The combination of historical references, the return of the Headless Horseman, Captain Irving's discovery of the truth and more amusing Ichabodisms than any viewer could wish for made Sleepy Hollow Season 1 Episode 7 the best of the season - and a near-perfect hour of television.
The only detractors were little plot lines that seemed unnecessary to this particular hour, but will likely mean more in future episodes, but that's not stopping me from rating it a perfect 5 stars.
One of the things that is so enjoyable about Sleepy Hollow is its ability to toss history lessons into a well-written episode of television. They aren't always 100% accurate, since Ichabod Crane wasn't there all the time and Paul Revere wasn't likely being chased by Death, but it's been suggested that what we learned long ago about about "The British are coming!" was completely untrue.
Ichabod was not only right in that some of them were, in fact, British, but also screaming out who was on the way would be a bit defeatist, wouldn't it? The conversation about Thomas Jefferson cheating on his wife with Sally Hemings was another highlight, and Abbie kicked him while he was down after telling him Jefferson even stole a quote of which he was particularly proud.
The running gag throughout the hour about the water didn't get old, even as Ichabod ignored Abbie's warning about tap water while annoyingly schlurping through a straw, making Abbie laugh during an otherwise tense evening of Horseman hunting. All that business about tap water v. bottled? Not the most accurate as a lot of bottled water comes straight from the tap. Tis true.
Since Ichabod was freed from his connection to the Headless Horseman, Abbie and Ichabod were ready to use the masons and whatever knowledge they had to meet him head on, drag him out and conquer him. Unfortunately, the Horseman thought they held his head and the masons were themselves beheaded. Should we assume James Frain has bitten the dust again?
Captain Irving came through for the witnesses on a whole new level, first by buying them time and then by agreeing to get the head of the Horseman so they could destroy the evidence. Even though he didn't fully understand what was happening, he gave them the benefit of the doubt. By doing that, he was given the full picture of what was before them.
You have to wonder if Irving doesn't have some connection to the witnesses that kept him safe upon leaving the lab, because a lesser man would have been killed. He no longer has a shred of doubt remaining about what lies before them regarding the end of days, and hopefully it's the beginning of a new partnership to help save Sleepy Hollow. He sure reacted normally, as with this Sleepy Hollow quote:
Irving: I need to fill out a report. I need to call the Governor.
Ichabod: What are you going to tell him?
Irving: What do you think I'm going to tell him? The Headless Horseman is mowing people down to bring about the end of days? For further questions, call Ichabod Crane, the man who beheaded him in 1781?
Their plan to make a lot of phony skulls and to trap the Headless Horseman in the caves below Sleepy Hollow and shower him with faux sunlight (thank you 21st Century!) was a pretty good one, and was driven in part by the return of Andy Brooks, who's caught between life and death. I wouldn't call it purgatory. Who knows what it is?
Brooks met with Morales and told him to stay away from Abbie, as he was the only one who could help her survive the end of days. Brooks appears to have maintained some self control despite his communication with the Horseman, and is intent on helping now that he has that window into both worlds. But I don't understand why he would tell Morales to stay away. There must be more to come.
The plan, once in motion, gave way for a recreation of the famous scene we all remember from Washington Irving's short story - Ichabod Crane riding through the cemetery as the Headless Horseman chased him on horseback. Brilliant!
They have the Headless Horseman trapped now and it seems they're going to attempt to interrogate him. Something tells me that will be an interesting approach to take with Death. How do you ask questions about the apocalypse? Surely he has minions of some sort that will come to his aid. Keeping him from his head was just a bit too easy this early in the game.
It doesn't matter. "The Midnight Ride" was satisfying on every level. It was quite literally firing on every cylinder. It didn't slow down or take a break from start to finish, and that's what good television is all about.
Hit the comments. What did you love? What do you think comes next and most importantly - what was your favorite Ichabodism?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.