***Warning: Spoilers ahead.***
The Sandman visits Sleepy Hollow this week, and unlike the short, chubby, white-haired fellow that I remember from an episode of The Powerpuff Girls, this iteration is enough to give you nightmares. Literally.
We also got more Jenny Mills, even more character development and backstory for Abbie (!!), and a continuation of the awesome mythology that the writers are expertly weaving into these monster-of-the-week type episodes.
Unfortunately, there's no John Cho this week (okay, seriously, will I ever call him by his character's name?), but we do see Abbie's ex Luke for a hot minute. Still not sure how I feel about him yet, but on a shallow note, he's very, very pretty.
Abbie and the Sandman
The Sandman, who looks like an eerie cross between Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool and a half-naked Slender Man, starts trolling Abbie right from the very first scene. Using Ichabod as a creepy stand-in, he invades her dream, bringing up some very unpleasant truths that she's been burying for the past decade. Fortunately, as so often happens with dreams, she's awakened by a phone call from dispatch just as Tall, Pale and Scary is about to confront and/or kill her.
At the scene of a suicide-waiting-to-happen, we get some Ichabod/Abbie banter that's quickly becoming the hallmark of the show, before we learn that the potential jumper is none other than Jenny's former psychiatrist, Dr. Mora Vega. Seems the poor woman is wracked with guilt (and some creepy milky-white eyes that have forever put me off hard-boiled eggs) because she believed Jenny's tale of seeing a demon all along and never acted on it. Understandably, Abbie is quite confused by her monotone crazy-woman rambling and then just as shocked as the rest of us when she jumps off the building to her death.
(And who here screamed like a little girl when Vega's dead eyeball popped like an old balloon and dribbled sand all over her face? Anyone? 'Cause it couldn't have just been me. Amirite?)
She slyly doesn't tell Captain Irving that the dead woman had appeared in her dream, but as usual, Ichabod knows that she's holding something back and with no prodding whatsoever, she tells him what she experienced. Though she doesn't want to hear it, Crane tells Abbie that she's had a prophetic dream and reminds her for the gazillionth time that
She gets her next clue from Mr. Gillespie, a rancher who found her and Jenny in the woods when they were kids. After a tense stand-off at the Gillespie ranch, he tells Abbie that the Sandman is coming for her the next time she falls asleep before blowing his brains all over his kitchen. It's back to the Batcave for our heroes where Ichabod goes toe-to-toe with an energy drink, and Abbie discovers that she's up against something that I'm not even going to try to spell (#notevenembarrassed). But this version of the Sandman is a Mohawk fairytale, said to seek vengeance against those who don't do right by their fellow man.
Now that they know what they're up against and what they need to do to beat him, Abbie and Crane go on to have an unpleasant conversation about the genocide perpetrated against the Native Americans. Ichabod, upset and disbelieving, questions Abbie on how such an atrocity could happen, but there's not much she can say. It's probably just one of many ugly truths that Ichabod is going to learn about the land that he betrayed his own people for.
Ichabod: What kind of dream?
Abbie: A really weird one. You were in it.
Ichabod: Oh? And what, pray tell, was I doing in your dream?
Abbie: Freaking me out, as usual.
Oh, you two.
Abbie and Jenny
While we all knew that the relationship between Abbie and her sister was estranged, we didn't know why and or just how much. And we found out this week that it's pretty darn bad.
After a little Batcave research--and a hilarious tussle between Ichabod and a VCR--Abbie reluctantly agrees to take him to visit her sister at the local asylum. As Abbie expected, Jenny refuses to see her but does consent to speak to Crane.
After an unsatisfying (but incredibly epic) meeting, Ichabod gets Abbie to confide something to him that she has never told to anyone: that because she would never admit to seeing the demon in the woods, her sister has spent her life in and out of asylums. Ichabod is understanding and assures her that she was just scared and no longer has anything to fear. Um...has he been paying attention for the last three episodes? Because I'm not sure he has.
We also learn that Abbie and Jenny grew up in a series of foster homes (I need to learn more about this STAT, show), and apparently in Sleepy Hollow, an entire town will actually spend four days voraciously looking for two missing black children. What? I'm just sayin'.
