[Ed. Note: Carmen Petaccio is a writer from New York City. He blogs regularly at bpofd.com and loves Sleepy Hollow.]
When it comes to season finales, the “quintuple cliffhanger” is the rarest of birds. Most television shows — your Mad Mens, your Vanderpump Ruleses — approach their finales conservatively. They’ll settle for a triple cliffhanger, or, if they’re relatively adventurous, a quadruple cliffhanger. This is the norm. The lone exception to this role, historically-speaking, has been the spooky historical time-traveling apocalypse buddy cop dramedy. Needless to say, there was a ton of anticipation heading into the two-hour Sleepy Hollow finale. Would it uphold the tradition of its quintuple cliffhanger-ing forebears? Would it uphold said tradition while executing the fabled “quintuple cliffhanger/double reveal”? These were the questions the on the tip of every Lena Dunham Internet theorists’ tongue. Did Sleepy Hollow deliver? Let’s find out, #Sleepyheads.
So Abbie is calling Ichabod’s perilously antiquated flip phone, but she keeps getting his adorable voicemail. Naturally, this upsets her and she decides to hang out in her enormous, flawlessly decorated mansion. (!) What she doesn’t realize is: Ichabod has learned how to text very, very, very, etc., well. “More telescope conception,” he texts. “Store cellophane reception,” he texts. “Giggle, giggle, giggle,” Abbie/I bemusedly giggles. She texts him the requisite smiley emoticon and Zombie John Cho appears to decompose grossly in her kitchen. “George Washington’s Bible leads to a map and Ichabod will give your soul to Molester Tree Demon,” ZJC says with his melting mouth. “NO ONE LOVES YOU LIKE I DO.” Sure, Zombie John Cho. He disappears into thin, disgusting air. Now we’re chasing a map.
At HQ, Ichabod cons Abbie into buying him a new Galaxy S-2. “Deal,” Abbie says. “Now, are you gonna give my soul to Molester Tree Demon?” “Poppycock,” Ichabod says. They paint George Washington’s Bible with Ichabod’s magic invisible ink paint and learn via Zombie George Washington that the map we’re chasing is a map from earth to purgatory. Maybe Ichabod can free Kristina (and give Abbie’s soul to Molester Tree Demon, probably)! First, though, they need the prayer beads from that Airbender priest who died in the first episode, also the Sin Eater Dr. Fringe. They text Dr. Fringe to meet them in the appropriate graveyard (where else!) while Orlando Jones gets interrogated about last week’s murders and Molester Tree Demon has demon bugs mummify Zombie John Cho in bug wrap. Business as usual.
Like the good Christians they are, Abbie and Ichabod uncover Airbender priest’s grave and start looting. Dr. Fringe shows up and eats all the sin off the prayer beads and develops a nasty case of Pus Palm in the process. (You can tell he has Pus Palm because of the fifty close-ups we’re provided of his pus-filled palm!) Rita Repulsa sics a bunch of putty demons on our friends, so our friends punch them in their putty hearts, exploding them into putty dust. “I guess I can cross fighting a demon off my bucket list,” says Dr. Fringe. Ha, ha. Ichabod deduces that the map is buried in George Washington’s “real grave” since “he would have wanted to be buried in Sleepy Hollow.” (Does sound like something George Washington would say.) So they Cherokee over to GW’s “real grave” and Zombie John Cho emerges from his cocoon as a moist, vile wetsuit demon with an aerodynamic head.
Our friends ride Ace Ventura’s raft to George Washington’s getaway island, where Ichabod finds the grave in all of five seconds. They rotate the rock, like a team who would never give the soul of one of their own to Molester Tree Demon, and the ground shifts like a cracker across a plate, revealing the foggy entrance to GW’s “real grave.” The tomb subterranean is essentially the nicest Italian restaurant in your hometown, there’s bad Renaissance art and statues holding pasta bowls and everything. Ichabod puts something in the wall and out pops Washington’s casket. Our merry band of grave robbers open the casket, admire Washington’s enormous fake teeth, and pull the map from his cold, dead hands. Then Demon John Cho drops by. Then Captain Orlando Jones confesses to murder so Rue won’t go to jail, despite his use of the classic Do You Think My 13-Year-Old Handicapped Daughter Is A Murder Suspect Defense. Although, look at this heartless murderer.
