Sleepy Hollow: Midnight Ride (or Ichabod vs. Bottled Water)

By Sarah Tompkins on

About Sarah Tompkins

Has been described as: "shorter than I thought you would be" and "can you please face the wall when you talk?"

 

SHMidnightPromo

This week’s tale from the town of Sleepy Hollow begins and ends with a desperate horse chase – Paul Revere’s Ride and the less canonical Ichabod Crane’s Hessian Mousetrap of Electromagnetic Doom.

A QUICK RECAP:

Following a flashback of Paul Revere on his Midnight Ride – that included our favorite Hessian sans assault rifle – Abbie and Ichabod prepare for battle in the Cabin. On the other side of town, Luke is visited by the Not Dead Yet Andy Brooks.

After crashing the second worst dinner party of all time, our Witnesses realize that the Horsemen is once again after his head, which proves indestructible despite sledgehammers, acid and dynamite. Ichabod, who, it turns out, was the soldier tasked with surveilling Revere’s lanterns in Christ Church tower back in 1775, recalls seeing a manuscript on that legendary evening. Originally assuming it contained secrets meant to destroy the Crown, he discovers it instead holds the secrets to conquering evil (so pretty much the same thing).

A cat and mouse game through the sewers beneath Sleepy Hollow, orchestrated by the Dream Team, ends in the dramatic capture – but not killing – of the Horseman.

Continuing to toe that magnificent line between all-out chaos and campy fun (YOU GUYS, THERE WERE PEOPLE LANTERNS. LANTERNS. MADE FROM PEOPLE.), this week the writers showed us what we think we know – Revere and his comrades at arms warning of “The Regulars” – and absurdly subverted it with the predictable, but no less exhilarating presence of the Horseman.

headlanterns

While that’s certainly not something that is new to the worlds of fantasy or sci-fi (see any episode of Doctor Who, Star Trek or Insert Your Favorite Show Here), the idea that we as a people don’t have a true grasp on history is constant, thrilling – and somewhat unsettling. Unsettling in that, though most Americans know Paul’s famous ride and his iconic cry, few of us know of the other riders, few of us consider the apocryphal nature of much of our American folklore turned fact. Or we live in avid denial: I’m looking at you, Thanksgiving.

But where there is take, there is also give, and Ichabod (heartbreakingly) learns the full extent of idol and friend Thomas Jefferson’s relationship with Sally Hemmings, and by extension slavery. Not to mention, that rum beggar totally snagged Icky’s witticisms.

ickywitticism

This episode we were also gifted with more Badass Abbie – She installs deadbolts! She tolerates no Masonic chauvinistic crap! She dissolves things in acid! – and Flummoxed Ichabod. Although Crane’s Foe du Jour was undoubtedly Bottled Water, we saw a rather pyrrhic battle with a MacBook, confusion with – but reluctant acceptance of – voice mail, and outright aggression toward the “ninanet” (that’s “internet,” for all you non-eighteenth century readers).

ichabodvswater

We also saw Irving lose his innocence, so to speak, experiencing his own Bullet Time run-in with Mr. Horseman. Although he has been willing to grant an amazing (i.e. unbelievable) amount of lenience to our Dream Team prior to his own Moment of Truth, I’m interested to see where his loyalties will land with his newfound knowledge. Is he all he seems? His shifty, side eyes tell me otherwise.

I think what delighted me the most, however, was not any – intentional or unintentional – commentary being made about revisionist history, but the giant nerd tool kit the SH writers gave me to explore. More than any other episode before, Midnight Ride made me reach for my metaphoric encyclopedia on several occasions: Was Revere really a dentist? (Yes, probably.) Did he line his lanterns with silver? (Sadly, no.) Wait, so how does a Vigenère Cipher work? (Pretty clever, really.) Why Cicero? (Reasons. Good ones. And Jefferson? Never write your password down on the skull you keep right next to your ancient demonic manuscripts.)

cicero

Of course, the real action came shortly after our second montage, when Ichabod, Abbie, and Irving (known henceforth as The OT3) played an impressive Italian Game, using all of A.C. Moore’s Halloween surplus to ensnare Death Himself in an underground tanning bed.

