“The Akeda,” besides being the title of the mid-season finale of FOX’s SLEEPY HOLLOW, refers to the biblical story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to God, a story discussed in the episode. This is an appropriate use of the term, considering the installment deals a lot with father / son relationships and sacrifice, including the heroic death of a main character.
As the episode opens, Abbie (Nicole Beharie) and Ichabod (Tom Mison) are hot on the trail of Moloch and his plan to end the world. Events are already in motion, but they have a sword that can slay a demon, so they may be able to stop them. The problem is, wielding said sword will burn the soul of the one who uses it. Luckily, Irving (Orlando Jones) isn’t in possession of his soul at present, and so may provide a loophole to the rule.
Irving does manage to stop the Horseman controlled by Henry (John Noble), but dies in the process. This is a huge shame. Irving is an interesting part that has been sorely wasted this season, spending much of it locked up or in hiding. His lack of soul is an intriguing layer. Rather than really explore this, though, SLEEP HOLLOW kills him off. It feels too soon and without enough consequence since, while the Horseman does die, Irving doesn’t stop Moloch (Derek Mears) nor Henry.
Other than Irving’s untimely demise, “The Akeda” is an excellent hour. The way the team, which includes Abbie, Ichabod, Irving, Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood), and Katrina (Katia Winter), pulls together is inspiring. Finally, they are united in their battle and methods. Standing together, Moloch doesn’t really stand a chance. By the end of the hour, they possibly have a new ally or two, too, which makes them stronger than ever.
One such possible recruit is Henry. Henry has long operated from a place of pain caused by being seemingly abandoned by his parents. Henry views Moloch as a replacement father, one who actually values him. But “The Akeda” finds Moloch revealing how little he actually cares for Henry, which spurs Henry to use the sword against Moloch. We don’t yet know the effect this might have on Henry’s soul, but it seems to stop Moloch, at least for now.
Something Henry takes notice of this week is how Ichabod refuses to abandon him. Henry is loathe to accept any excuses from Ichabod, who was unaware of his son’s existence, and thus unintentionally absentee. Yet, when Ichabod has the chance to kill Henry, he doesn’t. Ichabod won’t give up on his son. Might Henry’s actions be somewhat motivated by Ichabod’s love, and might Henry be tempted to embrace that?
Standing in the way of this is Katrina, whom did know about Henry and abandoned him anyway. However, Ichabod and Katrina aren’t in a good place right now. Katrina betrayed Ichabod, too, and the simmering tension building between them this season erupts spectacularly in “The Akeda.” If mom isn’t in the picture, perhaps the son can be persuaded to give dad a chance.
Katrina’s emotional state is confusing. She shows much compassion for Abraham (Neil Jackson) and saves his life. Ichabod overhears her telling Abraham she cares for him, which could be a ploy, but also seems to bear some truth in it. If Katrina’s heart is torn between the two men who once battled for her affections, which destroyed their friendship, her marriage may very well be over.
Honestly, I’d like to see Ichabod and Abraham reconcile more than Abraham and Katrina get together. She’s kind of a selfish jerk, whereas Abraham acts in the name of love. He may do stupid, downright evil things in that name, but that’s the reason he does what he does. How great would it be if he, too, shuns Katrina, unable to trust her shifting affections, and finds a way to work with Ichabod? After all, Moloch casts out Abraham as well as Henry.
The fact is, “The Akeda” turns several relationships upside down as it brings us to an exciting climax. Because of this, I greatly look forward to the handful of episodes left this season. The number remaining is so small that I’m puzzled why a mid-season finale is necessary at all. But still, they should be good.
SLEEPY HOLLOW will return to FOX after a brief hiatus.
CHIEF TELEVISION CRITIC | Creator of and writer for It's All Been Done Radio Hour live show and podcast. A voracious reader wanting to tell stories of his own, Jerome began writing around the age of 8 and hasn’t stopped, both original works and television reviews. Lives in central Ohio. Favorite current shows include The Walking Dead, Jessica Jones, Flaked, Outlander, and Archer.