SLEEPY HOLLOW 1.5: “John Doe”

SHdoe02I normally do not like “infection” stories because they’re always so predictable: Our heroes encounter a strange disease, one of them gets infected and lies on the verge of death until a miracle antidote cures everyone at the last second. Can you think of an example where that doesn’t happen?

Well, that’s pretty much what we got from SLEEPY HOLLOW this week — a paint-by-numbers contagion story. But it was filtered through the show’s own particularly madcap mythos, so I didn’t really mind it all that much.

A little boy named Thomas (Matthew Lintz) somehow finds himself transported from the long-lost Roanoke Island colony to present-day Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., but he’s carrying a strange plague that causes black veins to cover a person’s body. And, unknown to everyone else, he is paving the way for Pestilence, another of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (known to his pals as Conquest). Ichabod (Tom Mison) almost instantly diagnoses the boy’s time-travel problem (screw the disease) and convinces Abbie (Nicole Beharie) — who thinks Thomas is just a missing kid from a milk carton — to follow him into the woods to search for the gateway 400 years into the past.

SHdoe01Ichabod spots a clever path that enables them to seemingly walk on water to a small island — where they discover the Roanoke Colony populated by people all with the same illness, but they are all also healthy. Thomas’ father says the Horseman of Pestilence infected the town, but the ghost of the first woman to die led them to his place, where they are magically protected. Ichabod deduces that Thomas must be brought back to the island to be cured — and if he dies in the modern world, the Horseman will be free to spread his plague everywhere.

Back at Westchester Memorial Hospital, Ichabod falls ill and is put into quarantine. Abbie convinces Irving to help her bust the boy and Ichabod out of quarantine, but he refuses. When Abbie is inspired by a font of holy water to realize the colony’s spring is the source of the antidote, she goes back to Irving, who now agrees to run interference for her because the episode is almost over. She steals an ambulance with the two victims in it and goes to the woods, where a dying Ichabod carries Thomas back to the village. Ichy plunges into the well with the boy, and the water instantly cures them and disintegrates the Horseman. Irving calls to say every infected patient in town has recovered, too. Then everybody in the colony disappears because, as Ichabod realizes, they were all dead all along. Meanwhile, the Headless Horseman rises from the river and rides again…

SHdoe03Yeah, well, the whole colony being dead the whole time smacks a little too much of network interference, perhaps by someone who just Netflixed The Sixth Sense and thought it was cool. It didn’t really serve any purpose other than to be confusing: the ghosts all had a disease? And why did they suddenly decide to walk off into the mists at that moment, as opposed to any other time? And was the Roanoke colony time-locked in the past, or had they been surviving (dead) there into the 21st century? (I would put the Doctor on the case, but this is small potatoes.)

Ichabod moving into Sheriff Corbin’s isolated old cabin is a good idea. He will feel more comfortable surrounded by wooden logs than cheap motel paintings. Plus, it increases the chances of visitation by aliens. (What? That’s season two? Oh, okay…)

The other creepy place that Ichabod visits is purgatory, which is where it turns out Katrina (Katia Winter) is being held — by Moloch, no less, who is the ruler there. She hints she committed some “crime,” but that may just be that she pissed off Moloch. But maybe she’s a bad witch after all?

The scene with Ichabod speaking Middle English to the kid was very entertaining. Once again, we are incredibly lucky that Ichabod is a history professor! And speaks yet another language in addition to English, German and Latin (he did read Latin at one point, didn’t he?). I’m sure he also counts French and smattering of Italian in his linguistic arsenal.

shdoe04I like that Captain Irving decided to stop being a dick and accept that, for whatever reason, Abbie and Ichabod handle shit, so he should maybe cut them some slack. He even protects the duo from Abbie’s troglodyte ex, Luke (Nicholas Gonzalez) when starts poking around in Ichy’s backstory.

Matthew Lintz, who played Thomas, is the brother of Mackenzie Lintz, who played the doomed Sophia on THE WALKING DEAD, and is now on UNDER THE DOME.

This episode was directed by Ernest R. Dickerson, who used to be Spike Lee’s cinematographer, and has now directed a lot of TV, including THE WALKING DEAD, DEXTER and TREME.

QUOTABLE

“By all means, we’ll ‘spackle.’” — Ichabod

“I can tell you this. [Thomas] Jefferson had an obsession with puns and [John] Adams kept a notebook of unsavory limericks.” — Ichabod

“I’m afraid your so-called ‘smart phone’ couldn’t tell you that.” — Ichabod

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Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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