Sleepy Hollow: Necromancer (or There’s No “I” in Apocalypse)

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?"

 

necromancerstill

It’s a precise science, the perfect fist bump, and this week, we learned that metaphorical fist bumping, that is to say teamwork, is just as delicate.

A QUICK RECAP:

We pick up where we left off – with the Horseman trapped in Jefferson’s Tanning Salon of Eternal Doom. Fist bumps are exchanged before it is decided that Kind of Zombie and Ex-Hand Model Andy Brooks will serve as a liaison to the Horseman during an interrogation attempt to learn his true motives. (Other than, ya know, End of Days.)

After Irving recruits Abbie’s newly released mental patient sister, Jenny Mills, and Abbie and Ichabod discover Andy’s hidey hole, the questioning begins. We discover that the Hessian has pretty good taste in jewelry – he possesses a necklace that belonged to Ichabod’s late(ish) witch wife Katrina, who it turns out was the fiancé of his best friend, Abraham. Meanwhile, Irving and Jenny discover an ancient Druidic relic has been stolen by those pesky Hessians, and the mercenaries also plan to cut the power to the UV lamps keeping the Horseman captive.

Once the power is cut and the Horseman is freed, we learn his true identity: the jilted Abraham. When the episode closes, the Horseman has vanished – along with Andy – and Ichabod is more determined that ever to free his wife from purgatory.

Noticeably absent from this episode was the humor of last episode – and perhaps rightfully so. Of course there were a few choice jabs at the French and Ichabod’s feigned knowledge of modern day idioms – you’ll get ‘em one day, Ichy – but for the most part, Necromancer earned the title of tensest hour yet.

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What we have here is less a bottle episode, and more of a Molotov cocktail episode – contained but explosive. While the traditional function of such an episode is less to advance plot and more to cut production costs or examine character complexity, we experienced perhaps the biggest plot twist of the show to date – the Horseman’s true identity: Ichabod’s other BFF (sorry, GDubbs), the cuckolded Abraham.

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There’s no denying the chemistry between actors Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie, who play Ichabod and Abbie, and the previous seven episodes have been an exposé in an odd couple, buddy cop type friendship: an unlikely pair who understand one another and mirror each other on a fundamental level. Two Witnesses in an apocalyptic pod.

But now, eight episodes in, the fault lines in Ichabod’s remarkably collected façade are beginning to show: he has no family, no comprehension of most modern amenities, and fist bumps are a mystifying depravation of a nice, courtly bow. With the Horseman so plainly in front of the Dream Team (which has now expanded to include a released psychiatric patient and an ambiguously dead guy), the Seven Years War is a tangible reality.

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Where previously we saw the strengths of working together to defeat foes such as the Sandman, cure the Black Roanoke Death, and burn a wicked witch, here we see a nation divided – the consequences of hubris and the ramifications of entropy.

Ichabod allows himself to be manipulated by Mr. Abraham Horseman because of his own desire to learn more of Katrina and the Hessian’s connection to her. Although Abbie attempts to keep him grounded (“We are looking for his weakness, don’t let him find yours”), Ichabod disregards her warnings, pressing forward and putting his work as a Witness second to his passion for Katrina. He ignores the basic fact that he is not dealing with just any individual, but the incarnation of Death itself.

We also see Ichabod’s past quarrel with Abraham while delivering the Declaration of Resolves, which underscores how division can lead to destruction – of a person, and maybe of all mankind. (Almost lost America AND the world for us, Ichabod. Thanks a lot.)

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In contrast, teamwork is shown as an effective tool used by Irving and Jenny. Although there seems to be something fundamentally illegal about equipping a freshly released mental patient with two police issue Glocks, the pair and their heavily armed back-up crew proved that personal victory is not paramount when danger is certain, not probable.

In his selfishness, Ichabod leaves himself vulnerable, allowing for a wedge to be driven between him and Abbie. He may not like it, but his Destiny must come first. And Ichabod, honey, if you want to survive the next seven years, it might be wise to keep the team together, listen to Abbie – and work on those fist bumps.

