"Sleepy Hollow" recap: "Spellcaster"

Sleepy Hollow is continuing its upward trend with “Spellcaster.” Even though there was one thing I always knew would be revealed in this episode, there was one thing I wasn’t counting on: Evil Irving.

I could feel members of the Sleepy Hollow nation put up their hex symbols at the thought of Irving becoming evil. But, as my sister pointed out to me, there’s really nowhere else for his character to go unless he becomes as boring as Katrina. Irving’s soul is still in the balance, and now that I’m looking back on my own thoughts, it was a little silly of me to think that Irving would just go back to being normal Irving. Now that Irving’s evil, not only will we see tons more of him, but we’ll also really get to see how dramatic Orlando Jones can get. We’ve already seen snippets of it, but he’ll really be able to sink his teeth into Evil Irving.

I always knew that this episode would reveal more about Katrina to us. Of course, when I theorized this, most of the #AbbieMillsDeservesBetter clapback was still in effect, so I wonder how drastic this episode was affected by it. I’d always assumed “Spellcaster” was going to show us Katrina’s dark side, but I wonder how dark she was originally going to go during the first draft of this episode.

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Anyways, Katrina proved to be a little bit of an asset this week, and I was completely shocked that I was taken in by her story about her grandmother. It would seem that 1) I already like Katrina’s grandmother Helena more than Katrina, which is awkward, since they’re both played by Katia Winter and 2)I believed Katrina when she told the story. She actually acted like she had a soul and not a Body Snatcher.

Also, kudos to the hair department’s use of Winter’s natural hair color. She seemed a lot more comfortable without that red wig. She seemed like she understood Helena’s motivation more and was able to incorporate more of herself, what with the hair, the slight Dutch accent (Winter is Swedish, and Sweden and the Netherlands have seen a lot of each other), and the clear tone of her character.

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Katrina also gave us some magic this week, thanks to some flower power and some hexes she through at the absolutely disgusting Solomon Kent (Jonathan Schaech). His story was simple—he started the Salem Witch Trials simply because he misread a woman’s signals—but he provided all the gore I’ll need for the rest of the season. I’m just not a fan of people slitting wrists and pouring their blood out of their veins. Please put a warning up next time, show.

Ichabod also gave us his standard “Must Make Verbal Love to Abbie” moment, but after Tom Mison’s declaration of Ichabod’s total devotion to Abbie, it feels like Ichabod ratcheted up his macking moment. Instead of saying the usual “We’ll be strong together” shtick, he said that they must fight for love and each other while he looked directly at her. He also asked Abbie if she saw a future for them…in no uncertain terms.

Calm your butt down, Ichabod. Your wife isn’t even evil yet and you’re already trying to make some moves on Abbie. He’s been reading Spider-Man and learning about Edward R. Murrow; perhaps he’s also been listening to R. Kelly’s “Feelin’ Single” since he’s not only asking Abbie about their future and love, but he also casually knocked his hand next to her knee as they were conversing about Kent in the cabin. Ichabod has always been a little of a mack daddy when it came to Abbie, but now he’s laying on the mack game too strong.

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So, at the end of the episode, Team Witness has vanquished Kent, but not everything is over. Kent was using the Grimoire, a book of evil magic spells, in an attempt to go back in time and change history just so he could be with the woman who only viewed him as a friend. But Irving, who we thought was on Team Witness’ side, stole the book for Henry! DUN DUN DUN!

Yes, Henry’s back, and he’s even more of a black magic wizard than before. Seeing him identify with the family that owned the hotel he was staying in was cool; John Noble knows how to act the heck out of a scene, and the scenes of just Henry sitting, watching junk TV and conversing with the woman and her son were enough. But when he killed the son’s bullies just by flicking his wrist and a finger? Perfect. I do love the heck out of Henry. He surely knows who he is.

Katrina, on the other hand, was told by Kent earlier that she doesn’t know who she is. She’s destined for evil, he says in so many words. Even her magic powers are aligned with it. She had yet to go that route, but after getting a terrifying pep talk from Kent, she decided to give it a go. Turns out she’s much more suited to dark magic than she initially thought. Although, if you ask me, she’s already used black magic; she’s somehow hexed Irving (I’m assuming) since she made him drink that stuff last episode. Let’s not forget she kept Ichabod alive for hundreds of years despite the coven and the Freemasons saying she was going against the laws of nature.

