped at the end of each episode teases the viewer into coming back for more. For example, now that we know the Horseman and Crane share a single weakness in Katrina, there is plenty more room for supernatural melodrama.

Favorite quote of the episode: “I shall never lose my cool.” (Crane)

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