We open with a crew of three men entering sewer tunnels in Sleepy Hollow. One of them–who later gets identified as Daniel so I’m just going to use his name rather than “goatee guy” as I called him in my original notes–expositions about how old the tunnels are and how everything above them used to be nothing but forest. He finds some little alcove and they knock down a wall to get inside. Daniel’s geeking out over how interesting it is and heads down a staircase inside with his phone taking video. Down the stairs he finds a ~*magic manhole*~, but nobody but him cares. They set up their surveying equipment, which includes some underground radar stuff and a laptop, then get the hole open. They stare down in wonder and Daniel remarks, “It’s like a whole other tunnel system down there.” He yells, listens to his echo, and then hears something creepy. Because of course yelling down a magic manhole in Sleepy Hollow is going to wake up a monster. Of course.
Sure enough, RAWR. An extremely pale, hairless, eyeless humanoid creature grabs them and drags them down. Yes, all three of them. Yes, only one monster. Yes, down a hole in the ground. No, I don’t know why the other two waited patiently for their turns to be dragged down. It made more sense when I was watching it than now going over my notes.
Incidentally, this is the part when I got a certain obnoxious Tiny Toons episode stuck in my head:
I imagine I could have found some other way to word it in my notes, but “down the hole” was easy and so down the hole everyone keeps going for the rest of the episode.
Elsewhere, it’s bright and sunny on the deck of a battleship where Abbie and Ichabod are strolling along with touristy types. Ichy whines about teens taking selfies for Instagram and sounds a lot more like a cranky old man than someone amazed by new technology. Abbie gets called on a missing person’s case, the missing survey team from the opening. We jump to the scene of the disappearance where a perimeter has been set up around the manhole in the street that the team went down. As the camera pans over the assembled crowd, there’s a lingering shot of a hot journalist who also has an excellent goatee. At this point I knew he’d be important, because random extras don’t get to eyefuck the camera.
This hot journalist crosses the perimeter to get closer with his camera and Abbie tells him to back off. He points out that they’ve got nothing and haven’t found bodies yet based on the lack of an ambulance. His name is Calvin and his brother Daniel is one of the missing team. Also he’s smart enough to have noticed the weird Sleepy Hollow shit with constant disappearances and freaky happenings and isn’t going to be easily swayed by Abbie’s efforts to calm him down. FINALLY. It seems like everyone–including the cops–is way too happy to ignore the emerging patterns of weirdness. Abbie promises to keep him informed and call him as soon as she has something.
Abbie and Ichabod head down into the tunnels, using their map from the archives so they’ve got a leg up on anyone else searching. Except it appears that absolutely no one is on the case or searching except for them? They find the previously sealed alcove where the team went missing. Abbie expresses reluctance about small, dark places. Ichy’s all, “I was the one buried alive.” Nice little continuity nod, but it comes across as dismissive of Abbie’s feelings.
They find the discarded equipment and the magic manhole, which they can’t open. Ichy identifies “symbols of witchcraft” on the manhole and they see claw marks, so assume the men were taken down the magic manhole. Shockingly, the laptop’s battery is still going strong and they’re able to look at the radar mapping. From this brief look, Ichabod declares the underground structure had to have been built by Thomas Jefferson. This is kind of weird and a huge leap, but it makes a brilliant sort of sense by the end of the episode. Abbie finds Daniel’s phone and plays the recording of the monster. “I think we found what took those men,” she says.
Cut to the bar where Jenny is drinking and Irving is strolling on in. Since it’s still the middle of the day, this is slightly odd. Is this bar the only place Jenny is ever allowed to socialize? Can’t she ever get a Frappuccino? Go to the beauty salon? Something? Irving asks Jenny to retrieve something from the evidence lockup at the precinct: his wedding ring. She asks why he doesn’t just call in a favor and he brushes it off by saying he was arrested for a double homicide (continuity porn!) and doesn’t have any remaining favors. He needs her to hack the evidence room code. When he takes a drink, she sees a mark on his arm and makes a suspicious face but doesn’t say anything. She agrees to hack the door for him, but still looks like she doesn’t trust him.
