Sleepy Hollow Review: The Sin Eater


by Haylee Fisher (@haylee_fisher)

Sleepy Hollow is finally back! After taking some time off for baseball, the show returned with its midseason episode and it was just as crazypants as ever. And by crazypants, I mean amazing. You would be hard-pressed to find something wrong with this episode. From the introduction of a new character (John Noble’s Henry Parrish) to witnessing the first meeting of Ichabod and Katrina, the hour packed a punch.

Am I leaving something out you say? Oh, that’s right, there was an Ichabod and Abbie hug! Shippers ‘round the world squealed in that moment and I can’t say I blame them. It was a sweet moment following Ichabod’s harrowing threat of death, though I knew he couldn’t actually die since the show has been picked up for season two! How great is that news?!

Anyway, the possibility of romance is not the only thing that happened in the episode. In fact, it was probably the least important part!

At the beginning of the episode, Abbie and Ichabod attend a local baseball game together. Abbie offers to drive Ichabod home after it’s over, but he decides to walk. But to his home he does not go. Instead, he goes to visit Katrina’s grave. (Side note – does it bother anyone else that Katrina’s headstone is so easy to read when she is supposed to have died in the 1800’s?) While there, he realizes he’s being watched, only it’s too late. A tranquilizer dart hits him, a bag is put over his head, and he is kidnapped.

Meanwhile, Abbie seemingly falls asleep at the wheel. While in her creepy dream-like state, she is visited by Katrina who tells her she must find a sin eater because Ichabod’s blood link to the Horseman will mean his death before the next sundown.

Obviously in a rush, Abbie teams up with Jenny, who has been granted temporary furlough from the psychiatric hospital, to find this mysterious character. Because of Jenny’s previous work with the late Sheriff Corbin, this doesn’t actually take too long and they discover the Sin Eater actually lives one state over! What a coincidence!

(By the way, a sin eater is someone who cleanses people by literally removing and eating their sins. Yup.)

When they arrive at the aforementioned Parrish’s house, he tells the two he doesn’t do that any more, but Abbie’s bond with Ichabod is so strong, he is able to figure out where Ichabod is being held and sends them to go rescue him.

Now here’s where the episode gets weird (as if it hadn’t already been). Ichabod turns into a regular Sherlock Holmes when he discovers members of the Freemasons have kidnapped him. He deduces this by observing his captor’s cufflinks. CUFFLINKS! No wonder the police keep him around. As it turns out, Ichabod is a Mason himself and his survival depends on whether he can prove his own identity.

They ask him where he first heard the phrase “ordo ab chao” – “order from chaos” in Latin. This leads to a series of flashbacks telling the story of Ichabod’s first meeting with Katrina when he is tasked with interrogating a freed slave named Arthur Bernard who is charged with printing a document supporting American rebellion. While she’s there, Ichabod thinks he sees a demon (in the form of his commanding officer!) and she later tells him he’s the Chosen One she’s been searching for.

Ichabod’s colonel then commands him to execute Bernard, but he decides to let him go free. Bernard tells him to go find Katrina, tell her the words “ordo ab chao,” and she will know where his loyalties lie. But lo and behold, Ichabod’s colonel is there and witnesses all of this. He shoots Bernard himself and promptly turns into a demon. Because of the impending arrival of other Redcoats, though, he disappears. He then tells Katrina the password and they live happily ever after.

Or not.

Ever since then, Bernard’s death has weighed heavily on Ichabod. He believes that if he had acted sooner, Bernard wouldn’t have died. That, he says, is his sin.

Because his story matches the one Katrina (!) wrote, the Masons believe Ichabod is who he says he is. His kidnapping ringleader, Rutledge, tells Ichabod Katrina used to work side-by-side with the Freemasons until she betrayed them by hiding his body. If they had his body, you see, the Horseman could finally die. Because of their blood tie, neither can live while the other survives – if Ichabod is killed, the Horseman will die as well.

So this is why they have kidnapped Ichabod. They want him to drink a poison and sacrifice his life for the greater good. He does it, but not before Abbie comes rushing in to try to convince him otherwise. He has made up his mind, though, and they share a touching moment before his “death.”

But, ah ha! The Sin Eater is here to save the day! He bleeds Ichabod’s hand to free him from the Horseman, they chant a little bit, and then the Sin Eater literally eats the Horseman’s half of the blood with a bit of bread. Yuck.

Oh, by the way, the Horseman is still alive. After all of that, he rides to Ichabod’s grave and finds him not there. Uh oh.

Yeah, so all of that happened in an hour. Like I said, crazypants. But it was SO GOOD. I don’t know if it was because we were deprived of the show during the hiatus, but it just seemed better. Not that it hasn’t always been great, but they’re just on a roll now. So much happened to propel the plot forward and yet still left questions unanswered. There was also the gross-out factor we’ve come to know and love of the Sin Eater having a bread-and-dip-tasting with the Horseman’s blood. And like I said, Ichabod and Abbie were so sweet together in the face of his death.

Did you enjoy the episode as much as I did? I’ll be back to recap the January 20th finale and I can’t wait to discuss what twists and turns the show will bring to finish out its 13-episode season!

    One Comment

  1. ScottNovember 8th, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Finally got to this episode. I thought it was pretty good. I felt like Jenny was thrown in there to remind us that she is still a character in the show. Past that, I LOVE BACKSTORIES (for reference, my favorite Chuck episode is Chuck vs. the Alma Mater). I love knowing where Ichabod is from and how he came to distrust the British (like he really needed a reason….*snicker*). I’ve enjoyed pretty much every minute of this show and this episode wasn’t an exception. Looking forward to next week.

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