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NECROMANCER OVERALL RATINGS:

Plausibility: 1 Irving
1irving
Scariness: 2 Hessian Heads
2hessians
Historical Accuracy: 1 George Washington
1georgew

RANDOM NOTES:

– Who is meant to kill Ichabod? Moloch himself? Is Moloch the devil? What is the deal with that guy?

– If there are any Quakers out there, help me out: Is Katrina the worst Quaker ever? What was with the glitzy gown and fancy fiancé?

– If the horseman of the apocalypse can be created so, and he is Death himself, does that mean that even if they were to destroy his physical form that he could manifest in another being? That Abraham is just a vessel for evil itself?

– In fairness to Andy, he did totally warn them.

– The whole “betrayed and killed your partner” echoes Abbie’s betrayal of Jenny explored briefly in the Sandman episode.

– How about that dude playing the armonica? Turns out, that particular design and arrangement of the instrument was created by none other than Benjamin Franklin.

– Speaking of Franklin, I love the little Founding Father Easter eggs hidden in this show. We had the bust of Franklin in the antiquities shop, which was owned by a man with the last name of Adams. I see what you did there, writers. We’re going to learn soon that Hancock signed his name so large because it is actually a stenanographic precursor to the microdot or something.

–  Abbie fricking telling it like it is: “People make their own decisions. You are not responsible for his actions. That is your arrogance talking.”

– Feminism again – instead of, “Hooray Ichabod for thinking that women had meager rights back in colonial times!” Abbie retorts: “Still better to be you.” (That is, a white male of relatively substantial means.)

– Mark Twain, one of the “new” authors Ichabod mentions reading, was a Mason.

29 comments

  1. I’m a Quaker, and yeah, she wasn’t really doing the Plain Speech or the plain dress that Quakers did back in those days (which we don’t do anymore, by the way.) Maybe her parents weren’t and she converted in secret? Which would also have been crazy unusual. She also wouldn’t have married out. But she was also a witch, so… all bets are off; she was an iconoclast from the get-go.

    • That’s what I thought! I thought that plain dress as a statement of humility and respect were common among Quakers back then, though I wasn’t sure about past practices at all. It just seemed strange to me that a person from a faith known for their strong community would arrange a marriage to a non-Quaker (and a wealthy gentleman fighting in a revolution on top of that!).

      And yes, I suppose the witch thing might be a slightly bigger issue for a Quaker than a flashy dress!

      Thanks so much for weighing in – this really sparked my curiosity while watching!

      • While we’re on the topic of clothing, why doesn’t Ichibod ever change? I understand the desire to make him look old-timey, but he wears one tattered outfit all the time and does not appear to even clean the thing. Perhaps I’m just being nitpicky, but this gives a sense of slovenliness which doesn’t seem remotely consistent with the well-heeled gentlemanly type he always seems to be in the flashbacks.

        • I agree. I understand that it’s not only a way to mark him as Not of This Time, but also a security blanket. But at some point…gross, dude.

          I think that they’re probably waiting for a symbolic moment when he willingly accepts newer clothing; as a very physical manifestation of his acceptance of his “true home” being in modern times. Though, I would be just fine with a new shirt and new pants. He can totally keep the boots, coat and long hair for continuity sake (purely for continuity…not for any sexy ulterior motives of mine…).

          In the meantime, at least hit up a descent dry cleaner, Ichy. Even if his clothing were preserved in the way his body was, I’m betting colonial clothing didn’t smell Downy Fresh.

          • To be fair, he washed his clothes in episode 2, and there was laundry detergent in the shopping bags in the episode where Crane moved into the cabin. So they’ve tried to establish that he does laundry. (But what does he wear while they’re wet??)

            Both Tom Mison and the show’s producers have been saying for a while now that this will be addressed “soon,” but so far nothing. I don’t really mind. Mr. Crane looks smashing in that garb, and I don’t have to smell him, so . . . .

