‘This Is War’ Review
And finally, we are here! We can now let go of our grievances and cliffhangers from the first season’s finale and move as the second season of Sleepy Hollow has premiered with a bang! But I won’t get ahead of myself. Let’s get a briefing of where things were left off last season before we happily discuss the second one. Ichabod Crane, a man who had been asleep for over 200 years, wakes up in a land he no longer recognizes. In the finale the revelation of Henry Parish as Jeremy Crane, Ichabod and Katrina’s son, was big, but the revelation of him as the second Horseman of the Apocalypse was even bigger. While on one hand we had the Horseman of War locking up Ichabod Crane in a pine box and sending Katrina off with the headless horseman (sons these days); on the other hand, the Jenny is seen flipping over in a car, courtesy of headless, and Captain Irving is held captive for murders he did not commit.
Now moving on to the first episode of the sophomore season, it begins with a time jump, starting a year after the events we had last witnessed. It’s Ichabod’s birthday and Abbie surprises him with a birthday cupcake. They grieve over their losses. The witness pair said that they have lost their loved ones and later we come to know that both Katrina and Jenny are killed by the hands of the headless horseman. The witness pair head off to attend another case the sheriff assigns them and when they reach the location, encountering decapitated bodies, they realize that the horseman had returned. As it turns out they are investigating the murder of a history professor, researching on Benjamin Franklin, whom Ichabod was an apprentice to. It was inconvenient for Ichabod as the Ben Franklin always had the urge to prove that he was the sharpest intellect in the room. In that very room, the witnesses find documents their enemies were looking for, literally dodge bullets from the horseman and get out of there in one piece.
As they go through he documents, Ichabod and Abbie figure out that the horseman was looking for a ‘key’ which Benjamin Franklin had under his possession. And as it turns out, the key is actually for opening the gate of the purgatory which can unleash Moloch on earth. However, the witnesses find no way to locate the key and they turn to one person they know should be able to help them. As it turns out, Henry is prisoned by them. He offers to read Abbie’s mind as she might have some information from the late Sheriff Corbin stored at the back of her mind. Abbie then remembers that Jenny mentioned Franklin’s sketchbook which Corbin has asked her to acquire. And right after this came the epic twist! Ichabod has the absurd sensation that he can recall no past memory of the last entire year, from the betrayal of Henry to his imprisonment. And then and there breaks the illusion creative the manipulative and brilliant Horseman of War. Apparently, this whole time, Henry was tricking the witnesses to believe that the Abbie had escaped purgatory and Ichabod had broken free from the pine box while none of that had yet occurred. But on the bright side, the Katrina and Jenny’s deaths hadn’t yet taken place either.
This twist was hands-down admirable. I love how Henry never carries out the disclosure of any great trick without dropping a few hints. In this scene too, Henry mentions that plants blooming in UV light is testament to the fact that, “Anything can be tricked into believing a lie.” Well done, Sleepy Hollow writers.
Henry is then off to look for the key and in the process, he requires the assistance of Jenny Mills who was brought back to health immediately to serve Henry’s purpose. While she is reluctant to help him, Henry is not one of those who need people’s cooperation to get information out of them. The horseman of war reaches out and reads her mind, finding out that the information he needs is wrapped in coded words which he will require to decipher. And until he found the key, he decided to keep Jenny alive.
Meanwhile, Ichabod finds out a way to create a blast using the sulfur over the box he is trapped in. And while Abbie is working on an escape plan herself, she encounters Andy Brooks! How relieved are we to see him? But not for long. Andy shows Abbie Moloch’s lair where there is a mirror she can use to communicate with the outside wall. Andy, once again, confesses of his affections for Abbie by stating that Moloch, who is currently preparing to get out of purgatory and launch hell of earth, will tear him to shreds when he finds out about Abbie. Jenny manages to escape and gets reunited with Ichabod, who also managed to rescue himself. Jenny is filled in on the details of her sister being in the purgatory and Katrina being prisoner to the headless. When Jenny hears about the key to the purgatory which can help rescue her sister, she realizes this is the same one Henry had been looking for. Ichabod looks at the coded message left by Franklin and realizes that it was written in the alphabet created by Ben Franklin which Ichabod was forced to study extensively. The message said that the key was left in Sleepy Hollow with the only one Ben Franklin believed in, that is, himself. Jenny quickly realizes where the key should be and they head off in the direction of the place consisting Benjamin Franklin’s statue. Abbie, in the meanwhile, manages to commute through the mirror and she pays Ichabod a visit. They discuss the current status and Abbie offers to sacrifice herself, if that’s what it takes to save the world. Ichabod insists, however, on coming back for her and tells her to get the charm Katrina gave her to protect herself against Moloch.
When Jenny and Ichabod reach the statue, they find the hessians are already digging all over, looking for the key. Crane suddenly remembers a statement of Franklin’s saying, “Key to success lies under the alarm clock.” They immediately look at the huge clock in the nearby building and right in the exterior of that very building, they find the key, hidden behind the bricks. Ichabod heads off to the purgatory to save Abbie but there he finds a doppelganger of himself, trying to puzzle Abbie Mills by giving her a potion to drink. But eventually Abbie differentiates between the two and decapitates the fake one, thanks to the authentic Ichabod’s distinct pronunciation of lieutenant. The witness duo then quickly manages to escape the purgatory, using the key which gets destroyed the moment they leave, leaving Moloch and his army behind.
As for Katrina, she is still held captive by the horseman of death, who puts on a charmed necklace on her so that Katrina can see him as Abraham instead of headless. She assures him that she will never submit to him but Abraham is clearly in denial. On the other hand, the other horseman, the horseman of war, aka, Henry Parish has gotten himself a brand new shadow self who he will control with his soul to execute the new plan Moloch has apparently cooked.
The first episode in no way was any less exciting than the last season’s finale episode. It actually felt like a continuation of the whole thing. Things were picked up right where we left them. I do believe his was an exceptional start to whole new season and something tells me this season might just turn out to be even better than the last one.