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Wayback Recap: Sleepy Hollow Pilot


It's Wayback Wednesday and that means we're bringing you a recap of an oldie but a goodie. Today's Wayback Recap: The Sleepy Hollow pilot! Hold onto your hats, or in the case of Headless, your jodhpurs. It's time to go back to where it all began.

And we mean all the way back. Back to 1781 where a battle is raging in the Hudson Valley between the American Patriots and the Great Britain Colts. What? The British are coming! That's what. It's a life sized Revolutionary War battle between the Red Coats and the would be Americans. Never fear Americans of the future, Ichabod Crane is here fighting for your freedom. But not for long. A fearsome-masked Hessian rides up and dismounts, engaging Crane in battle. This guy is huge and deadly. One swing of his axe and Crane suffers a mortal wound to the chest, but Ichabod's not going quietly into the night. On his way down, Crane takes off the Hessian's head with his sword. Everything goes to black as a frantic woman cries out, "Ichabod, no, stay with me!"

The next thing we know, we're waking up in a drippy, damp cave where Ichabod has apparently been buried, and is now coming back to life. His hand breaks through the stone and dirt as he rises from the grave, gasping for air. Crane crawls out and checks his wound. Except for the fact that he used to be dead, all seems to be well. He's still a little woozy but manages to spot a stairway out of his tomb. No one's been tending to the gravesite as Crane has to force his way through thorns, falling into a nearby creek which, honestly, is fantastic as he looks pretty ripe.

Crane cleans up a bit and stumbles around through the woods before landing on a paved, deserted road. Ichabod didn't know he was starring in an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Suddenly, inexplicably, a semi-truck and small sedan simultaneously come barreling down this quiet two lane road. The sedan clips Crane and crashes. Ichabod stares in shock at the wrecked car. He is in no mood to stick around and find out what the hell is going on. He takes off running down the road but not before noticing a strange bird sitting atop a sign that says "Village of Sleepy Hollow."


Back in Sleepy Hollow, two local law enforcement officers are eating together at a small diner. Meet Sheriff Corbin and Lieutenant Abbie Mills. Corbin's giving her crap because she's about to leave the force and go join the FBI. Behind them, a concerned looking busybody priest listens in. Corbin wants Abbie to be sure she's going to Quantico for the right reasons. (Like to meet Ryan Booth). She's sure she's sure. So drop it Corb. As Abbie and Corbin leave the diner they get a call to go check some spooked out horses at a farm. Can I yell, "Don't go!" But if I do, does that mean Abbie will never meet Crane and there will be no Ichabbie? I'll hold my tongue.

When Abbie and Corbin arrive the farm appears to be one of the spookiest places you could ever go. Nothing good is going to happen here. Corbin and Abbie split up. First mistake. Especially as it is thundering and lightning. Abbie goes to the house while Corbin goes to the barn. Finding nothing doing at the house, Abbie heads back to the barn and finds an abandoned pick up truck, the driver door open, and a shotgun on the ground. There's also a dead body nearby and its head has been cut off! Abbie frantically radios Corbin and tells him what she's found.


A noise at the back of the barn draws Corbin's attention. Hearing Abbie's message, he pulls out his gun and orders whoever is back there to step out where he can see them. Who should appear but the headless horseman. The horseman pulls his axe out and Corbin starts firing. Unfortunately, the bullets do nothing. Nada! Abbie hears the gunshots and rushes towards the barn just in time to narrowly miss the axe as it breaks through the door. She falls to the ground as the headless horseman rides out of the barn, pausing to pose like the prima donna he is before riding away. Abbie stumbles into the barn and finds Corbin decapitated. She frantically radios for help yelling, in the understatement of the year, "Officer down!"

Back in town, an officer hearing Abbie's pleas speeds off to help. Only he's not speeding but stopping because Ichabod has tripped into the street falling right in front of the officer's car. Crane looks less than the usually composed self we have become used to seeing. The officer orders Crane to turn around and put his hands on his head. Ichabod complies and the officer cuffs him. What was his crime? Dressing poorly?

Apparently there may have been an APB to be on the lookout for a man dressed in a Revolutionary War costume as a possible suspect in Corbin's death. Ichabod certainly fits the bill. The officer who arrested Crane, Andy, has brought Abbie to the jail to ask her to identify Ichabod as the man who killed Corbin. Abbie says, "It isn't him." She describes Headless to Andy. Ichabod, overhearing this (some would say eavesdropping) recognizes the suspect as Headless. He confirms this by identifying details specific only to Headless. That's a good way to get yourself charged with conspiracy, Crane. Abbie demands to know how Crane knows all this, "Who is he? When's the last time you saw him?" Crane gives her a withering look, "When I cut off his head." "Who are you?" says Abbie. Oh, Leftenent. It's gonna get good.