          • “a sense of slovenliness which doesn’t seem remotely consistent with the well-heeled gentlemanly type” – I want to amplify DONNA’s point- as soon as he had a room of his own, he bathed himself and washed his clothes. I think he mistook the hair dryer for a very inefficient clothes dryer – which actually makes some sense: unless one has a hairstyle requiring it, a blow dryer is a silly invention given that it’s whole practical function is to rid on of dampness about 20 minutes quicker than a towel and air drying.

            I can see why it mightn’t be a priority for him given that: 1) handwashing clothes was normal and with modern detergents (or even hotel soap and shampoo) his clothes probably smell nicer after laundering today than in his time, and 2) he wore the same clothes as a soldier and they must’ve been a lot ickier under those conditions. As to what he wears while doing laundry- wasn’t he combining doing his washing and bathing when we saw him do it in ep 2?

            The trousers, shirt & coat aren’t that urgent except to avoid looking like a historic reenactor, 60’s band member or Tea Party protester. I’m hoping/assuming Abbie got him a few 6-packs of Y-fronts when she bought that accursed Pine Springs at Buy Plus- because a change of undergarments is what he really needs.

    • Has her “Quakerness” been mentioned again after she was introduced to Crane as a local Quaker nurse? Could that have been a ruse to gain entrance into that house? Just thinking out loud.

      If I remember correctly, she met Crane in 1772, and the break up with Abraham happened in 1774, so there was time for her to pull the old religious switcheroo, too, I suppose.

      • That’s true! Though, I feel like if she were in a small town people would know that she’s not a Quaker? Even the British who were quartered there? But absolutely that seems plausible (particularly on this show, where we have a Headless Demon trapped in an underground cell designed by Thomas Jefferson). I quite like the idea of Katrina the Spy.

        And he did wash his clothing, but there’s only so much Tide can do for 250 year duds…In terms of addressing it soon, I did see a picture today that looked suspiciously like he had new pants on…All of that said, I love his outfit and don’t want it to change, really. It just seems strange that he would go around with one outfit. And also, Tom Mison can deeeefffinitely wear a sweater.

      • Again – thinking along the same lines as Donna: when I was watching ep 6, I never took seriously Katrina’s claim to be a Quaker nurse. After all she’s a pagan and a wartime spy and posing as a (presumably) pacifist medic would just be a way to get access to Bernard after his capture. I don’t think ordinary townsfolk would have been eager to inform on her since in another scene she was comforting a child of a man killed at a multiple execution that was intended to instill fear in the townsfolk.

        Also – I don’t remember anything that indicated that that was set in Sleepy Hollow.

    • It was just too fantastic not to! I am not sure that the writers intentionally chose that, but I do know that they film in North Carolina. I imagine that once they were introduced to that on location, they would have been made aware of its history and consciously chosen to feature it. Or maybe it’s just pure coincidence!

      I kind of hope that it comes back. Like, they find out that playing the right combination of notes resonates the glass in such a way that it unlocks like, a secret box kept by Franklin or something.

      • The glass armonica was discussed by producers/crew while live-tweeting the episode Monday night. One of the producers credited the director of the episode with coming up with the idea, and with helping to find the only glass armonica in North Carolina. It was played by someone named Dean Shostak, and Colonial Williamsburg was involved somehow, too. 😉

        Some Sleepy Hollow Twitterers:

        Writers:
        @sleepywriters (account for all of them)
        Melissa Blake @mblakewriter
        Heather V. Regnier ‏ @RickFoxTheActor
        Jose Molina ‏ @JoseMolinaTV
        Jesse Spears ‏ @jessespears
        chitra ‏ @chitraelizabeth

        Producers:
        Phillip Iscove ‏ @pmiscove
        mark goffman ‏ @markgoffman
        len wiseman @wisemansketch
        abaiers ‏ @abaiers (works in production office, runs twitter contests and whatnot)

