Well, it’s holiday time again in Sleepy Hollow. Yep, despite just the last episode featuring Ichabod and Abbie celebrating Thanksgiving with a really branched out family tree, we have taken a week off to jump into this Yuletide special. This may be due to it being the Fall Sweeps episode before the series comes back for three more episodes in January, but did they ever leave Sleepy Hollow fans with plenty to chew on. It ‘tis the season to spend time with loved ones, and Ichabod did that in the typically screwy Sleepy Hollow way. In spite of all the frills of a “monster of the week” premise, this episode was profoundly about Ichabod and Abbie’s interconnected family, as facilitated by the always-welcome presence of John Noble as Henry “Sin Eater” Parish. Since when has the legend of Catholic superstition revolving around “sin-eating” involved astral projection into purgatory? When an Alex Kurtzman plot demands it, dammit! The truth is that we all have missed Noble since his Fringe ended, and his supernatural iteration of that same character on this series will always now be something to look forward to. Ichabod is especially cranky about 21st century colloquialisms this week, as all he can think about is the son he discovered was hidden from him in the previous episode. He consequently seeks the boy out by having Henry project him into purgatory for a little face-to-face time with his wife. Ruh-roh, Katrina, you have some ‘splaining to do. Fortunately, this supernatural ability does not involve séances, pentagrams or any other elaborate cliché. Nope, Henry simply strangles Ichabod to near death! Hilariously though, it works and sends Ichabod to purgatory…which looks a lot like Trinity Church. Whether this is supposed to be Lower Manhattan’s Trinity Church or the one in this version of Sleepy Hollow is unclear, but it is rather interesting that Moloch (for all intents and purposes, Satan) chooses to allow his condemned victims of Purgatory to light a candle for worship in the House of the Lord. As Katrina explains, it is a place to taunt her for having abandoned her child to the good care of Abbie Mill’s ancestors, yet it still proves mightily strong against the forces of Moloch, as represented by the Golem (more on him in a moment). However, what is really important about this scene, besides reminding viewers that Ichabod is still in love with Katrina, is that she reveals what seemed the only logical outcome: She did not know she was pregnant when Ichabod went in the ground 200+ years ago. However, she knows not of his fate because—and this is where it gets interesting—she was betrayed by her Coven, which hunted her down and condemned her to this Purgatory. So, we now have the why of her being there, which vaguely has to do with her disobeying the Coven to save Ichabod from death by giving him the Rip Van Winkle treatment (fun fact: another Washington Irving story). But I’m beginning to wonder if there is something more to this story. What if there were other reasons for her Coven to turn on her? Given Mrs. Crane’s generally cryptic and shadowy nature, methinks that she may have been the Benedict Arnold of witches, which would explain Moloch’s affinity for her to a degree. In any case, the Golem appears and chases Ichabod back into 2013 where it begins running amok by killing the descendants of Katrina’s Coven. From this point on, it honestly feels like the B-story until the last 10 minutes, because the real family man who got his much deserved Christmas vacation is Frank Irving. Originally written to simply be the disapproving hardass with a seeming dark secret in the early episodes, it is gratifying to know that Sleepy Hollow finally recognizes what a treasure it has in Orlando Jones. Hands down the best scene of the night came early when Frank visits his old Manhattan church to be schooled in the fate of Witnesses, not unlike Abbie and Ichabod, as well as their followers. Frank indirectly learns that he could be viewed as an apostle. And as witness in the Bible can be another word for martyr, the odds are not looking too good for Ichabod, Abbie and even Frank. The reluctance of the city cop who found more truly helacious noise in his Small Town, USA than he ever did in New York City is not lost on Jones who plays the scene with the perfect balance of skepticism, acceptance and cynical resentment for the Church and all it represents. For a show that tows a very literal Christian reading of the Book of Revelations, a show’s hero sneering at the gospels is a counterbalance to the insanity at play, and also reveals Frank as a tired public servant as opposed to the trite mystery box antagonist he was originally introduced as. Overall, it really is Jones’ best episode to date, as he finds the Devil is hitting close to home when demons later threaten the soul of his wheelchair bound daughter during a stroll in the park. As the evil entity pulls a Fallen and jumps from body to body, Frank is seeing the cost of his actions. Wherever he goes next, I will be fascinated to see. Finally, Frank is a character. Meanwhile, if Frank must contend with what battling the forces of Hell can mean for his family, Ichabod is finding it already within his own. Through the Sleepy Hollow Historic Society, he learns that his son developed pyrokinetic powers and celebrated it by torching Abbie’s ancestors. Worse, when he was sent to an orphanage where he was routinely beaten, his subconscious developed a Golem, a hulking beast of a monster that sought revenge for the wronged boy named Jeremy Crane. Realizing that the Golem is continuing Jeremy’s desires from beyond the grave to hunt down the Coven that kept him and momma Katrina apart, Ichabod follows the breadcrumbs to the only known surviving members of that pack of witches. And I do mean surviving. “The Four Who Speak As One” really were a trip. While learning the fate of Jeremy Crane, Ichabod’s son, certainly held the A-story together, the truth is that we only knew of his existence for an episode. So to learn that he “died” shortly thereafter as a teenager is probably hardest felt by Ichabod, also making the Golem a bit of a bore for us. But not these ladies who have apparently lived for centuries! With sharpened vampire razor teeth, they pay dental homage to Christopher Walken in Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow while speaking and interacting like that wicked brew from the Scottish Play. I seriously was waiting for them to start suggesting Ichabod could be Sheriff, if only he got rid of Duncan Frank Irving. Unfortunately, these bewitching consorts were relegated to a one-episode cameo before being wrongfully thrown away. They quickly exposit that they killed the Golem when Jeremy was a teenager before consigning him too in the ground by “stopping his heart.” They then gleefully welcome their own deaths at the hands of the Golem only moments later. It may happen off-screen, but I for once actually believe that thrice the brinded cat hath mewed for this crew. What I am less prone to believe is that we have seen the last of Jeremy Crane. Literally only introduced an episode ago, we are to believe that they are cutting that plot thread free only two weeks later? Impossible. His heart may have stopped, but like Ichabod it will be revived. “Killing him off” for the time being makes sense, as the idea of Ichabod chasing all his descendants might prove daunting. The writers even address that Ichabod could have as many as 6,000 heirs if the laws of nature took their course. Instead his bloodline appears to begin and end with Jeremy, which makes his resurrection all the more necessary. Perhaps a season finale? In the meantime, Mison gets one of his better moments when as Ichabod he must concede that the Golem had to play protector and father to Jeremy because he had failed to be there for his son. He even earnestly thanks the creature before slaying it, making this holiday all the bluer for America’s favorite Blue Coat. Yet, this is not the end. Nay, Moloch returns for one last cliffhanger as he sucks Ichabod into purgatory to warn him that when Ichabod knows his true meaning, Armageddon will be at hand…and that Ichabod will facilitate this by giving him Abbie’s soul. Obviously, this rotten devil intends to trade Katrina (and perhaps Jeremy?) for Abbie, but that will be no dice. Ichabod will not give in to that temptation. However, it is a curious thought to wonder what Moloch means by his true name. Any ideas of where that could be headed? Thus ended a fun and snappy episode of Sleepy Hollow. The monster of the week again proved vital to Ichabod’s story, as it was his son’s protector, and we learned of his son’s “fate” (for now) while Frank finally found himself on the frontline. It didn’t feel like a season finale, but it had enough hallmarks of what makes this zany show so enticing that it ensures we’ll stick around until the real one shows up. Den of Geek Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all news updates related to the world of geek. And Google+, if that’s your thing!