Sleepy Hollow: The Midnight Ride (S1E7)

Irving: “I need to call the governor.”

Crane: “What are you going to tell him?”

Irving: “What do you think I’m going to tell him? The headless horseman is mowing people down to bring about the ‘End of Days’? For further questions please call Ichabod Crane – the man who beheaded him in 1781?”

Crane: “It was a mere inquiry.”

Leave it to a show about the Apocalypse being tied to the American Revolution to be more historically accurate than some politicians (who shall not be named) about Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride. Yes, it’s true, “The ‘regulars’ are coming” is more likely to have been said than “The British are coming,” as they were all British at the time. That’s just one of a handful of historical references in this top-notch episode featuring the return of the Headless Horseman and the duo’s plan to defeat him.

If I ever run into Tom Mison I’m going to ask him to leave me a voicemail as courteous and detailed as the one Crane does in this episode.

Remember the free mason brothers we met last episode? Kind of? Well it doesn’t matter because they’re dead. All four decapitated with a capital ‘D.’ More inconveniently, they had information for Crane about how to defeat the horseman, but leave it to old-fashioned secret societies to withhold such information so long that it gets them killed. Crane is a little upset, to put it mildly, and vows that if he dies he will not go without making sure the horseman is dead as well. So Abbie and Crane decide to destroy his skull for good now that Crane is no longer tied to him.

Irving has to retrieve the skull first, however, as he had it sent to a lab to be analyzed. And there, finally, he sees the Headless Horseman for the first time, and only manages to barely get away. RIP red shirt lab technician, we barely knew ye. Five decapitations in ten minutes – that has to be some kind of tv record. Irving is in shock that what Crane and Abbie have been telling him turns out to be true, but leaves them to have at the skull.

And here’s where we get our Breaking Bad style montage of Crane and Abbie comically trying to destroy the skull – sledge hammers, acid, dynamite – but nothing is working. Finally Abbie wants to take the skull to a junkyard, but as they’re leaving Crane notices four ‘lanterns’ hanging outside that were not there before. Hmmm, where have we noticed four things before? Yes, the lanterns turn out to be the heads of the four free masons, which have been lit up and topped off with silver.

Abbie too nonchalantly takes them down (normal small-town police work?) and Crane states that Paul Revere had lined the top of his lanterns with silver so that they would be brighter and better seen. He then recounts how Revere had a manuscript on him with a symbol – the same symbol the horseman has. Therefore whatever information was in that manuscript was crucial to defeating the horseman. Luckily for them, the manuscript is stored in the history museum, where Crane schools a museum tour guide on the facts of Paul Revere. Unluckily for them, the manuscript was loaned to a British museum a 3-month journey by sea! but has been scanned online.

Here we are treated to Crane dealing with ‘the internet’ and computers, and not being able to turn off sexy video online chat; I can’t describe how quirky and delightful these scenes are where Crane has to adjust to modern life. And like I said before, I could watch an entire episode like this. Abbie patiently humors him and then rushes off to cancel her coffee with ex Morales. Yes, this uninteresting character is still around, but good thing for her that Brooks managed to scare him off by telling him to stay away from Abbie. Oh, so you’re going to let a guy who came back from the dead scare you away from a girl? I knew this guy wasn’t worth it. Brooks also pops up in the sewer to warn Abbie that they can’t kill the horseman because he is death; he can only be captured.

Crane comes to the same conclusion after deciphering the manuscript, with a code word ‘Cicero’ that Revere had placed in silver in the horseman’s skull. The only way to contain him is through sunlight, or as Abbie easily rationalizes, UV light. With Irving’s help they set a trap for the horseman, and we get another delightful conversation with Abbie and Irving asking Crane how Thomas Jefferson could write the Declaration of Independence and yet own slaves. And poor Crane discovers that not only was Jefferson not a loyal husband, but he took one of Crane’s quotes as his own! Who knew American history could be so fun?

At sundown Crane lures the horseman into the sewers, and the three set up decoy skulls to confuse him, and then finally they spring their trap of UV light, and the horseman starts twitching, Crane puts on some shackles, and then… episode end. Are they going to continuously have the UV light on him 24/7? Is he going to turn into a pile of ash? Don’t know, he’s just twitching and that’s where we abruptly cut off. Much like this episode recap.

Bonus Crane adjusting to 21st century dialogue:

Crane: Why not drink from one of the the thousands of taps around town, or, the lake?

Abbie: Well, tap water’s got chemicals in it. The lake, you don’t want to know.

Crane: The extent to which your generation has defiled this earth is truly mind boggling.

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