Sleepy Hollow: The Sin Eater (1×06)
Synopsis: Ichabod Crane is kidnapped and Abbie must find the Sin Eater to help separate his blood from the Horseman’s before it is too late.
Abbie and Ichabod are attending a small baseball game and Abbie tries to explain to Crane why she likes baseball so much. She tells him it is traditional – the rules are always the same – there’s teamwork and there’s no discrimination. Crane makes a silly attempt to insult the umpire and Abbie reminds him that he is home now, the present is his home, even offering to take him to a Mets game one day, though he doesn’t understand any of the things she says about the game and the food there.
When they split up, Crane goes to visit Katrina’s grave, only to be shot with a dart and taken hostage. On her drive home, Abbie goes into something of a trance and wakes up in a dark house to the sound of a baby crying. Exploring, she finds no baby, but a voodoo doll and the Headless Horseman comes after her. She runs into witches, one of them being Katrina Crane, who explains that this home was like the one she shared with Crane and the Horseman is a manifestation of the future to come. Katrina tells her that Crane has been abducted, where Katrina can no longer see him. She confirms with Abbie that he was taken because of his bloodtie to the Horseman. Katrina tells Abbie that she must find the Sin Eater before sunrise so that Ichabod may be sanctified and separated from the Horseman. As time runs out, Abbie wakes up still driving her car and runs off the road.
She takes her concerns to Captain Irving, telling him that the Headless Horseman is going to return. When he asks her how, she explains to him that Crane’s wife is a witch, the Horseman is linked to Crane, and that they have to find him. Taking all of this with surprising ease, all Captain Irving has to say about the whole speech is, “Let me guess, you want a family reunion.” And just like that, Abbie is able to finagle a twenty four hour furlough for her sister – asking for her help in locating the Sin Eater.
Ichabod comes to in a dimly lit room, where a man sits down in front of him with a folder. He explains that he has the true account of Ichabod Crane and Crane pulls some Sherlock Holmes-style sleuthing to determine the man’s identity. He correctly identifies him as Mr. Rutledge, a descendant of Edward Rutledge of the Freemasons. Crane is also a mason and the man asks him when he first heard the words Ordo Ab Chao, meaning “order from chaos.” Ichabod tells him that they were spoken to him by Arthur Bernard long ago.
In a flashback, we see Arthur Bernard, a freed slave who was printing off pamphlets in favor of the Americans during the war. The author was Cicero, but Arthur was the one to be punished if he didn’t give the man up. Crane was assigned to get the confession from him, as he was working for the British at the time. A Quaker nurse comes in to argue with him about medical treatment for the man – it’s Katrina. When the man denies any help, she tells Crane that his conscience and his eyes show that he wants to show the man mercy and then she leaves them.
As Arthur is getting beaten, Crane stops them for a moment and he tells Crane that there are demons all around. He asks Crane to join him in the fight, but he won’t give up a name to stop the beatings. Bernard was interrogated for days before Crane was called away to stand guard at a public hanging. There, he argues with his Captain about the hangings, claiming they aren’t good for morale. When he looks back at his Captain a bit later, Crane catches sight of the demon inside of him.
Later, he’s speaking with Katrina Van Tassel, his future wife, who tells him that he’s a terrible liar. She explains destiny being a choice and when they talk about the secret war between men and demons, she realizes that Crane is the one. She explains to him that he has a gift, a power to bear witness, and that they all need him. When he asks who she is, she tells him she’s someone who seeks the truth and explains that evil gets its strength when good men do nothing. Before rushing off, she tells him that he is a good man.
Abbie and Jenny are looking through Corbin’s old files, trying to find connections between Death Row inmates and the Sin eater. They find the last words of all of these people to be, “I am sanctified.” The more files they go through, the more Jenny realizes that Abbie really cares about Crane. Abbie explains to her about how they used to not fit in and about how Crane doesn’t fit in now. During this, Abbie has a revelation about the Sin Eater – he hides in the identities of dead inmates. They find a name, Ian Kellett, in Hartford, Connecticut and rush there to see him.
At the door, Abbie tells him that his real name is Henry Parrish and they need to talk. He explains to them that he doesn’t do what they’re asking for anymore. Abbie tells him it’s a gift that he must use and Jenny tells him that he has a responsibility to help them. Abbie explains to him about the Horseman being a sin and the best he offers is to use the connection between Abbie and Crane to help them locate Crane. When Abbie grabs him to argue more, his eyes turn black and they focus on a square and a compass – the symbol of the freemasons – underground somewhere. The Sin Eater tells them that’s all he can do for them and has them leave as they go in search of Crane.
Meanwhile, Crane continues his story of Bernard. His Captain explains to him that he has failed to get a confession out of Bernard, so now Crane must take him into the forest and shoot him. As they walk, Bernard is telling Crane that Katrina was right. However, he’s hesitant to betray everything he knows and loves for the unknown. Bernard tells him that if he pulls the trigger, he’ll have sin and need forgiveness. Ultimately, Crane cannot shoot him, and Bernard tells him to find Katrina, who will take him to Washington. The life he knew will never return. However, Bernard is shot down by another soldier who calls Crane a traitor before turning into a demon and attacking him. As he passes out, the demon runs.
When he awakens, he stumbles out of the forest and to Katrina. He tells her Ordo Ab Chao, as Bernard had instructed him to do, and passes out on her floor. In the present, Crane explains that he couldn’t save Arthur Bernard and it weighs heavily on him that if he had acted sooner, the man would have lived. Finally convinced, Rutledge tells him that they are humbled by his presence and offers Crane the trust of the Freemasons. It is revealed that Katrina wrote the folder that Mr. Rutledge has and that she saved Crane from the Freemasons, despite the greater good – this was why they could not find him. Rutledge tells Crane that Bernard made the ultimate sacrifice and now Crane must do the same, in killing himself he will kill the Horseman.
At the same time, Abbie and Jenny find the door and prepare to fight the men, but Crane stops her and excuses them so that he can speak with Abbie. He tells her the plan to drink poison and kill himself, thus killing the Horseman as well. Abbie doesn’t agree to this plan, trying to explain to him what Katrina told her about the Sin Eater. He cannot be persuaded otherwise and though Abbie is upset by his choice to kill himself, she takes his hand and sits with him while he drinks it apologetically.
While he is getting woozy, the Sin Eater shows up and explains that Crane doesn’t have to die. He realized that the reason for him is to save Crane and he’s happy to help. The Sin Eater stabs Crane’s hand and tastes his blood, getting flashbacks of Crane’s life. He has Crane summon Arthur Bernard into the room, who tells Crane that he told him he’d find him again. When Crane apologizes profusely to the man, Arthur explains that his death was Crane’s salvation and he needs to forgive himself for it. Accepting this, Arthur has Crane repeat these words, “I purge the wicked from my blood. Our spirits severed. My soul sanctified. Death, leave me now. I command you.” Crane’s blood on the table separates from itself and the Sin Eater dunks bread into it and eats it.
With the ritual done, Crane realizes he feels the Horseman no more. He tells Abbie the feeling is gone and the Sin Eater announces that he has been sanctified. Abbie hugs Crane and he admits that she was right, there’s always another way. Outside, the sun has set and the Horseman is coming. The closing shot shows the Horseman out in the forest, inspecting the grave that Ichabod came out of.