        Cast:
        Tom Mison @TomMison
        Nicole Beharie ‏ @NikkiBeharie
        Orlando Jones ‏ @TheOrlandoJones (WARNING: He will blow up your Twitter feed. Very prolific, very funny)
        Katia Winter ‏ @katia_winter
        Lyndie Greenwood ‏ @LyndieGreenwood (Jenny)
        Nicholas Gonzalez ‏ @IamNickGonzalez (Luke)
        Michael Roark ‏ @MichaelSRoark (Luke’s partner)

        Want to know when the Crane you’re seeing on screen isn’t Tom Mison? Mison’s photo double, Steve Baldwin: ‏ @SteveBaldwin_

        Costume Designer Kristin Burke: @Frocktalk (She has a blog, frocktalk.com, where she occasionally answers SH costume questions–and yes, she addressed the Crane outfit issue with a resounding “not up to me!”)

        • That’s awesome, Donna! So glad that it was a conscious choice – that makes me love it even more! It really is an amazingly beautiful and strange instrument, isn’t it?

          I follow a bunch of the writers/actors on Twitter, but so, so good to have a comprehensive list! I will keep an eye out on all of these. Get some real inside scoop. 🙂

      • Maybe it’s more obscure than I thought, but anytime I see/hear a glass harmonica, I think of Franklin. I thought that that association was as strong as that of Jefferson with his cherished polygraph duplicator. Like the Cicero references, I’ve been a bit surprised at how many viewers didn’t pick up on the references.

  2. I have to admit I did realize Abraham was the Headless Horseman the moment they talked about the necklace. Did I care I knew? NO! I love this show! I am a hardcore Ichabod and Abbi shipper they have the best chemistry!

    • Oh my god, I ship Ichabbie so hard and it is all I can do to remain shipper neutral in my posts. Their chemistry is incredible – you can tell they are actors who work well together, they’re great at conveying a good deal through looks. (I don’t think I’ve been this invested in one of my OTPs since Rose/Ten.)

      And same here! I felt that it was too much of a coincidence that the Horseman had the necklace and they just happened to share the story of Bram. (I might have been more surprised if he had been introduced a few episodes earlier?)

      But I am completely on the same page – it was a fun twist, and really, this show is just so seriously barmy that it’s (more than) acceptable. I do wonder what the Hessian being Abraham will mean for the future of the plot because clearly it will mean more than just that he wants Ichabod dead – any old Horseman of the Apocalypse can want the Witness destined to kill him dead.

      • I agree you can see the chemistry when they are goofing around at press things. I actually yelled “Forget the witch” when Ichabod said at the end of the episode that they needed Katrina.
        I think the horseman wants revenge. Yes he may want to kill Ichabod but I think he wants Ichabod to see him have Katrina, then kill him. I want to know why Molach wants the witnesses alive. They have to play some part in bringing on the apocalypse.

        • That’s one thing I was not entirely clear on. When Andy summoned the demon thingies to save Crane, was he doing that under Moloch’s orders, or was that his idea? If keeping Abbie safe is his primary motivation, he’d know that Crane would be important in doing that.

          (The question that’s still bugging me most, though, is WHO called Luke on the phone to confirm that Crane was an Oxford professor???)

          • Yeah, it is very interesting. I do think that Andy and the Horseman were summoned under Moloch’s orders. However, Moloch’s motives aren’t clear, nor is Moloch’s actual position in the apocalyptic hierarchy. What if he’s only, like a level three demon or something? Perhaps he is just heralding something larger? Or if he is defeated, another demon will just take his place?

            AND I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT THE PHONE CALL! Who would that be? A Mason? A member of the good witch coven? (Side note: I’m still convinced that Abbie and Jenny’s parents are somehow connected to either the Masons or the Coven.)

          • Moloch has obviously made it known that Ichabod can’t yet be killed (maybe sacrificing him later opens a Hellgate or lets Moloch enter our world fully or something). Andy was doing what Moloch would want. However, I don’t think that Moloch specifically ordered Andy to get the black glass demons to stop Abraham. I think that was Andy acting on his own initiative.

