Last year Fox gifted the world with the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” retelling we never knew we needed. Complete with a super hot Ichabod Crane, a whip smart female lieutenant partner, Harold from Harold & Kumar, and what can only be described as a "I just traveled in time 200 years and now I don't know what the Internet is and also dress funny" sense of humor, Sleepy Hollow delivers some of primetime's most reliable LOLs and miraculously campy demons, along with a feel good opposites-attract buddy story and a feel great mission to stop the impending apocalypse with some righteous Christian ass smacking.
Last night's premiere found our favorite odd couple pals/biblical witnesses celebrating Ichabod's birthday, one full year after the events of the finale went down. Sleepy Hollow set the stage perfectly for a humorously extended rendition of "how old are you now," but eschews the "funny" route in favor of some much-needed context. It soon becomes clear that, while Ichabod had somehow escaped a lifetime of coffin imprisonment, he’s still mourning the loss of his wife to the headless horseman and his betrayed by his only son (that awkward moment when you're one of the biblical witnesses of the apocalypse and the horseman of war turns out to be your son).
Meanwhile Abbie alludes to her sister’s death at the end of last season—not that that's any excuse to skimp on a single lit cupcake aka a "surprise party," a concept that Ichabod is (classic Ichabod) unfamiliar with. "I shall consider myself Punk'd," recites a proud Ichabod in response to this unexpected lit confection.
And the twists just keep on coming! Abbie is called to an emergency at the home of a local Benjamin Franklin scholar, only to find a headless cop guarding the door—ruh roh. Ichabod and Abbie are too late to save the prof, but right on time to fire a few rounds into the headless horseman, who does his customary Bernie before shaking off the ammunition and escaping into the night. At this point, we get some super fun character background in the form of the Ichabod's revelation that he was Benjamin Franklin's apprentice. This tidbit naturally leads to some spot on Ichabod-narrated big Ben flashbacks, one of which begins "As was typical of our founding father, I found him unabashedly exposed." Bless your hearts, Sleepy Hollow writers.
Apparently, this nude and saucy Ben Franklin didn't do that whole kite-in-the-storm bit for "science," but for "magic"—it was an attempt to neutralize the evil potency of a sacred key, a sketch of which Ichabod finds in the dead professor's hidden drawers. This key can open the door between purgatory and earth, meaning that the headless horseman could use it to free Moloch from the middle realm.
Naturally, Ichabod and Abbie need to find the key before the horseman—so they ask Ichabod's super creepy son, their new prisoner, for insight. Henry, who can read minds or something, waits for Abbie's revelation that she remembers her sister going to Philadelphia to pick up some important Benjamin Franklin notebooks. Just as Abbie realizes that this mission might have been key-related, Henry reveals that we're all actually still in purgatory, and that everything we've seen so far was an illusion designed to draw out this necessary information.
CONSIDER YOURSELF PUNK'D.
So to recap: Ichabod is actually still trapped in an underground coffin, while Abbie is wandering through the hazy blue weirdness that is purgatory. While Ichabod is checking for non-existent cell service, Abbie learns that Moloch is planning to release a demon army on earth.
Someone clearly realized the limited plot potential for a man stuck in a coffin, so Ichabod quickly fashions a makeshift fuse and blows up an escape route. Now that that's taken care of, Ichabod goes to save Abbie's sister Jenny, who's being kept and interrogated by scary Henry and his goons. Jenny and Ichabod rack their brains before eventually deciding to hunt for the missing Franklin documents at the archives.
Not to be a total pill, but maybe if someone had gone to the literal town archives of old revolutionary war documents in the first place, we could have taken care of this whole mini apocalypse key fiasco in like five minutes and gone back to the birthday party.
Anyway, purgatory Abbie sneaks into Moloch's cave to use his special outside-world contacting mirror, entering a lair that looks straight out of the PB teen Satanists' collection—picture tons of candles, skulls, and pentagon imagery—all that's missing is an angsty bean bag and a Black Sabbath poster! Abbie manages to contact Ichabod and let him know what's going down; he promises to use the hidden Benjamin Franklin key to save her. Ichabod then recalls one of Franklin's favorite aphorisms re: keys being hidden under clocks, and, with Jenny's help, finds the key that has been preserved under one of Sleepy Hollow’s own big clocks. Ok!
Meanwhile, Ichabod's wife is being kept in the headless horseman's servant-of-the-devil starter home, where he brings her bread, buys her fancy jewelry, and eventually reveals his head to her. The horseman, aka Abraham, is actually passably cute, with a rocking bod and apparently steady source of income. But Mrs. Crane insists that she has pledged her heart to one dude and one dude only.
In the episode's inevitable "big scene," Ichabod lets himself into purgatory with the spare guest key Ben Franklin left under the clock. At first, Abbie is deceived by a fake Ichabod Crane, who tries to get her to drink some of his water—as you might remember from a confusing mash up of co-opted myths and legends, eating or drinking anything in purgatory is a big no no.
Luckily, Abbie is one smart cookie, and sees through the fake Ichabod—as if there could be two pairs of eyes that dreamy in any realm. The brave pair manages to escape purgatory without letting Moloch and his demon army out, and Abbie is finally reunited with her sister. All in all, a good week for learning that people you love aren't really dead and also holding off the apocalypse. Next week on Sleepy Hollow: fire swords!