“Sleepy Hollow” Midseason Recap/Analysis: Abbie’s Sacrifice

Sleepy Hollow‘s midseason finale, “Novus Ordo Seclorum,” has left many people in shambles. To be frank, the double billing of Sleepy Hollow and How to Get Away with Murder‘s mideseason finales have left many people in shambles twice over. But let’s talk about what sent people over the edge during “Novus Ordo Seclorum”—Abbie’s sacrifice. 

Very quickly, some background on what happened. In this winter finale, Jenny is still under the control of the Shard, and Pandora re-awakens her mummified husband, the Hidden One, so they can remake the world in their image. Jenny’s powers from the Shard are what fuels the Hidden One as he regains his power, and eventually, he plans on using Jenny to level the world so he can remold it. (The catch with the Shard is that it’s basically a big bomb; poor Paul Revere’s nephew Jonathan was killed when he touched and absorbed the Shard back in the 1700s.)

With Jenny’s life hanging in the balance, Abbie, Ichabod and Joe get to work on figuring out how to get the Shard out of Jenny, get the Hidden One and Pandora off their backs, and regroup for the next fight. However, for Abbie, this is the last fight she’ll have for a while. The Hidden One breaks the metal casing Abbie was using to trap the Shard’s power, and with the remaining pieces, Abbie captures the rest of the power and runs into Pandora’s tree before it detonates. Beforehand, she gives one last look at a desperate Ichabod, telling him to watch Jenny for her.

I decline calling Abbie’s sacrifice her “death” because we already know Abbie’s not dead. What she did was part of her job as a Witness. Because of her title, she’d have to defeat the possibility of death by dying herself.

Tthe Bible states what the Witnesses must endure in order to save the world. The two Witnesses will toil for seven years, then die at the hand of evil, only to be reborn again into something much purer than they were before. In essence, they are martyrs. Abbie saved Jenny and the world by taking the Shard’s power into her own hands and, running into Pandora’s tree, martyred herself. Expect her to come back with even more clarity and power than before.

But until we get to that point, we have the aftermath to tend to. There were some interesting tidbits in showrunner Clifton Campbell’s interview with Variety, in which he says that Abbie’s “death” will be a big turning point for every character on the show. Here are some of the things he said:

  • No one is prepared for how the characters are going to react to Abbie’s “death”
  • Jenny will rely heavily on Joe to make it through her sister’s sacrifice. Campbell also commented on how successful Joe is as a character and how well he fits into the show’s dynamic.
  • Now that has last tether to his new life is gone via Abbie’s sacrifice, Ichabod’s going to go H.A.M. At the very least, he’s going to be a lot less beholden to protocol and decorum. “This loss is not like any of the other losses in his life – Katrina, his son, any of the loss of his family will pale in comparison to the devastation, and therefore the recklessness, that we see Crane come back with. It reframes him in a very unique and interesting way.”
  • Abbie and Ichabod’s relationship are compared to the Hidden One and Pandora’s epic love story. “[T]he thing about Pandora and the Hidden One is that they have a very similar relationship to Abbie and Crane, a love of the ages – when they look at each other, you can see how deeply they care.” Campbell also said that Abbie’s sacrifice puts Pandora and the Hidden One in a “very interesting place.”
  • The Witnesses are going to come back harder than ever. “What I’m most excited about is seeing how the Witnesses are redefined in the back half and what that means for our characters.”

My initial takeaways from what he said are:

  • “Novus Ordo Seclorum” is the first episode that officially announces a new chapter of Sleepy Hollow. No longer is it beholden to the shame of Season 2, nor is it still in the “no man’s land” of the first half of Season 3. Abbie’s sacrifice has announced the official start of Clifton Campbell’s vision for Sleepy Hollow; he just had to get the business of getting away from Season 2 done first.
  • Campbell is right that Joe is a wildly successful character. He fits in as if he’s been there the whole time. Eat it, Hawley! Jokes, but seriously, Hawley just didn’t cut it. Joe’s everything Hawley wanted to be but couldn’t because he was so undefined as a character.
  • If anyone had a doubt before, Ichabod and Abbie are destined to be together. If they’re being compared to a literal married couple like the Hidden One and Pandora, then I think the shipping wars are over. I hope so, anyway, because it can get exhausting.
  • Ichabod’s sadness at Abbie’s departure is going to play out beautifully. I can’t wait to see him crack. That sounds terrible, I know, but I’ve wanted to see Ichabod finally become unhinged due to the weight of grief and responsibility. He should have cracked a looonnnggggtime ago. But it’s going to be interesting to see the lengths to which Ichabod will go to get Abbie back.
  • Pandora and the Hidden One are fantastic. I love seeing them together and to know that they are the foil to Abbie and Ichabod is going to prove really interesting over the course of the rest of the season. It’ll be especially sad to see when they lose, since they do really want the best for each other, in their own twisted way.

Basically, Sleepy Hollow is about to get crunk once the winter hiatus is over. I know there are some gripes about Abbie being killed, but listen; Abbie’s a Witness. She’s not a character that expects to be coddled like a baby. She takes being a Witness (and a sister) very seriously, so of course, she would do what it takes to save her sister and the world (especially after Pandora reminded her of her own guilt about letting Jenny go years before). Abbie wanted to make things right and finally save her sister when she needed her help. It’s sad that it took her sacrificing herself, but, once again, she’s a Witness. She’s a martyr, and she’ll be back.

I’d say that Abbie’s sacrifice shows just how brave and honorable she is as a person. Not everyone would risk their lives, not even for their relatives. It takes a special person to volunteer themselves for battle, at the risk of their own lives. Abbie has proven before that she’s the stronger and more powerful of the two Witnesses, and her act has proven this once again.

Last few tidbits:

  • Reynolds calling Abbie an “asset: Por quoi? Who is he working for? Is he evil? Is he actually working for supernatural forces as well? What’s his deal?
  • In disagreement with Ichabod, it couldeventually be useful for Joe to turn back into awendigo. Will he figure out how to do this in the future? That kind of strength could come in handy. If he does do this, then Team Witness will really start shaping up as FOX’s version of The Avengers. Joe as The Hulk, Jenny as Black Widow, and Ichabod and Abbie as…others…(Who would Ichabod and Abbie be in the Avengers? Sound off below!)
  • Papa Mills is coming! Another tidbit Campbell revealed is that Abbie’s sacrifice spurs Jenny to contact their dad. I can’t wait to see what he’ll tell us about why he left and how he plans on rectifying things with his kids.

What did you think of the episode? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

  • Tennie Victoria Stancil

    Excellent writeup! Wonderful finale for all the reasons you said above.

  • Tracey Martin

    To me, SH lost momentum some time ago…..Great to hear perhaps Ichy and Abbie will/might finally be together but they are way too slow in the offing.