For its first few episodes Sleepy Hollow followed a specific pattern to which viewers have surely gotten accustomed. First, Abbie or Crane has a dark vision or dream that is soon confirmed by some gruesome death in the town of Sleepy Hollow. The rest of the episode consists of the two solving the mystery or crime with the help of Crane’s flashbacks to the Revolutionary War, as well as guidance from his wife, Katrina, who continues to bewitch from another realm. But this week we were thrown a few welcome curveballs with episode six, “The Sin Eater.”
Instead of opening with a foreboding vision, we find ourselves at a Little League baseball game watching Abbie try to school Crane on the glory that is America’s favorite pastime. As the duo exit the game together you can’t help but notice a new tenderness developing between them. It’s not yet clear whether or not the closeness is entirely platonic, but the moment works as a bit of a prelude to the episode’s climax. We know by now that the two have an intense connection, but it’s important that the writers continue to allow the characters to slowly explore this connection, if only to keep this subtle, almost romantic air about the story.
The following scene is a bit predictable as Crane insists on separating from Abbie to visit Katrina’s grave in the cemetery. It’s basically that moment in every slasher film ever where the crew decides to break off because their chances of survival somehow increase if they’re alone in a creepy dark place? We know what’s coming and—sure enough—Crane gets shot with a tranquilizer dart and is taken away. Luckily, Katrina comes to Abbie (who’s driving to the mellow sounds of Billie Holiday) in the first vision of the episode and tells her that Crane is in danger and his only hope for survival lies in a being known as the Sin Eater.
It has to be said that Nicole Beharie’s Abbie character is great, but she’s brought to new heights alongside her sister, Jenny (played by Lindie Greenwood). We all love a good wild card, and when Abbie has to go to the asylum to get Jenny a 24-hour pass, we know it’s about to get good. Jenny’s the one who already has experience tracking the Sin Eater, but she hasn’t been successful, yet. (Abbie quips that this is because the two of them haven’t teamed up yet.) And sure enough, they eventually figure out that the Sin Eater (whose name says it all—he absolves the sins of others by literally swallowing physical representations of those sins) has been visiting death row inmates before their executions, imbibing their sins, then taking on their identities.
Like previous episodes, “The Sin Eater” has obvious biblical overtones. Crane is kidnapped by fellow Freemasons, who want him to sacrifice himself for the good of the world. Since he and the Headless Horseman are forever linked, he can rid the world of great evil if he takes himself out of the equation permanently. But before Crane makes this decision he has a series of flashbacks to his time in England just as he was being introduced to other realms, when he first met Katrina. It turned out that he had been carrying around an oppressive guilt because he was unable to save the life of a fellow officer, and that guilt was even more dangerous than his connection to the Horseman. When the Sin Eater (tracked down by Abbie and Jenny) finally decided to show up and absolve Crane’s sins, he had to first teach Crane that self-forgiveness rather than self-sacrifice would release him from the evil of the Horseman.
Before the arrival of the Sin Eater, Crane had resigned himself to taking his own life, resulting in yet another intense moment with Abbie, who begs him not to do it even though there appeared to be no other option. Which leaves us with a few questions for next week:
—Are these two headed for a hook-up?
—If so, how jealous will Abbie’s ex-boyfriend and fellow officer be about all this? (He’s been pretty annoyed with Crane as of late.)
—More importantly, how jealous would Katrina the witch be?
(Okay truthfully, we don’t foresee any hooking up in the future; Abbie and Crane are basically the new Olivia and Elliot or Mulder and Scully … although this may or may not support the no-hooking-up theory).
Favorite Quote of the Episode: “You wanna get biblical?” (Abbie)