Sleepy Hollow Season 2, Episode 13: The one with the Killer Painting

2.13 seemed to be split into two very distinct stories. One was a by the numbers bottle episode about a murderer, while the other was the heartbreaking tragedy of a man coming back from the dead only to be met with well-founded suspicion by the people that love him. The killer did make my hair rise on occasion, however, Irving’s return and everyone’s response to it was much more fulfilling.

The episode starts almost like a procedural; there is a man going about his business, that business being art restoration, only to find blood. A suspicious amount of blood. Instead of discovering a body however, this poor man faced something decidedly supernatural and went through his own personal Lady Macbeth moment when the blood disappeared without trace.

Meanwhile, our protagonists are getting ready for a date. More accurately, Ichabod is being self-conscious about his attire and Abbie is there to provide emotional support in preparation of a date with his wife. A wife that Abbie has no problem telling him has done a lot of shady stuff which shouldn’t be excused. No matter how good she looks when she turns up wearing a black dress. Abbie reminds them not to name-drop around their 20th century born and raised friends and sends them on their merry way.

Katrina is an amazing character in my head, if not on the show, so it’s a breath of fresh air when my personal characterization of her collides with show canon in the majestic form of a grope. The moment she squeezes Ichabod’s butt seconds after being told the present is very open to couples touching really tugged at my heartstrings.

The man in the opening sequence is apparently one of Ichabod’s many unmentioned-until-convenient friends, which undoubtedly means that he won’t make it to the end of the episode. He seems to freaked out by something (hint: it’s the blood) and as Katrina touches the desk of her old friend Abigail Adams, her resulting dizziness only seems to confirm that Mr. Hollister is not long for this world.

Back at the precinct, Abbie is looking through her ancestor’s journal, one that really needs to get another moment to shine, when suddenly Irving appears and surrenders. This is the first time she’s seen him in six weeks and given the situation she can’t even allow herself to feel joy.

Surrounded by the objects that once belonged to Abigail, Katrina can’t help but reminisce about the time she and her best friend joked about motherhood and the ‘little monster’ she would bring into the world. It seems that all sensible truth tellers have been called Abigail for generations.

She misses the world and the people she left behind and admits as much to her husband, who now knows not only what she feels like, but also what Abbie feels like at the receiving end of his own grumbles.

In what is barely a twist, Mr. Hollister is found gruesomely murdered. This should really be a lesson to everybody out there; remember to be the hero of your own story, so you don’t end up the murder victim in someone else’s.

What with the murder and Irving’s resurrection, the witnesses get in touch over the phone. With a heavy heart, Abbie reveals her suspicions about Frank’s real purpose now that he might be under the influence of Henry. She also warns Ichabod that Reyes is on her way, but her message is too late as the captain and her team storm the crime scene.

Upon meeting Katrina, the new captain actually has good things to say about Ichabod’s work for the department. This could be simple politeness, or brought upon because of the realization that Sleepy Hollow has a murder every other Tuesday and she needs all the help she can get. In any case, there can be no doubt that she’ll run a deep background check on this ‘new’ wife.

The crime scene reminds Katrina of a tarot card and she has a flashback to the time when she and her b.f.f. played law and order, trying to find the person behind a series of murders with that exact m.o. Abigail had come to the conclusion that the murder case her husband was involved with could be traced back to someone in the medical profession.

While the Cranes play detective, Abbie lies her way through to an emotional confrontation with Irving. This scene is one in a long series of incidents that make her such an interesting and powerful character. She wants the person at the other end of the interrogation table to be Irving with all her heart, but she can’t ignore the potential danger he presents. Rather than selfishly allow herself to give in to sentimentality, she makes the hard choice and keeps her distance no matter how much it pains her (and us!).

We’re slightly past the halfway point now and the murderer’s identity is finally deduced. A painter whose apparent knowledge of anatomy rivals that of a medical practitioner, is in fact our killer and currently residing within the two dimensions of the picture frame. Not for long. His bloody murders are bloody for very practical purposes that involve breaking out of the painting by lots-of-blood magic.

Unfortunately, Ichabod in his inexhaustible urge to touch everything in an active crime scene has made himself a target by touching some of the blood seeping out of the canvas. They recall another person who also seemed to have blood stained hands, but don’t have time to act immediately. Someone bursts into the room and Katrina, bless her, decides to use the age old fanfiction trope of making out for a mission. Personally, I think she watched The (Katia)Winter Soldier.

When Jenny finds out Frank is alive she defends him, but instead of rescuing him from lock up, she is sent looking for something to kill him with as Abbie talks to Cynthia. It is a common courtesy towards a friend as well as a reminder not to talk to anyone about Irving coming back from the dead.  Everybody seems to be handling the fact that Irving might be evil in a much more mature fashion than certain people claiming their evil son just needed love and affection.

Speaking of those people and their current predicament, another person is about to be murdered by the killer painter and this time he’s actually sucked the victim into the painting.

Because the Cranes took all the fancy assignments of smooching around paintings, Jenny is stuck digging bullets out of a monster’s decomposed body. The last one comes out and the monster springs to life, which means Hawley manages to let her down yet again and he’s not even in the episode. She sticks the last bullet back where it came from and thankfully the living dead goes back to being just one of those.

Which is what the guy taken by the killer will be if the Cranes don’t put on their hero boots. The painting’s frame has markings that help keep the murderer trapped ever since Abigail banished him there with a little help from a currently beheaded friend. One has to wonder about the wisdom of keeping someone trapped in a painting instead of destroying it, but there is a certain darkness to sentencing someone to an eternal life in 2D.

Ichabod wants Katrina to transport him into the painting, but she’s had enough of staying on the sidelines and anoints herself with blood before transporting both of them into yet another creepy house in this series.

I have described the next scene as: ‘Jenny sees her bf the angels sing’ in my notebook, which is really what happened as far as I’m concerned. Jenny is so desperate to save Irving she thinks asking Katrina for help is a good idea. Abbie actually scoffs at this, which tickles me pink, but agrees that there is no other solution.

In a painting someplace else, the Cranes discover that if you aggressively dissuade your child from becoming an artist they will turn into a killer, which is a groan-worthy and unnecessary addition. They rescue the guy taken just before he loses his last drop of blood, and make it out of the canvas. The painter, bathed in blood now that he has completed the ritual, follows them.

No need to worry though. Abbie Mills appears to save the day and destroy ovaries.

Reyes is not very pleased with the fact that Abbie decided to ignore her orders, but the good news is that maybe there is evidence proving Irving is innocent after all. Which I doubt is good news, because the truth of what happened to those cops would hurt everyone more than Irving being found guilty, or this could very well be false testimony thanks to a sneaky not-quite lawyer who may still be around.