Television: Sleepy Hollow, "The Sin Eater"

The start of this episode, which takes place at a local baseball game, reminds me of how my Dutch friend Marieke and I used to go watch the Red Sox play. This was back when you could still walk up to the window and buy a cheap ticket, before every game was sold out. Neither of us knew anything about baseball, so we asked a guy sitting next to us to explain what was going on. Years later I was able to do the same for a group of Irish visitors, though they seemed chiefly amused at Trot Nixon and burst into laughter every time his name was announced.

Anyway, "The Sin Eater" begins with Abbie explaining not so much the technicalities of baseball to Crane as why she loves it: tradition, teamwork, and the fact that it is a democratic game in which anyone can play and hope to do well.

Meanwhile, I'm left still wondering why Crane still dresses like a Ren Faire worker. And does he have a trunk filled with this garb or what? (Did I miss that part?) Do people in Sleepy Hollow now just consider him the whack job that thinks he's from the Revolutionary era? I mean, I can dig the cool coat, but get the man some modern threads. Right?

On another note, as a PSA: Don't have visions and drive.

Okay, so after all this, the core of the episode is that Crane has been abducted just when he's most needed because the Headless Horseman is coming back and only the two witnesses (Crane and Abbie) can defeat him. If one witness is missing . . .

Do we know for sure Crane and Abbie are the witnesses? I guess this episode will serve up the definitive answer.

Now, because Crane and the Horseman are tied by their blood having been mingled in battle, one cannot be harmed without the other also being harmed. So what we need is a Sin Eater to untangle the two from one another. So the Horseman can be stopped without Crane being, er, stopped along with him.

[James Frain's nose has always bothered me. Just feel the need to point that out.]

Here Frain plays Rutledge, descendent of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. And now we're also looping in the Freemasons. (Hey, I did the ring thing in one of my stories . . .)

Flashback to Crane, as a Red Coat (this is before he switched sides), and his first meeting with then-Quaker Katrina. But Rutledge is interested in Crane's interrogation of Arthur Bernard and how Bernard spoke the words "order from chaos" to him before dying. (And Crane seeing his commanding officer appear as some kind of pig-nosed demon immediately brings to mind Dean Koontz's Twilight Eyes. But I'll take the demons over the excruciating love story between Crane and Katrina.)

Abbie and her sister are trying to figure out who would have taken Crane and where. And Abbie admits her bond with Crane as someone with whom she feels she belongs; he gives her purpose.

Anyhow, they end up finding the guy from Fringe (John Noble). He takes on the identities of dead death-row inmates. Is the titular Sin Eater. And he also knows where Crane is. He gives Abbie and Jenny vague clues, but they seem to know exactly where to look.

Crane passes Rutledge's test. Turns out the Freemasons had been working with Katrina's coven, but then Katrina went against them all by hiding Crane's body. See, Crane needed—needs—to die to end the Headless Horseman. Like Arthur Bernard (or Spock, if only Crane knew who that was), Rutledge and the Brotherhood expect Crane to make the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good.

But then Abbie and Jenny arrive. And Abbie tells Crane about the Sin Eater.

[Insert overwrought drama in which Abbie attempts to convince Crane to come with her to see the Sin Eater while Crane insists the better part of valor is for him to kill himself, thus killing the Horseman.]

Crane drinks whatever poison or potion the Freemasons have given him, which I guess is supposed to kill him.

But the Sin Eater arrives just in time. Saves Crane and relieves him of guilt in one fell swoop. (Also turns into Arthur Bernard, but that's kind of like a side effect or something.) Oh, and finally severs Crane's tie to the Horseman by separating their blood.

So there's that, at least.

Way too much Katrina in this episode. It's truly painful to watch any scene she's in. Not sure if it's the actress or the character or both, but there is zero chemistry between her and Crane, and she was equally stiff when playing against Abbie. I'm hoping we'll be able to free her from limbo and send her off into the light before long. (Seems more likely they'd find a way to bring her into the present and try to make some kind of awkward triangle, though I sincerely hope not; besides being banal and predictable, it would not work to anyone's, or the show's, benefit.)

As for the way Captain Irving continues to hang back . . . It does lead one to wonder why, and whether there is anything deeper going on. Sinister? Because skepticism is no excuse not to perform one's duties . . . Unless those duties are somewhat different than the norm.

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