          • I assumed that Irving arranged the call to Luke. He would have been able to learn of Luke’s inquiries; he had something to lose if Crane’s cover were blown within the PD; he’s got to be orchestrating all kinds of things behind the scenes based on his name!

            Theory: If the founding fathers knew about the demon/prophecy hoodoo during the war, they’re not going to just forget it afterward. Therefore there’s a super secret organization embedded in the highest corridors which protects the population and covers up the weirdness ala MIB but and collects magical doodads ala The Librarian in preparation for the Coming Battle. Let’s call them Article 8 after Trek’s Sect 31 and with the conceit that there’s a secret 8th Article that stipulates the Federal government battles all enemies of the U.S. foreign, domestic -and- demonic. I say Irving is Art. 8’s field agent assigned to pale rider and his protestation that “Honestly… I wanted it to be a lie,” was just subterfuge.

    • “I have to admit I did realize Abraham was the Headless Horseman the moment they talked about the necklace.”

      When they first discussed the necklace (before we’re even introduced to Abraham) I thought, “Katrina must be responsible for a sympathetic character becoming the pale rider- and that’s probably something she’s hidden from Ichabod out of guilt.” Sure enough.

      What -was- a surprise to me, OTOH was that they rewrote Abraham as they did. Originally he and Ichabod were overt rivals, Ichabod was the vain and foppish character, and Abraham wins Katrina through cleverness. They’ve basically inverted the story as completely as possible.

      I’m a little disappointed with Abbie giving Ichabod a free pass. It’s the right thing to say to give comfort to Crane of course, but I think she really believes it. If the love triangle were set in modern times she’d be right, but it isn’t. When viewed in proper context Ichabod and Katrina -should- feel guilty for what they did.

  3. MISCELLANEOUS: I’m not picking up on the chemistry that you shippers are seeing. Actually, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that the protagonists are staying pragmatically Platonic even in subtext. Maybe I’m just less sensitive than you lot if you’re all seeing sparks that I’m not.

    What is the deal with repeated shots of Andy’s hand. Am I missing something? I get it’s a sign of his zombie-ness, but is there more to it than that?

    Anyone else feel sorry for Abe? His character could have been motivated only by revenge and wounded pride, but they’ve made it unrequited love instead. Poor headless Abe 🙁

    Abe wasn’t cuckolded. He was jilted. If he’d been cuckolded, that would imply much worse than betraying a friend emotionally, on the part of Ichabod and Katrina. It’d mean he had acted dishonorably (at a time when “honor” meant everything to a man) and she lacked virtue and was no lady.

    “Hogwash. Thomas was a loyal husband!” – In ep 6, did Ichabod totally miss the point about Sally Hemmings, or did the writers make unfounded assumptions (or both)? There’s all kinds of wrong with what Jefferson did, but adultery isn’t one of them. I don’t know of any evidence of Jefferson having a sexual relationship with any slaves during his marriage – and certainly not Sally who was far too young for such a thing. It was about 6 yrs after Martha (Jefferson’s wife) died in childbirth that he began the affair with Sally – who was actually Martha’s half sister.

  4. More miscellany: kudos for the ‘bottle ep’ analysis. I’d never heard the term. Also- style points for use of “barmy” 🙂

    Did Abbie leave Ichabod with the impression that Kafka was American?

    “Feminism again – instead of, “Hooray Ichabod for thinking that women had meager rights back in colonial times!” Abbie retorts: “Still better to be you.” (That is, a white male of relatively substantial means.)”

    I disagree. I think she pretty clearly meant Still better to be you – than Abe. Remember that this exchange was begun with his ‘having game’ or not. Further, the arranged marriage element seems very unlikely to me to and would have been an out moded tradition even in Ichabod’s time. I believe that element was added for 2 reasons: 1) to explain why Katrina was engaged to a man she didn’t love 2) as an excuse for Ichabod to claim modern values about women’s rights.

    Both are anachronistic – the first by making revolutionary era America less modern than it was and the second by making Ichabod (yet again) more modern than he should be so he’ll be more appealing to a modern audience.

