Sleepy Hollow Fall Season Finale Review: The Akeda

In the last episode of Sleepy Hollow for the year, Hell comes to Earth, and Ichabod and Abbie's war comes to a head.

Well who didn’t see that coming?

Henry did what they’ve been hinting all season and, for at least the moment, gives a mea culpa by stabbing television Satan in the tummy. That’s certainly got to be worth some kind of brownie points for Sleepy Hollow fans?

Yes, it was an all-action fall season finale, Frank Irving has joined Washington Irving in the great beyond, Ichabod and Katrina’s marriage is officially on the rocks, and Henry is conveniently no longer the Horseman of Death. Oh, and the Headless Horseman continues to have more than just his head removed from his once illustrious reputation.

With so much going on, is it bad that I enjoyed last week’s cliffhanger more?

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Tonight’s episode, entitled “The Akeda,” which for our Hebrew readers is a dead giveaway for the final plot point of this week, was a solid finale by finally having Ichabod and Abbie seemingly thwart Moloch once and for all; yet I am left wondering if perhaps they should have failed.

To be sure, it’s always rewarding to watch John Noble switch sides like so many sweaters on this series, but nevertheless Sleepy Hollow has been building to an apocalypse for so long that it might have been a new salvation for the Fox series if it had come. If Hell came to Earth, it would mean Ichabod and Abbie would have entered a new realm of weird, which is what made last week so much fun. However, this has the air of a series finale since Ichabod and Abbie have finally lived up to their duty by ending Moloch (for now). Well, everything is stopped (for now)…save for that Headless Horseman.

Aye, the hour begins with a quick and epic sword fight between Ichabod and Heady, the latter of whom fails once again to live up to his cool image. Ichabod easily disarms Abraham and with the Sword of Methuselah is able to finally end his rival…if not for the sudden quid pro quo that allows the sword to only work if one is willing to trade their own life too. Of course Katrina wants to save Abraham on this quibble, but it turns out to be true, forcing our heroes to finally bring Frank Irving back to the inner-circle of importance. In the meantime, I’m left wondering how they transported the Headless Horseman to the Crane Cave if he knows they’re too scared to wield Methuselah’s sword.

In any event, he does go there to sow some more discontent between Ichabod and Katrina. While the Headless Horseman sounds like a whiny tween girl who just found out that, yes, Bella chose Edward over the werewolf stud, he still strikes a chord. Why is Katrina so hellbent on saving a Horseman of Hell? It is a question that forces Ichabod and Katrina to finally question their marriage with each other.

In a scene that is supposed to be emotionally trying, I’m honestly left apathetic. In no slight to Katia Winter, who has always been saddled with the beautiful and mysterious (and mysteriously empty) archetype for two years, Katrina is no one for Ichabod to lose sleep over. But I imagine that with their son coming back to the side of the angels (maybe) for the second half of season two, this marriage is anything but over. Still, I imagine a future confrontation between Ichabod and Katrina, “But I thought we were on a marital disjunction!”

Eventually, our wayward heroes get Frank Irving to agree to wield the deus ex machina and Hawley to babysit the first Horseman. Hawley also has an amusing point about the fire and brimstone “end is nigh” folks always being wrong. Would such Westboro Baptist Church types find Moloch’s blood rain horrifying or joyous?

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What brought nobody any joy was the sight of Frank Irving dying in Ichabod Crane’s arms. Sure, Sleepy Hollow is the type of show where nobody checks out for good, but Orlando Jones’ presence is too rewarding to see bleed out on the side of Upstate New York. “We need you, Frank,” they cry as the light leaves Frank’s eyes. All I can say is that I’ve been writing that for months! One of Sleepy Hollow’s best characters got wiped out to raise the stakes after a season of being on the backburner. We will see Frank Irving again, after all this ain’t Game of Thrones. Still, did he have to leave in the first place?

After Frank is gone, the rest of the four characters agree to take turns carrying the Methuselah Sword with Jenny Mills offering her life services last. Smart girl to wait to be the fourth sword martyr when there are only two enemies left.

Luckily, it appears that nobody had to die, because Henry again is able to pull his parents’ heartstrings long enough to gain the upper hand on them. He may have brought vines to a swordfight, but Abbie would have been wiser to not tie her hands behind her back by giving the real blade to Ichabod Crane.

The hour ends with Henry taking Methuselah’s Sword to his new papa. It doesn’t necessarily make him seem too smart if he was surprised that the Devil (for all intents and purposes) would be a good father figure, but it’s nice to see the Henry angle come to a head. And he does it in full Darth Vader style when asked to watch his father (as opposed to son) die. While I suspect that he is not actually a good guy yet, it opens up a whole new series of plot possibilities, not least of which includes elongating the Crane marriage (and thus Ichabod-Abbie love triangle) via “staying together for the kid.” I personally can’t wait for the anachronistic cold open that features Ichabod and Henry going on a father-and-son fishing trip. Ichabod can question the merits of such familial bonding traditions in the 21st century, and Henry will boil the fish of the sea with genuine hellfire.

Overall, it was an explosive final hour for Sleepy Hollow in 2014, but was it a good one? I would answer that yes, it was an entertaining episode that had some nice character moments between Ichabod and Katrina, and Abbie and Hawley. But most importantly, it moved the storyline along for the Family Crane. Nevertheless, killing off Frank (however fleeting) felt needless. Further, if Henry has forsaken his Horsemanship, whose soul does Frank belong to? As long as he doesn’t come back as the Horseman of War next year, I’ll be happy to see him when he does come back.

It was a very entertaining hour of Sleepy Hollow, but at the end of the season one finale, I couldn’t wait until Ichabod Crane got out of that box. While we have a whole extra 11 episodes to go for season two, Sleepy Hollow can take its time until it rides again. Maybe it can use it to tighten up its newfound weaknesses, as well.

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3 out of 5