Back at the archives, Ichy is preparing for the chamber (dubbed a “fenestrella” by Jefferson, because he was a pretentious douchebag apparently) so they know what they’ll be facing. The fenestrella was built for “battle secrets.” Abbie is going through Daniel’s phone, looking at pictures of him and his brother and marvelling at the amazing goatee genes this family carries. Ichy rambles about his BFFs the founding fathers and his complicated relationship with Jefferson. Then we get a really brief flashback to Ichy and Jefferson and OMG PRESIDENT THOMAS JEFFERSON IS STEVEN WEBER. Absolutely nothing of value happens in the flashback, so it just lets us know what Jefferson looks like. “Jefferson unfriended me,” Ichabod explains and he doesn’t know why it happened. Abbie goes through her ancestral journal–YES CONTINUITY! YES ABBIE’S FAMILY HISTORY!–and finds a passage: “Dark, damned souls will be used to protect the fenestrella.” They guess that Jefferson and crew conjured something nasty to guard the chamber, but there’s no more detail in the journal.
They go back to the magic manhole and manage to get it open this time. Team Witness go down the hooooooole. They hear scary sounds, just like the survey team did. Abbie calls on her radio and hears from one of the missing men (presumably the magic manhole was blocking radio reception before), but their conversation is overheard. MONSTERS APPEAR. It’s not just the one this time, but a whole swarm. They ran to scramble up the ladder and out of the hole. One of the creatures grabs Ichy as he’s going up the ladder, Calvin shows up and…takes a ton of pictures. Yeah, thanks, buddy. Really good job helping. Abbie manages to get Ichy out. Calvin says, “You were about to call me, right?”
Back from the commercial break, Calvin demands answers about what was down the hole. He threatens to call in all his contacts if he doesn’t get answers and points out that winning a Pulitzer for his war coverage means he’ll get attention (nice bit of exposition that felt totally natural, BTW). He wants to know why there isn’t any sort of support for the search, just Team Witness. Ichabod suggests that it wouldn’t be in the public welfare to bring attention to this. Calvin cites getting that same line from countries like Iran and North Korea and says this isn’t a war, this is about his niece losing her father. Abbie assures him that she heard his brother Daniel’s voice over the radio. Ichy doesn’t like Abbie bringing the journalist in, but she tells him her gut tells her they can trust him. Is it her gut or is it her pants? Like I said, Calvin’s pretty hot. My pants say she should keep him around. Abbie points out that Ichabod and his BFFs put freedom of the press in the constitution anyway. “We did not predict the 24 hour news cycle,” Ichy grumps.
Back in the archives again. Some of those “witchcraft” markings were supposedly writing in Latin (and you didn’t notice that, Mr. Crane?) and now they can translate them from Calvin’s pictures. The writing translates as reavers. REAVERS. If only Mal was here, he’d tell you to get your asses out of there fast because reavers leave no survivors. And much like the Firefly lore, Ichy points out that the reavers in his time started out as human: they were Washington’s special forces and must have been assigned to guard the chamber. Team Witness theorizes that they’ve been altered supernaturally by remaining alive for so long. Ichy suggests the crew were taken not as prisoners, but as food. “They’d be starving,” Ichabod narrates over a shot of the reavers gorging themselves on one of the survey team. Uuuugh.
Now better prepared, the cavalry’s rolling in down in the tunnels. Abbie tells Calvin to do exactly as he’s told and not to ask any questions. He sasses about being a journalist and how asking questions is his job. Abbie says playing ball goes both ways and asks if they can trust him. He says they can.
Next scene, it’s established that it’s now night and we’re with Jenny and Irving. Ogodogodojenny. I’m so worried for her here. The door to the evidence room gets unlocked and Irving has his five minutes in there. From the way this is shot, it looks like they’re getting in through a big, glass exterior door. Is it really a good idea to have an exterior door to an evidence room? A door that looks like it could just be busted down by someone determined enough? Jenny looks really uneasy while she waits. Inside, Irving pulls out a box with a grimoire in it, then sifts around to find a small evidence bag. Jenny pops up behind him with a gun to demand answers. He says it’s not what it looks like. Jenny identifies the evidence box as being from the Hellfire Club who tried to raise Moloch and worked for Henry Parrish. Irving insists he can explain, then throws her into a filing cabinet and flees. Yeah, that looks really trustworthy there.
