"Sleepy Hollow" recap: "Tempus Fugit"

Grace Dixon, in her infinite wisdom, said, “Sometimes, all it takes is to put pen to paper to make a difference.” I feel like whoever wrote this line wrote it with their tongue in their cheek.

There have been all sorts of things happening this season of Sleepy Hollow because someone put their pen to paper, but while there have been a lot of good, there’s been a heck of a lot of bad, chief among them Katrina and Henry weighing down Ichabod’s storyline. But while “Kali Yuga” got rid of Hawley and “Awakening” saw the death of Henry, “Tempus Fugit” rights the last wrong left standing—Katrina. This difference is one that can be felt like a wave throughout the Sleepy Hollow fandom. I’m still in shock that the writing staff actually did it.

To be honest, I really don’t know where to begin, so let’s just start somewhere.

Abbie holding her own in the 18th century: We black folks can count Abbie as one of the only black people to jump back in time to an inhospitable time for black people and actually be successful in it. She was able to convince Ichabod of her story, but she was also able to take down that racist prick of an army officer, introducing him to her version of American might. She also met Grace and learned that she’s the one destined to finish the work Grace started.

FF218_scn33_1481_f_preview Grace, the Good Witch: It’s been a theme throughout the course of this show that Abbie’s family is often on the side of good and Ichabod’s family and acquaintances have often been people who are holding him back. The trend strengthens even more when you compare Grace to Katrina. Katrina was a “good” witch technically, but her powers and motives have always been suspect to me. I only really believed her intentions when she finally became evil. It’s what she’s wanted to do for a while, I feel. But Abbie’s family, on the other hand, has only dabbled in good magic. Grace wrote a journal full of magical spells in order to help save the world, and her journal has helped keep her lineage safe throughout time.

Starchy Crane: I loved seeing Crane get his Captain on in this episode. It was fun seeing him how he once was, and it also showed why he’s compatible to Abbie. Both are people who take their work seriously and have an air of command. I was genuinely sad for Crane throughout the episode, though. Seeing his regiment get killed, Benjamin Franklin, and get stripped of his rank all the same day is tough for one man, only to come home to find out his wife really is a witch trying to kill him.

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Benjamin Franklin: Speaking of Franklin, I’m glad he was the white person chosen for this episode. I didn’t want to see Jefferson’s tired, racist behind again, and I certainly didn’t want to see Washington, who was just as racist. Franklin might have had racist tendencies in real life too, but I think it was wise for the writers to make him the token Good White Person. Like Ichabod, he’s the most out of step with the ideologies of his time, what with his inventions and all, not to mention all the witch knowledge he’s acquired. He’d be the most likely to believe Abbie’s story.

Still, it was interesting and heartwarming to see him praise her as being the culmination of America’s ideals. He’s right, but I wonder how the real Benjamin Franklin would feel about that. Let’s hope he’d agree. At the end of the day, Franklin’s assessment shows that Abbie is essential to saving the world and that the world couldn’t have been truly saved until she was born in a time she could flourish in. This is unlike “Pittura Infamante,” which seemed to suggest that Abbie could easily be replaced by Katrina.

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Katrina’s death: As much as I’m not a Katrina fan, I’m still reeling over Katrina’s death. Again, Ichabod’s had a heck of a day. Whereas 18th century Ichabod was getting fired for people dying, 21st century Ichabod had to deal with his son and wife’s deaths all in the same day. Even worse that Abbie had to kill his son and he himself had to kill Katrina.

I’ve argued that Ichabod kept Katrina and Henry around as long as he did because he literally had no one from his time period with him in the present. He wanted familiarity, and any normal person would want to keep their family, however trying (or evil), around them as long as they possibly could. But Ichabod was finally faced with the tough task of realizing the people he had claimed as his family didn’t really care about him or for his best interest. They were people who only looked out for themselves and were only with him if he could be tricked or bullied into fulfilling their selfish needs.

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In a regular situation, a person would just make the horrible choice of breaking ties with family and moving on, but Ichabod’s choices were layered with the even bigger burden of knowing that his family was pure evil. He had been lured into evil by Katrina, and now he had to kill the very person he’d pledged his life to.

I feel genuinely bad for Ichabod, and I like that he owns the responsibility by rebutting what Abbie said about him not having a choice. He’s right; they all had choices. What’s implied is that while Abbie made all the right choices, Ichabod didn’t. Katrina didn’t make great choices either. All of their bad decision making and “eyes wide shut” mentality led them to this dark path, when Ichabod realized that the decision that’s been there the whole time—Abbie or Katrina—had to be made with a deadly conclusion.

FF218_scn33_1635_f_previewIt’s a messy situation, but I’m intrigued to see how Ichabod’s going to deal with the ramifications of this later on. One thing’s for sure; you can get ready to not see Ichabbie shipperiness for a while. The man just killed his wife in the name of the higher good. I know I don’t want to see it right now, if I’m speaking for myself. This is some “Moses against his Pharaoh brother” type stuff. Moses feeling guilty about the Pharaoh’s son dying due to Moses’ holy calling in The Prince of Egypt seems to be the type of guilt Ichabod’s feeling now. “And even now, I wish that God had chose another” indeed.