When next we see him, Crane has been hauled out of his cell and is being strapped to a polygraph machine. Ichabod is livid, demanding to know on what grounds he's being held. I'd love to see them explain the Patriot Act to Crane. The detective explains the machine is gonna detect if Crane is lying or not. Ichabod is flabbergasted that the machine could do that. And what are these things (cameras) he asks. Crane wants to know! It's our first "Ichabod complains about the modern world" moment. Aww! The detective tells Crane he's a suspect in Corbin's murder. If Crane will only just take the truth test, he may just get out of jail. Modern police interrogation tactics being unknown to Crane, he agrees.

It gets pretty wacky from there. Crane is asked who he is and where he's from. His name is Ichabod, he came to fight the Americans, but then he switched sides becoming a spy under General Washington. The detective is incredulous, asking, "General George Washington?" The very same. Despite the crazy meter on his story, Ichabod is passing the polygraph with flying colors. Crane then admits to first shooting Headless and then beheading him because, "it seemed like the next logical step." And you were doing so well, Crane.

Colonialback! Crane recalls being taken in for treatment for his battlefield wounds after fighting Headless.  Betsy Ross isn't here, is she? Nope. Just Katrina. Oh, much better. Not. Ichabod remembers Katrina, his wife, tending his wounds, but then he lost consciousness and woke up in a  cave. And that's all they're going to get out of Crane unless the detective starts answering some of Ichabod's questions. Crane demands to know where he is. Oh, Mr. Crane, says the detective. It's not where you are, but when. The good news? You won the war. The bad? Yo, that was 250 years ago. "Welcome to the 21st century, Mr. Crane." Mic drop. Or rather dollar bill drop as the detective shows Crane his beloved General Washington on the face of a one.

The Sleepy Hollow sheriff's department has seen enough: it's off to the insane asylum for you Crane. Abbie's not so sure and chases down the Captain to ask him if she can first have a go at interrogating Cranet. Captain Irving's not having it, but Abbie is persistent (as he will find out many many times). She points out that Corbin's neck wound was cauterized by a weapon heated to 500 degrees but there was nothing at the scene to explain how this could be. Abbie's sure Crane has the answers. Irving finally agrees to let her be the one to transport Crane to the asylum. She can ask her questions on the way.

Abbie goes back down to the cell to introduce herself to Crane. He scoffs when she tells him she's "Lieutenant Abbie Mills" unable to believe there could be a female lieutenant. He then makes it even worse by saying, "You've been emancipated I take it?" Whoa there Crane. That's not gonna fly in the 21st Century. Abbie's face is awesome. She cracks up. Abbie informs Crane that she is a lieutenant in the Westchester County Sheriff's Department and she is authorized to use that fancy gun she's carrying. She won't hesitate to shoot him in the ass if he doesn't stop being offensive. And oh, by the way, slavery was abolished 150 years ago. Crane's glad, but wants to be freed from his own enslavement.

Abbie's not taking the handcuffs off, but she is gonna walk him outside to her car. She's also gonna let him go on one of his patented Crane rants when she suggests that it isn't possible for there to be a headless horseman. Ichabod, dripping with sarcasm, is glad to hear it as that means the crappy life he's awakened to can't be real. Abbie tells him she's got orders to take him to the institution, so get in! Crane sneers and says more snotty things before getting in the car and letting out a big gulp when she closes the door. It's Crane's first car ride!

He's fascinated, opening and closing the automatic windows in wonder until Abbie puts a stop to it mom style, turning on the window locks. And then we get an awesome conversation about Starbucks. Crane can't believe there's one on every corner. "Is there a law?" he says. To pass the time on this bizarre road trip, Abbie asks why Crane didn't wake up for, you know, the Civil War. Wasn't loud enough? Personally, Abbie would've gotten up every 70 to 80 years to pee. Har har says Crane. He says listening to Abbie is like listening to a chicken cluck, most of what she says makes no sense. Plus, he says, when did women start wearing pants?

Okay. That's it. Abbie's taking him back to his cave. I don't think she's going to stuff him back in the hole he came out of, but it's looking like a possibility. On the way to the cave they pass our nosy priest, who Crane recognizes as a priest he knew back in the day. Waaaay back in the day. Ichabod lets it go for now taking Abbie to the cave instead. When they get inside, Abbie explains flashlights to Crane and gives him one to use. He promptly blinds himself by looking directly into the light. Nice. Crane uses it to find a Bible that was buried there in the cave with him. It is very helpfully marked to the four horsemen passage in the book of Revelations. Abbie thinks that is way too much coincidence for her.

