Let’s spend some quality time with the sisters Mills, because you know what that means, “Sleepy Hollow” fans. Supernatural beings will get their bums kicked, Abbie and Jenny style, and that’s a pleasure to behold.
Again, showrunners who are seemingly responding to the social media chatter around the quirky Fox sci-fi buddy cop drama, thanks a ton!
Abbie and Jenny, who still struggle with traumatic events from their childhood, readily admit they have mommy issues. Lori Mills, after all, went a little batty and ended up in the Tarrytown mental ward where she took her own life. The girls went shuttling off to foster care, and “the system” was not kind to them.
As a result, Jenny’s bitter, especially after her own involuntary stay in that same local psych hospital. Abbie is searching for answers after being in denial for so long. They both work out some demons, the gut-wrenching kind, and get some hang time with (ghost) mom while thwarting this week’s monster, who happens to be a long-dead “angel of mercy” preying on Tarrytown patients.
And any episode dubbed, “Mama,” wouldn’t be complete without a peek into Katrina’s day-to-day at Casa Dastardly, where she’s seeing baby Moloch as a cuddle-worthy tiny human by way of a perception spell cast on her. (As viewers, we can spy his adorable and abominable sides). But she starts to realize that the infant-turned-tow-headed-youngster-overnight is infecting her in more ways than one. Devil’s breath, indeed.
Though this has nothing to do with his mom but everything to do with shedding the ties that bind, Frank Irving busts out of Tarrytown. There’s space in your trunk, right, Abbie?
So, all in all, an event-filled hour.
Now to the cold open, which fans have come to expect will often be either a flashback or a dream. This time up? Dream it is for Lt. Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie), who’s so overworked she falls asleep on her Henry/End Days/Moloch research. She finds herself back in purgatory, bumping into her mother and hearing an endearing old song.
When she startles awake, she sees a snot-nosed flu-ridden Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison), who claims that he can keep going because he “fought at Saratoga with dysentery.” He might have, but he’s out of commission for most of this episode while the ladies do their thing. He also discovers the soothing value of matzo ball soup, conveniently drugged by Nick “Opportunist” Hawley. Night night, Crane.
Sheriff Reyes, who went from adversary to ally in one violent warehouse bust a few episodes back, calls on Abbie to solve the Tarrytown problem. Three patients have killed themselves in the last three days, busting all previous suicide records for the joint.
Abbie recruits Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood) as her formerly-inside investigator and before they can say, “Who lets a mental patient have a rope?” they see on the hospital’s video surveillance that their mom’s spirit plays witness to a hanging. Or is she the instigator?
And it’s noteworthy that Abbie also brings in Hawley (Matt Barr) for this mission, with the mercenary artifacts dealer getting in one good Crane dig – he calls him Mr. Woodhouse – and having a blade handy when needed. Still, he’s more than decoration but less than full-fledged partner.
But back to Mom.
Lori Mills, as it turns out, just seemed crazy when she was alive. (Motto for her kids: Eyes open, heads up, trust no one.) It’s only recently that the Mills sisters found out their mother was tormented by Moloch and his minions. Lithium, electroshock and other extreme means of calming her didn’t work because she wasn’t delusional. She was haunted.
Abbie surmises that the demons are manipulating her again, resurrecting her from the grave and using her to nudge unbalanced folks over the edge. Lori’s actually trying to clue them in, by popping up at a suicide-attempt scene, that a demonic, drug-dispensing Nurse Lambert is the culprit.
There’s some cool teleportation in this episode, with Abbie beaming from one spot in Tarrytown to another so she can gather intel from her mom.
Lori Mills (guest star Aunjanue Ellis) had been babbling about an anti-healer named Nurse Lambert during her Tarrytown days, according to a video Abbie and Jenny dig up, but shrinks told her no such person existed. Abbie knows better because she just met Lambert in the hospital hallway, and a quick Google search returns the “angel of mercy” news clip. That healthcare worker, who offed a bunch of sick people decades ago, died in the electric chair in 1959.
How to combat this alive-again killer? With a hex from Lori’s diary-magic-spell book, which still sits, carefully catalogued, in the neatest hospital storage room in the world. Just as every place is in striding distance in Sleepy Hollow, so is critical information within arm’s reach. Go with it. And that book? It’s a hand-me-down from a powerful ancestor, Grace Dixon, who has history with the Cranes. Remember her name -- it’ll likely come up again in future episodes.
Jenny hits that spell hard as Nurse Lambert tries her murder-by-proxy routine on Abbie. (She’d done the same with Irving, who narrowly escapes from drowning with an Abbie-Jenny-Hawley last-minute save). Lori Mills steps in to protect Abbie, and soon enough, evil nurse combusts.
Abbie’s not ready to celebrate and demands more face time with her mom. Conjure her, Jenny! The dutiful sister does as she’s told and Lori imparts a few cryptic details: she knew that Abbie was a Witness, but can’t say why she was chosen. Abbie is meant to win the war, and the weapons are in the pages of the journal.
Tarrytown had been Lori’s version of purgatory, but now she’s free. The Mills women shed many tears.
Over at Evil HQ, Henry’s already berated Katrina for her unconventional parenting style (read: abandonment) and challenges her to turn over a new maternal leaf with baby Moloch. And yet, what’s that look on his face as she coos and hugs the little devil? Is that jealousy? Second thoughts? Regret?
There’s already a rift between Henry (John Noble) and the Headless Horseman. Could there be another blossoming between Henry and Moloch? Wouldn’t that be intriguing?
Crane hair watch: still down and loose for the third episode in a row and, OK, a little scraggly. Give him a break, he’s sick.