  5. Abraham did make a comment about how Katrina’s socioeconomic status and how ridiculous it was to insinuate that he was not good enough for her. It doesn’t wholly explain her transition from more modest dress to such a cleavage-bearing frock, but it does indicate that the writers acknowledge a bit of a continuity gap.

    Also, can we talk about Ichy and his complete lack of foresight when discussing his new tryst with his BFF’s recent ex-betrothed? Too soon, friend. Too soon. And why was this not his deepest, darkest shame that the Sin Eater had to eat? Leaving your bestie to die at the hands of Hessian mercenaries after you fight and duel ranks second to watching some other guy get shot by a demon after you let him go? I raise a skeptical eyebrow.

    • “her transition from more modest dress to such a cleavage-bearing frock… a continuity gap.” – I still say that the Quaker nurse thing was just a disguise for a mission to get access to Arthur- no different than an FBI agent assuming the guise of a phone company employee to tap a landline.

      “why was this not his deepest, darkest shame that the Sin Eater had to eat? Leaving your bestie to die at the hands of Hessian mercenaries after you fight and duel ranks second to watching some other guy get shot by a demon after you let him go” – Excellent point. I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re absolutely right! His guilt with regard to Arthur was just that he didn’t do the right thing fast enough (and switching sides in a war isn’t a decision to be hastily made IMO). Abe, OTOH, is something he knows he should feel unambiguously guilty about. Heck, Katrina was so embarrassed that she didn’t tell Ichabod why she’s trapped in purgatory!

      • The Arthur Bernard story came about in “Sin Eater” by the Rutledge asking Crane about when he’d first heard the words “order ab chao.” He more or less chose which sin Crane would confess to.

        As for why Bram wasn’t Crane’s greatest sin, It was quite apparent that Crane did not, in fact, feel guilty about Bram’s death. He is quite adamant that he did nothing to steal Katrina away, and we have no reason to doubt him–we only saw him acting honorably in that regard. And then in the woods, yes, he’s guilty of the sin of TERRIBLE timing when he decided to tell Bram what happened right then and there (and maybe that’s enough), but he’s not the one who drew his sword and insisted on a duel. He’s not the one who caused them to still be in that spot when the Hessians showed up.

        • “Rutledge… chose which sin Crane would confess to”

          Good point.

          “As for why Bram wasn’t Crane’s greatest sin… Crane did not… feel guilty about Bram’s death.”

          I suppose then that we can interpret it as ‘the for which one feels most guilty’ rather than ‘one’s greatest sin.’ I’d still say that it was the latter based upon what we know so far. His not trying to steal Katrina means he’s not guilty of something worse, but it doesn’t mean he bears no guilt at all. He still got together with his best friend’s fiancee. If he’d stayed away from Katrina at least for a couple of years after she broke it off with Bram, that’d’ve been different, but even today what he did would be seen as a betrayal of one’s best friend – and we don’t invest anywhere near the importance in engagement/betrothal.

          I don’t blame Bram in the least for challenging Ichabod to a duel. It was entirely appropriate to the situation in his time period- arguably even something to have been expected. Where I’m unclear about his actions is his intent when Crane was on the ground. He was shot when he had Ichabod at his mercy, after saying “Who is unworthy now?” If he’d spared Crane after shaming him thus, then I wouldn’t fault him for his actions. If he’d killed Ichabod, then I’d say that since Ichabod didn’t try to steal Katrina and since they had been friends, that Bram would have been guilty of being vicious and overly punitive. When he refused Crane’s attempt to yield, was it so that he could best him in combat and have his ‘satisfaction’ that way, or was he really determined to kill?

          If it was the former, and he’d have spared Ichabod after defeating him, then I don’t see his actions as improper at all. If they’d not been friends, then his actions would have been acceptable even if he’d killed his opponent when he had him unarmed and on the ground. Of course if they’d not been friends, getting back to the original point, then Crane would have had nothing to feel guilty about.

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