TV Recap: 'Sleepy Hollow' Episode 105 - 'John Doe'



sleepy hollowSleepy Hollow Episode 105
“John Doe”
Written By: Melissa Blake
Directed By: Ernest Dickerson
Original Airdate: 14 October 2013

In This Episode...

A girl is picking flowers in the woods when a little boy appears, wearing old timey simple, cotton clothes. The girl invites the boy to chase her, and he does. She disappears, and he is left confused - until a warrior on horseback chases the boy through the woods. He ends up on a modern street and the horseman (not headless) poofs into dust when he tries to follow.

A mail carrier finds the boy passed out and calls the police. Abbie and Ichabod arrive at the scene. Besides the clothes, the boy has black, diseased veins, and says only one word: “ulthern.” Naturally, Ichabod recognizes the language as Middle English, and the term: “evil girl.” Since Ichabod is the only one fluent in Middle English, he questions the boy after he is set up in quarantine at the hospital. The boy’s name is Thomas, and he knows he wasn’t supposed to leave home to follow the girl. When Ichabod asks where his home is, he answers “Roanoke.” The captain sends police to look for missing children in Roanoke in Virginia, but Ichabod poses a different scenario: that he is from the lost colony of Roanoke. 

In 1587, the first British colonists arrived in America and set up the first town here, in Roanoke, North Carolina. After the first Brit, Virginia Dare, was born in this country, her grandfather and the leader of the Roanoke community, John White, returned to England for supplies and help. It took him three years to return, but when he did, he found no one left. The colony had been dismantled; there was no sign of war or death; it was simply as if the entire colony just vanished. (While not relevant to Sleepy Hollow, most historians believe that the colony relocated, and may have assimilated with natives.)

Anyway, whatever disease Thomas has, it is contagious, and spreading much quicker in the EMTs and nurses. Abbie and Ichabod head back to where Thomas was found in hopes of retracing his steps. Ichabod, raised as a nobleman in England, has done his fair share of fox hunts, so he is able to track Thomas’ path through the woods. The path goes cold at the edge of a small, swampy lake. Ichabod suggests Thomas came from a tiny island in the center, except that the lake is deep and the only muck on Thomas was on his feet. Ichabod tries something - and finds he can walk on water. The weak excuse is that Ichabod noticed carvings on a couple of trees that indicated there was a secret passage there. He and Abbie easily walk on water to the island.

Just past the thick cover of foliage, Abbie and Ichabod discover the lost colony of Roanoke. It exists exactly as it did 400 years ago, as if the colony was lifted out of time and placed right in the center of this island. Ichabod speaks to the settlers and lets them know that he is taking care of Thomas. Everyone in the colony is infected with the same black veining that Thomas had, but no one seems to be sick. It seems that Roanoke was cursed by the horseman of pestilence. Virginia Dare died, and her ghost led the colony here for protection because the disease cannot effect them here. Thomas must be returned to the colony to cure himself and the others from the mystery plague. If the disease spreads to the outside world, it will bring back the horseman of pestilence. And no one wants that.

Upon returning to the “real world,” Ichabod discovers that he has been infected. Not from the visit to the colony (Abbie is not affected) but through initial exposure to Thomas. He is sedated and thrown into quarantine, leaving Abbie to figure out the cure on her own. Ichabod has visions of Katrina. She reveals that he can only visit with her when he is dead - or close to it. She is in purgatory, but Ichabod is pulled back from the brink before he can find out why she is there. Abbie, meanwhile, goes to the chapel and prays for a sign. She gets none, but as she is leaving she sees a dish of holy water by the door and figures that the natural spring in the colony is what is keeping the colonists healthy. The captain helps Abbie “steal” Thomas and Ichabod as they are being transferred to an overflow quarantine facility. 

Ichabod must carry Thomas through the forest, as the boy is nearly unconscious. Ichabod is ready to drop, so Abbie gives him an adrenaline injection to keep him going. The three of them make it to the colony, but the horseman of pestilence is close behind, ready to nab their souls or whatever he does. Abbie directs Ichabod and Thomas to the spring, where they are healed and the horseman disappears into a puff of dust. Again. In a flash of white light, the colony disappears, and Abbie and Ichabod are back in the here and now, with only the vague stone remnants of a fountain left to suggest there had ever been a colony there. By way of explanation, Ichabod explains that Thomas and the colonists were always dead. Thomas was made flesh and blood when he was lured into our world to start a plague. Abbie was able to see the colony because she had faith. The captain calls. He doesn’t know how, but everyone with the plague is recovering miraculously.

As night falls, the headless horseman emerges from water, and mounts up.

Dig It or Bury It?

I liked this one, but I felt the ending was a little weak. I have always been fascinated by the tale of the colony of Roanoke. It was one of the few tales I remember from history class. But by the end, it felt like the show had back itself into a corner and didn’t know how to get out. It asks us to believe a lot from a show that we are suspending a lot of belief for. So the colony of Roanoke disappeared over 400 years ago and was transported to Sleepy Hollow, where it existed, unchanged, until Ichabod came back and set the apocalypse into motion. So the horseman of pestilence scares a little boy from the town so he can bring an ancient plague to modern civilization, which will release the horseman upon the world. But then when the plague is averted, the whole colony just zaps back into oblivion? That’s a little much, even for me. I think I would have been more satisfied if there was just a demonic time travel portal in Sleepy Hollow.

I am proud to say that I was actually able to understand a teeny bit of the Middle English Ichabod and Thomas spoke, without reading the subtitles. See mom and dad, I paid attention in my Chaucer class!

Douchey Time Travel Thing to Say

Abbie relocates Ichabod into Corbin’s run-down cabin. Abbie doesn’t understand the allure, but Ichabod prefers it to the motel, as it is closer to what he is used to. “You and I have very different ideas of the word ‘old.’ You have a building standing for 10 years and you want to make it a monument.” Later, Abbie offers to spackle the bullet holes in the wall, and Ichabod agrees hesitantly. “You can admit when you don’t know what a word means.”


 We see when Katrina and Ichabod meet, and Abbie gets a chance to meet Katrina as well. We also will be working in the Templar Knights... and Walter Bishop returns! (Yes, I know it is just actor John Noble, and his character in Sleepy Hollow has nothing to do with Fringe, but a girl can dream, can’t she?)