Once my heart rate returned to a normal level after that spectacular cliffhanger – what do they do with the Hessian now that he is tenuously under their control? – my appreciation for the show’s modern day updates to classic folk tale tropes delighted me. Ultraviolet replacing the sun, a chiming phone serving as the telltale baying of creatures at dusk, signaling the coming of night.

UVnoooooo

Oh show, I love you so much. You’re like a gothic novel wearing skinny jeans and an ironic t-shirt.

 

MIDNIGHT RIDE OVERALL RATINGS:

Plausibility (in skeptical Irvings):
plaus

Scariness (in Hessian Heads):
hessians

Historical Accuracy (in Washingtons):
georgew

 

Random notes:

– “All we really get is one another.” I am trying so hard to sail my ships firmly in neutral waters for the purpose of these reviews. But these two make it so damn hard. If Katrina hadn’t loved Ichabod, he never would have met Abbie? *Casually closes #ichabbie Tumblr window*

– I want to know more about Paul Revere’s Lantern System. One if by land, two if by sea, three if by dirigible, four if by evil demon horse, five if by hoverboard?

– What was with that dude dusting for prints? If he’s not an evil witch or a demon, then he’s in dire need of either covert ops lessons or interpersonal competence.

– RIP Andy Brook’s career as a hand model. (Which ended as tragically as his V-neck obsession.)

– It was super inconsiderate of the Horseman to rip out the (conveniently indexed) pages of Undead Hessians for Dummies. NOT TO MENTION THE SAVAGE DEFILED A PORTRAIT OF GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON THE GREATEST MAN TO EVER SNEEZE EAGLES AND CRY LIQUID FREEDOM.

– What are our feelings on Mjölnir’s potential to destroy the skull?

– Luke “Stinkeye” Morales: Crazy to the point of joining a coven? Will he add this to his fringe theory scrapbook?

– Jenny’s home soon – huzzah! Mills Sisters: Unite!

– Body count: 8 (3 colonists, 4 masons, Paul the Lab Tech)

14 comments

    • That’s like, number four on the defining list of the 21st Century:
      1) The internet
      2) Smartphones
      3) Breaking Bad
      4) Internet porn

      So the question remains: When will Ichabod forsake his role as Witness to marathon Breaking Bad?

  1. “The second worst dinner party of all time,” excellent. And so you don’t like those head lanterns? I just ordered them from the Pottery Barn… shame.

    This was thoroughly entertaining. “I’m still trying to fathom the notion that my words are somehow recorded onto your smartphone.”

  2. The comment with the natural resources by Ichabod Crane was spot on, but ridiculous within the context. Safe drinking water was not so very widespread, since many lakes and pools had various decaying biological matter in them. Unless you were drinking from a mountain spring or melt, the water was generally so unsafe in the past that people became alcoholics just to avoid the prospect of dysentery and whatever other diseases one may find there. Ichabod himself may have been more used to drinking beer and whiskey than water. And this not just in Industrial Revolution cities, but also during vikings’ times, which is one of the reason why beer is a such a popular drink with many cultures, ancient and more recent.
    I disagree with this reflexive disparaging of the present by comparing it to an idealized pristine past in which man lived in harmony with nature that tried its hardest and succeeded in killing him. And coming from someone from during the Early Industrial Revolution? Pleeaaase. Compare air quality in New York and London today with NY and London back then. I think not even Beijing today with all its monumental pollution comes close to 1800s London. Alright, the 70s were a bad period when rivers caught fire and shit was off, but we’ve come a long way since then

    • I am totally with you, Alex. Potable drinking water remains an issue for a good portion of the world today, and it was certainly back then as well. Even for England (who “owned” half the planet), drinking water was rarely safe and hard to come by (Hogarth’s Beer Street and Gin Lane immediately come to mind…)

      Really, Ichabod, while open-minded, seems to still live within the bounds of his own very privileged up-bringing. Even as a revolutionary, he was George Washington’s right hand man – which means that his digs were probably pretty nice in comparison to, well, everyone else. (Just check out GW’s camping chest. Camping.)

