'Sleepy Hollow' recap: X marks the spot in 'Kali Yuga'

Nick Hawley gets a sad orphan backstory as his goth godmother-turned-demon comes to town in 'Sleepy Hollow'

Let’s cut right to the chase of this week’s episode of the supernatural, sci-fi buddy cop drama “Sleepy Hollow.” Wait for it you did, hormone-charged fans of Nick Hawley, and in the hour dubbed “Kali Yuga” you got what you so desperately wanted: a naked-from-the-waist-up Matt Barr.

You’re welcome, says Fox.

The cynics among us might think that the episode existed solely to shed Hawley’s ever-present Henley and show off his pecs. Nice eight-pack, by the way, says anyone with a pulse. But there’s plenty more to recommend “Kali Yuga.”

A few highlights:

Lt. Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie): Nice pipes, and great song choice in “Crazy,” the Gnarls Barkley edition.

Jenny Mills (Lyndie Greenwood): Just when we think she may be going soft because she’s crushing on Hawley, she smashes some pawnbroker’s face into a glass display cabinet. Never change, Jenny.

Carmilla (guest star Jaime Murray): As monster of the week, she’s a welcome adversary as a dead/undead vetala, a creature with acidic venom claws that has sprung, somehow, from the Hindu goddess of death and regeneration, Kali.

Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison): So he’s not good at everything, after all, but what he lacks in karaoke skills he makes up for with (tone deaf) earnestness.

Frank Irving (Orlando Jones): Still alive! His wife, Cynthia (Jill Marie Jones): Happy?

Henry Knox: So, Fort Knox is named after a gambling addict who died in debt? Yes, according to “Sleepy Hollow” twistory.

Ichabod and Katrina (Katia Winter): They don’t have anything to talk about but “Mary Poppins,” so that overhaul of their marriage seems to be coming along nicely, ha ha.

Ichabod and Abbie: They’ve been out of sorts as a crime-fighting duo, and they fess up to failings on both sides. Not only that, but they commit to strengthening their ties. “Proud Mary” duet coming right up!

On to the sequence of events of this Hawley-centric episode, which reveals that our resident surfer dude-antiquities dealer is a sad little orphan whose sexy and lethal godmother raised him from a pup. So, that’s not creepy at all.

That “relative” shows up in Sleepy Hollow to reveal that she’s still up to her old Fagin-esque tricks, asking Hawley to help her swipe an artifact from a local descendant of Henry Knox. And by the way, she’s now a razor-toothed monster in addition to being a murderer who made Hawley circle the globe to escape her a decade ago.

It’s his fault that she’s now a vetala, she tells Hawley, because she followed him and landed in Mumbai and some tribe turned her into a teleporting talon-sporting beast.

She needs a one-of-a-kind Kali statue from the Knox estate to become human again. No one believes this setup, right?

Hawley, seemingly fearing for his life, steals the Knox mansion’s blueprints from Good Guy HQ and takes Carmilla to an antiquities swap meet at Knox’s joint that looks like a cross between “Eyes Wide Shut” and a Bollywood flick.

Push a couple of hidden levers and, voila, Carmilla is in the vault pawing the six-armed dollar-store trinket that’s supposed to return her to her old self, as if that’s a good thing anyway.

But not only does she double-cross Hawley – she’s really just interested in turning him into a vetala playmate – but she and Hawley also lock the pursuing Ichabod and Abbie in the booby-trap laden vault. Jenny’s locked in a closet. Insert sad trombone music here.

Is Hawley just trying to put as much distance between Carmilla and his friends as possible? Is he sacrificing himself to save them? Fans of Hawley would probably say so, but the rest of us don’t assume any noble motives from this doofus.

The vault scene gives our heroes, Ichabie, time to parse the current state of their relationship, which is none too good because of wires crossed and secrets kept. They’re just not communicating like they once did, and Abbie wonders if their partnership will ever recover. Crane agrees that their Witness bond has been “sorely tested.”

And no one suspects that Ichabod’s stated goal of reviving his marriage to his “witch wife,” as Abbie derisively describes her, has any role here? Come on.

Ichabie finesse their way out of the vault, avoiding a replay of the “Star Wars” trash compactor scene minus the robot, reunite with Jenny and chase after Hawley. They’re intent on saving him, or just killing Carmilla, with what they’ve figured out should be an iron-and-fire assault.

Side note to Ford, a “Sleepy Hollow” sponsor: Sure, we saw all those long, loving commercial-style beauty shots of the Mustang throughout this episode, with Crane’s lead foot challenging its horsepower. Nice Foley effects! Now, be less obvious.

There’s a showdown, as always, and Ichabie and Jenny dispense with Carmilla’s two minions. She’s turned them into vetalas (vetali?) as a test run for Hawley’s transformation. She’s even marked his bare chest – man fur! – with an X.

Even with the right weapons, the A-Team can’t manage to kill Carmilla, who crashes though a wall and disappears into the night. Think she’ll show up again?

Meantime, Katrina agreed to so a “supernatural exam” on Frank Irving to see if he’s still in the clutches of evil, a.k.a. Henry Parrish. Since everything about Frank’s reappearance is fishy, as is his full exoneration from all those nasty criminal charges, it’s no surprise that this once-over is completely suspect, too.

Katrina keeps looking over her shoulder at Frank’s wife while doing some witchy stuff and making poor Frank recall his life’s more violent moments. She declares him free of the Horseman of War, but not before asking about Henry, her son, because she thinks he’s still alive.

Frank and his wife believe her, and they’re overjoyed that his soul is his own. Again, no one else is going for this, right? The foreshadowing: Frank doesn’t see his reflection in the window, just a dark blob.

Hawley, once again busting into the A-Team’s archival fort, says goodbye to Jenny because he plans to track down Carmilla. And he feels sort of bad about the lying and the danger, etc., etc. Jenny says she understands why he never lets anyone get too close, seeing that his surrogate mom is a killing machine-Hindu demon. He’s leaving. Who cares?

If we’re keeping track, and it’s not that simple, really, there’s now another on-the-loose fiend. Add that to Orion, the evangelistic angel, Henry and plenty of others and there’s enough to fuel the rest of the season.

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