BACK TO THE HOLE. Abbie suggests Calvin stay up top to call in a SWAT team if necessary and he says he’s got their back. Ichy takes Calvin’s camera to fiddle with it, because the reavers didn’t react well to the flash last time. Calvin points out that it’s a $7000 camera. Ichy’s all “tip tip!” and loads the camera up with stuff to boost signal fires before dropping it down the hole. Wow, that was amazingly dickish. And hilarious. BAM. FLASH. Lots of light as the poor, doomed camera goes tumbling down and breaks at the bottom. Reavers scream and run; Team Witness descends. They’re clear for a few paces, but then reavers come up on them again and fighting commences until a random door opens up. They go through it into a well lit, nice clean area. And…boom. Thomas Jefferson.
Abbie’s face here is seriously all “waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat” and I know exactly how she feels.
Ichabod looks like he’s going to cry for a minute, then gives a big flourishing bow all, “Mr. Jefferson.” And Jefferson answers with, “Actually it’s Mr. President.” Ichabod asks how this is possible and Abbie points out that he died in 1826 (good for her, I’ve never been good at dates no matter how much I dig history). Jefferson says he’s kept his spirit going with science and witchcraft. He’s just a hologram, evidenced by Ichy repeatedly waving his hand through his body. Hee. Abbie tries to interject that they’ve got men to rescue, so Ichy introduces her. Jefferson smarms, “The honor is mine.” His fawning here is supposed to be because he knows she’s a Witness, but that isn’t revealed until a few more lines of dialogue and so I just want to punch him for looking at Abbie that way.
Quick tangent about Thomas Jefferson. If this is President Jefferson, then this magic-y, science-y copy of him was made after he was widowed and had fathered multiple children with Sally Hemings. Jefferson was philosophically opposed to slavery, but it was financially–and sexually–advantageous for him to keep slaves. So he did. Hundreds of them. Sally was his slave as well as his wife’s half-sister and historians believe he began a sexual relationship with Sally when she was between the ages of fourteen and sixteen and he was in his mid-forties. So, yeah. It makes me feel a little pukey to have this hypocritical sexual predator smarming at Abbie like this.
Back to the show. Jefferson wants to show them all his cool stuff in his secret fenestrella, which is like a miniature version of Belle’s library in Beauty and the Beast. Team Witness press that rescuing the men is very urgent and Jefferson claims there’s no way to help the men, then reveals that he’s there to aid in Ichy’s ultimate mission.
Back to the evidence room. Jenny is calling for Irving, gun and flashlight drawn. Irving comes out of the dark at her again and they fight. He says she needs to listen and she kicks him away, then cocks her gun. “The markings on your arms, an obviously bogus mission. You’ve gone to the dark side, haven’t you?” she demands.
Irving looks like he might cry during this, but I’m inclined to think it’s utter bullshit because he was cackling evil with Henry last week. Irving says his soul has been tarnished since he was reborn and “the Frank Irving filled with evil” is like another person inside of him. He claims that Evil Irving takes over and he can’t remember anything when he does, then shows Jenny a rune of “temporary salvation” on his palm. He says before he died he found it in a book of Henry’s and needed to buy himself some time, so slapped it in his hand. He keeps explaining what all is happening, but because a) I hate this plot and b) I think he’s lying I’m having a hard time following it all. Basically, he claims he was going for a memory stick the Hellfire Club had with banking info worth over $3 million and he wanted his family to have it so they could escape the country safely. He says Evil Irving is going to take over again forever as the power of the rune fades. Irving plays on Jenny’s weaknesses expertly by saying he came to her because she’s the only one who understands.
BACK IN THE HOLE. Abbie and Ichy are freaked out that Jefferson knows about their mission, but Ichabod goes to work with Jefferson about how to rescue the men. I think it’s at this point that some brilliant soul on Twitter observed that Jefferson is basically playing Orlando Jones’ role in The Time Machine. Which is awesome, but I can’t remember who said it. Let me know in comments if you know who it was, so I can give proper credit. While this is going on Abbie follows magic glowy cords and finds the nest of the reavers. She finds the broken bits of the man they ate and seems the two men who are still alive, but can’t get to them. She comes back and calls Jefferson on his crap, but he says he never said the men were dead. The power source that fuels his chamber is fragile and attacking the nest could destroy the fenestrella. Jefferson says he doesn’t like letting the men die, but the information in the fenestrella is too precious to risk. He says everything he and Washington learned about the Witnesses is in that chamber.