      And while Ichabod never lived to see (or smell) The Great Stink, the population of London was nearly one million by 1800. You have to imagine there were more than your fair share of cesspits by the time he headed for the Colonies (and hello small pox, yellow fever…). Don’t pretend your sh*t don’t stink, Ichy.

    • “The comment with the natural resources by Ichabod Crane was spot on, but ridiculous within the context.”

      I strongly disagree. The very same objections which make Crane’s “your generation has defiled this earth” comment ridiculous with regard to water would apply to the environment writ large. The developed world of the present acts as a far better steward of the environment today in every conceivable respect than Ichabod’s generation or it’s early industrial revolution successors ever did.
      Safe drinking water was not so very widespread, since many lakes and pools had various decaying biological matter in them. Unless you were drinking from a mountain spring or melt, the water was generally so unsafe in the past that people became alcoholics just to avoid the prospect of dysentery and whatever other diseases one may find there. Ichabod himself may have been more used to drinking beer and whiskey than water. And this not just in Industrial Revolution cities, but also during vikings’ times, which is one of the reason why beer is a such a popular drink with many cultures, ancient and more recent.

      • oops- left “Safe drinking water was…ancient and more recent.” by accident and can’t see how to remove it.

        Anyway: since the Nixon era passage of clean air & water legislation we’ve been living in something of a golden age in terms of a healthy environment. The notion that we’re horrible actors in comparison to past generations is just wrong and based on our bringing a new emphasis to the situation without a sense of historical context. Just think about how much we’ve decreased our exposure to lead and mercury or think about the damage caused in the past to lungs and the environment (see ‘industrial melanism’) from coal soot.

  3. You’ve misinterpreted the central conflict IMHO- Ichabod’s campaign against bottled water isn’t all that noteworthy. I share his sentiments and suspect many (perhaps a majority) would see them as merely commonsensical.

    What’s really curious is Abbie’s campaign against tap water!

  4. PS: I think aero-missive for voice mail is even more adorable than “ninnanet.” (I use a double N to prevent it’s possible mispronunciation as Nina Net.)

  5. Sarah, I’m with you, girl. Pretty great episode that kept me on the edge of my couch, even though I could anticipate a few bits. My fav Ichy rant: going off on the guide and school children in the middle of the museum tour. The fact that Abbie chose to name her cousin “Steve” seemed only too appropriate.

    One question I have: Why would Abbie leave Ichabod alone with her MacBook? He balks at smartphones, but she thinks he will be more amenable to computers? I would fear for the integrity of my most valuable possession. Further, is he’s just bashing buttons on the keyboard in failing attempts to get back to the manuscript pdf, how did a porno site just happen to pop up? I wonder what else Ichabod would have stumbled upon in Abbie’s browser history… Google image search of codpieces? Revolutionary soldier sexiest man calendar 2013 (James Madison snagged April, btw)? How to polish antique leather boots? Yes, yes, yes to all of the above.

    • “One question I have: Why would Abbie leave Ichabod alone with her MacBook?” – Actually, it appears that it was a department issue laptop. The desktop background says it belongs to the Sheriffs Dept and matches the computer Morales has at his desk. Speaking of Morales, who was looking up people coming back from the dead when Abby called: why is his cell a burner? That’s weird.

      • PS: It actually makes more sense that a sheriff’s department laptop (as opposed to Abbie’s personal computer) would have browsed both a site for buying assault weapons and one for sexchat with women (assuming of course that Abbie doesn’t ‘play for both teams’).

        • I would think that if it was a department laptop (or Abbie’s department issued laptop), they may block certain websites from being accessed. You know, to prevent tax payer dollars from being squandered on sexchats. I was merely posing the question as to why she thought Ichy would feel comfortable using an electronic device at all when he isn’t quite kosher with the here and now.

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