Sleepy Hollow: John Doe (1×05)
Synopsis: A mysterious boy that seems to have things in common with Ichabod Crane appears out of nowhere, bringing a dangerous plague with him.
A little girl in the forest is seen collecting things in her basket when a little boy comes out of nowhere and she teases him to catch her. She runs behind some trees and disappears, leaving the boy to be chased by a helmeted horseback rider with a bow. The horseman chases him through the woods until he gets to a road before poofing into black dust.
Abbie is helping Crane settle into Corbin’s old cabin, now lovingly decorated with bullet holes, and they talk briefly about fate. She teases him about not knowing what certain words mean and not being able to get the plastic from around one of his purchases. There’s a moment where Crane worries that his look doesn’t quite fit in with modern times, but Abbie reassures him otherwise. She gets a call about a found boy and Crane wants to go to the scene with her because he suspects it may not be as “routine” as she insists it is.
The mystery boy was seen stumbling down the street, where he passed out, and a concerned mail carrier called him in. She’d earlier seen the boy by the Rockefeller State Park Preserve. On the scene, Luke Morales questions Abbie’s decision to bring Crane to the scene with her, but she brushes him off when Crane calls her attention to the boy’s blackening veins in his hands. He makes note of the boy’s clothing and, when they revive him, Crane recognizes the boy to be speaking Middle English, which was only spoken during the Middle Ages – and is, coincidentally, something Crane can speak.
Back at the office, Abbie has to explain to Crane what kidnapping is and they’re told the boy was taken to West Chester Memorial Hospital and is known only to them as “John Doe.” Crane tells them he knows what a John Doe is, informing them that the term originated in England. He tries to tell them about the Middle English the boy is speaking and questions who the “Evil Girl” the boy mentioned might be. Captain Irving is skeptical of Crane’s babbling and tells them that he’s alerted the CDC. When he leaves Abbie and Crane, Morales approaches Irving questions Crane’s work as a consultant after all that has happened. Irving tells him to stay focused on his own work and brushes him off.
At the hospital, the boy is in quarantine and the CDC man assigned to the case has Crane sit in front of a webcam to communicate with the boy. He reassures the boy that he shouldn’t be afraid, learning that his name is Thomas and he’s sorry for following the girl that he knew he wasn’t supposed to follow. Abbie thinks he may have been kidnapped, and that teaching him Middle English was one way the person could keep him from asking for help. Crane disagrees, wondering if the boy might just be disoriented and lost. Thomas tells them that his home is in Roanoke.
The CDC man immediately radios that the Roanoke, Virginia hospitals need to be checked in case the unknown outbreak has spread. Crane thinks that Thomas might be from the lost colony on Roanoke Island. He explains to Abbie that Virginia was the first American colonist born in Roanoke, but when her father returned to the colony in 1590, the entire town had vanished from North Carolina. Irving calls to tell them that the EMT who first treated Thomas is deteriorating rapidly and the nurses are starting to feel ill – they could have an outbreak on their hands. In his hospital room, the EMT seizes and sees a vision of the same helmeted horseback rider before his eyes turn black and he collapses.
Crane and Abbie decide to check out the Rockefeller Park where Thomas was seen running out of the woods. They get some of their mandated witty banter out of the way and Abbie uses her phone as a compass to figure out which direction they’re headed.
Back at the office, Luke Morales and his partner, Devon Jones, have a discussion about getting axed out of cases because of Crane. Morales is becoming increasingly antagonistic about Ichabod Crane being around, so we’ll have to keep an eye on how this plays out – and whether it’s out of professional or personal jealousy…
Foxhunting as a boy is how Crane learned to track so well, showing Abbie different plants and the ways in which she can orient herself in the woods. He reveals that he had a nobleman for a father, one of the things he is glad to have left behind. They find two sets of footprints, with one stopping out of nowhere, determining they may have belonged to the “evil girl” Thomas mentioned.
At the hospital, more people are becoming sick and Irving believes it could be an act of bioterrorism. The man from the CDC explains to him that the boy’s immune system is different and he shows different blood patterns. Along with that, they found no evidence that the boy had ever been immunized against anything.
Abbie and Crane come across a tiny island in the forest, with Crane thinking it may house the missing Roanoke colony. He correctly identifies a secret crossing atop the water and they cross into the town. As the townspeople swamp them, it is confirmed that they are in Roanoke and Abbie realizes that everyone in town is infected with the same thing that Thomas is suffering from.
However, no one acts as if they’re suffering from their sickness. A man explains to them that Thomas was raised there when the Horseman of Pestilence infected the entire colony. Virginia, the youngest and first to die, her spirit appeared and brought the town here to live unaffected by the disease. It was only when Thomas left the colony that he took pestilence with him, enacting the Horseman’s plan all along. Abbie and Crane realize they have to bring Thomas back to the colony to save everyone from the sickness. On their way out of the colony, Abbie notices the Horseman of Pestilence on the outskirts of town, leaving them with little time.
As soon as they return to the hospital, Crane realizes he must have been infected from his first encounter with Thomas. He is immediately sedated and taken into quarantine. Soon after, he finds himself with Katrina, who warns him that he must be close to death to be with her right now. She explains to him that he is sick and he’s come to her in purgatory, where Moloch keeps her captive. When he presses her for more information, she tells him that she knows why she cannot leave, but before she tells him, he is pulled back to fight for his life.
Morales receives a phone call confirming questions he had about Crane’s job and education while Abbie asks Irving for his help in moving Thomas and Crane. Irving denies her request and she goes into the hospital chapel for guidance. Disheartened, she goes to leave when an old woman comes in and blesses herself with the holy water. This helps Abbie to realize that the water in Roanoke will save Thomas and Crane because it’s used in many religions to purify.
Still skeptical, Irving sets up transfer orders for Crane and Thomas and covers for Abbie when she leaves with the two of them in an ambulance. The three of them struggle to get through the woods, but after a shot of adrenaline for Crane they make it to Roanoke. Both of them dunk into the well and the oncoming Horseman of Pestilence disappears just before he gets to Abbie. As they realize they’ve won, a white light glows and Abbie is standing next to Crane in an old, broken well.
As Thomas walks away towards the other townspeople, they realize the entire town was dead all along. It was only once Thomas left the town that he was seen by other people and able to spread the plague. Crane notes that her faith as one of the Witnesses was what allowed her to save the day when Irving calls Abbie to let her know that everyone infected is recovering. She has to remind Crane that his place is in Sleepy Hollow, voicing concerns that he might have stayed with the colony.
In a final shot, the Headless Horseman is seen coming out of the water and getting on his horse, leaving a fiery trail in his path.