The crazy-quilt trip through American history continues, with SLEEPY HOLLOW’s “real” story of Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride to warn the colonists that they were under siege. I think if history were taught like this is grade school, a lot more kids would pay attention. I know I would have!
Like the best such stories, there are nuggets of legitimate fact underneath the candy coating — for interest, Revers never shouted “The British are coming,” he discretely warned that “the Regulars are coming,” meaning the British fighting forces. And, of course, Paul Revere was hardly alone; he had supernatural cannon fodder two other guys helping.
Boston — April 18, 1775
Paul Revere (Paul Burke) and his fellow patriots are making their famous midnight ride to warn the colonists about the arrival of belligerent redcoats. The only problem is, the Hessian (Craig Branham) a.k.a. the Future Headless Horseman, suddenly takes up pursuit and chops off the noggins of Revere’s two compatriots. Luckily for history, Revere survives.
In the present day, Abbie (Nicole Beharie) and Ichabod (Tom Mison) are laying in supplies at the cabin to fight HH when he shows his face shoulders again. Ichabod decides to seek help from the Masons and Abbie goes to the station, where she runs into her ex, Luke (Nicholas Gonzalez), who wrangles a coffee date with her. At the Masons’ meetinghouse, Ichabod finds four decapitated brothers just as Abbie arrives — and they see the Headless Horseman ride off with the four heads in a bag. When Lt. Irving (Orlando Jones) arrives, he demands hard proof of this headless perp. Irving leaves and Ichabod realizes HH is still looking for his head — so he and Abbie must destroy it once and for all. Later that night, Andy Brooks (John Cho) warns Luke to stay away from Abbie because only Andy can protect her. To make his point, he threatens to blow Luke’s head off.
Ichy and Abbie return to the station, where they ask to destroy the skull they dug up a while back. Irving says he needs more evidence, not the little evidence they have being destroyed. Still, he’s intrigued enough to go to the wildlife department, where he asked pal Paul (Vince Pisani) to analyze the skull. Just as Paul reports that the skull contains no human tissue, the Headless Horseman (Richard Cetrone) shows up. Now Irving has more proof that he can handle! HH murders Paul, and Irving barely escapes alive. Irving meets Ichy and Abbie at the archives, but admits he doesn’t know what to tell the governor. Ichabod and Abbie try to destroy the skull immediately, but fail — it cannot be crushed, blown up or dissolved in acid.
Ichabod notices four strange lights, which turn out to be the heads of the Masons, illuminated by candles. He tells Abbie how, back in 1775, he was guarding a Freemason safe house when he saw Sam Adams give Paul Revere a manuscript detailing Masonic secrets — which must be why the Hessian chased Revere that night. And now the Headless Horseman figured the descendants of the Masons were going to give Ichabod the manuscript — which might contain the secret to destroying HH. The pair download a copy of the manuscript and Ichy sets about trying to crack the cypher while Abbie goes into the tunnels to cancel her date with Luke — but she is approached by Andy, who complains that he’s undead and Moloch won’t allow him to die, so he’s dedicating himself to protecting her. Back in his office, Ichabod realizes the key to the cypher is CICERO (a familiar name), and cracks the code. Ichy enters the tunnel and tells Andy to give HH a message: Meet him at the cemetery at nightfall if he wants his skull.
Ichabod knows how to trap HH: a witch must be summoned, and she will transform the moon into the sun. Abbie suggests using high-powered UV light to simulate the sun. As they set up a trap in the tunnels with Irving’s help, Ichy tells him that Thomas Jefferson created a supernatural cell for the Masons that will contain HH. At nightfall, the Horseman arrives at the cemetery and chases Ichabod, who carries the glowing skull. After a series of feints with fake skulls, Abbie lures HH (Jeremy Owens) into a certain room — where our heroes hit the lights, stunning the Headless Horseman! Ichabod shackles the supernatural baddie, and he is their prisoner.
This story made great use of Ichabod as the “fish out of water/time” with some fun strange new world jokes. My favorite bit was a flustered Ichabod crashing the tour at the Tarrytown Museum of Colonial History to correct the vapid guide’s spiel of apocryphal stories about part-time dentist Paul Revere. Here, Ichabod corrects the “British are coming “ line, and notes that, as a silversmith, Paul Revere would have made a terrible dentist!) Abbie dragged him away, claiming he hasn’t been taking his medication. LOL. Oh, and then there was Ichabod’s introduction to online pop-up smut and chat rooms in the online world he dubs the “Nin-nin-net.” Priceless. And I’m totally with Ichabod — paying for water in bottles is pure madness!
In more sober historical news, Ichy was horrified to learn that his pal Thomas Jefferson had cheated on his wife with his slave Sally Hemmings. And Ichy is horrified that TJ “stole” Ichabod’s quote about reading newspapers: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
Yes, three different actors portrayed aspects of the Headless Horseman in this episode. Branham performed the riding scenes; Cetrone handled the weapons during fights; and Owens was the “regular” HH.
“Rumors of my demise have been… pretty much true.” — Andy
“What do you think I’m going to tell [the governor]? 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.” — Irving
“Were you charged a fee for that [bottled] water? My God, it should be an inalienable right! Where do the courts fall on this?” — Ichabod
“Flummoxed by a foreign concept that resembles close to nothing of what you know? Can’t imagine how that feels.” — Ichabod