Abbie’s back, y’all! WHOO! And it seems like we’re closer to #Ichabbie than ever! WHOO! More flailing will occur later in this post, but first, let’s take a look back at what happened in “Incident at Stone Manor.”
Ichabod was on a mission to get his other half back. Well, to be fair to everyone, Jenny and Joe were also gunning to get Abbie back, but Joe much less so than Jenny. Put a pin in that, since it could prove to be one more issue Jenny and Joe will have to overcome in their relationship. Trust is already a big issue, seeing how Jenny didn’t even tell Joe that they were going to rob her dad of one of his prized possessions.
Jenny needed to get her dad’s item in order to complete the trifecta of familial items needed to perform a 19th century spiritual letting, if you will. In a spirit closet Ichabod built by hand (apparently in just a few hours), Ichabod prepared to let his spirit fly from his body into the other realms to find Abbie, with the totems acting as a conduit and a candle acting as his spiritual bungee cord. The crazy plan does work, and Ichabod does find Abbie, nearly out of her mind from solitude and from replaying Ichabod’s voice in her head. Abbie’s still smart, though; to keep herself sane, she played chess with herself from a board and pieces she must have made herself. Who knows exactly how long she had been playing; she thought she was there for months, and she had enough time to search the terrain for clues (to no avail). However, she’d only been there for a few weeks according to time topside.
Abbie tries to hug Ichabod, but we find out along with her that Ichabod’s spirit form isn’t tangible even in the spirit realm. I would have thought that he would be real enough to hug in some shape or form in the spirit world, but rules are rules. Those rules are also what get Ichabod and Abbie into trouble. Pandora, desperate to get her beloved Hidden One well, decides to traverse the planes herself into the spirit dungeon to coax Abbie into giving her the Eye, the one thing that give the Hidden One back his power (and save her from her husband’s wrath). Abbie’s not one to be lovingly coaxed, even in her precarious situation, so instead of giving in, she says that Pandora can’t do anything to her because she’s just a spirit. Pandora states how smart Abbie is, “too smart,” she says, and decides to make things even more precarious by cutting Ichabod’s tether, sending him out into actual ether. According to Pandora, the only way to get Ichabod back and help herself is to give Pandora the eye. It seems like Abbie’s about to give in, when WHAM! She breaks the Eye with a rock! Pandora curses her and cuts her own tether to get back to her body. Although, in all honesty, she should have just cut herself into the ether as well, because the Hidden One won’t be happy with her coming back empty-handed.
(By the way: Apparently, I’ve had too much Doctor Strange on the brain, since I’d been calling the Hidden One “the Ancient One.” It’s an error, but it’s not too egregious, since he also has to be ancient as all get-out by now. But still, sorry.)
Abbie’s now even more alone than she was before, and like Ichabod did in the midseason premiere, she starts recalling what Ichabod would tell her and what he would do in her situation. Before she does find her solution, though, she yells out how Ichabod is such a huge part of her being, even though they shouldn’t make any sense as a partnership. She, like Ichabod, talks about how Ichabod’s like her other half, and from her tone of voice, it seems like that statement of truth confounds her and irritates her, but in a good way, if you get what I’m saying. I’m sure for those out there who are in relationships, you might be thinking, “How is it that I landed with this person! It’s amazing, and I don’t understand it!” It seems like that’s where Abbie is, except she’s accepting her good fortune with misplaced frustration.
In any case, she figures out how to get out, and the way out is something that confounds me and irritates me in a bad way. How is it that Betsy Ross 1) was there, 2) found a way out through a well (which is right at the entrance of the cave?!?!?), and 3) thought far enough ahead to leave her cutlass there as a clue? How would she know that Abbie or Ichabod would get stuck there? Talk about writing in a convenience…I mean I’m not trying to rag on the writing in this episode, since most of it was stellar, especially when we get to the “all out of options” portion of the episode. That moment in a story is something writers are taught to get to; you have to get to the point where all hope seems lost in order to make the stakes (and readers’ interest) even higher. But to have the solution be a Deux Ex Machina such as Betsy Ross’ cutlass? Just how hard can I roll my eyes at that?