Now in a scary leather duster, now super evil, Demon John Cho kicks Ichabod through a statue, starts a fire, and chokes out Abbie. Dr. Fringe rescues her with his sin eating hands, but not before DJC TKOs him. DJC briefly reverts to ZJC and instructs Abbie to “destroy the map.” In response, she shoots him in his aerodynamic head. With the tomb collapsing all around them, Ichabod solves a Zelda puzzle, unveiling the secret exit to the secret tomb. Demon John Cho gets crushed by squishy set-dressing rocks. Ichabod burns the map and definitely doesn’t commit it to his eidetic memory. Which is what you’d think, since Ichabod is good people. Until he totally redraws the map from memory while A SINGLE TEAR SLOWLY ROLLS DOWN HIS CHEEK. At least he’s as upset as we are.
Meanwhile, in Dr. Fringe’s man-child bedroom, Molester Tree Demon is summoning mad minion demons in Dr. Fringe’s dream. Ichabod buy clothes at a Civil War reenactment, prompting Jenny to neg his raggedy coat. Does she seriously expect Ichabod to allow his coat to be worn ironically by purveyors of artisanal marmalade who discover it in the local thrift shop? Unbelievable. Dr. Fringe yaps about The Horseman of War and the upcoming solar eclipse, which is the 13th (13th) anniversary of the solar eclipse when Abbie and Jenny first met Molester Tree Demon. So “war is coming to Sleepy Hollow” today.
Purgatory is a blast. In Abbie’s purgatory, Sheriff is alive, John Cho is alive, and Abbie has a head band-aid. All they do is tell her how great she is. In Ichabod’s purgatory, the British won the Revolutionary war and his dad doesn’t hate him. All his dad does is tell Ichabod how great he is. Our friends don’t fall for it though. Abbie sees her pie is actually blood pie and Ichabod sees his wine is actually purgatory poison. Purgatory, not a blast after all.
Having listened to all ten thousand hours of The Sheriff Sessions, Jenny tracks a telling clue to some rando church, where her truck is promptly blown up by The Headless Horseman. So she’s pretty much dead. Back in purgatory, Ichabod and Abbie are having a blast together as they walk through the crowds of creepy mumblers who don’t have faces. They walk by some mud people crawling nowhere and find Kristina in her creepy church.
Katrina cons Abbie into taking her place in purgatory (Abbie’ing Abbie) and Abbie receives a chill necklace from Ichabod as compensation. Molester Tree Demon starts banging on the church walls a la The Graduate, so Ichabod and Katrina bounce back into the CGI breezeway. In rolls Molester Tree Demon, who chokes Abbie (theme this week) until she burns his necklace allergic skin with her chill necklace. Back IRL, Katrina is pumped not to be in purgatory and is ready to stop the 2nd Horseman. Except her witch powers are broken, she can’t stop the 2nd Horseman of the Apocalypse. Needless to say, it was totally worth saving Katrina.
Especially when Abbie is sucked into purgatory quicksand and lands in a plastic dollhouse populated by young Abbie & Jenny avatars of her repressed memories. The conveniently repressed memory is this: Dr. Fringe is gonna betray our friends. Immediately, Dr. Fringe betrays our friends, because he is (wait for it) Ichabod’s son, and also (wait for it) the 2nd Horseman of the Apocalypse. For everyone keeping track at home: Dr. Fringe = Sin Eater = Jeremy, Ichabod’s son = double reveal. And for everyone keeping track of cliffhangers: 1. Headless kidnaps Kristina 2. Abbie is stuck in purgatory. 3. Jenny is maybe dead. 4. Orlando Jones is in prison for double homicide. 5. Ichabod is BURIED ALIVE. On top of all that, Dr. Fringe breaks his apocalypse seal in two, beginning apocalypse Phase 2 (I think). “It begins,” it also ends. Keep calm and don’t lose your head, #Sleepyheads.