HOWEVER, the whole section of Abbie’s phone dedicated to Ichabbie selfies and Ichabod’s birthday as her phone password are…telling. Apparently she keeps her feelings about him close to her chest and her purse. (When did the purse get back in time with her? She didn’t have it before she left, did she?) Also: Ichabod’s a Leo. Welcome, Brother, to the fold.

The gang’s back together: It’s amazing to see Team Witness back together and (hopefully) stronger than ever! Once again, Icahbod’s the lone White guy we care about, and that’s just how it should be.

I joke, I joke. But seriously, we didn’t care about Hawley like that. We don’t care about anyone that’s not a core member of Team Witness. Unless you’re a member of Irving’s family, the Mills family, or a fun cameo character like Big Ash, Calvin Riggs, or Seamus the Shaman, I really don’t want to see anyone else added to Team Witness that doesn’t have anything of value to add to the group. No chaff! Just wheat!

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Seeing the mostly-black Team Witness together once again brings to mind something I said in a post on my site; the fan’s intense dialogue about the show’s direction taught Fox that diversity and proper representation is really what the fans want, along with great characterization. It’s so rare to see sci-fi that caters to the black audience, and when Sleepy Hollow got away from that niche, when it started alienating that core audience with Katrina-centric episodes and Hawley-Mills triangles, is when it started failing. The show is back to what it was, and it would seem that everyone—the fans and actors themselves—are extremely relieved and happy.

Another thing about seeing Team Witness together again is the fact that Ichabod is truly faced with the fact that Irving, Jenny, and Abbie are his new family now. They’ve acted like a family before, but Ichabod was still getting used to the 21st century and he was still focused on retrieving his wife from Purgatory. He still had the hope of having his own family. But now that the dust has settled, Ichabod can see where his priorities really lie—with the people who have had his back since he got out of that cave.

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So with the team back together again and the useless characters gone, let’s pour a little out for Katrina and Henry, send some money towards Ichabod’s therapy bills, and get in the prayer circle with Grace Dixon’s comforting magic to usher in a third season! I think with all the posturing and straight up pleading and begging Fox has been doing, we’ll get our third season. The network wouldn’t have tried this hard if they didn’t care.

What did you think of the finale? Give your opinions in the comments section below.

Photo credit: Brownie Harris/FOX

  • Kendra

    Love your thoughts, especially on Ichabod. I too felt really badly for him, for being a fish out of water in both times really. And to end the epi on that note makes me wonder how that guilt plays out in future episodes…Frankly, it left me feeling a bit down. I’m sorry too that they killed Katrina. I thought we were really getting to see Katia Winter shine now that she was inhabiting a role that suited her best; seems a waste and pandering too much to the fanbase to be honest, even though I understand why the writers wanted finality with her character. Winter’s not the greatest actress, but she didn’t exactly have the greatest storylines either.

    Is it wrong that I want more Captain Crane & Abbie adventures from 1781? Along with Grace Dixon and Benjamin Franklin. I LOVED Team Witness dynamic alone, and with supporting characters (How hot is Captain Crane, especially in the carriage?), Grace Dixon for the gravitas and feels, and Ben Franklin for the humour. Frankly, Abbie’s switcheroo should have played out longer, for at least two episodes and this harkens back to the uneven season that was only fixed properly in the last 4 epis. A lot of what was crammed in should have been spread over the course of S2.

    One other recurring character I’d love to see in S3 is Joe Corbin, and a greater/more defined role for Reyes, who must be the most clueless Sheriff in history. Thought the writers missed an opportunity with Awakening to have Reyes be a latent witch as well.

    Lovely LOL moments throughout, but my favourite: Slide to unlock. OMG I nearly died. And though it was serious, I laughed at the writers decapitating Franklin. Only in Sleepy Hollow’s world!

  • I agree with much of what you wrote, however I do admit that Katrina’s death wasn’t a shock for me, I had seen the writing on the wall a while ago, in fact, I didn’t watched several episodes this season and only watched the last 15 minutes of the finale.

    But I knew there was a reason why Katia was being so parlative on both interviews and twitter. Also knew there was going to be a permanent death and with Katia talkings so much and at some point dissing the writers, I knew it was her.

    You’re very right when Ichabod replies about the choices, I noted it myself with a quote, sometimes all we have is bad choices but we still have to choose. And finally Ichabod saw the light, so to speak and made a choice and took a side; it doesn’t erase the fact that I feel bad for him for the loss of his family, but at the end it had to be done.

  • Amber

    LOVED this episode! Favorite parts were Ichabod literally swiping the phone across the table (giggle) and Abbie kicking butt in the cell (hooray!). Turns out my theory about how Abbie gets back to her time was wrong, but I like how the writer’s did it. I am glad that Grace was the one who turned the spell around and Abbie helped. Although, now that the spell has been completely reversed, I think that means Grace still dies from baby Henry in the fire…right? So the ancestor in the cave isn’t Grace? I was kinda hoping that it would be Grace and that Jenny could meet her and that she could teach both Jenny and Abbie about their magical lineage. But who knows what we have in store for us…which is the way a season should end. And I am optimistic as well about a renewal.