Time for some backstory, Abbie. Crane remembers this one time at Revolutionary War camp when General Washington called him to his tent and mansplained how they weren't just fighting for the future of America, but that the outcome of the war would determine the fate of everyone on earth. Washington tasked Crane with killing a mercenary who had the mark of a bow on his hand, the very same symbol worn by the white horseman of death in the Bible. Easy, Crane. Might be too much too soon for Abbie. She's had enough. Field trip over. Abbie can't believe that one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse is really riding around Sleepy Hollow.

But he is! And currently riding straight for our nosy priest. The priest tries to outrun Headless, then tries to stop him with some magic and some chains, but nothing works. As Headless slowly approaches the priest he says, "I'll never tell you where it is. I'm prepared to die." And so he does. Another decapitated victim in Sleepy Hollow.

Abbie and Crane rush back to the scene of the latest murder. Abbie orders Crane to stay in the car and luckily for her, he can't figure out how to open the door anyway. Rushing over to the dead body, Abbie discovers his neck is also cauterized. The Captain doesn't want to hear it, but he does want to know why Crane is suddenly wandering around apparently having figured out how to open doors. Abbie insists Crane is innocent, after all, he was with her during this latest murder. He couldn't have done it. The Captain orders her to take Crane to his padded cell or else. Andy also begs Abbie to stop hanging out with this cute new guy!

Crane is meanwhile on a wild bird chase, following the bird that he first saw on the way into Sleepy Hollow. It has led him into a nearby spooky ass red lit graveyard. Abbie catches up to him and demands to know what he is doing. But Crane is on a mission, he follows the bird to a tombstone that happens to belong to his wife, Katrina. Unfortunately, it also says she was burnt to death for witchcraft. Damn that's cold. Abbie demands that they leave, she's taking Crane to the institution and then she's leaving for Quantico. But Crane says, no, they have to stick together. Abbie says she won't be pulled down this path again where she's all alone trying to explain something she doesn't understand. This admission intrigues Crane who wants to know what she means, but Abbie doesn't want to say.

She finally gets Crane to the asylum where she sees him into his room. Crane looks so sad and pathetic that Abbie takes pity on him and tells him her story. It was back in high school and she and her sister Jenny were walking home when outta nowhere four white trees appeared. And they were weird ass trees. There was also a scary monster type thing whose voice she heard. That's all she remembers other than waking up on the side of the road and being ridiculed for being crazy by everyone. Jenny bought into the crazy story, and has been in and out of institutions. Crane is sorry to hear it and sorry about her partner. They share a nice moment when he calls her leftenant and she says, "You can call me Abbie." Glad he never took her up on that.

It's a new day in Sleepy Hollow and Abbie is sneaking into Sheriff Corbin's office. She finds a key hidden in the frame of a picture of her as a little girl. Abbie discovers it unlocks a filing cabinet with lots of very old files and a tape recorder. A voice memo from Corbin details knowledge of two witches covens, one good and one evil. He was obsessed with the supernatural including Abbie and Jenny's case. The same trees they saw were also seen by a farmer in the 1800s who believed they represented the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and that the demon was sent there to raise them. Corbin says he wanted to tell Abbie, but he didn't know how. Well, she knows now. Captain Irving walks in, catching Abbie putting away the files and orders her to go home. She does, with a couple of files secretly tucked into her pants.

Morning has also broken at the asylum. Crane is waking up to a vision of his wife Katrina. Turns out the bird that's been leading him around town is actually Katrina. She magics Crane into a clearing with her where they can talk. Also there? Four white trees. Katrina's got a few things to tell Ichabod: like, yes, she's a witch. No, she's not buried in Grant's tomb, or her own tomb. In fact, it's Headless' head that's buried in her grave. Oh, and also, when Crane and Headless fell on the battlefield together, their bloodlines mixed. The only way to stop Headless was to cast a spell on both of them. They threw Headless in the river Tony Soprano style and put Crane in a cave. Some evil person has awakened the Horseman and thus awakened Crane. That same evildoer has Katrina trapped in this ugly field. Whoever he is, he's on his way.

