The Super Sleepy Dispatch

Recap and Review: Sleepy Hollow 2:6  “And the Abyss Gazes Back”

By P.S. Griffin

Wherein Henry continues to be a very very bad boy  leading to real horror in the episode’s final moments.   The upside, this is a classic Abbie/Ichabod buddy comedy episode with moments of cheek pulling warmth between our Witnesses.   Irving is in a right mess  and  Hawley is truly smitten.

The episode seems to open with both of our Witnesses in dire straits.  Nah!  Actually Abbie is trying to teach Ichabod the joys of yoga,  with both of our heroes inverted against opposing walls.  Ichabod really isn’t  feeling it, so Abbie begins to extol its many benefits.  Frankly her visible radiant health, excellent tone and robust stamina should be testimony enough.  (This reviewer makes resolution to start doing yoga). 

Ichabod stops her at the mention of “buns”.  I guess only Katrina has the privilege of discussing his “double jug”.  Yes. I can relate.  I hate it when random dudes start talking about the state of my double jug  or  jugs for that matter.

Anyhow this scandalous talk of buns and jugs leads to a discussion about Ichabod’s disappointment with Katrina,  and Abbie really needs Ichabod to say it like it is. “Katrina held too much from me and it’s hard, in good conscience, to believe in her as I have.” 

Methinks Ichabod has taken it in the double jug too many times  from that comely lass. Alas, alack I have been told I am far to harsh on the tempting witch; however,  habitual lying on this scale would be a deal breaker for me.  Also the show introduced considerable ambiguity in her character last season, probably to draw attention away from Henry’s machinations.  I need to see more good intentions from Katrina and soon!

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They decide to relax in a manner more soothing to Ichabod,  the local pub of course.  Whilst there, Abbie excuses herself to break up a fight and is surprised to recognize the main brawler.  It’s Joey Corbin, Sheriff Corbin’s son, back from Afghanistan and he’s giving her major shade despite her obvious delight at seeing him.  We learn that he’s returned to Sleepy Hollow in the past week after an honorable discharge following a strange disaster that befell his platoon.

He’s upset about his dad’s death and he warns her to stay away from him.  One would presume he blames her, he says as much; but that seems too easy and just wrong considering the strong family vibe Abbie is projecting.  There’s history between the two, and trust and love.

We get a brief snippet of an ugly horned monster stalking a couple of dudes in the woods.  Okay dokay!

Now we see a cute car scene with a tipsy Ichabod,  who is delighted to “win” at breathalyzer,  and a reflective Abbie reminiscing about little Joey pretending to be Superman and wanting only to protect her.  Despite confusing his Superhero aliases, Ichabod has enough wits about him to assure her that Joey the little boy grew into a man that still wants to be a hero.

They get news of another disturbance involving Joey Corbin.  They  Abbie quickly becomes all business and calls in to take the case.   Before we head off to confront the MotW, I want to say I love the amused face on Abbie in this episode whenever Ichabod opens his mouth.  They’re enjoying each other immensely again.  Reunited and it feels so good!

They drive to a local wooded area.  As they arrive they narrowly miss hitting a horrific horned creature.  Abbie is freaked, which says a lot considering recent events in Sleepy Hollow.  They find strange footprints in the soil bearing wicked claws,  the dead bodies of Joe’s two friends and Joe’s abandoned, wrecked car.  One of the men has been split open with all internal organs removed. A search turns up Joe.  He’s nearly unconscious, muttering about his dad’s dire warnings and that something will kill them all.  Spooky!  They take him to the hospital.

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The following day Abbie tries to get Joe to elaborate.   He throws shade again,  saying that his dad never had time to share anything with him because he was always with Abbie.   He tells the story of waiting five hours for his dad to take him fishing;  Sheriff Corbin never arrived because he was teaching Abbie how to shoot.

Finally we check in with our favorite mental patient poor Captain Irving.  He’s visiting with his lawyer and very upset about losing his soul as the price of doing business. Henry tells him that the only way to break the contract is to take a life.  Henry suggests that he kill a fellow patient who is another client of Henry’s and the man that crippled Irving’s daughter in a drunk driving accident.   This doesn’t sound like a good idea at all.  In fact it sounds like Irving would be  damning his soul all to hell.

Irving doesn’t want to do this. However he’s rattled enough to try talking to the man, who proves to be a truly horrible human being.  Irving becomes enraged and  attacks the guy, momentarily hellbent on killing him.  Luckily Irving is truly a good man and he realizes that he is better than this.  He stops choking him. He refuses to chose to be the evil monster.  YEAH Irving!   He also realizes that killing him was playing into Henry’s hands.  Nobody wants to play with Henry!

I love smart Irving as much as I love seeing the flashback to demonic mojo Irving.   In general the show is over doing the flashbacks this season,  however I loved seeing this one.

Finally it’s time for a heroic tete a tete at the Archives.   Ichabod thinks it’s strange that Joe survived the monster attack, and that he spoke of his father when questioned, because men on the battlefield typically cry out for their mother.  This is a rare thoughtful Ichabod moment in which he seems insightful rather than an inexplicable know it all. Eidetic memory my double jug!

