Sleepy Hollow S1 Ep6: Join, or Die

After a three-week hiatus Sleepy Hollow returns, and it’s a game changer. The climax of Episode 6, “Join, or Die,” is so big that you’d expect it to happen in the season’s final episode, but here we are, not even halfway through the season, at a huge, exciting turning point. It also features more Katrina than we’ve seen in the previous five episodes put together. Yet, for such a Katrina-heavy episode filled with implications that Katrina and Ichabod are soul mates, it’s very much an Ichabbie episode in the end. Which begs the question: are Abbie and Katrina more spiritually entwined than we thought? And if so, what will happen with the ship wars?

Unlike previous episodes, “Join, or Die” separates Abbie and Ichabod for the majority of the episode, with Abbie teaming up with her sister Jennie to save Ichabod, whereabouts unknown. The trouble starts after Abbie and Ichabod share an afternoon at the ballpark, complete with light banter and hollering at umpires. Ichabod decides to walk home, while Abbie takes her car. During a stop at Katrina’s grave, Ichabod is drugged with a blow dart and finds himself in an underground room being interrogated by Freemasons.

sleepyhollows1ep6jennieabbieAbbie would have been clueless about Ichabod’s kidnapping, but she nods off to Billie Holiday as she’s driving home and finds herself in one of Katrina’s dream world communication places, this time in an “echo” of the home she’s shared with Ichabod. First, besides being spooky, it’s a really nice house — Ichabod and Katrina did well for themselves. More importantly, this is the first time we see Katrina reach out to Abbie, and what she has to say is major. The Headless Horseman is coming back to Sleepy Hollow, and Ichabod is in great danger because of the two are bound by blood. As suspected, if the Horseman is killed, Ichabod will die, too. But there is a way to disconnect them: Abbie must purge Ichabod of his sins with the help of a Sin Eater. Once he’s sanctified, the bond will be broken and the Horseman can be defeated without killing Ichabod. Armed with this information, Abbie wakes up, still driving, and nearly gets taken out by a semi truck. Someone needs to inform Katrina about the dangers of pulling someone into a dream world while they’re at the wheel, just sayin.

Abbie pulls Jennie out of the hospital and they get down to business. You’ve got to love Jennie. She’s like a stand-in for the viewer sometimes, raising an eyebrow knowingly at Abbie’s relationship with Ichabod, even as Abbie talks about his wife.

Meanwhile, we get some pretty intense back story about Ichabod. Back when he was a Red Coat, he was ordered to interrogate a suspected traitor named Arthur Bernard, a freedman. While it’s a bit odd that Arthur’s race is barely mentioned through the whole ordeal, making him a freedman is nice touch. It’s not a surprise for Sleepy Hollow to include a black person in an 18th Century flashback. Not making him a slave but a man of influence is more unexpected. Anyway, Ichabod’s place as a British Soldier over-simplistically makes him a bad guy, and he has Arthur beaten. During all this, he meets Katrina for the first time, and we find out that this is why Katrina despised him at first. Yet she senses compassion in him, and it’s the moment that pretty much changes everything.

Back in our time, Abbie and Jennie track down the Sin Eater — a special and much-anticipated appearance by John Noble (Fringe, The Return of the King). The Sin Eater is a man, at least by appearances, who has spent years hiding in prisons to sanctify death row inmates before their executions. The bad news is, he’s out of the game and unwilling to help. Abbie won’t accept that and demands that he tells her where Ichabod is with his clairvoyant powers. He refuses, but an accidental brush against Abbie reveals where he is — her bond with Ichabod is that strong.

sleepyhollows1sp6sineaterIchabod finishes telling his story to the Freemasons as Abbie and Jennie make their way to him. Despite the fact that, thanks to Katrina, he decided to join the Revolutionaries, and although he refused to kill Arthur as ordered, Arthur was executed by his ex-commanding officer anyway. Then, as he’s wracked with guilt, the truth about why he’s been abducted comes out. Ichabod has to die to stop the Horseman. He has to do it himself. He’s given a box containing a bottle of poison just as Abbie and Jennie find him.

Now, we know and Abbie knows that his death isn’t the only way, but Ichabod is adamant. There’s no time. Abbie begs him not to. Ichabod calls her “Abbie” and Tumblr explodes. And then she does something unexpected. She accepts it. She holds his hand, she cries, and she lets him go to help save humanity. We know he’s not actually going to die in Episode 6, but it’s an incredibly powerful and loving scene. Of course, the Sin Eater comes in at the last second, with just minutes before the poison kills him. Ichabod is bled from his hand and he finds himself in front of Arthur, smiling and no longer bruised and bloodied. Arthur tells him that it was his death that led to his journey to the place he is meant to be, and that he must forgive himself to undo the blood tie. After a few words, Ichabod awakes, and his blood separates into two pools. The Sin Eater sops up the bad blood with a piece of bread and eats it.

So now Ichabod is sanctified and the Headless Horseman can be defeated. Eventually.


You can catch up with “Join, or Die” on Amazon Instant Video.