Tom Mison and Katia Winter in SLEEPY HOLLOW - Season 1 | ©2013 Fox/Brownie Harris

Tom Mison and Katia Winter in SLEEPY HOLLOW - Season 1 | ©2013 Fox/Brownie Harris

Stars: Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Orlando Jones, Katia Winter, John Cho, Lyndie Greenwood, Neil Jackson
Writers:
Mark Goffman & Phillip Iscove, series created by Phillip Iscove & Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & Len Wiseman
Director:
Paul Edwards
Network:
Fox, Mondays @ 9 PM
Original Airdate:
November 18, 2013

The “Necromancer” episode gives SLEEPY HOLLOW quite a few jolts in quick succession, affecting the characters, storyline and mythology and answering some questions while posing new ones. It’s a strong, intriguing episode, albeit it’s just a little lower on humor than this series customarily provides.

“Necromancer” picks up where last week’s “The Midnight Ride” left off, with the Horseman in chains, thwarted by ultraviolet light (the modern answer to bringing out the sun at night). Ichabod (Tom Mison), Abbie (Nicole Beharie) and Capt. Irving (Orlando Jones) all would like to question the demon, but of course it’s not easy getting answers from a body – even a lethal, fighting one – that doesn’t have a head.

Discovering there’s a threat to the local power station, Irving and Jenny head over there to protect it. Turns out this is a good idea, since the current crop of Hessians – followers of the Horseman’s leader, the demon Moloch – have targeted the place. The Hessians think they’ve got the drop on Irving, but Irving has the place surrounded with his officers.

The Horseman indeed speaks through Andy. We see flashbacks to Ichabod’s life, when he and his best friend Abraham (Neil Jackson) were charged with delivering the Declaration of Resolve (a precursor to the Declaration of Independence) to their leaders. Abraham is engaged to Katrina (Katia Winter), who we know will wind up married to Ichabod. We see that Ichabod loves Katrina, but of course will not interfere with the match – until Katrina tells him she has no intention of marrying Abraham and she’s calling off the engagement. Furthermore, she’s in love with Ichabod.

Ichabod keeps all this to himself, but Abraham ruminates on Katrina’s breaking of the engagement so much on the journey to deliver the resolves that Ichabod finally explains what’s going on. Bad move. Abraham insists on dueling Ichabod then and there; when Ichabod refuses, Abraham forces the matter. Abraham in fact gets the best of Ichabod and is about to run him through when the Hessians show up and shoot Abraham in the back. Unable to save his friend, all Ichabod can do is take the Resolves and run.

In the present, the Hessians set off a bomb that blows the power plant, causing a blackout – and shutting off the ultraviolet lights that are keeping the Horseman prisoner. Without the artificial sunlight, the Horseman breaks his chains and duels Ichabod. Ichabod recognizes the Horseman’s sword-fighting style and realizes the Horseman is actually the still-vengeful Abraham. Moloch has promised Katrina to Abraham, who says (through Andy), “Her soul will be mine.” Once again, Abraham overpowers Ichabod, but before the Horseman can kill his adversary, the demon is whisked away by other servants of Moloch, who doesn’t want Ichabod dead yet; the same Moloch wraiths also take Andy away.

Ichabod is encouraged by Abraham’s phrasing, “Her soul will be mine,” meaning that Katrina’s soul is not yet in his possession. This means, Ichabod hopes, that he can still save Katrina’s soul, that she is important to thwarting Moloch – and that the Horseman has an agenda separate from the Apocalypse that may be used against him.

Although it won’t be a good thing if SLEEPY HOLLOW gets overbalanced by solemnity, “Necromancer” is still an excellent episode. It manages to give the Horseman a very personal connection to Ichabod – something even the source material didn’t attempt – and opens up a whole new dimension as far as a plausible rift between the Horseman and Moloch that still doesn’t make Ichabod any safer. Moreover, any narrative in which a distinctive sword-fighting style is a major plot point deserves kudos.

With Abraham’s taunts and provocations, Ichabod very nearly loses control, a state that Mison plays very convincingly. Beharie’s steady common sense and cool under pressure make her Abbie a great character and, once again, it’s a pleasure to see Jones’ Irving in the thick of things.

“Necromancer” is a turning point in SLEEPY HOLLOW’s storytelling that works both on its own and as proof that the writers know where they are and where they’re going.

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