Though Jenny and Abbie didn't have any scenes together this week, we were been able to learn so much about the both of them. Especially Abbie. Not just her back story, but what kind of person she is and what kind of person she's striving to be. She's made mistakes, she's regretted them, she's been stubborn, and she's still trying to find her way. All of these things are what makes a person a fully-realized human being without any of the stereotypes, something that black women are not usually allowed to be on TV. The writing for this show continues to astound me.
Jenny: What's your name? Tall, dark and British?
Ichabod: My name is Ichabod Crane.
Jenny: What do your friends call you? Icky?
Ichabod: Not if they wish to remain my friends.
Jenny and Ichabod had a lovely snark-off. I'm still not sure who won.
Abbie and the Shaman
If the show hadn't been doing such a stellar job of representing POC so far, I might have been tempted to roll my eyes at the introduction of the Native American mysticism angle. But as they did with the emancipation scene in the pilot, I think that the writers handled it fairly well. They actually managed to slide some uncomfortable truths into the dialogue when Ichabod unhappily discovers that the Native American population has been all but wiped out by people who look just like him.
And Seamus Duncan, the Mohawk shaman? Hands down, my favorite guest-starring character. I seriously hope that we see him again. He was easy on the eyes and funny as hell. And boy did I enjoy the fact that he basically told Crane that he wasn't down for any stereotypical kemo sabe, rain dance BS. And even after he consented to help them, he wasn't trying to have any of Crane's "friend of the tribe" stuff. He most definitely wasn't here for it, and I loved it!
Seamus gives us a bit of exposition, explaining to our heroes that the Sandman enjoys taunting his victims with the sins of their past until they literally kill themselves to end the torment and guilt. The only way to beat him is to face him in his realm--the Valley of Death--were Abbie's sin will either be redeemed or her soul will be dragged to hell. Using his shaman skills--along with some magic blue tea and a couple of scorpions--he gets Abbie and Ichabod shirtless (I see what you did there, show), stings them with said scorpions and stands back to watch it all unfold.
Seamus (to Ichabod): I don't know where you came from, but you can drop your friend of the tribe schtick. No one's your chief, no one lives in teepees, and no one has pow-wows. Got it?
Abbie and Ichabod
I've quickly learned that the relationship between Abbie and Ichabod is the driving force of the show. Yes, the scares are great and the story and mythology are compelling, but if Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison weren't playing these two characters, I don't think it would work or be as wildly popular as it is. That's just my opinion of course, but if all those reviews out there that say essentially the same thing are any indication, I'm not alone. But I digress.
This week sees the expansion of their partnership into what is quickly becoming a true friendship and a deepening of their bond. Twice in this episode, Ichabod put his life on the line because he was determined to protect Abbie. He respects her authority and has full faith in her ability to look after herself, but his instinct to protect seems to be particularly strong where she's concerned.
He seems to be able to sense her moods and knows when she's upset about something or holding something back or simply needs to be comforted. He doesn't judge her or make her feel bad about the choices she's made, no matter how wrong they were. He's just there, ready to listen when she wants to talk, gently pushing when he knows she needs to talk or to just be in her space if she doesn't.
While Abbie is a bit more reserved with her feelings, we can see her warming up to Crane too. She called him her partner when she introduced him to Seamus Duncan, she appeared pretty upset when he drank the magic tea and it was only when the Sandman was about to kill Ichabod in the dream world that she was finally able to face her demons and defeat him. It was a team effort, and she's learning that they work very well together.
For once, she's learning to depend on someone besides herself, which makes me think that she's been on her own for a long time. She's not used to accepting help or having a shoulder to lean on (or letting herself lean on anyone's shoulder for that matter), so it's nice to see this character growth so soon. I can honestly say that I can't remember the last time I saw a black character that has been this well-developed and well-rounded on TV. Even Olivia Pope hasn't been this well fleshed out yet. I know I keep saying how refreshing it is, but damn it, it's refreshing.
Bonus: Ichabod and the Energy Drink
Energy Drink: 1
Man, I love this show.