Katrina quickly tells Crane that he has to keep Headless from becoming Headful. If he gets his head back, "The End" will begin. The four horsemen will ride etc etc. Katrina gives Crane one last tip: Headless hates light. He can't survive the sunrise. And please please please get me out of here, says Katrina. That's a long honey-do list Kat. Don't you just have a fence that needs painting or something? Katrina screams out three important things: the answers Crane seeks are in Washington's Bible, he is the first witness, and would you please wake up, Crane? It's after 10!

Crane wakes to find Nurse Ratched there ready to give him something to help him calm down. If you wanted him calm, why did you wake him up? Just as they're about to shoot Crane up, Abbie walks in and saves the day claiming to have a Court Order to take Crane. It's really just a ruse, Abbie's busting Crane out without permission. Abbie and Crane are back in the car frantically racing back to Sleepy Hollow. On the way, Abbie shows Crane a map she found in Corbin's office signed by Washington. It has points all over town marked by Corbin only she doesn't know what he was looking for. Abbie tells Crane that Corbin thought what she saw was real, the four white trees. Crane tells her, "That's because it is real." He saw it, too, with Katrina, in the ugly glade.

Abbie gets on the horn to Andy and tells him to get all available units to the church. She's convinced that's where Headless is headed. Andy is tired! He just got home. And he's mega jealous of Crane, and doesn't want to do anything to help. Andy finally relents and says he will call it in and meet Abbie at the church. But first, it looks like someone's tried to break into Andy's apartment. Andy draws his gun and slowly goes inside. He doesn't see anything, but Headless is there and rises from a chair to confront Andy. Or does he? Nope, he's not there to hurt Andy because they're on the same team! What? Andy tells Headless he knows where his head is.

Crane and Abbie have meanwhile arrived at the cemetery and are busting open Katrina's grave. They uncover Headless' head in a container. The eyes come to life as Headless comes riding into the graveyard. He immediately starts firing at Abbie and Crane as he's loaded up with lots of weapons. Abbie gets away to safety, but Crane is a sitting duck about to be shot by Headless. That's when Abbie steps in and shoots Headless. It doesn't kill him, but it does enough damage to give Crane time to grab a shovel and start whacking Headless with it. Use what you've got.

Andy races up and pretends to help Abbie only so he can sucker punch her and knock her out. She wakes up as he's trying to stuff her into the backseat of his car. Andy insists he's just trying to protect her. Abbie apparently doesn't believe him because she bites him giving her time to pull a gun on him. Andy tries to tell Abbie she'll never beat Headless. He's death. You can't kill death. Duh.

In the meantime, Ichabod is desperately fighting Headless going so far as to hit him over the, er, well, what would be his head. It's not doing much damage though. Crane does the next best thing and grabs Headless' head and runs. Headless hunts Crane into the street just as two officers arrive. In a very funny exchange, the officers debate whether or not Headless can hear their commands to drop his weapons as he doesn't have a head. Luckily for everyone, the sun is rising and that means Headless is burning.

Headless fires off one last round of shots before riding off into the sunrise. Abbie rushes to make sure Crane is okay. He is. And they gaze at each other in that Ichabbie way we love so much!


Back at the station, Captain Irving really wants to throw Abbie in jail but this time she has reliable witnesses that can back up her story. He's got Andy under arrest, who will only talk to Abbie if they want a confession. Captain Irving says thanks for all your help, Abbie, but you're leaving town now, right? Headed to Quantico? Nope. Abbie says she's not going anywhere. This is where she's supposed to be. Right by Ichabod's side. Well, that is where she's standing. Even if that's not what she said. I'm just gonna have to assume that's what she meant.

Before they go any further (which they won't for another three long seasons if ever), Crane has something to show Abbie. He pulls out the Bible and says that Katrina told him he was the first witness. But there's supposed to be a second witness. And they're going to be together for a 7 year period of tribulation. (That's called marriage I think). Abbie seems to accept that it is her fate to be tied to Ichabod for 7 years in witness matrimony. Better than nothing! Abbie says, "Andy said a war was coming." The duo head off to find out what Andy knows.

Andy is sweating it out in a holding cell because there's an angry demon in there with him. It tells Andy that he has failed. Andy begs for another chance but the demon just flat out flips Andy's head backwards just as Crane and Abbie walk in. Abbie pauses for a millisecond in grief before noticing the demon walking away in the mirror. She walks towards the image to investigate. The demon turns and looks at her, then rushes towards her, breaking the glass as we hear Corbin's voice tell us that hell is coming to Sleepy Hollow. And the rest, as they say, is history! 
Wayback Recap: Sleepy Hollow Pilot Reviewed by Deborah Thompson on 8:08 AM Rating: 5

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