So, at the end of the day, did we get a progression for Katrina’s character? Sure. It’s movement towards a resolution most of us had either figured out or were hoping would happen since Season 1, but it’s movement nonetheless. Have other, more interesting storylines been introduced? Yes—Irving’s role as Henry’s second hand is going to be interesting, and I’m here for what Jones has to give us.  Also, Henry seems to have refocused his mind and, as if he’s an athlete, has come back stronger and better than ever. He might not have killed his parents the last time, but he’s sure going to give it his all this time!

The most important question for a lot of fans is if Ichabbie has been advanced. Mison has already said Ichabod’s “completely in love” with Abbie, so there’s that. But within the show, Ichabod’s now questioning Abbie about their future and is boldly declaring his love without specifying that he’s talking about her. He also f—ed Kent up pretty badly, all because Abbie compared him to Kent and Ichabod didn’t want her to think he was an evil flake of a man. Yeah, he told Kent not to mess with Katrina, but the moment was less about husbandly duties and more about Abbie’s opinion of him. He also called Abbie for house hunting help. I’d call all of this a win for the Ichabbie (now canon?) camp.

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Okay, what did you think about the episode? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

Photo credit: Brownie Harris/FOX

  • flo

    Love your reviews. Always fair and excellent. This show has done so much damage to its plot, but its nice to see it slowly repairing itself. And I really do have to give it to the writers for listening to fans. It’s not going to be an easy or quick fix, but they are working some good plot lines up here.

    Katrina as evil – definitely could see it and want it. This could potentially lead to her being killed off, or being a villain in season 3 (hoping it gets renewed). If that happens, it’s a good point to keep her character sparse and focus more and Ichabod and Abbie.

    Poor Frank. I really wanted him to be kept as part of the team, but so long as Orlando is around being awesome, I’m ok with Evil Irving.

    I love John Noble. The man can do no wrong and he plays every character he gets so well but I do think Henry is in danger of being killed off too. But if I had to choose between Henry or Katrina being killed off – guess who I’d rather off?

    Tom Mison’s confession made me LOL. The man just spits out whatever without stopping to think about it, but its true. Abbie and Ichabod are growing closer, and while I do want them together in the end, I think a slow build up is best. The problem – we don’t know how long this show will last or even if it will get renewed, and its sad if its rushed or never seen to fruition.

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  • Kendra

    Kent to Katrina: ” You are a formidable witch.” Then blasts her and makes off with the book
    Me: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (like Channing Tatum) “Formidable…that’s a good one!”

    It was a solid episode, 7/10, just not a great one, and SH at least shows that it’s trying to listen to fans. Yet, that sometimes felt off. E.g. There were a lot of heavy anvils clunking up the dialogue e.g. explaining the reason behind Katrina’s powers failing; the scene in the motel between the owner and Henry, then her son and Henry. So many metaphors!.

    Even Ichabod’s shippy scene about love and family just felt weird as if it were forced in at that time because there wasn’t anyplace else the writers felt it could fit. And Ichabod going off on Kent like that was a little out of character. The only time he’s gone psycho is when it’s very personal e.g. the tree demon in the haunted house, Headless etc.

    I liked at least that Kent’s backstory added to the show’s overall mythology and was not just a monster of the week, yet Kent himself felt under-developed, poorly used and quick to defeat , like Orion.

    And Katrina has always seemed comfortable with dark magic to me. Remember the Weeping Lady and the dark magic she had to use to stop her? If we see her go full evil that would be great. Agreed that Katia Winters as Katrina’s grandmother was much more relatable than Katrina . KW has done better acting the period scenes than her 21st century scenes to me. And Katrina finally got to wear decent clothes!

  • Kendra

    Also to add that John Noble as Henry in the parking lot recalls the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. “Oh grandmother, what big teeth you have!”

    I did think Frank had forgiven Abbie and Ichabod too soon. Glad to know it was just a con. Hope he gets back his soul in the end.