Sleepy Hollow - For The Birds?

Lest you think I had a problem with this episode because of the blog title, please allow me to disabuse you of that notion.

I liked it quite a bit.

In fact, I thought it the best episode of the season since the pilot.  It was tighter, well directed and the dynamic of the characters was such that they were actually allowed to breath and grow together.

Yes, there was a freak of the week but it was steeped in Old Testament mythology.  A mythology that was also intertwined in mythical Americana.  We know there was a Boston Tea Party but did you know it was just a cover to capture an ancient biblical super weapon?

This is the type of depth of plot that I look for in a series.  Not the slap dash monster of the week that is easily vanquished in 50 minutes.  There is a richness to appreciate in the storyline when obscure and well know historical facts are turned on their heads and thrown at us in a new way.  The audience is tantalized by this "new " look at historical facts and we giddily accept there may be some truth to these new revelations.

For another example, take a look at the new information presented to us about the Hessians.   We know them as mercenaries employed by the British in the American Revolutionary war to fight the Colonists.  We now know they are part of an ancient society dedicated to the resurrection of Moloch and his demonic minions. 


Those guys just went from bad to worse!

(Prediction time, the Hessian pictured above is our Headless Horseman to be.)

 As to why this blog post was titled, "For The Birds"?

We see our modern day Hessian, Gunther, giving piano lessons to an unsuspecting youth.  Gulp!  Didn't Crane say that at the end of the episode that Moloch was the Demon God of child sacrifice?  Do you suppose the lessons are a pipeline for demonic sacrifice?

Take a look at the print behind Gunther, a crow like sitting atop a venerable road sign of the European type.  Rather spooky I'd say.

In our next image we have the classic American eagle posted along the frame of the Sheriff's cabin.   

It seems we have a duality of meaning attached to out feathered friends.  The grim crow connected to the Hessians and the patriotic eagle related to our heroes.

We even get an auditory reference to birds as we hear wings fluttering when the surviving Hessians enter the decepit Dutch church.

So why birds, what do they mean?

To me they can suggest a couple of things.  Birds were often associated in ancient or Biblical times as messengers or harbingers of doom.  That certainly fits with the thematic take on the Hessians.

Birds also suggest flight or the freedom of flight and that fits in nicely with the theme of our heroic demon fighters and the Revolutionary War.

When I wrote about the TV show Fringe, I took a close look at all the visual imagery.  Some I chased down a rabbit hole that led to nowhere and the others were quite meaningful.  This hasn't been the only episode of Sleepy Hollow to use the imagery of birds but that doesn't mean there is something to it all.

I will submit to you all that it did have special meaning for this particular episode. 

Take Abagail's sister Jenny pictured above.  Wasn't she once institutionally caged like a bird only to be granted the freedom of her wings thanks to her sister? 

Why not?  I like it!

(Another aside, Lyndie Greenwood in great as Jenny.  Can't you picture her in the lead role of Abbie instead of Nicole Beharie.  In fact, reverse them, I think it works a lot better.)

In closing, I'm glad the "Blurry Man" now has a name, "Moloch".  As stated before, "The Demon God of child sacrifice."  That doesn't bode well especially when previews suggest we get a child-out-of-time in the next episode.  If you are a Fringe fan, shades of "Inner Child".

See you next week!


  1. Hi Dave,
    You do love your birds don’t you? :) I didn’t spot any others, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled. Other symbols. The piano teacher sure had a great bone collection in his basement, was he building pillars out of them? Gross. Jenny rather pointedly looked in the mirror in the gas station bathroom as though daring Moloch to show himself.

    Something else that may end up being nothing: the piano teacher/Hessian tells his student that “the left hand will always save you” or something to that effect. Didn’t the Sandman chop off Ichabod’s left hand in the final dream sequence last week? Ichabod does use the UK pronunciation of lieutenant “leftenant” for Abby, bit of a stretch?

    How interesting that the Sheriff was a father figure/mentor to both of the sisters, separately and differently. Did he purposely encourage one to take his place within the establishment/town governance and the other to be a “secret” agent? I really hope we see more flashbacks with Clancy Brown. I am really liking the actresses together, I buy them as sisters.

    I LOVE your theory that the Hessian in Boston is now the Headless Horseman! I don’t exactly recall his words, but he offered himself to death as a sacrifice and then became the embodiment of it? He’s had an axe to grind with Ichabod for some time! (too punny?) It would explain his mask too since the explosion he caused likely made his face a mess. The head in the jar was missing a nose right? Also, apparently the creepy font of doom is reserved for demon subtitles? The subtitles for the Hessians were in a more benign font.