In any event, Abbie makes it back, and uses herself (her mind? Her body? Both?) as a conduit for Ichabod’s soul to get back, too. The reunion between Abbie and Jenny was just as emotional as we could have expected it to be, and the reunion between Abbie and Ichabod was just as special. Ichabbie shippers were led astray when Ichabod doubled down on not talking about his feelings in front of Abbie by talking about chess moves instead of how he truly loves her above all other people. But, on the other hand, actions speak louder than words (even though words are nice to hear). They both had each other’s backs, and they both went to the ends of the earth (and then some) to save each other. They both know the spiritual hold they have on the other person and how they’ll risk their lives for each other, and if that isn’t showing someone true love, then I don’t know what is.
With Team Witness back to full strength, we come to the problem of Foster. Well, I’ll get into why she’s a problem a bit later, but first, Foster and Jenny have to come to a meeting of the minds. Foster needs Ichabod’s help on a case, but when she finds out that the only people left on their two feet are Jenny and Joe, Foster puts on her sour face. She would have preferred Ichabod’s expertise, and Foster’s attitude puts Jenny in a funk and tells Foster that she and Joe are just as competent as Ichabod and Abbie. Foster and Jenny butt heads throughout the case, which involves a cursed gargoyle that was originally beset upon Lafayette and Betsy Ross by the British. Joe doesn’t help matters when he actually sides with Foster over Jenny. But both plans end up working out; Jenny uses holy water to weaken the gargoyle, and Foster uses the cement mixer to trap it. Meanwhile, Jenny and Joe make up (although this is only the first of many relationship battles with these two).
All right, some thoughts:
Ichabod’s New Yankee Workshop moment: Did anyone grow up with public television like I did? If you watched tons of PBS in the ‘90s, you might recall The New Yankee Workshop, hosted by Norm Abram. Abram is an accomplished woodsmith, and I believe he can build projects in record time. But I don’t think even Abrams could knock out a spirit closet in about one to two hours like Ichabod did. Especially since the only tool we saw Ichabod use was a hammer. If Abram can’t build a storage cabinet in less than two days, how am I supposed to believe Ichabod cut and mitered wood in just two?
Abbie’s a naturalista: Whoever was over the decision to have Abbie’s hair revert to its natural state over the course of her time in the dead zone, thank you. That was one of the most realistic moments of the entire episode, save for Nicole Beharie’s tremendous acting. (As I said in the Hollow Hangout, Beharie’s actually too good of an actress for just Sleepy Hollow. I’m not taking away anything from the other actors, but Beharie needs an Emmy and an Oscar yesterday. Hollywood—quit sleeping on Beharie and cast her in more film projects. Did 42 and Shame teach you nothing about her talent, you bigoted industry?)
Seeing Abbie’s hair in its natural state (or, rather “TV natural,” because it takes work, like bantu knotting and hair grease, to get natural hair into those perfect ringlets) was affirming for me and, I’m sure, many other viewers out there. It was a small “Annalise in the mirror” moment to me. What I’m referring to is when Annalise from How to Get Away with Murder took off her wig and her makeup to reveal her natural self. Such a thing was revolutionary on television, which, as all of Hollywood is to some degree, is obsessed with showing an “acceptable” (i.e. Eurocentric) view of ethnicity and race. To me, Abbie’s hair was also a revolution, just in miniature. We haven’t seen Abbie sport her actual hair texture yet on this show until this episode. It seems like she keeps her hair straight in order to appear pulled together and “normal,” which makes sense for her character, since she had been hiding her truth for a good portion of her life. Contrast that with Jenny, who has kept her hair as it is, which goes along with her general attitude of accepting herself and her life as it is, regardless of how crazy it seems.
