Sleepy Hollow S01E04: The Case Of The Exploding Hessian

[Ed. Note: Carmen Petaccio is a writer from New York City. He blogs regularly at and loves Sleepy Hollow.]

The date is December 16th 1773, and Alex Jones has just landed his time machine in the middle of The Boston Tea Party. As tea protestors and tea enthusiasts alike look on, he steps confidently from the machine’s anterior cockpit, wearing, like all the great time-traveling rhetoricians before him, a lizard mask and era-appropriate colonial tricorn hat. Armed only with probity, genius, and the truth, Alex vaults onto a nearby tea crate, turns to the stunned crowd, and asks the question that was on everyone’s mind then, and the question that’s been on everyone’s mind in the two-hundred fifty years since: “What do we really know about The Boston Tea Party?” He asks, “Really. WHAT. DO. WE. KNOW? Was it a party celebrating Bostonian tea makers? A tea party that happened to be in Boston? A The Party sponsored by Boston Tea? OR was it, as we all know, a diversion masterminded by George Washington to allow Ichabod Crane to steal a treasure chest from Hessians who wanted the demonology book inside to open up a portal to hell?” Alex cups his lizard chin assuredly in his hand and announces, “It’s the last thing. I rest my case!” Alex Jones rests his case. He climbs back into his time machine. It explodes. The battle resumes, and Sleepy Hollow begins. All is right with the world, then and now.

So, Ichabod is dashing (as in looking/as in running) through the blurriest of flashbacks (there were no contact lenses in the past, hence the blurriness), looking for the treasure chest and the soaking wet Hessian who is protecting it. After a bit of searching and a lot of blurriness, Ichabod and the other revolutionaries find the soaking wet Hessian in the hold of one of the terribly rendered CGI ships from Sid Meyer’s Pirates!. “Sorry, guys,” says the Hessian in his German Voldemort, “I can’t give you the treasure chest because I’m going to explode now.” Then he explodes, becoming television history’s first, but certainly not last, pesky German. Ichabod’s face says it all, handsomely.

Flash forward to Ichabod schmooze-soliloquizing the OnStar in Abbie’s car. Be warned, Yolanda of OnStar — when you unlock the car doors for Ichabod Crane, he unlocks the heart doors to your heart. A van speeds by out of nowhere, indicating that something’s up. Abbie appears and tells Ichabod that her sister Jenny escaped Arkham, confirming that something’s up. They quickly engage in an unnecessary and uproarious walk-and-talk with Captain Orlando Jones. “You’ve got twelve hour to find her,” OJ says, “or else I’m initiating a ‘nationwide manhunt.'”  (Bit much?) “Oh,” OJ continues, “and Ichabod, I’m glad to see you’re still wearing the same colonial ensemble you always wear.” To which Ichabod replies, “Thank you, Captain Orlando Jones.” To which we reply, “No, Ichabod, thank you.”

Meanwhile, Our Lady of Cool Disguise Jenny is getting her drink on at the local dive bar. “Gimme a shot of Makers,” she tells the bartender, “and my Mr.-Lambert-Become-Another-Person-Kit from the back.” “Okay,” says the bartender, doing both of those things. The scene then shifts to a quaint piano lesson between a young boy and his horrifying German piano instructor. As if piano lessons weren’t bad enough! The German piano instructor gets an audio-only FaceTime from Molester Tree Demon, whose voice is somewhere along the scariness lines of one million bats flying into your ears. “Go kill the bartender, go kill Abbie’s sister Jenny, go kill everyone, see ya,” says Molester Tree Demon. The German complies.