Abbie doesn’t immediately buy it, but trusts her fellow Witness enough to do some Internet sleuthing.   She discovers that the same thing happened in Afghanistan.  His platoon was slaughtered and one man was missing his organs, leaving only a recalcitrant Joe to survive.

Of course this prompts one of Ichabod’s amazing revolutionary war connections.  He was friends with Daniel Boone who only wore the BEAVER! skin cap because of some gruesome head wounds inflicted by his brother Squire Boone who suffered from “nostalgia” after surviving Valley Forge, which included partaking in cannibalism.  Abbie notes that nostalgia sounds much more elegant than post- traumatic stress disorder.   

Sadly it was nothing as poetic as either.   Ichabod quickly connects the Boone family saga to the Shawnee legend of  the human/monster  hybrid cannibal Wendigo.  Yep that sounds like our Sleepy Hollow.

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The transformation is triggered by violent bloodshed,  hence the soldiering connection,  and can only be reversed by consuming human organs. Oh oh.  They’re about to rush to the hospital when they get a call telling them that Joe has left the building.

They head to Joe’s place to look for clues.  I wonder why Joe wouldn’t have tried to stay at his father’s cabin and just as quickly try to ignore this logic fail.  Abbie finds the Sheriff’s will (Does the cabin belong to Joe?), a map, a note asking Joe to caretake his father’s occult collectibles, and paperwork with incorrect dates suggesting a secret code.  Of course  Ichabod realizes that the code is longitude and latitude readings that lead to Pioneer Point where last night’s attacks took place.

Back in the woods, Joe digs up a fancy box, wannabe Chinese to my highly trained eyes.  He bolts when the Witnesses comes calling.  They follow and in the skirmish Ichabod cuts his arm.  Joe stops and screams for them to run.  Abbie goes for the car, breaks the window and grabs the tranquilizer gun.  She is grace under pressure, and absolutely fabulous.  

Ichabod runs with the beast close behind.   Tom Mison is selling his fear so well that the scene is almost comical.   Ichabod is also absolutely fabulous and totally terrified.  Abbie misses twice but makes her third shot just in time.  Whew.  Mison’s comic timing is priceless.

Oh joy!  This rates a visit to the super secret Masonic holding cell.  Monster Joe is chained up.  He returns to human when Miss Jenny shows up with sweetmeats for him to consume,  stolen from the hospital.  She sweetly suggests that they all donate blood to compensate for the theft.  

Abbie also has called Hawley in to help her research cures.  He is gobsmacked by Joe the Wendigo and awestruck by the super cool Masonic occult digs.  Nothing compares to Abbie it seems!  He shots Abbie  sweet looks whenever he can which are completely missed by her but are seen by both Jenny and Ichabod. 

Jenny seems to be more interested in the nature of his intentions towards her sister than jealous of them.  Ichabod is still too pissy about having intellectual competition to do little more than a double take, seemingly disbelieving what he sees.  Matt Barr is really selling smitten Hawley.   I really like this dude! Abbie has assembled a formidable occult swat team despite their individual peccadilloes!

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As they wait, Abbie and Joe finally talk.  The transformations started after he received a letter covered with white powder containing a curse and a threat.  Ichabod says the powder was human bone according to Shawnee legend.  The sender wants Joe to give him an artifact from his father’s collection.  In case we are dummies, the show includes a brief flashback of Henry crushing the bone flute.  Duh! Oh and the return address was Frederick’s Manor.   Henry isn’t even trying to hide his badass badness at this point.   You go Henry!   Revel in your evil mayhem. 

They open the box and find a glass bottle filled with a liquid that looks like blood.  Crane recognizes it as a Chinese poison called jinkan, made when the deadliest animals are put in a single vessel and left to devour each other until there is a survivor.  Yuk!  Gross!  And it’s really real according to Wikipedia; 

Ichabod feels responsible for Henry’s actions and apologizes to Joe.  Joe tells him to make sure that Henry knows Ichabod loves him  no matter what.

Ichabod walks in on Hawley and  Abbie looking cozy in the archives.  They share their research.  Apparently the fourth time the cursed man turns the change becomes permanent.  Poor Joe has turned three times.  We also learn that Hawley knows some Shawnee Native Americans.   Abbie pretty much orders him to take Ichabod to see them.  Neither man is particularly thrilled with the idea of this field trip.

They visit a garage which is a hangout for a Shawnee biker gang.  Ichabod wins their respect much to Hawley’s chagrin because he speaks Shawnee,  name drops  Squire Boone,  recognizes the accouterments of their Shaman,  and realizes that the gang is a modern Shawnee hunting party.  They give him the means to cure the Wendigo curse, providing Joe doesn’t eat organs a fourth time after turning.  It’s nice to see Ichabod besting Hawley for a change,  especially when it’s so important to Abbie that they succeed. 