Seeing Abbie with her natural hair seems to show a shift in her character, beyond her just being without her smoothing iron. Abbie didn’t address anything about self-acceptance in the episode, but it does seem like she has accepted her life with Ichabod, and in a way, that means she’s accepting herself and her mission as well. From what I saw in the preview, it seems like Abbie’s hair stays natural for a while. We’ll see how long she keeps it that way, but for now, it seems like Abbie’s finally come more to terms with herself.
“Better Half” talk with Ichabod/Abbie and Pandora/Hidden One: It’s not ironic that the only other people to speak of better halves are Pandora and the Hidden One. The season is making it clear that Pandora and the Hidden One are emotional foils for Ichabod and Abbie. Both relationships include an all-encompassing, interdimensional type of love. (By the way: I give it until Season 4 or very late in Season 3 at the earliest for Ichabod to outwardly act on his feelings for Abbie. It’s a long endgame here, folks.) But foils are, by nature, lies. The only true all-encompassing healthy relationship is Ichabod and Abbie’s. Pandora’s and the Hidden One’s is abusive. Let’s just be blunt about it; Pandora’s in the same predicament as Harley Quinn and the Hidden One’s just as manipulative and narcissistic as the Joker. The relationship is only about the predominant force and their needs. Pandora is only there to serve the Hidden One and to be used by him when she fails. Will Pandora wake up to the fact that her “true love” is just using her to his own ends? I think the Hidden One will be her end.
Jenny and Joe’s problems re: trust and belief: Speaking of better halves, it’s pertinent to show that Jenny and Joe don’t seem to be the other’s “better half.” Perhaps it’s just because they are the only normal people on the show (i.e., people without powers, foretold destinies, etc.) that their very normal relationship seems immediately filled with problems in comparison to other “better half” relationships. To be fair to Jenny, she’s had a tough time with trust in her life; most of the people’s she’s trusted and loved have abandoned her or died. She’s still in self-protection mode. But Jenny and Joe have got to get it together if they want this relationship to work. Jenny’s got to be more forthcoming, and Joe has got to be more supportive. Joe is the only one on Team Witness who seemed to doubt Abbie’s return as a possibility. Even Foster seemed to believe she’d be back more than Joe, since she was still talking about doing Abbie’s paperwork and cases until she came back. Joe’s got to have a lot more faith if he’s going to continue to be a part of this team. Does he not remember that he was a wendigo? But if I’m remembering correctly, he didn’t have much faith in Abbie being able to save him, either.
Ezra Mills: We got to see Ezra, at last! He seems like a decent enough guy. But I need to know what his backstory is. I know we’ll get it; I’m just impatient.
What is the purpose of Foster?: Now that Abbie’s back, what’s the reason as to why we care about Foster? I like Jessica Camacho, but I’m calling it: Foster is a superfluous character at this point. We’ve got the real Abbie now; we don’t need an Abbie replacement for Ichabod to bounce off of now. Is Foster going to find her parents? Is she the Mills’ long lost cousin? Will she become evil? Will she be killing fodder for the Hidden One? WHAT’S HER PURPOSE! At least I know Zoe was here to give Ichabod a chance to heal from Katrina and to act as a foil for his relationship with Abbie! What can we expect from Foster?
#HollowHangout!: Last week, Jamie of Black Girl Nerds and myself were a part of the Sleepy Hollow Addicts Hollow Hangout! I had a lot of fun being on the show, and I got some weight off my chest in the process. (I actually didn’t plan for Malcolm X-esque speeches to occur during this, but sometimes, the spirit just moves you.)
If you missed me and Jamie on the #HollowHangout, check it out right here!
Monique Jones is an entertainment blogger/journalist. She’s written for Entertainment Weekly, Black Girl Nerds, Racialicious, and many others. She runs JUST ADD COLOR (originally called COLOR) and has introduced a new online magazine, COLOR BLOCK Magazine. You can follow her on Twitter at @moniqueblognet and the official Twitter for JUST ADD COLOR and COLORBLOCK Magazine,@COLORwebmag.
All photos by Tina Rowden/FOX.