German Piano Instructor and his entourage head to Jenny’s favorite dive bar. “Vhere izt Jenny?” they ask. “Shotgun!” the bartender replies, brandishing a shotgun. “Oh, yah, ach, Hostel kit!” says German Piano Instructor, brandishing a Hostel torture kit, which (of course) he has. They kill the bartender on the billiards table and put his severed head in the triangle. Sometime later, Orlando Jones arrives to investigate and does his best Benedict Asperger’sbatch impression. “As you can observe,” he says, “the residual scent of Four Loko emanating from his severed head indicates that his head was severed and he’s dead.” So, case closed. Back at the station, Icks and Abs triangulate Abbie’s rolodex (ha, ha) with Ick’s manila folders and decide that they need to find Jenny before German Piano Instructor does. This leads them to Jennie’s evil foster mom. This leads them to this week’s Videogum Spooky Movie Club, a Cabin In the Woods.

Abbie and Ichabod drive the Cherokee over to Jenny’s absolutely sick cabin in the woods, which probably has the rawest wraparound porch that anyone’s eyes have ever seen. As I peruse Kayak trying to rent “Jenny’s getaway cabin,” Abbie picks the lock on the front door, prompting Ichabod to exclaim, “Imagine the delinquency we could perpetrate,” as he floods the screen with mischievous side-eye beauty. Inside they find Jenny playing dress up with her Mr.-Lambert-Become-Another-Person Kit, a newspaper clipping of Abbie, and dual pistols. Abbie and Jenny have their first fight of this episode’s trillion Abbie v. Jenny fights (I won’t cover them for brevity’s sake. For comprehensive Sleepy Hollow sister-fight coverage head over to Slate), and then we learn Jenny was bros with Sheriff Corbin. Apparently she helped him “obtain rare objects.” Just like you and your bros! To prove this, Jenny opens the extra normal secret wall compartment and shows them a violin case with an old protractor thing in it. “That’s a sextant for mapping sea travel!” Abbie says. Like we didn’t know.

After a pointless flashback, German Piano Instructor and his entourage unload on the cabin with uzis for five hours, hitting no one, and reaffirming the TV trope of German firearm inaccuracy. Where did these bros receive their Firearm Studies MFAs from? The Meth Damon School of Psychopathy? Ichabod returns fire, one hand behind his back, like he’s in a duel, like you hoped. Our friends capture German Piano Instructor but German Piano Instructor’s entourage capture the sextant! Now they’ll use the treasure map inside (there’s a treasure map inside the sextant, btw) to find the treasure chest from the beginning! What is WITH Germans!?

Turns out, German Piano Instructor is actually Hessian Piano Instructor. In an exposition dump of Sorkonian proportions (Hessians are as chatty as they are inaccurate, gun-wise), he explains the implications of his boob tatt, how 72 demons (12 episodes a season=six seasons=I’m going to be 31 and recapping this show from my Google Brain=YES) are en demonic route, and how someone named “Moloch shall rise.” Having gotten all that off his chest, he bites on the cyanide pill in his mouth and dies. RIP, Hessian Piano Instructor. Your bullets are egregiously missing their intended targets ein himmel jetzt.

After thirty more sister fights, Icks, Abs, and Jens head to “the last known whereabouts of the Lesser Key of Solomon,” wherever whatever that is is, to stop the Hessians from opening a portal to hell. Unfortunately, the Hessians already used Tom Riddle’s diary, and now the birdbath in the center of the room (?) has caught on fire (?) and Frighteners and melted T-2000s are climbing out of it. A fiery pentagon (?) forms around the birth bath (?) while Abbie adorably beats the shit out of one Hessian, Ichabod suplexes another, and Jenny shoots another. This is all as awesome as it sounds. Finally, Abbie throws the horcrux into the anamantium jacuzzi and everything disappears. All better!

Abbie and Jenny make up at last. Dawwwwww. “I see who you really are and I’m proud of you,” she tells Jenny. Dawwwwwwwwwwww. Relieved, Abbie struts out gorgeously into the hall, where Ichabod shoves an epic poem in her face. Ahhhh. He shows her a police sketch of Moloch, Hessian Piano Instructor’s friend. Ahhhhhhhhh. And it turns out Moloch is actually our old friend Molester Tree Demon. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Now we know his real name!