    Still no new wardrobe for Ichabod?! I must say I liked his dueling (?) stance with one arm behind the back when he fired the gun in the cabin. Seemed period correct for him.

    Time for a Sam Adams Boston Lager product placement? -Lynne

    1. Do I have a bird obsession going? You know what, I did see the Jenny mirror thing and thought about mentioning it but it seemed so isolated that I decided to streamline the blog post and stick with the birds. They seemed more thematic to the show.

      When I saw that bone throne in the basement my mind went immediately to the "Iron" throne from Game of Thrones. Creepy.

      I tried to make something of that "left handed" comment also but came up with nothing. I think you are right in that it is worth watching. Crane's left hand did get lopped off in the Sandman episode.

      Crane is from the UK and only came to identify with the Colonists once he became familiar with their plight. So leftenant shouldn't be a stretch for him.

      Let's talk about the Mills sisters, did you get that there was a romantic vibe between Jenny and the Sheriff? It seemed by Crane's inflection that he was intimating that. Or is it just me? That picture they had taken together seemed like they were awfully close. Not a father/daughter type of photo. He was certainly a lot closer to Jenny than Abbie. Maybe because Abbie had betrayed her sister's trust. Le me know what you think about this one.

      There is no such thing as "too punny'. The worse they are the more I love it. Kudos! Yes, I picked up a vibe from the Boston Hessian that he might be our guy. And when I thought about how he blew himself up and they didn't show the aftermath, then bells went off in my head. I do like how you picked upon the font. Double kudos!

      The arm behind the back is an old fencing trick so as to not offer a tempting target. It also forces you to turn your body so your profile is also a smaller target. This was passed on with the advent of firearms and the age of dueling. Again, pulling your arm behind you turns your body so as to offer a smaller target for your opponent. Some say it also help balance your stance as firearms back then were quite heavy.

      (I know this from a previous life. I was quite the duelist. Well, except for the last one.)

      I bet Sam Adams is banging at their door for an endorsement opportunity now. (I had my picture taken in front of the Sam Adams statute near Faneuil Hall. Arms crossed just like him. I should dig that up.)

  2. Well, you do have a raven avatar.

    Fencing, seriously? You sir are a Renaissance man! The elegance of it suited Ichabod I think.

    The "left-tenant" thing, I was getting at maybe Abby is symbolically Ichabod's left hand that will save him?

    The other symbolic thing I remembered was the severed head in the triangular pool rack. A macabre take on the "all seeing eye" as warning to Katrina et al. perhaps?

    Hmm, Jenny and the Sheriff. I sort of hope it wasn't romantic, but I can see it maybe evolved into that. She's not terribly broken up considering, either way. LIked that his photo is on the wall opposite Abby's desk. More to their backstories for sure.

    How about Irving putting Luke & bland blond detective (closet Hessian?) in their place. Still don't know why Luke has to exist, but at least Irving showed some skills.

    Seriously just to see Ich look quizically at a bottle of Sam Adams would be priceless, then again I bet he gave Sam the recipe.

    Go Red Sox! -Lynne

    1. Speaking of left things, Jenny and Abbie could represent the same mind but one being the left specialty and the other the right.

      The head in the pool rack triangle as the "All seeing eye" is totally awesome. What a great catch. They better have meant it that way or I'll be extremely disappointed. Maybe they could fire someone on the staff and hire you. Brilliant.

      Love the "Secret Hessian Man" theory too. I can totally see it.

      Yes, we have a lot to learn about the sister's adult past. I kind of hope they did have some sort of romance. Jenny and the Sheriff that is. The sisters will become increasingly close and then Jenny drops that bomb on Abbie. She'll go nuclear.

      If they come up with a Sleepy Hollow Sam Adams beer, I'm totally buying it. (But not if it's pumpkin flavored, can't stand it.)

      Did you see the Poe grave site picture I took?

  3. Thanks, I've been seeing that "all seeing eye" a lot lately. It is getting heavy play on Revolution this season.

    I hope we see more Jenny in general, they have to come up with an excuse to free her earlier than 6 months from now. I'm kind of surprised she didn't just run off after the demon hot tub. I like that she and Abby kind of complement each other, right and left as you say. Any one of the "friends and neighbors" of Sleepy Hollow could be a Hessian. Every show needs a mole hunt right? Who knows where nearly headless John Cho ran off to, but someone has to take his place as the mole in the sheriff's office.

    While the Boston Tea Party tie in was cool I hope they don't make Ich the Forrest Gump of colonial history.

    Can't wait for the next ep! -Lynne


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