Sleepy Hollow S1 Ep9 – Sanctuary

Sleepy Hollow didn’t have a Halloween episode, sadly (it didn’t even air during most of October, the Sleepy-Hollowiest month, thanks to the World Series), but with “Sanctuary,” it does have a Thanksgiving episode, and it’s all about family. And loss. And loss of family. Also, a tree monster. So, not exactly a Hallmark special. Also not the best episode of the season, but clearly one that introduces key plot points.

Once again, Katrina is central to the episode, and once again she’s changed significantly since the last time we saw her via Ichabod’s memory. We’ve seen her in flashbacks as a glamorous Revolutionary War matron, a plain Quaker nurse, a fancy society lady, and now, a big-haired witch. It’s hard to tell if the chameleon-like nature of her character means something, or if she’s really just that much of a plot device. Her character hasn’t developed at all, and the more we see of her (primarily in Ichabod’s memories), the more bitter and angry Ichabod gets. It makes sense that he’d miss his wife. Unfortunately, and maybe this is just because we see her through the rose-colored veil of Ichabod’s mind, she’s not much of a character.

sleepyhollows1e9ichabbieThat leaves Abbie to be Ichabod’s rock, which isn’t ideal for a comparatively complex female character. Those who worry that Abbie is being downgraded to “sidekick” should remember that Abbie’s story was front-and-center in several episodes early in the season, so much so that people wondered if Ichabod cared about Katrina at all. This is an Ichabod arc, and while it is, in my opinion, a lot more hokey and convoluted than Abbie’s childhood betrayal of Jenny and their mutual bond with the still-mysterious Sheriff Corbin, it’s also necessary. There is still a lot more of Abbie, Jenny, and Corbin’s story to tell.

Speaking of Jenny, she and Irving get their own minor storyline in “Sanctuary,” and it’s Jirving all over. Jenny even invites him over for Thanksgiving . Their moment is interrupted by Irving’s ex-wife, who, refreshingly, is not a shrew, but a caring mother to their daughter, Macy. Macy and Jenny bond a little in the hallway. Irving learns that he may lose joint custody of Macy because he’s been so wrapped up in apocalypse stuff that he hasn’t been much of a dad. It’s a fully understandable turn of events, but I’m rooting for Irving to be the dad Macy (who has apparently had an accident that left her in a wheelchair) needs. Bonus points for Jenny, who would make a great friend for Macy without minimizing her mother if and when Jirving happens.

sleepyhollows1e9ichabodThe main story involves a “haunted house” that once belonged to Founding Father Lachlan Fredricks and has recently been purchased by one of his descendants, a wealthy heiress named Lena. The heiress becomes a missing person when she visits the house with a bodyguard and is attacked by some kind of demon tree in a closet. Turns out the house is one that Ichabod remembers visiting with Katrina, and Fredricks is a warlock who used his magic to create a safe haven for witches and free blacks. In a flashback, Katrina somewhat ickily marvels about how special it is that the black people who greet them are willingly working as servants. The lady of the house, however, Grace Dixon, is a black society lady, and not a servant. The real revelation is a vision seen by Abbie in the house of Katrina giving birth in the house, and the demon tree trying to attack the baby. Ichabod didn’t know Katrina had even been pregnant, so this vision was a major turn of events that had an immediate emotional effect on Ichabod. In fact, he pretty much loses it, going back to kill the tree monster by himself in a rage instead of simply escaping with Lena and Abbie.

In the end, Abbie and Ichabod spend Thanksgiving quietly alone in their tunnel hideout (sadly, we don’t get to see Jirving’s Thanksgiving), and it is revealed that Grace Dixon, who also helped Katrina birth Ichabod’s presumed son, is Abbie’s great-great-great grandmother. The fate of Ichabod Jr. is unknown, but I’m suspecting he lived and is the real ancestor of Lena (who looks a lot like Katrina).””Sanctuary” has the most procedural format of any recent Sleepy Hollow episode, a formula they will hopefully not continue with as we learn more about Ichabod and Katrina’s secret baby.


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