Sleepy Hollow masterfully uses the monster-of-the-weeks. The evil our heroes face never feels superfluous, but always acts as a means for exploration. We learn more about Abbie and Crane because of their interaction with the villain, which is how the best shows work. Think Buffy or The X-Files. The Big Bads were convincing because they reflected the protagonist's fears, hopes, and dreams. They weren't just threatening the world--they were threatening our idea of peace, of harmony, of who we are at the core. You can't have conflict just for the sake of conflict, it has to resonate. Sleepy Hollow does that with Abbie's confrontation with the Sandman, and in "John Doe" the horseman of Pestilence acts as a tool to underscore how lost these characters can feel.
The disorientation ties into the slow build of revelation that Sleepy Hollow has been playing so marvelously. They built up Crane's photographic memory, revealing it's use in last week's episode as he outlined a map from memory. They've built up this idea of the Purgatory Katrina wanders, revealing it this week as a realm of Moloch, where he plays with the souls of the dead and bends them to his will. And even the simple pleasure of seeing Crane flounder in the modern world pays off here, as those comic-relief difficulties come to a head when he is tempted to cleave to a place more familiar than not. The lost city of Roanoke appears to be simply displaced in time, much like Crane, and he is drawn to it's comfort.
At that moment, the plot is almost too subtle. Roanoke's temptation of Crane and Abbie's subsequent fretting is squeezed into a few spoken lines, but don't simmer over into actual stakes. The audience doesn't really believe that Crane will defect to Roanoke, and it's hard to imagine that Abbie is truly concerned by this threat.
But then she reveals her fierceness. When an infected Crane is dragged away from her, Abbie shrieks after him, crying "don't take him!" She has lost so much, and the desperation that crosses her eyes as they take Crane betrays her need for him, her need to this lifeline for her fledgling trust and faith. This prompts an obvious, but lovely moment of Abbie reaching out and finding something to believe in. Crane might be the one physically experiencing baptism, but Abbie is the one who is cleansed.
-I haven't talked about the show titles yet. They are so cool. The theme song is a whimsical tune tinged with danger, much like the music in my beloved, erstwhile Pushing Daisies. The images are dark and twisty, Caspar David Friedrich's The Abbey in the Oakwood mixed with the American Revolution. It's the spirit of Gothic Revival done rig
-The question of which Founding Father is more sarcastic should have come up way earlier. I think I would have immediately been pressing for all the info on Jefferson I could get. Puns feel right for him. I would love to read some of Samuel Adams's naughty limericks though.
-Detective Morales is becoming the worst. I don't know how Abbie dated him. Take about dating down.
-Any leap of faith warrants a prompt re-watching of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.