Ichabod wants to know why it was kept from him and Jefferson explains they had to wait for the second Witness, as prophesied. Jefferson explains he had to keep Ichy at arm’s length for the sake of his destiny, which was why he defriended him. We get a flashback in which Ichy apparently helped write the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson slapped him down when Ichy found some of his plans for the fenestrella, thus revealing why at a glance Ichabod knew Jefferson had designed it. Pretty cool, right? Abbie says no mentor would choose information over innocent lives, but Jefferson insists there are no easy answers in war. Abbie and Ichy know their choice is clear and it’s for the human lives in front of them. Down into the nest they go.
They creep in to get the men out, but of course the reavers awaken. Bang bang fighty fighty. Run run run. Ichy is upset about leaving Jefferson and all that research behind, but they keep going to get out safely. Abbie is the last out of the hole with all the monsters behind her, but they make it out. Abbie and Ichy decide those creatures are too dangerous and the entire fenestrella needs to be destroyed. Since there are survey teams going down in the tunnels using radar mapping, I’m inclined to agree. There’s no way to keep the fenestrella hidden at this point. Abbie, Calvin and the men leave because one of them is going into shock. Ichy stays behind to destroy the fenestrella. He starts by dropping flashbangs down the hole, which is smart but also makes his camera destruction earlier even more hilarious since it means he never had to do that.
Ichabod goes down into the inner chamber to destroy the power source. A reaver comes crawling at him and he kills it, then another one shows up and he beats it down with an axe. When he tries to get to the power source, Jefferson drops a gate to stop him and asks him to listen to reason. He says the chamber will contain the reavers, but Ichy refutes this by saying that this won’t be the case with the way America is now. Jefferson talks about his sads over rebuffing Ichabod and how determined he was to protect the information in the chamber, but finally he tells Ichy where to set his detonation for a good chain reaction. Ichy asks about what will happen to Jefferson. Jefferson says his time has come and gone, but Ichabod’s is still unfolding.
Ichabod runs out out, helped out of the hole by Abbie, and they flee just in time to avoid the blast. Abbie comments, “We just blew up the author of the Declaration of Independence.” Ichy says, “Truth be told, he insisted.” And It didn’t occur to either of them to snatch even one single book before this blowing up? C’mon.
Up in the street it’s still night and the surviving crewmen are being taken away in ambulances. Calvin asks about the official story–which involves a gas line and hallucinations and what have you–and says people have the right to know the whole truth. Abbie says there will be a time for the public to know, but not now. Why? I don’t understand the secrecy. Sure, when you’re afraid people will think you’re crazy and stop you secrecy is good. But a well-respected journalist documenting what’s happening and getting people to take it seriously could be beneficial, couldn’t it?
Anyway. There’s some flirtatious eye contact going on and he says he’s on her side. Right before he leaves in the ambulance, Calvin tells Abbie to check her email. She looks on her phone and finds an email with the subject Re: Trust me that says “I never reveal my sources.”
The next day, Katrina wakes up in the cabin to find Henry hovering over her. He’s holding dead roses and says he’s not going to harm her. He claims he killed Moloch for her, for their kind. Witches, I assume? He presses the flower into her hand and tells her it’s time for them to begin their work. The rose thorn cuts her hand and she wakes up. She walks into the kitchen to splash water on her face and finds her hand bloody, then turns around and sees the roses sitting on the coffee table.
So does this mean Katrina is going to go all Charles Xavier to Henry’s witchy Magneto? I’m not sure how I feel about that, because Katrina is a poorly written character but also because my headcanon Professor X/Magneto is super slashy and sexy and Henry’s weird mommy and daddy issues just can’t compete with this:
All snark aside, this was a great episode. It gives me a lot of hope for the future of the show if they can stick to what works (Team Witness, Jenny, Irving, hilariously goofy historical stuff) and avoid what doesn’t work (Katrina being useless/dull/obnoxious). Unfortunately, this episode apparently got really low ratings. Fingers crossed that things get better from here.