Sleepy Hollow S1 Ep 8: Necromancer

In some episodes of Sleepy Hollow, there is nearly nothing to remind you of Washington Irving’s original tale; this week’s episode, “Necromancer,” on the other hand, is full of exciting direct references to the classic legend. But, as always, don’t expect full classic canon. If The Legend of Sleepy Hollow were a history text, Ichabod would tell you that things got twisted in the translation.

“Necromancer” picks up just where last week’s episode, “The Midnight Ride,” left off: with the captured Headless Horseman chained up in and underground Masonic cell, weakened by UV light and trapped by some kind of spell. Abbie and Ichabod have a brief fist-bump moment before getting down to business. While Ichabod, Abbie, and Captain Irving (who, with this episode, has officially moved up from intriguing supporting character to main character badass), toy with the idea of just keeping the Horseman imprisoned where he can theoretically do no harm, Ichabod has other ideas. He wants to interrogate the Horseman. Obviously, the lack of a head, let alone a mouth, makes the likelihood of a talking Headless Horseman seemingly impossible, until they remember that Undead Andy Brooks has clearly communicated with him, and has a crush on Abbie, which can only help.

sleepyhollows1e8ichabodThe team splits up, with Abbie and Ichabod dealing with Andy and the Horseman interrogation, while Irving goes to fetch Jennie, who has just been released from Tarrytown Mental Institution.

After declaring Andy to be a necromancer (one who speaks for the dead) and ignoring Andy’s warnings that this will not go well, Andy is strapped to a chair as Ichabod, with an aggression we haven’t seen before, confronts the Horseman. He’s shocked when the Horseman drops a jewel necklace that belonged to Katrina, and we learn Ichabod’s deepest, darkest secret.

OK, Ichabod’s failure to save Arthur in Episode 6 was his deepest, darkest secret, but this one would have spoiled things at that point, so go with it.

In a nod to the legend, Ichabod had a rival for Katrina’s affection, a man named Abraham (he wasn’t referred to as Brom Bones in the episode, but he’s very clearly Brom Bones). In an inversion of the legend, Brom was rejected by Katrina in favor of Ichabod, not the other way around. Also, Ichabod and Brom were best friends. Later, it was Brom, not Ichabod, who walked away dejected. Instead of following Brom, Ichabod walked with him on a mission to courier an early version of the Declaration of Independence. Ichabod confessed that Katrina had dumped Brom to be with him, and the distraught Brom insisted on a duel. It seemed that Ichabod’s secret would be that he killed Brom in the duel, but Brom actually betters him. Just as Brom, who I was feeling pretty bad for at that point, declared his victory, the men were ambushed by Hessians. Ichabod escaped, but Brom was killed.

Meanwhile, Irving and Jennie have teamed up to search for an artifact stolen from an antiques dealer — an artifact that happens to have the power to break the spell that is helping to hold the Horseman captive. Irving and Jennie just might be the most badass duo of all time. Seriously. And their chemistry is impeccable. I expect to see Jirving become a thing. Despite their awesomeness, though, the artifact eludes Jirving. Which is potentially a big problem, because a modern-Hessian-caused explosion causes the power in Sleepy Hollow to go out. Including those UV lights keeping the Horseman weakened.

A little tip: Don’t trust the necromancer who’s working for your dead arch-enemy. I’m just saying. Because he might pull that spell-breaking artifact out of his stomach and screw you over just like he warned he would.

sleepyhollowes1e8hessiansThat the Horseman breaks the chains is not a shock. That he challenges Ichabod to a duel that plays out identically to the duel with Brom is pretty surprising — even more so when you realize that the Horseman is Brom. Now, this shouldn’t really shock readers of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, since it was theorized that the Headless Horseman was actually Brom in disguise, taking advantage of the valley’s ghost story, who killed Ichabod after Katrina rejected him. But Sleepy Hollow‘s Headless Horseman is not a murderous hoax. He’s actually Death. Apparently, as he was dying, Brom was shaved, clothed, and branded as a Hessian, and our old friend the blurry horned demon worked his magic on him, turning him into Death. So the Horseman is, in fact, the man who was betrayed by Ichabod. Perfect Ichabod. It’s a delicious twist. And he’s keeping Katrina in Purgatory because, well, he hasn’t gotten over her dumping him for Ichabod, essentially leading to his monstrous immortality.

Though the episode is light on Abbie’s story,  “Into Darkness” is possibly the best episode yet. Andy, Jenny, Irving 2.0 and Brom Bones? Once again, the show has changed the game. I haven’t been so excited to see what happens next since the pilot.