TV Recap: 'Sleepy Hollow' Episode 101 - 'Pilot'



Sleepy Hollow Episode 101
Written By: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, & Phillip Iscove
Directed By: Len Wiseman
Original Airdate: 16 September 2013

In This Episode...

Hudson Valley, New York. The year is 1781 and the Revolutionary War is raging. Ichabod Crane, fighting for the Colonies, shoots a huge masked mercenary off his horse. This doesn’t slow him down, so Ichabod cuts off his head. When we next see Ichabod, he is digging his way out of a cave and stumbles onto a paved road. Welcome to modern day Sleepy Hollow.

Lieutenant Abby Mills of the Sleepy Hollow Police Department is having a snack with the sheriff when they are called out to a local farm, where the horses are spooked. Abby goes looking for the homeowner and finds him dead. The sheriff checks on the horses in the barn, and he is attacked by the Headless Horseman. Abby arrives just in time to see the Horseman riding away. Another cop, Andy, is headed to the crime scene when he sees Ichabod dodging traffic and arrests him.

Ichabod is brought in for questioning and a polygraph. He tells his tale: he was a professor at Oxford when he was drafted into the Army and sent to the Colonies to fight. He quickly switched sides and fought for the Colonies under the direction of General George Washington. After his bout with the Horseman, he was sent to triage, where his wife Katrina (a civilian nurse) tends to him. His next memory is digging his way out of the cave. There are lots of “what is this magical world” nonsense, the kind of stuff you get in any lazy time travel piece, and it is decided that Ichabod needs to be transferred to a psychiatric hospital. Ichabod’s tale jives with what Abby saw (and still has difficulty believing). The captain won’t let her interrogate Ichabod alone, but he agrees to let her transport him to the psych ward, giving her a good 20 minutes or so to ask him what she wants.

Before they go to the asylum, Abby insists Ichabod show her the cave he woke in. On the way, he sees the town reverend. They both recognize each other - he was ministering to the soldiers during the war. In the cave, Ichabod finds a bible with a passage from Revelations marked, talking about the four horsemen of the apocalypse. He remembers Washington telling him that this war would determine the outcome of all of humanity, and Ichabod realizes that his and the Horseman’s fates are intertwined. As they are leaving, Abby responds to another crime scene. The reverend had been killed - beheaded - when he recognized the Horseman. While Abby consults with her captain, Ichabod follows a bird into the graveyard, where it lands on his wife’s grave. Katrina was burned as a witch.

Abby delivers Ichabod to the asylum where she reveals her own backstory. Abby and her sister Jennifer were walking home from school through the woods. Seemingly out of nowhere, four white trees appear, all in a row. They heard a low, grumbling voice and saw a blurry shape, but couldn’t make out what it was. Then they blacked out and were found at the side of the road. Everyone they told their story to thought they were crazy, and Jennifer started to believe it. She has been in and out of institutions ever since. After dropping off Ichabod, Abby goes to the sheriff’s office and snoops around. A hidden key leads her to a hidden file cabinet, loaded with X-Files-type documents relating to the strange history of Sleepy Hollow, witchcraft and unsolved crimes. He seemed inclined to believe Abby’s childhood story, and even think it is linked to a similar story from 1882 in which the trees represent the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Back at the hospital, Ichabod is having a realization of his own. He wakes in a dream and finds himself transported through the mirror into ye olde woods. Led there by the same bird, he meets Katrina who explains that the bird was the only way she knew to reach him. She confirms that she is/was a witch and her body is not buried in her grave. Instead, it is the Headless Horseman’s head. When Ichabod wounded the Horseman, their bloodlines were merged. The only way to stop the Horseman was for Katrina to place a spell binding them together. The Horsemen was entombed in the ocean, but someone must have found him and woke him anyway. If the Horseman gets his head back, he will become whole, and the other three horsemen will arrive, bringing about the apocalypse. Oh, and the answers (to what questions, I do not know) are in George Washington’s bible. Strangely enough, Nicolas Cage doesn’t show up at this point. Ichabod wakes and finds the doctor trying to sedate him. Abby enters just in time and whisks him away.

On the way to the graveyard, Abby calls Andy and asks him to call for backup (she is in enough trouble as it is). He just got home, but agrees. First he stops into his apartment - and discovers someone has broken in. The Horseman is there, and has some of Andy’s guns. “I know where it is,” Andy insists. The Horseman sheathes his weapon.

Abby and Ichabod have just unearthed Katrina’s grave and found the Horseman’s pickled head in a jar when the Horseman himself shows up. Fighting ensues and Abby runs to Andy when he pulls up. But now that he is in league with the Horseman, he knocks her out and tries to lock her in the backseat of his car. She bites him, cuffs him to the car, and takes his gun. More cops show up, but dawn is breaking. The Horseman makes a last-ditch effort to kill, fires off all the bullets he can, and rides off into the sunrise.

The captain isn’t quite ready to believe Abby’s ridiculous stories, but there is enough evidence to force him to keep an open mind, and agrees that she and Ichabod can work together. At the graveyard, Andy had mentioned that a “war was coming,” so Abby and Ichabod pay him a visit in the jail. but they are too late. Moments before they arrive, a blurry horned demon enters Andy’s cell, mad that he failed. Andy begs for another chance, and the demon snaps his neck. Abby and Ichabod arrive as Andy slumps over, dead. The only trace of the demon is in the mirror as he fades into ye olde woods

Dig It or Bury It?

I didn’t dislike the pilot as much as I did the first time I saw it. The acting was good and Len Wiseman did a great job creating the world of Sleepy Hollow. I still think the story is ridiculous, and there is just no good way to describe it to people. This will go one of two ways: it will be canned after three episodes, or it will pick up towards the end of the season and go on to Grimm levels of charming lunacy.

Douchey Time Traveler Thing to Say

After Ichabod answers the cop’s questions, he has one of his own: “Where am I?” “The question isn’t where - it’s when. Welcome to the 21st century.”


I hope the show continues down this creepy path and doesn’t get too wrapped up in the treasure hunt and stupid time travel cliches.