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To cure Joe Ichabod must recite a Shawnee spell as inscribed  on a bowl made from a human skull after filling it with Joe’s blood, taken from a cut made with a ceremonial obsidian knife.  If Joe has eaten human organs, and cannot be cured the same knife will kill him by stabbing his heart.  It sounds so easy whenever Ichabod explains it.

Abbie is telling Joe how much he meant to his father when Henry and two Hessians break in, threaten Abbie and Jenny, strong arm Joe into giving up the jinkan,  and  convince Joe to go with him to be cured.  Once outside,  evil Henry gleefully cuts his arm, jumpstarting  his fourth and final transformation.   It’s a truly heinous act.  Henry says that the real curse was Joe’s humanity and that now Abbie will understand that Joe is an instrument of War.  Mwahahaha! John Noble is so wonderful this season, so over the top, badass and EVIL.  I shudder at the mere sight of him.

When the boys return with the goods the team works together to find Joe and cure him.  Abbie and Ichabod assume the most dangerous roles, and cut their hands together to draw Joe to them.  Jenny and Hawley are their backup.  Ichabod manages to cut Joe and fills the bowl as Abbie diverts his attention.   Ichabod recites the spell which takes several moments to take affect.  Ichabod begs Abbie to let Joe go because it is too late.  Luckily she doesn’t give up. 

Joe returns to human form and wants to do good by becoming an FBI agent.  He asks Abbie dor a reference to Quantico.   It’s sweet that he’s emulating Abbie.  And it’s great that Team Witness scored  another small victory against Henry’s treachery.   However,  given his father’s wishes I would expect Joe Corbin to stay in Sleepy Hollow to protect the town and the occult doodads, and continue the family legacy. 

Frankly it’s a huge logic fail that the show is, writing him out now.  It’s clear that they created him to make the stakes personal and have it resonate with Ichabod and his family drama.  However it’s a problem when the show and tell for the character don’t match in the same episode.  It’s simply a case of really bad writing which turns Joe Corbin’s son into a throwaway character to preserve the current status quo.  Boo hiss!

There is little time for rejoicing over this small victory because poor Irving calls to beg Abbie for her help.  He’s in a very bad state, completely depressed about Henry  owning his soul, and he feels that he’s made a mess of things.  Abbie tries to talk him down from the rooftop.

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And things get even worse for Team Witness. Yikes!  Henry is still at his EVIL best, turning the jinkan into a wicked spider that finds his mother and enters Katrina’s mouth and crawls down her throat.  She wakes up screaming in horror.   Of course it’s not over yet.  Not by a long shot.

It’s best to focus on Ichabod learning to become an irascible online gamer.

Additional Thoughts:  This was another strong episode written by Heather V. Regnier and directed by Doug Aarniokoski.

The title comes from a, quote by the moral philosopher Frederick Nietsche:” Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you” 


It appears Henry is planning on driving Team Witness to despair hoping that they will damn themselves and lose their cause.

I like that Henry’s wicked mind is generating the monster of the week stories at this point.  I am not sure that introducing Sheriff Corbin’s son was worth it because of the resulting plotholes.  Besides the cabin we have the issue of his occult legacy.  His father asked him to take care of his occult collection,  yet Joe departs without doing anything or feeling as if he should join the team.  Whereas Hawley’s introduction seemed arbitrary and artificial,  having Joe on the team makes sense.  of course I have grown accustomed to Hawley’s sweet, smitten face, so…

As horrifying as the spider in the mouth was, I don’t think it was the best direction for Katrina’s story.  Katrina already lacks agency.  She’s provided little in the way of intel and cannot practice magic at Abraham’s house.   So now house with the spider inside her, she will need rescuing yet again.   Yawn.

Furthermore,  after last week I would prefer for her to accomplish something that reminds Ichabod of why he fell in love with her.  Abraham is in better shape for a redemption arc at this point and he’s the friggin’ Horseman of Death.

Both Hawley and Abraham have grown on me because their love has brought out a hidden nobility.   We really need that to happen for Ichabod’s lying witch of a wife.

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Despite focusing on horror,  the show also excels at nurturing the human feelings of our heroes and villains.  Both Henry and Abraham have shown their emotional vulnerabilities.  Ichabod and Abbie are stoic yet make their feelings clear.  Jenny is a delightful, sweet woman when she’s not playing the stone cold killer.  And poor Irving… Oh how I feel for the man.

I especially love how much is conveyed by the cast with a simple glance.  Both Ichabod and Jenny caught the meaning behind Hawley’s love struck glances at Abbie,  and Hawley saw that Ichabod  knows.  It was a great scene.  Also the way the two bristling men played off of each other in the garage when meeting with the Shawnee was perfection.  The cast is starting to gel as a whole. And what is not to love about Henry’s unabashed evil glee whatever hoodoo he does for Moloch. The characters’ quirks and quibbles are half of the fun at this point, especially the quarreling and vanities of the menfolk!

Does anyone have a guess about this year’s upcoming mid-season madness?  I am guessing it will be something spun from Henry’s spider’s Web.

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